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Shaking Up Your Routine: Little Things The Make all the Difference

Axel van Weel

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In the past few weeks, we’ve discussed a number of ways to spice up your exercise routine. And for every single alternative, it’s easy to come up with an excuse not to do it. No time, too much hassle, I could never do that, etc. But even if the realities of your world keep you from getting into more demanding sports such as climbing or stand-up paddling on a regular basis, there are a number of quick wins to be had in shaking up your basic gym routine. Changing seemingly small things can have a bigger impact on your training results than you might think. So even if your current gym routine works perfectly fine for you, you can still switch things up slightly for better results.

Think about how running on concrete differs from running on sand. The basic movement is the same, but the change of underground forces your body to activate different muscles, resulting in a heavier workout than you’re used to. A similar principle applies to making minor tweaks to your gym routine. Whichever aspect of your workout you change, the goal is to surprise your body and therefore prevent it from hitting a plateau.

There are many ways to take your existing routine and reinvigorate it without starting from scratch. Changing up any or all of the following variables should provide new stimuli for your body and better results for yourself.


Changing your grip directly affects which muscles are involved in an exercise.

Exercise order

At the end of your workout, your body is tired. Reversing your routine brings fresh energy to those exercises you normally do last.

Base of support

The narrower your stance while exercising, the more you call upon your stabilizing muscles. Or take it one step further and perform exercises on a BOSU or stability ball.

Speed of movement

Explosive movements will make you faster, while a slow tempo will cause your muscles to (re)build longer after you’ve finished working out.

Adding weight

Make sure to watch your form, but add weight occasionally and you’ll be surprised how much more you can actually lift.

Time your rest intervals

30-second intervals for basic circuit training should suffice, while heavier lifting requires longer resting slots.

Play around with any of these and you’re guaranteed to find something you like. And when you do, make sure to change it again!

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