6 Ways to Take Your Workout to the Next Level

Turn up the intensity and push through plateaus with these six challenging exercise progressions

Getting in shape isn’t easy, everybody knows that. But when that feat is finally conquered, the challenge of continuing to see and feel progress and the ability to keep on improving your fitness might actually be even more difficult than getting in shape in the first place. Even though our ultimate goals can take months or even years to reach, for most, the first few stages of starting a new fitness or training regimen bring on noticeable differences quite quickly, and those improvements help keep us motivated and moving forward.

Unfortunately, that "honeymoon stage" doesn’t last forever, because at some point our bodies begin to adapt to our exercise routines. They sort of say, “OK, I’m comfortable here,”  which means whether your goal is to lose those final five pounds or cut five seconds from your 10K, if you continue to do the same workouts, your body will continue to stay acclimated. In other words, you’ll never accomplish the results you set out to achieve if you don't up the intensity every now and then.

This syndrome, which is highly common among everyday exercisers and even elite athletes, is also known as "plateauing." Breaking through an exercise plateau can be difficult and there’s no doubt that it’s quite frustrating, but with a few program tweaks and some increased intensity, there’s no reason it can’t be overcome.

There’s nothing wrong with the ordinary version of any exercise. In fact, for the sake of safety, it’s especially important for beginners to learn proper form by mastering the basics. But for anyone hoping to push past a pesky plateau, or even the everyday exerciser simply looking to take their workout to the next level, the following exercise progressions will show you how to take some of the most common and popular fitness moves and kick them up a notch or two.