It's one of the most common questions from our hard HIITing community: when should you take your resistance training to the next level? Maybe you're looking to move from bodyweight exercises to equipment, maybe you want to know which weighted vest is right for your current capabilities; maybe you want to safely transition from a 10lb dumbbell press to a 15 lb press.
The one thing all these questions have in common is uncertainty about your body's capabilities. Fittingly enough, the answers are also found in your physical prowess. All you need to do is tune into your beautiful bod and listen. It will tell you when you're ready to up the ante.
Here are the signs:
1) Workouts are Getting Easy
This may seem obvious, but this obvious sign is also the most overlooked. Why? Because people are biologically programmed to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. This means that you're cool with your workout getting comfortable. It's often unconscious, but we slip into a rut and don't recognize that it's time to get out.
If burpees are becoming a breeze and jump squats a joke, then it's time to level up. Pick up a weighted vest. This miraculous piece of training equipment is perfect for plyometrics, since it straps securely and safely to your body. The snug fit allows you to pound out those explosive moves without risking injury due to the equipment shifting mid-jump.
Which weighted vest is right for you?
That's going to depend on two things:
- Your current fitness level
- The difficulty and type of the exercise
Beginners, in general, are going to want to go with the lighter option: the 6lb vest. Similarly, intermediates will want to opt for the 8lb vest, and advanced fitness junkies will benefit most from the 10 lb vest.
This said, you still have to consider the type and difficulty of exercise. An advanced athlete may want a 6lb pink vest for an incredibly tough and high octane exercise, like ninja tuck jumps. This advanced person may also opt for a lighter vest if they are planning to go on a 15km run, since anything heavier could compromise the intended duration of the jaunt.
Likewise, a beginner could very easily use a 10lb vest for basic exercises that will be performed as reps or shorter HIIT sprints. We're talking exercises like squats, deadlifts and lunges. These moves are powered by multiple big strong muscle groups like the quads, glutes and hamstrings, so 10lbs won't be an undoable addition to one's own body weight.
Consider these two factors, and you'll be able to select the best weighted vest for you.
2) You’re Bored
Mental apathy toward your workouts is a sure sign you need to step it up a notch. If you find yourself feeling blase or downright dreading the idea doing workouts you used to love, then you’re likely in a plateau, and need to break through it.
What’s a plateau?
A fitness plateau happens when your body has become bored with your routine. From what you’re eating to the amount of energy you’re expending, it knows what to expect, and stops having to work as hard to keep up with the challenges — mostly because it’s simply not challenged. As a result, you stop seeing results and can even lose some of the progress you’ve made. Remember: you’re body has become more efficient.
If you want to keep witnessing positive transformation, you have to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. One of the easiest ways to do this is to increase your resistance.
We can help you find your motivation!
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3) You’re Not Sore
While it can be a literal pain in the ass, feeling sore after a workout is actually a good sign. It means you’ve strained your muscles to the point of tearing fibers. That’s what causes that soreness for a day or two (or even three) after an intense sweat session.
As your muscles repair, they grow back stronger and more toned, so if you stop feeling the soreness, you are also going to stop reaping the rewards.
You guessed it: pick up heavier weights! This will keep the good gains coming.
Make Your Time Count!
You’re already putting in the time it takes to sculpt a strong, healthy body, so don’t waste it by underestimating your abilities. You should never lift more than you can safely, and should always prioritize perfect form over lifting super heavy, but if you see the signs that you’re in a resistance rut, know it’s time to level up.