Ideas for Exercise Routines

Even the most committed exerciser can hit a wall and need inspiration for new workout ideas. Cross-training and changing an exercise routine regularly helps deter overuse injuries and combat boredom. Whether you are looking to lose weight, stay healthy, train for an event or change your body composition, try exercise routines that can help you reach your fitness goals.

Circuit Training

Circuit training involves a number of exercises performed back to back, with little or no rest between them. In addition to burning more calories than a traditional strength-training session composed of resting between sets, circuit training wards off boredom by keeping you constantly moving. You enhance endurance because there is no rest. Fitness Magazine reports that you can burn as much as nine calories per minute during a circuit workout. Circuits can involve strength exercises, cardio exercises or a combination of both. To perform a strength training circuit, pick eight to 10 classic exercises such as the squat, walking lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, plank rows, biceps curls, overhead triceps extensions and lateral raises. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds to a minute and then move on to the next one, leaving only enough time for equipment changes. Repeat the circuit up to five times for a complete strength training routine.

Outdoor Intervals

Dedicated gym rats might benefit from taking their cardiovascular workout outdoors. Instead of running at your set 6 mph on the treadmill, try a running a local track. To make your track run interesting and extra effective, alternate a lap of easy, manageable running with a lap at the fastest pace you can maintain. Repeat about 12 times to finish about three miles. Interval training helps you improve your overall endurance and, as pointed out by the American Council on Exercise, helps deter injuries that might result from nonstop, repetitive activity. Interval training also encourages you to increase overall intensity of your activity.

New Tools

Use alternative exercise equipment to increase the difficulty of your workout. Try standing on a Bosu trainer–an apparatus that looks like half of a stability ball–while doing military presses, biceps curls and squats to challenge your balance. Perform crunches on a stability ball instead of on an exercise mat to activate more muscle fibers. Put down the barbell and use resistance tubing to execute back rows. Do the classic push-up with your hands on a workout bench to engage the lower portion of the chest. Between these exercises, sprint on the treadmill or pedal a spin bike for two to three minutes to keep your heart rate elevated.

About this Author

With degrees from Princeton and Columbia University, Andrea Cespedes is also a professionally trained chef and has focused studies in nutrition. With over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer.