Tips to help maximize your gym workout

Tips to help maximize your gym workout

Even if you're a gym pro, you're probably looking for ways to maximize that sweat time or keep the exercise excitement alive. With "52 Brilliant Ideas to Pump Up Your Workout" (Penguin, 2008), author Steve Shipside offers, you guessed it, 52 ways to fend off boredom and boost results. Here are a few examples, courtesy of Penguin Group, USA:

On the rowing machine: If you're starting to get this down, then it's time to throw down the gauntlet to others. Try pitting yourself against times recorded online. See how you rate against other people around the world and try to improve. Or take part in a rowing marathon.

On the stepper: Most people looking to push themselves simply up the resistance, but here's another approach. With the resistance fairly low, try pumping the steps faster, running or pedaling on the spot. Imagine a world in which Tour de France riders compete on unicycles and you are now sprinting against Lance Armstrong. Now watch those calories burn off.

Stretching: The three-way stretch is so called because it stretches your back, arms and hamstring all in one. Sit on the floor with one leg straight out in front of you. Bend the other leg, pulling your ankle as far up into your groin as you can with the sole of your foot resting on the upper thigh of the other leg. Now with both hands reach down the straight leg as far as you can. If you can reach your toes, then hold them; if not, don't strain yourself. Try not to tense the straight leg. You should feel the stretch right across your back and down the back of your leg (hamstring). Hold for 30 seconds, gently release, and switch legs.

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