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  • Writer's pictureSam Trotta

4 Ways (That You'd Never Expect!!!) to Make Huge Exercise Progress

When it comes to progress in exercise, so much of the given advice sounds the same.

It includes words and phrases like "more", "heavy", "no limits" and fist emojis.

These can be great mindsets and sources of motivation. However, to borrow from the stereotype set, there are no limits (well, reasonably speaking anyway) to the number of ways to improve your exercise progress. Depending on your exercise and health goals, "more", "heavy" and "push it" might be the antithesis of your exercise progress.

Any Personal Trainer of value will tell you that less or different are sometimes more. Or, in other words: More is not better. Better is better.

Here are 4 ways to make huge exercise progress that you'd never expect!

Slow Down

A lot of research has been done touting the benefits of moving quickly while resistance training. Some of these benefits include:

  • improved rates of muscle growth;

  • better transfer of resistance training to athletic performance; and,

  • better increases in overall strength.

There are two essential questions to pose in the face of these findings. First, are those results relevant to you and your goals? To be fair, they might very well be! Even if they are great relevance though, it is also necessary to ask: at what cost do these benefits come?

In resistance training, the greatest demands on the muscle and joint systems comes at the starting and stopping of movement. By moving fast - and I am not saying this is necessarily "bad" - you might be exponentially (literally!) increasing the forces that your system has to deal with at the start and stop points of the movement. And, depending on the exercise, this could have dire consequences.

For most people, the difference in strength, muscle growth and other associated benefits of strength training will not be drastically altered by quick or explosive movement in exercise. However, by keeping a speed of movement that allows you to mindfully move, start and stop wherever appropriate, you will almost certainly save your joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles from unnecessary damage.

In the long run, this will help to keep your resistance training efforts productive and safe, avoiding unnecessary injuries in an effort that is supposed to save you from such things. The medicine should not become the same disease it is helping you to avoid!

Stop Moving

Well, not permanently; just some of the time.

If you have never explored isometric exercise, you are absolutely missing out. By focusing on holding these static postures, isometric exercise brings in several benefits that are often more difficult to obtain in dynamic exercise. These include:

  • safer, more effective exercise efforts for your extremities - the toes, ankles, fingers, wrists and neck;

  • focused muscle contractions and their associated sensations;

  • an added layer of safety in more maximal exertions; and,

  • restoration of optimal muscle function (Basically, can your muscles contract on demand? This is actually what "stability" means in the muscle system).

Added up, these benefits will complement your dynamic exercise efforts allowing you to be stronger for longer and use your body in all the ways you wish.

Take Your Time

Transformations can be great. They can show you what is possible with focused work. However, in a world of great lighting, filters, Photoshop, fake tans and cherry-picked client success stories, it can be tempting to try to transform yourself out of pain, through to being a top-tier endurance athlete or into your formerly favourite pair of now-ill-fitting jeans as fast as possible.

Read this carefully: TAKE YOUR TIME.

Again, fast transformations are possible through determination and effective training. However, sustainability of any effort is, was and always will be the keystone to success in any exercise or health effort. By taking your time with a less intense, more sustainable effort, your desired transformation is not only more likely to take place, it is far more likely to remain in place for the long term. BONUS: it might be even MORE impressive than it would have been had you rushed it.

Specifically with weight loss, research shows that unwanted weight is more reliably kept off at a rate of weight loss of approximately 1% of body weight per week. Many of the best physique coaches in the world recommend something more in the neighbourhood of 0.5% - 0.8% of body weight per week. As an example, a person that weighs 200 pounds should look to lose 1 - 2 pounds per week AT THE MOST.

Focus On The Small Things, Too

Most popular advice on strength training centers on "large movements" or "compound exercises" such as squats, deadlifts, barbell rows and pushups.

These exercises present numerous potential benefits.

The thing is, these large movements are made up of smaller components and, despite what you might have been told, if one of those components is compromised, then the whole movement might be a risk.

Risk of being ineffective . . .

Risk of being done wrong . . .

Risk of injuring you and hampering your exercise progress for no good reason.

By focusing on single joint movements, functions and deficits, you might do very well to save yourself from much of those risks and render your larger movement efforts far more productive than they might have otherwise been.

Click here to email us if you are interested in an assessment to see which components of your system might be holding you back from getting the most out of your exercise, and living pain-free in the body of your dreams.

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