If you don’t want to settle for boring workouts which never change, you will need to continuously tweak your workout routine. One of the ways to do that is to learn new exercises. These not only help you enjoy your workouts more, but may also improve the physical aspect of your workouts as new exercises offer a different challenge for your muscles.
Before you rush to the gym and perform a bunch of exercises you’ve never tried before, you should adhere to a few guidelines which will help you make the most out of new exercises and reduce the risk of them leading to adverse results such as injury. Here are some of my tips for trying out a new exercise:
Ask For Help From a Trainer
When you go to a gym you’re paying for more than access to machines and a shower room. You’re also paying for the trainers who supervise the work that you and other trainers do. However, not all trainers will initiate a conversation with you (unless they see you doing something really dangerous) and gyms are often too big for a trainer to see all the people who currently workout there.
So, you need to reach out to the trainers who are on shift at the gym and ask them for help with any new exercise that you’re thinking about doing. You want to know the right technique from the get-go as it’s much harder to correct bad form later on after you got used to it. Don’t be shy. Remember that you’re paying for this. You’re entitled to it.
Use a Machine to Learn the Movement
In general, I prefer using free weights rather than machines. The reason is that using free weights is more effective. However, machines do have on purpose: learning new exercises and getting used to the movements involved in them. Machines isolate the movement of each exercise and this can be useful to achieve a good level of control over any new exercise.
Use a Small Load
You may be very strong and capable of lifting a great deal of weight. Even if this is the case, you should start small with new exercises as this reduces the risk of you performing a wrong movement and injuring yourself. Pretty soon, after you’ve mastered the movement, you will be able to lift heavier loads.
Build up Gradually
Starting out small is not enough. When you do increase the load, do it slowly and gradually. Make sure that you’re comfortable with the new weight and that your form is perfect before pushing yourself any further. Be patient, it won’t be long before you’re at your optimal load. Working in the proper form will give you better results.
Add Intensity by Standing or Working in an Unstable Environment
Some exercises can be performed in a seated or standing position. Usually, performing them standing is harder, so it is better to perform them seated in the beginning. Later, you may also increase intensity by standing on a bosu ball or another unstable platform (while maintain control over your stance).
Once you reach this point, all you need to do is to continue to add resistance, combine this exercise with others into a complete circuit training routine, and learn more new exercises to continue to expand your workouts and improve your results.