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Experiment With Variations

Weight training has basic principles and techniques that must be learned and retained, no matter how advanced a person becomes. So if you commit to it, then you commit to practicing the basics.

And then what? What do you do when the basics get monotonous and boring?

When it comes to building strength and muscle, every basic exercise has variations that can be applied to break the monotony and provide new challenges. Something as simple as varying your grip between pronated (palms facing down or outward), supinated (palms facing up or inward), and neutral (palms facing inward towards each other) will alter the effect of an exercise. Arm, hand, leg, and foot spacing can be wide, medium, or narrow.

You can add supersets, where you perform two different exercises in succession with no break in between. Or try some drop sets, where you perform the same exercise until failure, lower the weight, and continue doing the exercise until failure again, and then lower the weight again and continue, with no break between sets. Supersets and drop sets are both for increasing the intensity of your workout.

Speed up or slow down your reps, or pause to add time under tension. Vary your range of motion to engage different muscle fibers. Most exercises require both concentric (contracting/closing motions) and eccentric (extending/opening motions) movements to complete a rep. By trying different ranges of contraction and extension of a body part, you will observe muscles being engaged in different ways.

Your workouts don’t have to become stale. Always be curious and give new tweaks a try.

Sayonara until next time.

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