The Fun Factor is the big difference between those who keep trying new workouts, none of which ever stick, and those who actually start following through with their desires and live their life in a healthier way, giving themselves the perfect body.
If you shake things up a bit and place an importance on your fitness, you’ll be happy with the results.
In my experience, I’ve seen a lot of people who are able to keep up their training pretty regularly, only to just peter out a few months later because they don’t want to keep going with the same old thing, or feel like failures because their progress has plateaued.
If you were to ask me, I’d say to never make your workouts boring. All you have to do is open yourself up to the possibilities that you can find with the training styles you come across, and you’ll do just fine.
In all honesty, you can keep changing up your training styles as much as you want, as long as your workouts never get boring and discourage you from finding the physique you’ve wanted all these years. What’s more, your joints will actually get stronger as you mix up your training styles, as your training stressors will be minimized.
Before I go into the training styles I like to shake things up with the most, I want to put out there that you can’t go wrong with a weight training routine. Using free weights is the best way to go if you want the best body.
Just keep the consistent weight training routine, but shake up the rest of your workouts a bit – try to alternate your workouts on different days, or even just have sections where you weight train and sections where you use the non traditional workouts; cycle through these differing methods every few weeks to keep yourself entertained.
If you try these training styles on for size, you won’t have to worry about your workouts ever getting boring again, and the ripped physique you get will make it all worth that effort!
Okay, these are the best non traditional training techniques I’ve come across:
1. Hill and Wind Sprints
Just go to your favorite open field and do wind sprints at intervals of 50 to 100 yards. A wind sprint is simply running as fast as possible between two set points. Once you’re done with each sprint, catch your breath for a minute before you try the next one. If you want to get cut, do 6 to 20 wind sprint workouts at a time.
If you can find a great hill, those workouts are great for hill sprints. Sprint during your uphill movement, and rest as you walk back down the hill. Usually, you’ll get the results you want in a day if you work out for 20 to 30 minutes.
When you do these sprint workouts, you’ll be getting the same effect as when you do stairs exercises – your metabolism shoots through the roof as you stimulate the largest muscle groups your body has, giving you better muscle building and fat burning capacity.
After all, you’ve probably noticed just how many 100-meter sprinters are just shredded. On the other hand, look at marathoners, and you’ll see just how much more effective sprinting is for a physique, as they just don’t look very big by comparison.
This isn’t to discourage distance runners from doing what they do. Distance running is still a great activity, so keep it up. However, it just doesn’t get you the results you need, so don’t do it for exercise or fitness. I have a complete article on the reasons why it’s better to do variable intensity training than steady-state endurance training.
2. Kettlebell Training
I’ve extolled the virtues of kettlebell training before, but I literally cannot state it enough; I’ve never found a better training method, and it’s enhanced my physique in ways you cannot imagine – it can do the same for you. Kettlebells can replace or supplement dumbbells and barbells in your free weight training.
They’re shaped like a cannonball that has a handle, or a heavy purse, and that unique weight distribution makes exercises that will stimulate you in a whole new way.
Hard core athletes are using kettlebells for their exercises, as well as martial artists and military officers, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use them as well to get your exercises to the next level.
For the past three years, I’ve enhanced my routines with kettlebell training, and once I saw the benefits I knew I’d never go back! It can take a bit of money to get the kettlebells (about $100 each), but you’ll be thankful. Just buy a couple, and you’ll be well on your way to having an entire fitness regimen that you can work on for decades to come!
3. Staircase Workouts
Due to the prevalence of stairs, you can do this workout anywhere. Stadium stairs are great at the football field, as well as the stairs you have in your home – hotel stairs are also great because you won’t have much interference, since people mostly take the elevator anyway, giving you the privacy you might be looking for. If you want to work out your entire body, attempt to alternate pullups and pushups with the stair sprints.
If you’re intense enough in your workouts, the stairs workouts will start the muscle building processes that you’re looking for, increasing your metabolism and producing more fat burning hormones as you exercise the largest muscle group your body has. If you’re under the assumption that you can only just run up and down stairs to do the stairs workouts… you’d be wrong.
Virgil Aponte, a good friend of mine and skilled trainer, has created a stairs workout regimen that will provide you with a variety of exercises that can help you immensely. I even picked up a few exercises I hadn’t considered before. Look at Ultimate Stairs Exercises to examine his exercises.
