Three easy ways to increase the intensity of your workout without doing cardio
I give you intensity through an unorthodox approach to progressive overload
Did someone say intensity without cardio? But what is progressive overload you ask? It’s a super duper fancy way of saying you need to make your body do more than it could previously do in order to make gains. Add more weight, lift for longer, spend more time in the lift, do it faster and more explosively etc.
I am personally not a fan of cardio. I played 14 years of soccer and that was enough running for the rest of life. While I loath running, exercising the cardio-respiratory system is important. SO, I have three ways to increase the intensity of a workout WITHOUT doing traditional cardio.
1. Up the weight
This is assuming you are lifting weights (dumbbells, kettle bells, resistance bands etc). Upping the weight puts more stress on your body. It increases the demand for your body to work. Simple right? This also doesn’t have to be a massive jump. You can even do this within a workout. Up the weight each set. See how much harder it gets – how much harder you are breathing. Be amazed + enjoy your gains.
2. Increase time spent in an exercise
I welcome you to my most used and least favorite form of increasing intensity. This could refer to increasing the total time AND reps completed at the same tempo you were using previously. OR it can refer to increasing the time spent under tension by DECREASING the tempo (go slower). FEEL THE BURN AND CURSE ALL THINGS. People typically would not associate increased intensity with moving SLOWER, but sister let me tell you…the ish gets intense REAL QUICK.
An example would be using a lighter weight and lowering for 3 seconds, pausing at the bottom, and raising for 2 seconds. That’s 6 seconds per squat and A LOT of tension versus a 2 second or less squat and not nearly as much demand on the muscles and heart. Ask anyone in my 6 Week Barbell Transformation
. Tempo and volume WORK.
3. Decreasing your rest
I have a love/hate relationship with this one. I personally like to get uncomfortable things over with as soon as possible. In other words, I opt on resting less just to get it done. This also gives me the benefit of an increased intensity. It is well known in fitness that less rest equals a harder workout inevitably. You also need to make sure you’re actually tracking your rest. It makes a HUGE difference in your gains game my friend. If you don’t currently have rest programmed into your plan, YOU SHOULD. Shoot for 30 seconds or less for a challenge. That is between SETS, not between exercises if you are super setting.
There you have it, up the weight, up the time under tension, rest less OR do all three and try not to die.
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Thanks, Annie! I have been feeling like I need to up the intensity in my workouts, so this is super helpful.☺
Love your “work for it” mindset- quick fix type fitness info makes me mad…but yours is awesome! Thanks for all the inspiration.