• Welcome to realmuscleforum.com
  • Five Ways to Make Your Workouts More Effective

    Note: If you are viewing exercise videos on a mobile device, please switch to horizontal view for the best experience.

    Are you in a gym rut? Do you feel like your progress has stalled even though you’re spending hours in the gym? Give one (or more) of these five tips a try today to shake up your workouts and make them more effective.

    1. Pay Attention to Tempo of Your Workouts

    If you typically spend two counts on both the eccentric (lengthening) and concentric (shortening) part of an exercise, try switching it up by lengthening for three and shortening for one — or vice versa. Tempo training comes with a variety of benefits to make your workouts more effective, including:

    Better Control

    Rushing through movements increases the likelihood of injury. By taking the time to slow down and really control your lifts, you can avoid injury by maintaining proper movement patterns.

    Help Identifying Weaknesses

    If you’re having a hard time with a particular exercise but can’t figure out what the problem is, slowing things down can help you identify exactly which weakness is holding you back. By slowing down your movements and identifying your weaknesses, you’ll have an easier time fixing those issues and will most likely be able to increase the amount of weight you can lift sooner.


    Finally, tempo training can help shake up an otherwise boring workout routine by providing a new challenge that keeps you motivated in the gym.

    2. Do More Unilateral Exercises

    Unilateral (one-sided) exercises are another great option for increasing the effectiveness of your workouts by upping the intensity and forcing you to confront any weaknesses that could be holding you back in your lifts. Some popular unilateral exercises include Bulgarian split squats, single-leg deadlifts, single-arm floor presses, and single-arm dumbbell rows. Some of the benefits that come with incorporating these and other unilateral exercises into your routine include:

    Better Core Stability

    By adding more unilateral movements to your workouts, you can add core work without doing a bunch of crunches! Core stabilizer muscles like the transversus abdominis and internal obliques often get neglected during traditional workouts, even though they serve a number of important functions, including stabilizing the spine, improving posture, and protecting against back pain and injuries. When you focus on one side of the body at a time, your core stabilizer muscles must be activated to help you stay balanced.

    Decreased Risk of Injury

    Strengthening your core stabilizer muscles with unilateral movements will improve your form and balance while decreasing your risk of injury, both in and out of the gym. Good form and core stability are essential for lifting heavy weights, but they’re also necessary for daily activities like carrying groceries up the stairs to your apartment.

    Fix Muscle Imbalances

    Many people are stronger on one side than the other (usually, it’s the side that corresponds to your dominant hand). By focusing on each side of the body separately with unilateral exercises, it’s easier for you to figure out your weaknesses so that you can work to balance them back out. Working on your muscle imbalances with unilateral movements will help you create a more balanced and functional physique.

    Rehab Existing Injuries

    Unilateral movements are also great for rehabbing current injuries. Instead of neglecting the injured limb altogether (which will cause it to become weaker), you can use unilateral movements to focus on it specifically (without letting the stronger side take over) and maintain balance throughout the body.

    3. Time Your Rest Periods

    How much time are you spending resting between exercises? If you’re spending too much time resting, you could be hindering your progress. On the other hand, if you’re spending too little time resting, you could be setting yourself up for an injury. How long should you rest? It depends on your goals. If your main goal is to build muscle, then most studies suggest a 60-90-second rest between sets. This amount of time results in greater production of testosterone and growth hormone.

    If you’re more interested in fat loss, then you should try to keep your rest periods as short as possible (about 30 seconds at most) to keep your heart rate up and your calorie burn high. If you’re not resting for very long between sets, you’ll probably need to lighten your weights a bit so that you can maintain the correct form in each exercise. If strength is your main goal, then you’ll need to give your body more time to recover in between sets since you’ll be lifting such heavy weights. Most people rest for 3-5 minutes between each set so that they’re fully rested and ready to keep going heavy.

    4. Improve Your Grip Strength

    Many people, even avid gym-goers, tend to neglect their forearms. Make sure you’re using the best hand exercise equipment to strengthen your hands, wrists, and forearms and improve your grip strength. When your grip strength is better, you’ll see results faster because you’ll be able to lift heavier weights.

    If you’re an athlete like a tennis or baseball player, better grip strength means you’ll be able to swing your bat and racquet harder without losing control. Gymnasts and rock climbers benefit from increased grip strength, too, as it makes it easier for them to lift and support their own body weight. Better grip strength also makes day-to-day activities like carrying groceries easier. If you work in an office, you can even decrease your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome by strengthening your hands and forearms. In addition to using hand exercise equipment to improve your grip strength, you can also try exercises like two-arm and single-arm hangs from a pull-up bar and wrist curls with light weights.

    5. Focus on Full-Body Workouts

    If you feel like your progress has stalled, one of the best things you can do is switch up your workouts to include more full-body training days. Full-body training can help you see results faster while spending less time overall in the gym. Some specific benefits of these kinds of workouts include:

    Burn More Calories

    Full-body workouts include lots of compound exercises, like squats, lunges, and overhead presses. These movements involve multiple large muscle groups, meaning more energy is required. As a result, you’ll burn more calories focusing on compound exercises than single-joint exercises like bicep curls or tricep extensions.

    Build More Muscle

    When you do more full-body workouts, you also get to work your muscles more frequently. Rather than hammering your legs one day a week and ignoring them the other six, you can spend two or three days a week focusing on your legs (along with other muscles). This can lead to increased muscle growth over a shorter period of time.

    Finish Your Workouts Faster

    Who wants to spend more time in the gym than they have to? Full-body workouts help you get in and out of the gym faster without sacrificing any strength or muscle gains. Full-body training also allows you to incorporate other types of exercise you enjoy. When you don’t have to worry about keeping up with a five or six-day body part split, you’ll have more time to dedicate to activities like yoga or swimming while still building muscle. Beat gym boredom or bust out of your plateau today with one of these five methods!