Training

Tips to increase the intensity of your strength sessions

Jul 30, 2020

Increase the intensity of your strength training

You may not be quite ready to head back into the gym, but you can still to take charge of your strength training sessions at home. Hiring an online trainer or Biokineticist will ensure that your strength sessions are effective and interesting, however there are a number of simple ways to increase the intensity of your strength workouts on your own and take them to the next level. Our bodies adapt quickly, so try and change up your routine every few weeks.

Here are a few pointers to help you up your game.

1. Increase the number of repetitions. Instead of stopping at 20, perform 30-40 repetitions.
2. Decrease your resting time. In between your sets try not to rest for longer than 30 seconds.
3. Add another set. If you’ve done 2-3 sets, don’t be scared to add a fourth set. You’ll get used to it sooner than you think.
4. Have shorter and longer sessions with different heart rates. Short sessions are hard with 75-85% HR max and longer sessions 55-70% HR max.
5.   Add variations to your exercises. A few examples:

  • Split the reps. Instead of doing full squats, do half of your set as small low squats (almost pausing in the middle) and the other half full squats.
  • Vary your speed. You can do 10 slow push-ups and then 10 fast ones.
  • Compound exercises vs isolated exercises. Add side lifts with your upper body while doing lunges.
  • Plank in all directions. Yes, a reverse plank is a legitimate exercise!
  • Use cardio between sets instead of standing still. Running on the spot/skipping/running stairs will get that HR up.
  • Freeze the move. Hold certain reps for a few more seconds, this will also make your muscles stronger.

Last notes: Now is not the time to overtrain as this will decrease your critically needed immune system. There’s no need to be at 80%-90% HR max for more than 60-90 min, unless you are an athlete training for an event. Use this time to build the strength base that will improve all areas of your running.

Mariska Meyer


Mariska is a Biokineticist based in Faerie Glen, Pretoria. She is a former international hurdle athlete and specialises in working with sportspeople in the prevention and rehabilitation of injuries, as well as strength and conditioning. Read more about Mariska Meyer here

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