Tricking your muscles into helping you perform better might sound a bit cheeky, but with these 5 fitness hacks, you can get better workout results by manipulating certain muscles beforehand.
When you want to work on a particular muscle group, before you start, stretch the opposite group of muscles – this in turn gives more electrical activity to the group you want to work on. An example of this would be to stretch your hip flexors between sets of deadlifts to help put more bulk on your glutes. If you want to develop your lateral muscles more, then stretch the pecs and anterior shoulder between your pull-up sets.
Static stretching before a workout can cause a temporary numbness in that muscle. This can actually be pretty useful if you’re prone to cramping. Simply stretch that muscle out and it can remain in this “numb” state for around 20 minutes, helping you to work other muscles without being impeded.
Low level activation is a good way to get great results. With low intensity workouts the muscles don’t get fatigued, but your workout performance can be improved by as much as 10 percent.
Muscle Activation Technique is a great hack which uses pressure to increase nervous system responses to certain muscles. If you apply pressure to a certain muscle for ten seconds or so that muscle will then work better when you exercise it.
A technique known as irradiation helps increase strength through using a neurological chain. Basically the more tension you put in your muscles, the more they engage and can help you to lift weights. If you pinch your fingers together, you’ll notice how the muscles in your forearms engage; if you squeeze your hands into a fist as hard as you can then you’ll notice how the tension runs up into your shoulders. Try and lift weights by holding them loosely and you’ll find it far harder than if you squeeze them really hard. Use that tension for your own benefit.
Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.
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