The Schmooze

How to Increase Intensity

Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

There comes a point in everyone’s exercise program when you are ready to increase the intensity of your workouts...and you should be!

If you have been incorporating the same routine with the same resistance and the same exercises day to day, week to week, year to year, then you are ready for a change. Maintaining is just fine, but why not work on increasing strength and muscle fibers to adapt to greater loads or forces creating a stronger more efficient body that can endure more?

I’m going to share with you three ways in which

you can increase the intensity of your workouts:

1) Increase resistance

2) Increase speed

3) Increase range of motion

Increasing resistance simply means adding more weight to each of your exercises. If you are always using the same amount of weight, your muscles are not adapting to greater forces and therefore are not strengthening any further. In order to encourage muscle growth and fiber increase, simply increase the size of your weights. It could be as little as a 1lb increase for just one set. That extra weight will encourage muscle growth to adapt to the increase. Continue to increase as your muscles to adapt to the new weight.

How do you know if you are ready to increase resistance? If you have total control over the movement of an exercise and it becomes easy for all designated sets and reps, then you are ready to increase. Once you increase, be sure that you can control the new weight with proper posture and form. If you cannot maintain proper posture and form then you are not ready to increase and can look to the other methods of increasing intensity instead.

Increasing speed is a great way to increase intensity and can actually make your strength training somewhat cardio driven. This allows you to include both strength and cardio into one workout. All you need to do is increase the speed of your movement for each exercise. Keeping proper posture and form when increasing speed is crucial. In order to ensure this, reps are typically done with lighter weights. Something you can control through full range of motion without breaking form. Be careful not to jerk or overextend joints while increasing speed.

Increasing speed is great for Hi-Intensity Interval Training. It will allow you to get a lot of reps and exercises into a small amount of time while elevating your heart rate and increasing your endurance and reaction time. It does not require a lot of weights, heavy dumbbells, barbells and equipment. You could grab one or two sets of dumbbells and get a 30-minute full-body workout just about anywhere.

Finally, increasing range of motion is another way to increase your intensity.

Many do not exercise to their full range of motion or try to increase it. It is important to work on increasing your range of motion through your full potential. This can increase your flexibility and ensure all muscle fibers are at work. You should not be constantly working in short ranges of motion keeping the muscles in a flexed state. You want to be able to bend and extend your joints to their full capability. Working on increasing your range of motion will do just that. It requires more muscle fibers to be engaged overall increasing the intensity of your workout.

When starting to increase your range of motion, decrease your weights and speed of the movement. Once you are able to increase your range of motion, you can then increase weights and speed. Sometimes the reason you cannot engage in a full range of motion is because the weights are just to heavy to accomplish the range. Therefore, decreasing the weights and slowing down your pace is a great way to work on increasing the range.

You now have three different ways in which you can begin to increase the intensity of your workouts. You can do this by either increasing your resistance, increasing your speed or increasing your range of motion. You can also incorporate more then just one way or even all three at the same time. Just be sure that whatever you increase, proper posture and form are maintained throughout the move.


• ISSA Certified Personal Fitness Trainer

• AFFA Certified Group Fitness Instructor

• NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist

• Specialize in: - Kickboxing - Strength Training - High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

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