While lifting weights will help you build up your muscles, it’s far from being the only exercise that can help you get in shape.
Working out isn’t only about building your muscle strength, but also about finding an inner balance between your body and mind.
In addition, if you want to get fit without becoming twice as big, then you should consider other types of exercises that will help you achieve your fitness goals – even more so if you don’t have enough time or money to go to the gym every day or create one in your home.
Here’s a list of different exercises and techniques that are just as effective as lifting weights.
Reduced rest time
Regardless of the type of exercises that you do, reducing rest time between the sets can significantly increase the intensity of your workout. If you’ve just started working out, you don’t have to start with a short break right away, but decrease it gradually.
For example, you start with the rest time of 60 seconds, and then gradually reduce it by 15 seconds. After a while, you even won’t need to take a break and you’ll do your workout all at once.
Another possible way is to do your exercise, for example, a set of push-ups, until your muscles are completely tired. Instead of finishing your workout then and there, you should wait several seconds, and then do another set.
Although you won’t be able to do as many as you did in the previous set, you’ll quickly increase your muscle strength.
The countdown technique
If you’ve been working out for a while now, you probably know that you can easily fall into a rut and reach a plateau at a particular number of sets and reps. You don’t want to decrease your workout intensity, but it seems that you’re stuck and can’t go further. If this sounds at least a bit familiar, you should consider implementing the countdown technique.
This technique proposes doing sets of descending reps starting with 10. You do a set of 10 reps, then 9, then 8, and so on, until you reach 1. This way, as your muscles become more and more tired, you’re gradually reducing the number of reps, and, therefore, the general workload, thus giving your body enough time to recover. Afterwards, you can be proud of performing the total 55 reps of pullups and dips.
Flex and hold
A simple yet efficient way to get the most out of your exercises and achieve the desirable results is flexing and holding. Here’s how you can do it: after finishing a set, flex the muscles you’ve just strained and hold them at least until you count to ten.
Another variation is to flex the muscles until they get tired, and then perform an exercise. This way, you’ll increase the intensity of your workout and get in shape before you know it.
The power of yoga
Despite leaving an impression of being a gentle workout, yoga is actually quite efficient and, if done properly, can be even more powerful than working out in a gym. Not only does it engage your muscles leading to a better muscle tone and definition, it also helps you create a balance between your body and mind.
Yes, lifting weights can build up your muscles, but so can holding up your own body weight. Another reason why yoga is often quite demanding is the necessity of controlling your breath and harmonising it with your movement.
Another benefit of practising yoga is the diversity of the exercises. There’s a variety of different poses that require both strength and persistence in order to be done right. Lifting weights is easy – try performing sayanasana, a variation of the scorpion pose which requires you to stand on your elbows while pulling your feet up and towards your head.
You’d better start running
If you haven’t already, start running! This is a cardiovascular activity that burns more calories than almost any other, and that will get you in shape in no time. In addition, it’s a great exercise to relieve stress and get rid of negative energy. If you’ve been running regularly, but you’ve got bored by the same surroundings or the same old treadmill, then change your environment.
Spice things up, find a new route, head to a track or change your speed to burn more calories and make your running routine more intense. Another great way to get in shape is to start running uphill. Not only will running uphill be more demanding, but it will also force you to apply different running techniques in order to do it properly and reach the top of the hill.
A great and fun way to get fit while simultaneously reconnecting with nature or hanging out with your friends is hiking. Head to the nearby mountains or hills, enjoy a beautiful day, and get your body in shape. All you need is a pair of comfy sneakers, light fitness clothes, and a bottle of water, and you’re good to go.
Gradually, start increasing the difficulty of your hiking trails. Once you’re ready, you can go on a multiple-day hike and tame the untameable. Not only will you have an opportunity to enjoy your natural environment, but you’ll also be able to reap numerous benefits of this powerful cardiovascular activity.
For example, you’ll improve your balance, strengthen your core, build strength of your lower legs, hips, glutes and quadriceps, and lower the risk of heart disease, increased blood pressure, and blood sugar.
There’s a variety of exercises that are equally or even more effective than weight lifting. Make room for them in your workout plan, and you’ll get in shape in no time.