So you are wanting to lose that body fat to hopefully one day see those abs and you want to know how to increase intensity in your workouts to maximize your results. Chances are that the abs are already there, just covered up by body fat. We already know we can NOT spot train. Doing 1,000 sit ups is not going to get you a six-pack. The fastest way to burn body fat is with our workout intensity. Most people put a lot of emphasis on the type of workouts, the nutrition and on everything else while overlooking intensity. We need to tap into our intensity to maximize our results. I’m guilty of this myself. I had the perfect workouts picked out, the nutrition was spot on but I just didn’t get the results I was hoping to get. I had good results, just to think how much better they could have been had I known then how to amp up the intensity is mind-blowing.
You here it all the time. “You need to increase your intensity to see great results”. When you are doing strength training it’s especially important to make sure you do it at a high intensity. Workouts like P90X, P90X2, Chalean Extreme, Body Beast and Asylum (even non Beachbody Workouts) are designed to help you build muscle. You’ll hear the trainers say to make sure you go at a high intensity. My problem was they don’t really explain exactly how to get the most out of these routines with increased intensity. So the question is raised How do I increase intensity?
What is Intensity?
Intensity is basically the amount of energy you put into a workout. For example, if you have 100% energy and you use 100% then you could say you had a very high intensity workout. On the other hand if you have 100% energy and you only use 50% you are not tapping into your intensity levels. It’s not about how much weight you lift, it’s about exertion. A lot of people just don’t know how to give 100% of their energy. So here are 4 tips on how to increase intensity in your workouts.
How To Increase Intensity Tip #1
The Problem: As you start to become fatigued in a workout you start to do “cheat reps”. Cheat reps are when you are not using the full range of motion. You might not come all the way down in a bicep curl for example. Or you may use other parts of your body to create momentum to get the next rep.
The Solution: You want to fatigue your muscles. As you get to the end of your set, you want to actually make the exercise harder. How do we do this? Hold the negative when the muscles are lengthened for about 1-2 seconds before you perform the next rep. In a bicep curl you’ll keep your arm all the way down (straight arms) and hold for 1-2 seconds before contracting. This will fatigue the muscle and the intensity will be much higher so you get more out of the workout.
How To Increase Intensity Tip # 2
The Problem: Not fatiguing the muscles completely. Remember intensity is about using all the energy you have.
The Solution: One way to completely fatigue a muscle is to add drop sets. As an example we’ll use the bicep curl again. We’re doing 3 sets, at the 3rd set we hit failure, then grab a lighter weight and do the same thing. Try to drop at least 3 times. And depending on how much you’re lifting try to drop about 10 pounds per drop. This will keep the intensity super high and when your done you know you’ve given everything you have.
How To Increase Intensity Tip # 3
The Problem: Taking to long in between sets. We take long rest periods to try to recover our strength to perform the next reps.
The Solution: Take shorter rest periods. We take the bicep curl for example once again. For me I curl around 25 lbs. I do my 25 lbs for me 10 reps, but to do that I need to rest 2 minutes to be able to get 10 reps on the next set. What is suggested is we only rest 30-60 between each set. Why? When you shorten your rest periods it’s a lot more intense because you didn’t recover fully and you heart rate is still elevated. BUT when I rest that short I won’t be able to hit 10 reps??? Maybe I only hit 8 reps, what do we do? We increase the volume. We are not going lighter (which I use to do), we keep the same weight and add more sets to reach our goal. In this example my goal was to do 3 sets and 10 reps each totalling 30 reps. If I get my 10 reps in my first set and take a 30-60 second break and the second set I only hit 8 reps, I’ll add another set at the end to hit my goal of 30 reps. So it may look like this Set 1 – 10 reps, set 2 – 8 reps, set 3 – 6 reps, set 4 – 6 reps =30. This will increase the intensity and the volume of my workout and because of the shorter rest period we can do this in the same amount of time.
How To Increase Intensity Tip # 4
The Problem: Not feeling like you have the energy to give a high intensity training workout.
The Solution: We all have those days. One way to help is to make sure you get enough sleep. Sleep is vital to muscle recovery. Another way to bring up the intensity on days like this (or everyday) is to use a pre-workout supplement. Team Beachbody has their own pre-workout drink called Energy & Endurance. I use E&E when I’m feeling run down or just need a little extra help on specific days. It really helps me push the envelope and increase the intensity of my workouts. I personally don’t use it everyday but it is safe to if I wanted to.
Click here to learn more about Energy & Endurance
Final Thoughts On Workout Intensity
Those four tips are going to make sure you give everything you have in every workout and that your intensity is through the roof. Remember that muscle burns fat so having a high intensity strength workout is two-fold. You’ll be building muscle which will burn more fat and you’ll be getting a good calorie burn from going at a high intensity. I’d like to hear from you if you have any other tips for increasing intensity. If you use a pre-workout supplement which one do you like and does it work.
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