3 Training Habits That Will Help You Make Better Progress

In order to keep making progress with our workouts, we have got to continue to make them challenging. But, apart from adding more weight or doing more reps, most people don’t really know how to do that.

In this article, I present three training habits that I’ve been using over the years to help my personal training clients make better progress. They can benefit you, too.

HIIT training is among the most time-productive forms of endurance training that you can do. As well as burning a ton of calories while you’re doing it, it also keeps your metabolism elevated for 24-48 hours after the session.

Another major benefit of HIIT is that it is short and sweet! In fact, this workout will be all over inside of 10 minutes.

You’ll need a stopwatch that you can set timers at 20 and 10-second intervals. Get yourself down to a running track (or any open space where you can sprint for around a hundred yards).

_Start with a 2-minute slow jog around the track, holding your stopwatch in one hand. Steadily increase your speed until, at two minutes in, you are sprinting at full speed. Imagine that there is a large, hungry dog closing in on you. As you run, pump your arms and stride out as fully as you can. _

_Keep on sprinting for 20 seconds. Then stop and walk for exactly 10 seconds. Taking deep breaths for quick recovery. Immediately upon 10 seconds passing begin your next sprint. Try to maintain the same intensity as during the first sprint. _

Repeat this sequence until you have completed 8 rounds of sprints. Be absolutely determined to not allow the quality of your sprints to go down from round to round!

Once you’ve finished this workout, you will be absolutely exhausted (if you aren’t, you need to ask yourself why not!). Give yourself exactly 60 seconds to lie on the ground, breathe heavily or do whatever else you need to do to recover. Then get up and begin walking. Walk up and down the running track for 2 minutes as your cool down.

Pre-exhaustion is an extremely effective intensity enhancer that allows you to overcome your weak links in order to fully stress the working muscle group. A major problem with some exercises is that, in order to work the target muscle group, you need to use assist muscle groups that are smaller and weaker. The classic example is the bench press.

Share it

The bench press targets the pectorals as its prime mover. However, it also involves the much smaller deltoids and triceps. This means that, when you are doing the exercise, the shoulders and arms will give out before the chest does. You won’t be able to maximally work the target muscle group.

Pre-exhaustion overcomes this problem in a novel way. It involves performing an isolation exercise for the large target muscle group before immediately going to the main compound movement. In the case of the bench press, for example, you would do a set of 12 reps on flat bench flyes before immediately going to the bench press.

By performing the flyes first, which target the chest, you are, in effect, making the chest the weak link in the next exercise. This allows you to work it to failure before the shoulders and arms give out.

Pre-exhaustion relies on moving immediately from the first to the second exercise. You do not want your target muscle to recover before hitting it with the main exercise. This technique will force you to lower the weight on the second move, but it will hit that muscle far more effectively.

Here’s a workout program you should check:

Descending sets involves doing four to six sets of an exercise with no rest. It is a super effective method to increase training intensity for greater gains.

The normal rep range is between 6 and 8. On each succeeding set, you reduce the weight slightly. The easiest way to perform descending sets is by standing in front of a rack of dumbbells. Start with the heaviest weight that you can handle for 6 reps.

Grasp the weights and perform your 6 strict reps. Now place the weights back in the rack and grasp hold of the next set going down the rack. Perform another six reps. Keep working down the rack until you have completed your required number of sets.

Descending (or strip) sets can also be performed with a barbell. Ideally, you’ll need two spotters. If you are doing the bench press, start with a weight that will allow you to get 6 reps. Then rack the bar as your partners strip 5 pounds off each end of the bar. Now pump out another six reps. Continue this process, going down in gradations of 5 pounds each time.

When you’re doing an exercise like the deadlift or an overhead lift, you need to get tight through your torso. The first cue to achieve this is to pull down with your lats. Imagine that you’re doing straight arm pull-downs. Now squeeze the chest.

Getting into the habit of bracing your core will provide you with a great deal of rigidity through the trunk which will actually allow you to lift more weight in your deadlift or overhead moves. In the top position of the exercise (such as the upright position of the deadlift), be sure to squeeze your glutes as tight as you can. This will ensure that you get full hip extension. You’ll be more stable and, again, you will be able to handle more weight.

By building the three (four including the bracing tip) habits into your workout routine, you’ll be able to ramp up your training intensity. As a result, you will make better progress toward your workout goals. Give them a try and let us know in the comments how you got on.

Share it

Weekly knowledge exclusively for people who want to improve their health, fitness and mindset.

First name