Sometimes strength training isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Yes, you can follow a simple program that incorporates hitting a variety of exercises for a prescribed number of repetitions and sets. However, as you become more seasoned at finding your strength, you can make your workouts even more effective and exciting by incorporating different techniques into your training routine. Step Up Your Strength Training with supersets, pyramids, EMOM training, interval training and HIIT.
What is a superset?
A superset is created by grouping two or more exercises together into a set and performing the chosen exercises back-to-back without taking any rest in-between. So, basically you are going from one exercise to another without taking a break. There are a couple of ways to structure a superset:
What are the benefits of supersets?
Since you immediately go from one exercise to the next, your heart rate stays elevated, as you swiftly make your way through your chosen exercises.
What is EMOM?
E.M.O.M., short for Every Minute on the Minute, is a creative form of HIIT where you decide the number of reps of a particular exercise that you want to complete in one minute. As soon as the minute kicks off, you begin to work. When you hit the number of preset reps, you can rest until the top of the next minute. The quicker you complete the reps, the longer the rest you’ll earn. If you take almost the entire minute to complete your reps, you will have a shorter rest before the next minute begins.
Benefits of EMOM
The next time your body is craving a little extra burn and the thought of another treadmill trek has you running for the chaise, try out the sample E.M.O.M. workout below, create an E.M.O.M. workout of your own or visit the Moms Into Fitness Studio for some of our very own mom-approved movements!
What is a pyramid?
A pyramid is a stepped approach to strength training where you manipulate the number of reps and sets of an exercise using weights of various sizes to build up or back down from a predetermined starting point. In its basic form, a pyramid is just a way of maximizing the inverse relationship between the size of the weight and the number of reps performed. A pyramid is structured by increasing or decreasing the size of your weights as you simultaneously increase or decrease the number of repetitions.
There are two types of pyramids that you could integrate into your training program – an Ascending Pyramid and a Descending Pyramid. To build an Ascending Pyramid, begin an exercise with a lighter set of weights and a higher number of reps and then increase the size of your weights, while you decrease the number of reps, over a given amount of sets. Building a Descending Pyramid would be just the opposite – you would start off with heavier weights and lower reps and then, as you continue on with your sets, you would decrease the size of the weights as you increase the number of reps.
Because you are working your muscles to fatigue – using both heavy weights and numerous repetitions – with each exercise, pyramid sets help develop muscular strength and stamina. The limitless combinations of intensity and volume that pyramids can create in a workout may enable you to overcome a plateau, fine-tune your current routine and bring variety into your, maybe mundane, workout sessions. The next time you decide to spice up your workout split, consider adding a pyramid set or two and get ready to experience the gains of reaching for new heights.
What is HIIT?
Another infamous fitness acronym that sometimes has us literally running for the hills is HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT, also known as HIIE (High Intensity Intermittent Exercise) is the most popular workout method among today’s moms, as it allows busy mamas to can get the same benefits of a 60-minute workout in just 10-15 minutes. Typically, HIIT uses a 2:1 ratio of intense exercise: active recovery. For example, you would perform 40 seconds of burpees followed by 20 seconds of walking. Or, you could do 30 seconds of mountain climbers and then hold a stationary plank for 15 seconds. For even more intensity, you could try Tabata, a style of HIIT that uses shorter intervals of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Tabata differs from traditional HIIT in that it pushes you to concentrate on one particular exercise for a set of eight rounds or four minutes. An example of a Tabata circuit would consist of completing 20 seconds of jumping jacks followed by 10 seconds of marching in place for a total of eight rounds.
Benefits of HIIT or HIIE
Not only does HIIT support the highly sought after “work out smarter, not longer” mindset of today’s active moms, but it also delivers multiple health benefits:
From EMOM to HIIT to Tabata, interval training can be done in a number of different ways! But we like it best because it takes care of our cardio, toning and flexibility all-in-one. In its basic form, interval training is as simple as performing an exercise — cardio- or strength-based — intensely for a short period of time and then following that “burst” with a rest period. So, if you enjoy walking and are ready to take your morning stroll up a notch, you could add 30 second spurts of jogging (or sprinting) in-between laps around the neighborhood. Or, you could incorporate a set of jump lunges between sets of toe squats during your next strength training session.
Interval training has become a preferred method of exercise for busy mamas (and countless others!) because it is an extremely versatile form of training. You can use weights, resistance loops or bands, your own body weight, cardio machines and/or the great outdoors as your equipment. Plus, you can do interval workouts anywhere — at home, at the gym, while on vacation at the beach or even in a hotel room. And as we’ve seen with EMOM, HIIT and Tabata, there are several benefits to this method of training, including:
*Increased aerobic and anaerobic endurance
*Increased fat burning both during and after your workouts
*Increased efficiency, as intervals can reduce a 40-minute workout down to just 15 – 20 minutes
*Increased interest in your workouts, as intervals help to keep your mind sharp and boredom at bay
*Reduced risk of injury or over-training, as intervals don’t overwork your body for long periods of time