How to Make Your Workout Tougher Without Adding Weight

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Learn to diversify your menu.

If you feel like your typical workout isn’t getting you anywhere, what’s the first thing you usually do? Add more weight, right? That’s not an incorrect answer, but you need to be careful, or you could accidentally add more weight than your body can handle. Instead of reaching for heavier dumbbells, you should try to diversify your other exercises to make them a little more challenging. There are actually quite a few ways to crank the difficulty without adding weight.

More reps

Like adding weight, this is another pretty obvious way to increase difficulty. It’s a great way to sort of tide you over between general weights. If one weight isn’t doing it for you, try doubling your reps before you try to move up to the next one.

Use a greater range of motion

When performing two-part exercises like push-ups, try to really lean into each individual phase. Pull yourself as close to the ground as possible without touching it, then push yourself as high as possible. This’ll give each rep a little extra oomph.

Better form

When you exercise for a long period of time, your form might start to get a little sloppy as you tire out. If you want the best results, though, there’s no such thing as “good enough.” Even if you’re tired, dedicate yourself to maintaining perfect (or as close to perfect as you can reasonably manage) form on every last rep until the bitter end.

Harder variations

A subtle shift in form is usually all it takes to change the game. Instead of push-ups, do one-handed push-ups or claps. Instead of squats, do wide squats with your legs extended as far as possible. Instead of simple stretches, try more complicated, balance-centric yoga poses.