10 ways to improve your workouts.

If your gains begin to stop, give this list a read.

Just because you're a gym rat doesn’t mean you’re not training like a newbie.

1. Switch it up.

Don’t be a slave to your workout routine. Switching up how you're hitting each muscle group is key if you plan on ever growing out of your size medium tank. Your muscles and mind easily get bored by doing the same routine, sets and reps which leads to muscle plateau and stagnant gains. It is vital to your overall long-term goals to consistently switch up how you are hitting your muscles. If you think doing curls 3x a week is doing you any favors; you're wrong. Eventually, your body gets use to the repetitive strain and gains will slow to a crawl. Don’t be lazy about your workout plan. Find different exercises to attack the muscle groups you are focused on. Catch your muscles off guard and watch how your gains will soar.

2. Win the mental battle.

It’s human nature to be driven by motivation; so, know yours. 75% of hitting your goals is mental. You need to have a tangible outcome you are striving for. Whether it is to have a 6 pack by summertime or increasing your bench-press by 25 lbs. Knowing what you are trying to achieve will put you in the proper mindset to tackle your goals. It will keep you constantly striving for outcomes and help you push further each time you hit the gym. If you hit the gym with no solid goals of being there your output will reflect it. Also, supplementation with a nootropic pre-workout, like APEX-N, can produce mind-body benefits across motivation, intensity, energy, focus and more to help you get the most out of every training session.

3. Get good sleep.

Don’t let your latest Netflix binge compromise your sexy. You need a solid 7 hours of sleep, minimum, for your body and mind to recuperate; so your workouts don’t go in vain and your muscles experience optimal recovery and growth.

Try to avoid nightly stimulation like watching action packed movies that will keep you up. Reading is a better catalyst for sleep. Start with a page and let it speak for itself. With the proper amount of rest and recovery, you will notice a remarkable difference in the amount of energy you have the next day to crush it all over again. A tired mind will lead to a tired body and less productive workouts.

4. You need to "strip".

Dropsetting, or stripping, is a very effective training technique for adding difficulty (and gains) to your workout. Let's say your bench pressing 250 pounds for a max of 10 reps. You may not be able to complete an 11th rep at 250, but you can probably rep out a few more at 200 or 185 pounds.

In a dropset, as soon as you complete your last possible rep at 250 pounds, you quickly re-rack the weight to 200 pounds, and continue repping to a second point of muscle failure, keeping your rest period to a minimum while dropping the weight. And that is a dropset.

Dropsets are great for barbells and dumbells, but have all the weight you need nearby so you can quickly drop the weight without running around the gym collecting plates during the middle of a set. Remember, start heavy and work your way down the rack until you hit total failure.

5. Train one side at a time.

Performing unilateral exercises that force each arm or leg to work independently (think: pistol squats or single-arm push-ups) will build strength faster on each side than bilateral exercises that work both sides of your body at once (standard squats or push-ups). Plus, if you strongly favor your dominant side, you can use unilateral exercises to help balance muscular development and equalize strength across your body.

6. Skip the machines.

While exercise machines do make resistance training user-friendly, free weights are your best bet if you want an extra-intense session. Without the help of a machine, you’ll engage more stabilizing muscles during each rep and work your body way harder. The same goes for bodyweight exercises, which can be more effective at strengthening the core than workouts done on machines. Swiss ball abdominal crunch with added elastic resistance is an effective alternative to training machines

7. Combine strength and cardio.

People often think of strength training and cardio exercise as two separate activities, but they really don’t have to be. Adding cardio intervals (like jumping rope or running 20-second sprints) into your circuit will rev your metabolism while still building strength. Aerobic exercise does not compromise muscle hypertrophy response to short-term resistance training.

8. Hold your pose.

Contracting a muscle and holding it in a flexed position (a.k.a. isometric exercise or static holds) provides strength and endurance benefits that can’t be achieved through traditional isotonic exercises (i.e., lifts that are in constant motion). Test it out with a stability ball wall squat. Start with a goal of staying static for 30 seconds, but increase that time as your strength and muscular endurance improve.

9. Embrace instability.

Your workout doesn’t need to look like a performance from Cirque du Soleil, but a balancing act can go a long way. Exercises that require balance stimulate more muscles—especially in your core—than the same exercise done in a stable position. To test this, try doing simple exercises like squats or push-ups on a BOSU or stability ball.

10. Get explosive.

Old-school bodybuilders fed their muscles a diet of slow, heavy lifts to build bulk and strength. But explosive movements like box jumps, kettlebell swings, and plyometric push-ups target fast-twitch muscle fibers, which produce more force than slow-twitch fibers. With explosive lifts, you can build more strength endurance, recruit more muscle groups and burn more fat.