Breaking Your PR: Tips for Quickly Improving Your Performance

Hey Angels and Alphas,

No matter what kind of exercise you do, your performance improves over time as you get better at it and learn more about your own body’s physical capabilities. The key to long-term improvement, however, is knowing how to improve your performance quickly in order to avoid getting stuck in a plateau or losing motivation if things aren’t moving fast enough. This quick guide on breaking your personal best will show you the way to boost your performance instantly without having to spend years practising!

Keep a Workout Journal

One way to track your progress is by using a workout journal. You can use the notes in your journal to see what you have accomplished and then apply this new knowledge the next time you go to work out. Here are some things that might be helpful to include in your workout journal: 

* What you want to do (i.e., increase cardiovascular endurance) 

* When it occurred (date, time) 

* The amount of weight/resistance you used, how long it took, and how far/fast you went 

* What obstacles were present at the time.

Before Working Out, Drink Water or Sports Drinks

Before you start your workout, remember to hydrate. Drink plenty of water or an electrolyte-rich sports drink at least 1 hour before exercise and about half a cup (4 ounces) every 15 minutes during vigorous activity. 

Sports drinks contain carbohydrates that replenish the body’s glycogen stores, prevent dehydration and provide an instant energy boost because they are absorbed quicker than water alone. 

Drink too much too quickly and you may feel nauseous or get a headache from drinking too much liquid. Avoiding these problems by staying well hydrated before, during and after your workout is key to breaking your personal best.

Warm Up and Cool Down Properly

Before you start your workout, it’s important to warm up properly. This is a vital step that must not be overlooked, as it helps to prevent injury and prepare your body for the exercise. Studies have shown that athletes who do not perform adequate warm-ups before their workouts had higher levels of muscle soreness and reported lower range of motion in the next few days than those who did. 

To keep yourself safe, do a 10-minute light jog or bike ride before you work out to help increase your heart rate and the circulation of blood. Some people also like to stretch or do yoga poses during this time as well, which can reduce muscle stiffness when you start your main workout session.

Try a Weightlifting Belt

Using a weightlifting belt will increase the amount of weight you can lift. When it comes to weightlifting, nothing matters more than the strength of your core. The muscle between your hips and ribs, the abdominal muscles, needs to contract strongly in order to keep your spine stable. You can’t do that if it’s being compressed from being too heavy on either side. A weightlifting belt allows you to go heavier without pushing against this natural stabilizer—which means better power and a quicker work-out. 

Try Using Hand Straps

Lifting straps have been a highly underrated addition to the gym bag. A lifting strap is used to keep a person’s grip from slipping off the bar while lifting, thereby allowing them to lift more weight than they could otherwise. To use lifting straps, take one hand and wrap it around the barbell in your hand, placing it palm down. 

Grabbing both ends of the straps with your free hand, extend them until they are in front of you and then place your hands on top of one another with palms down on the strap portion of this part. Wrap this end around each thumb so that it is tight enough to not slide but loose enough to allow you to still grip at a lower weight when desired.

Use Shorter Rep Ranges

Studies have shown that one way to break your personal best is to use shorter rep ranges. Take a heavy weight, perform one or two sets with 2-3 reps per set, and then try to keep the pace up for all remaining sets. For example, do a set of five reps, followed by four reps, three reps, and two reps. Try not to slow down as you get close to failure so that you’ll push past it and improve your performance on the exercise overall.

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