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Making Your Workouts Tough Again When You Become Awesome

Great news: If you (like me way back in the beginning) are “feeling it, feeling it, feeling IT” and wondering how you’re ever going to make it through a workout, let alone improve on some of the killer moves putting the hurt on your muscles… it gets better. It may be hard to imagine but as you continue in your workouts and their “progressive overloading” phases improve your ability to finish stuff like Insanity‘s Max Cardio without pausing or increase your P90X push ups and pull ups, moves that seemed crazy tough will kind of feel not quite as crazy tough as they used to be.

Sure, you can always do push ups and pull ups to failure but sometimes you may want to add muscle or even get to failure faster. That’s where these tips come in handy.

Five Ways To Make Tough Exercises Tough Again (You Beast)


A long-time Insanity buzzword, intensity boils down to this:

Intensity [ɪnˈtɛnsɪtɪ]npl-ties

1.Exceptionally great concentration, power, or force.
2. extreme force, degree, or amount
ex: That round of pushups was so intense, my pecs ripped through my shirt and now I have to buy a new one. or I did so many intense Power Jumps, I need a Rascal to get me around the house today.
In other words, intensity is “Bringing It”, “Digging Deep” and telling your body “I Know You’re Not Tired Yet”. That doesn’t mean go bonkers without form until you collapse, blow out a knee or have to be carted off to the ER in the back of an ambulance. It simply means pushing one more move when you think you can’t. It means keeping proper form through the duration of the workout. It means really pushing yourself and then pushing just an inch further.
Intensity can be applied across the board and that’s why it’s number one. And thing is, you ALWAYS know if you’re bringing intensity. If your workouts are feeling a little easier, step it up a notch- you’ll know when you need to.

Raise That Leg

Tougher-Leg-Lift-InsertIf you’re familiar with P90X, you’ll recognize this trick as a modified move. Raising a leg off the floor when doing a push up, dips or even somethings as simple as a curl destabilizes the body. When destabilized, the core rushes in (or should if you want to avoid injury) to compensate. Heavy weights tend to become heavier as you fight to keep from tipping and in push ups or dips you lose a point of pressure, which causes more muscle to engage and puts more weight load on the upper body where you want it.

There’s a couple ways to go with the “leg raise”: One by simply locking the leg out behind you and lifting it up parallel to the ground. This engages the glutes so there’s a plus on a little booty sculpting. Heyoooo!

There’s also the “stack” as demonstrated in P90X: resting the raised foot on the heel of the grounded foot. Either way you’ll be bringing more work to your push ups which will make it a bit tougher overall.

Slow The Tempo

Tempo refers to the speed at which you execute a workout move. For example, in P90X there’s the “Two Twitch Speed Push Ups” where you do your pushups to a four count and then crank four more pushups at normal one to two count speed. It’s a tough move primarily because you’re increasing the muscle’s “time under tension” which fatigues the muscle more quickly as it pulls in more individual motor units to work. You’ll find you get a pretty good pump and is a great technique if you’re trying to add some muscle growth (hypertrophy) and may have maxed out on heavier weights.

The same principle applies to push ups as well. Slow them down and you’ll find you’re doing less but still providing “intense to failure” pretty quickly.

Add Weight

Adding weight is a pretty easy concept to understand when it comes to programs like P90X which incorporate weight training and progressive overload. But I’m not necessarily talking about that- I’m talking about adding weight with a weight vest, backpack, ankle weights or even wrist weights. I cover the idea of what I jokingly call “Backpack-o-rama” here but adding weight to anything will always make it tougher. Insanity’s plyometric moves with an added 10 pounds? You’ll feel it. Turbofire? More burn. Combat? Oh yeah. Ab Ripper X? Welcome back to square one.

Adding weight will make any move or program feel new and in many cases feel like a trip back to square one. Result- more strength, more endurance, more results. And hey… who’s going to complain about that?

Got questions? I’ll respond 100% of the time, every time. Hit me up at and/or add me as your free personal coach for extra support and exclusive access to “Dan V.’s Fit Spot!” 

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