5 tips that could change your workout

7 August 2017 by
First published: 6 August 2017

Take a look at our 5 tips that could change your workout.

There are simple, but vital, things we can all do to really improve our performance in the gym. Often forgotten about and not given enough attention, these top tips could be the difference between an average or a kick-ass session.

Warm up

You have heard it time and time again, but a warm up is so important when it comes to having a safe and successful workout. Take five minutes to get the blood flowing to your muscles and your body prepared for the session and you’ll reap rewards. Jumping straight into the deep end without warming up will mean your muscles aren’t ready to reach their full potential and will be more prone to an injury. It could even be the factor that stops you reaching a personal best. Perform 3-4 dynamic stretches and some body weight exercises, such as alternate lunges, to get yourself warmed up and raring to go.

Don’t forget to breathe

The importance of using your breath during exercise doesn’t just apply to yoga and pilates. Using your breath correctly can help you push a heavier weight, improve the quality of your rest periods or get you through that one last round of squat jumps. So how does it work? Well, you want to exhale on the effort part of the movement. For example, if bench pressing, as you lower the bar to your chest inhale, then as you push up exhale. This can help you move the bar with more force and create better stability as you train. During rest periods between high intensity training, breath from the stomach rather than shallow breathing from the chest in order to recover more efficiently.

Stop checking yourself out

It’s a great idea to check for good technique in a mirror when performing an exercise. However, you don’t want to be doing this while lifting a heavy weight and doing a working set. For example before deadlifting, check your technique in the mirror without any weight. If you do it while lifting actual weight, you’ll be putting you spine out of line  and causing strain on your neck.

Take your trainers off

Yup, we’re serious! Often the trainers we work out in have an uneven sole, designed for activities other than lifting weights. Taking your trainers off when squatting with a barbell can really help your technique by providing a flat, even surface and therefore more balance. It can also help you keep the weight on your heels rather than falling forwards. Use a light weight first to get used to having no shoes on, as it can feel quite different! You’ll thank us for this one, we promise.

Drop the weight

If you are sacrificing technique for numbers, stop! There is no point  increasing the weights you are using unless your technique is spot on. If you need to drop the weight, but are worried about losing intensity, just increase the amount of reps you are performing. Rather than shoulder pressing 10kg dumbbells for 8 reps with bad technique, use 8kg for 12-15 reps! The extra reps will make sure the same amount of effort is being used and that your heart rate is increasing.