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Change the Shape You're In
5 Ways to Make Exercise Ir-Resistible
by Michael Stefano

Nothing produces faster and more dramatic change in the human body than working out with short bursts of high intensity that�s characteristic of strength or resistance exercise. There�s simply no better way to alter your shape.

But there's more good news! The American Heart Association has declared that strength training also has a profoundly positive affect on your cardiovascular health, improving heart and lung capacity, while lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. For a great workout: click here

There is no one best way to increase intenstity, and every situation calls for a different approach. The challenge is to raise intensity safely, and at a pace that�s right for you, and still get results. For some, simply slipping on a couple of extra weight plates solves the problem nicely. But when seeking to modify intensity, whether up or down, we can do a lot more than just add weight.

1. Muscle Fatigue
Muscle fatigue is experienced at the point in the set where you begin to feel some local discomfort, possibly a low level burning sensation, or even slight pain. You�ll also develop an increasing weakness in the muscles being trained. While momentary muscle failure is the ultimate goal of all resistance training, results can be obtained at much lower levels. However, at a minimum you�ll need to reach a minor level of muscle fatigue with at least one set per exercise. See the Fatigue to Intensity Chart below.

Most people tend to halt a set at the first sign of discomfort or at the onset of that familiar burning sensation (brought on by lactic acid build up). Either way, be sure to keep the intensity focused in the targeted muscles by adhering to perfect form with every set. The common thread in most successful resistance routines is not endless hours of training, but the relatively high level of muscle fatigue reached on at least one set per exercise. Results can be obtained at all levels, but the most remarkable progress is achieved at levels 3 and 4.

2. Reduced Tempo
Speed kills �your exercise program! Moving through a set at too great a speed can generate tremendous strain on your joints and connective tissue, and is self-defeating. Slow down! A typical repetition should last about six seconds. This leaves two seconds for the push against gravity (positive phase), and four seconds for the lowering with gravity (negative phase).

3. Reduced Rest
Shorter rest between sets also translates into greater intensity, especially as it relates to building endurance. Longer rest between sets allows the muscles to recover more completely, and consequently work at a higher resistance level. If you work with 30 seconds or less between sets, you�re Circuit Training.

Circuit training is a great way to get more intensity out of less resistance, and is appropriate for anyone who has limited time and equipment. More closely resembling an aerobic program, circuit training has become popular in the fitness industry over the last ten years because of its adaptability and overall safety. If your goals are strictly toning and reducing body fat, and you�re not as interested in building muscle mass or brute strength, circuit training makes an excellent choice.

If you�re not comfortable with the rapid pace of circuit training, stick to a more traditional program with a somewhat longer recovery between sets (one to three minutes). Shorter rest and higher reps build endurance and tone, while longer rests and low rep ranges build muscle and strength. Customize your routine accordingly.

4. Increased Volume
Adjusting the total number of sets performed per exercise is another way to vary overall intensity. Intensity adds up, so that one very intense set can deliver as much as two or three moderately intense efforts. The more intensely you train, the less you need to do. If you don�t want to crank up intensity, add another set or two.

5. Increased Resistance
And last but not least, increase the amount of weight lifted. This can be done from set to set, from workout to workout, or both. Track how much weight lifted, and how many reps performed on every set. If possible, make jumps in increments of five to ten percent.

Simply showing up at the gym and going through the motions will deliver only a minimal amount of real results. Work at the highest level of muscle fatigue you can safely handle. Move slowly through each exercise and take appropriate rest between sets. Do extra sets or add more weight in a progressive, calculated manner. Take your training seriously and make every movement count, and you'll be on your way to a successful resistance program.

For fat-burning, body-sculpting exercises, and comprehensive
nutritional guidelines with sample meal plans, get your copy of
The Firefighter's Workout Book today.

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