Supercharge Your Workouts:
"7 Principles That Will Transform You...
And Your Workouts"
Supercharge: "Designing Workouts That Work"
1. Include Compound Exercises: compound exercises (or multi-joint exercises) supercharge your workouts by increasing the metabolic cost of each exercise... and ultimately... your entire workout. If you're combining single-joint with compound exercises, make sure you do the compound (multi-joint) exercises first. 
According to the research, compound exercises "maximize overall muscle strength in novice, intermediate, and advanced individuals." Now that qualifies as the ultimate "supercharge!" 
Examples: deadlifts, squats, bench press, pull ups. For more examples, check out our Fat Burning Workouts 1-3.
2. Work Your Non-Dominant Side First: Most people have a dominant side (a stronger side) and a non-dominant side (a weaker side). Right-handed individuals are generally right side dominant and left side non-dominant. Since we tend to favor our dominant sides they become stronger and more coordinated than our non-dominant sides.
To further challenge your muscles, decrease muscle imbalances, and supercharge your workouts, complete all your sets on your non-dominant side first.
Example: In an exercise like the split squat, right-handed individuals would start the exercise with your left leg forward and complete all of the sets on the left side before switching to the right.
3. Incorporate Change: If you've been working out for a significant amount of time, you probably have a favorite workout dvd, routine, or exercise formula. Ditch it... at least for a time. Trust us on this one. After a couple of months your muscles have fully adapted to whatever formula or workout you're doing... and are no longer challenged by it.
Supercharge your workouts and experience greater transformation by challenging your muscles in a new way.
Examples: change your workout (every 10-12 wks); change the amount of weight you're lifting (add weight or add drop sets); change the frequency of your workouts (workout more often... for those wanting to bulk up only); change your formula of sets / reps... especially when you plateau.
Drop Set (Definition): A drop set is when you "drop"
or reduce the amount of weight you're lifting in the final
set of a particular exercise.
Example: Barbell Bench Press, 35 lbs comprised of 4 sets
(10-10-8-8). For the drop set (the last set of 8 reps), I
lower the weight to 25 lbs. Some like to drop the weight
and increase the reps in the last set.
4. Use Free Weights: Exercising with free weights is more demanding because it engages more muscle mass... think of all those stabilizer muscles used for balance & coordination! Machine exercises tend to focus on single joint movements, engaging less muscle mass... & virtually no stabilizers. 
Free weights supercharge your workouts by "simulat[ing] real-life movement patterns," which increases your functional strength : the type of strength used to complete your daily activities, and improve athletic performance. 
A definite advantage over machine centered exercises!
5. Reassess Sets & Reps: Finding the most effective cycle of sets and reps takes a little guesswork and experimentation. That's just the nature of the fitness beast.
Use recommendations for your primary fitness goal as a starting point & make calculated changes. Switching up your sets and reps can definitely supercharge your workouts!
Example: (Fat Loss Fitness Goal) 24-25 reps with a moderate load is generally recommended for fat loss. Instead of doing 2 sets of 12 reps, try 3 sets of 8, or 4 sets of 6.
Note: A "moderate load" is a load you can lift 10-12 times using good form.
6. Work Hard: Push yourself to improve your performance from week to week. If your goal is to build muscle, we recommend increasing your load 2% or 5 lbs per week... whichever is greater.
For those of you interested in toning only, you can also supercharge your workouts with a more gradual increase of resistance.
7. Jump Rope: If you're serious about supercharging your workouts... you'll grab a jump rope... and actually use it!
The benefits include burning more calories; strengthening your heart, muscles, & bones; improving dynamic balance, coordination & endurance; increasing memory and mental alertness; and eliminating toxins (via sweat). [5, 6]
Example 1: After a proper warm up session, jump rope until you break a sweat (1-2 minutes). Start your weight training. Add a few 30-60 second jumping sessions between your exercises.
Example 2: End your routine with 7 minutes of jumping & stationary bike riding. Work your way up to 15 minutes. 2-minutes fast jumping... 2-minutes fast/med speed cycling... repeat.
Make sure your heart rate returns to normal before doing floor exercises... like abs... or stretches.
Jump Rope Facts: 10 minutes of high intensity jumping (120 RPMs) provides the same benefit as... 
Jumping rope is an amazing way to supercharge your workouts!
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Supercharge Your Workouts
- Ratamess N, Alvar B, Evetoch T, et al. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults.Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2009; 41(3): 687-708. Accessed May 26, 2010. http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2009/03000/Progression_Models_in_Resistance_Training_for.26.aspx
- Schick EE, Coburn JW, Brown L, et al. A comparison of muscle activation between a smith machine and free weight bench press [abstract] 2010; 24(3): 779-784. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20093960. Accessed May 26, 2010. PMID: 20093960.
- McBride J. Machine versus free weights: NCSA hot topic series. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2010; 24(3): 779-784. Accessed May 24, 2010. https://www.nsca-lift.org/HotTopic/download/Machine%20vs%20Free%20Weights.pdf
This article is highly recommended for those of you interested in supercharging your workouts. It's short & doesn't have a lot of scientific jargon.
- Grantham N. Free weight offer more specific training than machines.Brian Mackenzie's Successful Coaching. 2003; Issue 7.
- Benefits of Jumping Rope. The Jump Rope Institute Website. http://www.jumpropeinstitute.com/benefits.htm. Accessed May 20, 2010.
- Blaydes J. Jumping Rope May Be an Ideal Brain Exercise. American Heart Association Website. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3014813. Accessed May 22, 2010. Jumping rope obviously does more than supercharge your workouts... it supercharges your mind too!