6. Single Leg/Single Arm: Most people favor their dominant side without even knowing it. Using exercises that force each arm or leg to work independently will help equalize strength growth on both sides and balance muscle. A single leg squat or single arm push up are two great examples of unilateral exercises that also strengthen the core.
7. Explosive Exercise: Research shows explosive exercises such as box jumps, kettlebell swings, and plyometric jumps achieve a greater response from fast-twitch muscles which have a greater potential for growth when compared to slow-twitch muscles. These exercises also combine strength and cardio into one exercise, increasing the calorie burn.
8. Add Resistance: Many studies have shown that exercisers who lift heavy weight for just 8 reps can burn double the calories of those lifting lighter weights for 15 reps. Implement this rule of thumb: Keep adding weight to an exercise until achieving 3 sets of 10 reps becomes very challenging (i.e barely able to do the final rep!). Practice with that weight until 10 reps becomes too doable and then add a few more pounds of resistance.
9. Circuit Train: Quickly moving from one exercise right into the next is a great way to create a time-efficient, cardio-focused workout. Set up a circuit that targets different muscle groups back-to-back to avoid burnout. For example, perform squats before a chest fly, and then a lunge followed by a back row. This gives each muscle group enough time to recover while the next body part is targeted.
10. Fail?!?: Failure occurs when a muscle is so exhausted it can’t complete one more repetition of an exercise in proper form. Research suggests training to failure can increase strength and improve the body’s ability to build lean muscle. One way to get to this muscle failure is through super-slow movements using relatively light resistance. Slowing down the tempo of each rep causes greater muscle contractions and has been shown to increase strength. Make your reps 10 counts up, 10 counts down.
BONUS: Track It: Trying to remember every exercise, every repetition, and every weight during a previous workout will drive you crazy. If you do not keep a record of your previous accomplishments it is difficult to see measureable progress. Using a fitness app or a workout journal will provide motivation to kick butt every workout.