4. Ring Training
In essence, you use gymnastic rings that you can take wherever you go in order to train. Just use it like a pullup bar or a goal crossbar – put the straps on any sort of elevated surface like a doorway, and you’ll be set to go. Once that’s set up, move the rings around to do a variety of exercises, including horizontal body rows, L-sits, ring pullups, ring pushups, etc.
I personally really like to do ring dips and pushups, as the rings provide a lot more resistance, leaving you needing to use your stabilizer muscles a lot more in order to work out.
With the help of the rings, your joints will move far more naturally, and you’ll be able to stave off shoulder injuries much more effectively. I have a bit of shoulder pain as I use a regular dip stand to do my exercises. With the training rings, however, I experience no such pain and my muscles are better exercised. I haven’t bought a device that’s worked as well as the training rings. Check them out. You’ll find it well worth the time and energy.
What I like to do is go to a soccer field with the kettlebells and training rings, and alternate between those exercises to get a complete outdoor workout.
5. Bodyweight Workouts
Just bodyweight exercises to shake up your workouts as you work at home. The advantages of these are giving yourself a great workout in 15 to 20 minutes, and you don’t even have to take the time to go to the gym in order to do it, saving time and money. Just make a workout consisting of floor abs exercises, lunges, bodyweight squats, and pushups.
If you have to rest, don’t rest for very long, so you can keep up the intensity of the short workout. Those of you with more advanced fitness needs can bring in one-arm pushups, one-legged squats, and the like to make your exercises harder.
6. Spring Swimming
This will allow you to have a great low-impact workout that will give you resistance training level results without damage. If you do swimming workouts one or two times every week, it can really make a difference. Try to swim as if you would sprint, with short controlled bursts of intensity, so that you can build muscle more readily.
As you sprint-style your swimming, pick a 25 to 50 meter pool and swim from end to end as quickly as you are able to. Take a few seconds to rest after you do each sprint. Don’t rest too long, or else you’ll lose the intensity. When you swim sprint, try to incorporate different kinds of strokes, like butterfly, backstroke, sidestroke, etc.
When I sprint swim, my upper body gets a fantastic workout, but I’m not as sore as I am afterward like I am with weight training and the like. You don’t have to deal with eccentric movement, which can typically cause muscle pain and soreness, as there’s no negative lift when you’re swimming.
Remember that, despite the effectiveness of the swimming workout, since you’re not working under gravity, so you won’t quite get the results you need, so just use it sparingly, maybe one or two times a week. You have to supplement it with bodyweight training or weight training.
7. Sandbag Training
Your strength training will benefit from throwing this into the mix. The unstable nature of the sandbag will work muscles that you might be neglecting, giving you a more full and complete workout, stimulating more hidden muscle groups.
For the past year or so, I’ve thrown in a few sandbag training routines into my workout, and the intensity and instability really helps me to feel the burn and give my muscles a different sort of stimulation.
It’s not expensive to get sandbags; all you have to do is get sand and fill various bags with it in different sizes and weights – construction sandbags are the best. Try sandbag exercises when you lunge, shoulder, throw, heave, clean, press, or squat, or with any other workout. Here are some ways to get workout sandbags.
8. Mountain Biking
This is probably obvious at this point, but I don’t really like steady pace endurance exercises; I’m a much bigger proponent of variable intensity exercises, where you go hard for awhile and rest. There’s nothing better for this than mountain biking.
The uphill climbs are great for leg pumping and exerting yourself, and downhill rides can help you recover, giving you a great, intense workout. If you throw all that together, you can see a fantastic workout that will give your body the muscle building it requires, all while having fun at the same time.
You can find it hard to do the climbs, and you’ll definitely exert yourself as you attempt to climb the steep hills and still stay on the bike, giving you unprecedented intensity.
Thankfully, once you get up there, you can just rest and enjoy the ride as gravity takes you downhill, giving you a wonderful way to alternate intensity and gear yourself up for the next hill. You won’t ever regret the thrill that you feel! After all, workouts can be fun too!
Stationary bikes just don’t have the same kick… but the trails themselves do!
9. Rock Climbing
If you want to have a nice, exerting workout, you can give rock climbing a try, both indoors and outdoors. In the past few years, we’ve seen a real surge of rock climbing gyms crop up all through the country, giving you great exercise potential without having to go to the mountain.
