If you're like most people, you can't stand the thought of wasting your time doing something that only yields mediocre results. This holds especially true when it comes to working out – nobody wants their efforts in the gym to be only marginally effective (or worse, completely in vain). If you're ready to maximize your exercise efforts, below are 5 tried-and-true tips to help you get the most out of your workouts.
1. Plan your workouts ahead of time.
There should never be a time when you walk into the gym saying "I wonder which exercises I'm going to do today?" Without a clearly defined game plan, you will more than likely cobble together an "a la carte" workout that probably won't get you any closer to your fitness goals. Make sure to map out the specific exercises you're going to perform (including the number of sets and reps if applicable) ahead of time, and establish approximate time frames for each segment of your workout. By setting these clear goals before you even set foot in the gym, you'll be able to work out with purpose, and your training sessions will be that much more focused and effective.
2. Perform dynamic stretches before you begin exercising.
Dynamic stretching refers to performing certain movements to "loosen up" the muscles and joints before the actual workout. This is different from static stretching, which is basically holding a sustained position for a set number of seconds per stretch. Multiple studies have shown that dynamic stretching is a more effective way to engage larger muscle groups and prepare the body for movement.
3. Limit your total workout time to no more than 30-45 minutes.
There is a common misconception that the longer you stay in the gym, the more effective the workout will be. The truth of the matter is that a shorter workout with a higher level of intensity will yield better results than an hour-long slog-fest. The psychology of the workout also changes when you shorten the time
4. Use proper form and technique.
It's one thing to check a workout off your list because you completed X number of sets and reps, but it's another thing entirely for you to ensure that those exercises were performed with proper form and technique. Concentrate on quality rather than quantity by making sure that each exercise is performed properly; by doing this, you will not only improve the effectiveness of your workouts, but you will also reduce your risk of injury as well.
5. Start with the general before moving to the specific.
It is far more effective for you to start with exercises that work large muscle groups rather than focusing on isolation exercises right off the bat. For example, if you start your workout off with tricep kickbacks--a highly focused isolation exercise – you will reduce the effectiveness of those pushing muscles when it's time to do an exercise that works a larger muscle group, such as bench presses. It's better to save isolation exercises (e.g., bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, calf raises, etc.) for the end of your
You don't have to settle for ineffective workouts. Keep the above tips in mind to help you optimize your exercise