We all want to know what we're getting into when we begin a workout. How long? How far? How many reps are we doing? But, too often, we know exactly what our workout will be because we've been doing the same thing for months, if not years. It's stagnant. The problem with sticking with a regular routine is that you get too good at it: Your technique gets too efficient; your body knows exactly what to expect and how much effort is required. The first time you do some new exercise, you're sore and tired in a way that you hadn't been before. But do that same exercise for three or four months, and you have to do twice as many reps and with more weight to feel as though you've accomplished anything.
From time to time, you have to mix it up. You don't always get to know what to expect. I've got guys who train with me and say, "Well, what are we doing today?" And I don't tell them. Because we never train the same way twice; there's always going to be some variation. But keeping it varied requires a high level of creativity. (Basically, you've got to make stuff up.) Of course, not everyone has me – or any trainer – to shock their system, but you can mix some creativity into your routine to keep it challenging and keep yourself engaged. Here's how:
Rage against the machines.
You love the machines: You step up, find the right weight, and you push it up and down. But why not try something new? Do all the seated machines, but do them with your legs straight out in front of you and your core engaged. Force yourself to engage your core when you're on any machine; if it's a standing-type machine, go to one leg right away. Anything you do standing up, you can do standing up on one leg.
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