1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

5 Ways to Add Intensity to Your Workouts


Updated July 13, 2006

3 of 5

Lift Heavier Weights
If you want to see results from your strength training programs, there's one important thing you have to do: overload your muscles. Overloading your muscles means that you have to lift more weight than your body can handle. When you do that, your body adapts by becoming stronger and building lean muscle tissue.

The problem is that many of us slack a little when it comes to weight training. Lifting heavy weights is hard and may feel uncomfortable if you're not used to the sensation. But, if you want to add a little excitement and intensity to your workouts, why not test your limits to see what you can do?

You don't necessarily have to take all your exercises to fatigue and you want to be safe and protect your body from injury, so you don't necessarily want to start powerlifting. But, if you've been lifting the same amount of weight for a long time, the idea here is to go heavier. Here's a simple way to go about it:

  • Choose a heavier weight than you usually use (have a spotter if you're lifting very heavy!)
  • Lift the weight as many times as you can with good form. The last rep should be difficult but not impossible.
  • If you can do more than 15 or 16 reps, go heavier the next time and try for 10-12 reps.
  • If you're uncomfortable lifting heavier, just try one set with the heavier weight and move on.

Another way to gradually add more intensity is to try pyramid training. For ideas, try these Upper Body Pyramid and Lower Body Pyramid workouts.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.