HealthTraining & Performance
Q:

I'm looking for a different weight-lifting routine. Any suggestions?

I'm bored with the traditional weight-lifting routines I've been doing for years now (splits, push/pull regimes, etc.). So, I'm looking for a different routine that will allow me to burn calories and lose fat, while allowing me to maintain muscle definition. Any suggestions? Cross-training maybe? Chris Athens, Georgia

A:

It's time to get some balls—medicine balls, that is. I've found that incorporating medicine ball work into strength- and power-training programs can really help to break the monotony of traditional weight-lifting routines. But don't just do sit-ups with a medicine ball, go outside and start throwing it around. Now, you have to be careful throwing a weighted ball, so please don't get too carried away, but ten-yard chest passes or overhead tosses are a great way to build strength and power, as well as maintain muscle definition. If you don't have a friend who's confident in their ability to catch a thrown medicine ball, throw it against a wall instead. I'd suggest investigating the wide variety of other medicine ball exercises you can do either solo or with a partner. It's fun, it's challenging, and it can be as hard a workout as you want to make it.

The other piece of cross-training I'd suggest is plyometrics. These exercises are mostly used to develop power and speed, and involve jumping and bounding. A simple introduction to plyometrics is stair bounds. Start at the bottom of a long set of stairs and instead of climbing step-by-step, take two, three, or even four stairs in a single-leg bound and then continue bounding up the entire flight. Plyometric exercises also include single- and double-legged jumps on and off boxes, over a series of cones, or over lines on the floor. Plyometrics will do more for your lower body and core than your shoulders and pecs, but they're a great addition to monotonous weight-lifting programs and can be very useful for helping athletes break through plateaus with lower-body lifting exercises.

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
Filed To: Strength and Power Training
More Health