4 Fitness Goals to Shake Up Your Routine

While climate change may be upending our weather patterns, the seasons remain predictable and aligned: Spring brings the promise of summer, summer fades into fall, and fall gives way to the cold of winter. Are your workouts just as predictable?

Shake up your workout routine by trying to reach one of these four fitness goals this year.

Now is the perfect opportunity to shake things up and pursue a new goal. For each of these four rut busters, you’ll take a short fitness test to establish your baseline, then will have 12 weeks to better your score. At the end of three months, do a retest and you’ll see just how far you’ve come. Talk about motivation!

Goal: Power Up Your Upper Body

Women can lag behind men in terms of upper-body strength by as much as 40 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Fortunately, strength isn’t exclusively dictated by physiology — it’s also developed through sweat equity. According to Whitney Jones, NASM-CPT, the 2018 Fitness International and Fitness Olympia champion, boosting upper-body strength begins with mastering two bodyweight basics: pull-ups and push-ups.

Plan of Attack

Depending on where you are in your fitness journey, you may only be able to do one or two reps of either move; this is perfectly fine. “For pull-ups, try to double your initial rep count in three months,” says Jones, co-owner of Pro Physiques in Gilbert, Arizona. “For push-ups, tripling or quadrupling your initial test result is very doable.” Add pull-ups to your regular back training day and push-ups to your chest and/or shoulders day. If you don’t follow a traditional lifting split, work these moves into a different training day every week. Do as many reps as you can for two to three sets, and complement them with ancillary exercises such as lat pulldowns and rows to better your pull-ups and incline/decline push-ups and dips to improve your push-ups, Jones says.

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