Do you do the same training program day after day? After a while your muscles get used to and expect the same workout. Over a period of 6 to 8 weeks, they adjust and get more efficient at performing those same exercises. Consequently, you end up not burning as many calories as you did when you started your routine. This is known as hitting a plateau.
To break through a plateau, throw your body a curve; change your routine. Always keep your body guessing as to what you expect it to do next. Switching routines periodically keeps your muscles from taking a “set” and thus helps you burn the maximum number of calories. Ensure your training activities include aerobic, strength, flexibility, core and balance exercises.
Cardio training increases your heart rate, causes you to breath faster and usually uses the large muscle groups. Because your blood is circulating faster and you are breathing faster, more oxygen is getting to your muscles. Activities include jogging, running, swimming and biking.
Strength training can include anything from using weight machines, to lifting free weights, to doing exercises that only use your own body weight, such as pull-ups, push-ups, and sit-ups or crunches.
If you are doing only body weight training, be sure to switch to machines or free weights every few weeks to keep your body from adapting to your body weight. With free weights and machines, you can add weight and continually challenge your muscles.
The problem with many exercise routines is that they don’t take your muscles through a full range of motion. Consequently, not all of a particular group of muscles gets exercised equally. This can lead to an imbalance and an increased risk of injury. Part of your routine should include dynamic stretching before exercising and static after.
To safely lift heavier weights, you have to have a good foundation and that means doing exercises that build your back and abdominal core along with your legs. Good choices are crunches, yoga and weight machines that target core muscles.
Of the five, this one is the most overlooked. Most training routines do not include activities that improve or maintain your balance. One great way to work on balance is by practicing yoga. Many of the poses used target balance. What you don’t want to happen is suffer a fall caused by poor balance. This can put your fitness goal on hold while rehabbing.