Your entire body and each of your muscle groups will benefit from rock climbing. Your forearms will be developed, and you’ll have a stronger grip. I always have to ice down my forearms for the next few days if I go indoor rock climbing. If you haven’t tried it before, do it… you might just find that it’s what you want to do for your workouts.
10. Stick Wrestling
Not only is this incredibly exhausting and intense, it’s an awesome way to get your friends involved. Just gather a few buddies together and start stick wrestling together, so you can let off some steam and compete in a friendly way with your teammates.
You can find a lot of stick wrestling-specific sticks, but if you really want to, you can just cut down a broomstick to about 3 feet in length, and tape it off to avoid splintering. As you workout with stick wresting, be sure to do it on a soft surface, like a mat – face your opponent directly.
Just grip one end of the stick as your opponent grabs onto your hands, or staggers them over yours. After that, just do whatever you can while still holding on to the stick to knock them to their knees or back, from jerking to pulling and pushing.
Just don’t hit the other person in the face with the stick as you work. Work out intelligently. Just do this for a minute or two, or until one person wins that particular round. Just use your imagination, and form a great workout with this. You won’t regret the workout your legs and forearms will get!
11. Strongman Training
You might find this a lot more intense than most workouts, but if you want to shake things up, it’s perfect. Basically, you’ll be forming your exercises around the type of “world’s strongest man” games you see on TV.
Just give yourself an open outdoor space like a yard in which to set up your exercises, and start your workouts outside, which can be quite entertaining. Just don’t do it if you’re bashful around your neighbors! Try doing tire flips with large tractor tires, as it’s the equivalent of a push press and a dead lift in one motion.
There are also boulder and log lifts, weighted sled dragging, keg lifts and the like, which will involve you working with heavy objects in order to improve your strength and physicality.
You can still do this training without being a huge bodybuilder, just scale your objects down to ones that you can handle, but are still challenging.
When you do strongman training, your whole body gets an intense workout, and your results could skyrocket.
12. Rope Climbing
You may be familiar with this particular workout in elementary or junior high school. Basically, with the help of rope exercise, you can earn a great upper body, as long as you can get a rope at a gym or an outdoor location.
If you want to use rope climbing in your workouts, just climb up once and get back down when you’re done. As you rest your upper body before climbing again, supplement it with squats and lunges and other lower body exercises, giving you a complete workout that doesn’t stop.
Just keep doing rope climbs and the lower body exercises at the same time, and your full body will be exercised.
13. Bag Boxing
Another fantastic workout can come from rebound bags, heavy bags or speed bags for boxing, and just do what the pros do.
You’ll get the most out of your punch bag workouts with the heavy bag, but you can get great rhythm and timing with the speed bag, not to mention really work your upper body. Wherever you may have your boxing bags, try to bookend your workouts with these, as they make great warm up and cool down movements
14. Rope Skipping
When it comes to full body workouts, rope jumping is one of the best. When I do weight training, I warm up with this method. I just get the plastic speed ropes in order to cut down on costs – there’s no difference in quality.
As soon as your workouts start to intensify and you can handle more, the plastic ropes will allow you to get better speed as your intensity increases. The weighted handle ropes, on the other hand, are just a waste of time.
As you rope skip, you want to go fast. Alternate jumping methods, going from one leg to two, crossing your arms, and double jumps – where you flip the rope under you twice before you land.
Also, alternate the intensity by jumping hard for 15-20 seconds, then slowing down for another 15-20, so you can make sure your next burst of energy is ready. Just do it until you can’t do it anymore – you might be surprised how quickly that happens!
15. Jumping exercises
If you want to have your routines and exercises have more explosive jumping elements, try lunge jumps, box jumps, broad jumps and the like. Jumping exercises are so great for power and intensity, as your leg muscles are stimulated in a much more intense fashion than if you just took the slow road.
There was a study at a university that determined that more testosterone was produced with squat jumps than with any other exercise. Not only will your legs benefit, your entire body will build muscle. Just enhance your workouts with jumping exercises along with upper body exercises.
It’s my goal to inform you on the best ways to get your workouts the shake to the system that they needed. You might balk at some of my suggestions, but if you just approach them with an open mind, you’ll be on your way to having a fun, intense workout!