There really is nothing special about the workouts that weightlifters perform. Where I believe one’s results originate from has to do with an individual’s attitude and approach towards what they are doing (internal), as opposed to the specific exercises they are performing (external). The two biggest factors that have worked for most professionals, and I strongly believe would work for anyone, are the following:
- A WILLingness to Change
- The WILLingness to Keep Pushing Forward, Beyond Your Mental Limits (a.k.a. “Comfort Zone”)
You have already proven in various disciplines and challenges that you already possess these traits. You just need to teach yourself to apply them to physical fitness, and then just like anything else, practice, practice, practice. I cannot tell you, what specific changes will work for you, because one’s success is solely based around the individual and everyone is different, but I can offer some suggestions, that you may like to try until you develop your own routine:
REPS: Always try to push yourself for those one or two extra reps, beyond what you normally do, even if you have to rest for a few seconds (without putting the weights down), push through the pain of your muscles burning, your grip beginning to loosen, and your brain begging you to stop, just keep pushing until you fail.
WEIGHT: Once you have safely established a significant number of repetitions, with proper form, at a specific weight, challenge yourself and add an incremental/proportionate (based on the specific exercise) amount of weight to the next set, and set your goal to perform the same exact number of reps, as the previous set. You’re not supposed to actually get the same number of reps, so if you do, add a little bit more weight, and repeat the same method.
NUMBER OF SETS: Occasionally try adding an extra set, or two, or three, or even four to a specific exercise (whatever is within your own body’s capacity). You can add weight, reduce weight, or perform with the same exact amount of weight, for whatever number of reps fit that threshold. No matter what you perform here, this is all above and beyond what you are accustomed to normally doing.
*TO AVOID POTENTIAL OVERTRAINING OR INJURY, THIS TYPE OF CHANGE SHOULD NOT BE CONTINOUSLY PERFORMED FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD OF TIME. JUST OCCASIONALLY ADDED IN WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING TO OVERCOME A PLATEAU.*
REST: This one is simple; shorter rest periods in-between each set (sometime as fast as 30seconds). You may be surprised how much time a lot of people spend after completing a set, whether if they are on their phone, skimming their mp3 player, having conversation with someone else, or just procrastinating the beginning of their next set. Resting times between sets can vary as little as 10 seconds (endurance bodyweight exercises) up to 5 or 6 minutes (power/strength 90-100% max effort, heavy lifting exercises), all depending on your goals and type of workout routine. As long as you make sure you push until failure for each and every set, it truly doesn’t matter how many reps you may or may not achieve.
SUPER-SETTING OR CIRCUIT TRAINING: Try performing two or more different consecutive, complimenting, or opposing muscle-group exercise sets, with as little to no rest in between each set as possible. Set a goal for how many single sets of a different exercise you want to perform in a row, before taking a breather. This would look like this: Exercise A: Set 1, Exercise B: Set 1, Rest – Exercise A: Set 2, Exercise B: Set 2, Rest – etc…
There are truly an unlimited number of ways for you to make changes in your exercise routines, but you are the only one who can discover how your body responds to what specific changes. Above all else SAFETY FIRST! (“Live to Lift Another Day”), and everything begins with Mind Over Matter, but at some point you have to adopt Muscle Over Mind.
IN FAILURE WE ACHIEVE SUCCESS!
Best of luck!