Written by Hope Kleine under the direction and review of Nikki Prosch.
Falling into the habits of your everyday workout is easy to do. However, adding diversity to your workouts has many benefits including keeping motivation at its peak, preventing boredom, avoiding any fitness plateaus and decreasing risk of injuries, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). ACSM also recommends a combination of cardiorespiratory (walking, running), resistance (weight training) and flexibility (yoga, stretching) exercise. If you mainly focus your exercise routine with cardiorespiratory fitness, try slowly adding in strength training, or vice versa. It can be as simple as adding 10 push-ups, walking a lap or two around the track, or adding a few stretches at the end of your workout.
Here are some ways that you can add diversity to your workout:
- Try a variation of a current resistance exercise, such as a single-legged deadlift instead of a regular deadlift.
- When resistance training, go through the exercises slower – take twice as long to perform one bicep curl, known as slow-motion resistance training.
- Change the number of sets or repetitions you perform during resistance training.
- Use time instead of repetitions for timing of sessions.
- Try different strength training implements such as free weights, machines, kettlebells, medicine balls, body bars, TRX, etc.
- Try different cardiorespiratory implements such as a treadmill, elliptical, step machine, row machine, etc.
- Try no equipment at all! Go through an entire workout using just your bodyweight.
- Attend a new fitness class.
- Workout with a friend and let them lead the exercise routine.
- Diversify your workout base. Try incorporating Tabata, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Circuits, etc.
- Try new ways of incorporating flexibility exercise into your routine, such as Yoga or Pilates.
Now that you know some new ways to add diversity into your workout, give your current workout plans a second thought! Make it a fitness goal to try something new in your routine once a week. For more information, visit the American College of Sports Medicine website or the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.