10 Ways to Boost Workout Intensity

by | May 7, 2017 | Article, Workouts and Exercises.

Intensity plays a massive role in achieving the best possible results. Fitness is all about how you work while you are working and the more you give, the more you get! So, how can you maximize your intensity in order to enhance your workouts? These fitness experts will tell you just how!

Add a static (isometric hold) in the most difficult position of the exercise. Hold that position for 3-4 seconds. If it’s a bicep curl, for example, the weakest position is usually where the elbow is at 90 degrees. If it’s a squat, it is usually right at parallel.

A movement is always limited by the “weakest link”. This is the point where you can generate the least amount of tension. Yet, if you’re doing normal reps with let’s say, a 2 second raising phase and a 2 second lowering phase, the 2-3 inches where you’re your weakest gets a grand total of maybe 1-2 seconds across a set of 10 reps (that is total, not per rep). Whereas, if you hold each rep for 3 seconds in the weakest position, you accumulate 30 seconds in that position. That will get you stronger faster and boost workout intensity!

Take your recovery seriously! This seems kind of paradoxical, considering the article is about boosting workout intensity, doesn’t it? The reason this this is one of my top tips is because the fresher you go into your workout, the more effort you’ll be able to put into your workout. You might be able to squeeze out an extra 2-3 reps, or use a slightly heavier weight.

The most powerful thing you can do for your recovery is good, restful sleep. There are other modalities you can implement, like contrast showers, targeted supplementation, saunas, and more.

Kathleen Trotter– Personal Trainer and Pilates Specialist

Do intervals! Intervals are convenient- you can do them anywhere and on any piece of equipment or without equipment- and they are effective. With intervals, you alternate between bouts of high- and low-intensity training. This places a high metabolic demand on the body, burns lots of calories in a short amount of time, produces a high EPOC (post-workout calorie burn), increases mitochondria growth (mitochondria help to burn fat), and helps to improve one’s fitness level. I also find that keeping track of the time and shifting speeds makes my workout go by faster.

Pyramid Intervals

Version A: Warm up for five minutes. Do one minute hard, one minute easy, two minutes hard, two minutes moderate, three minutes hard, three minutes moderate, four minutes hard, four minutes moderate, five minutes hard, one minute easy, and five minutes hard. Cool down for five to ten minutes.

Version B: Warm up for five to ten minutes. Then cycle through the following sequence: thirty seconds hard, thirty seconds recovery, sixty seconds hard, sixty seconds recovering, ninety seconds hard, ninety seconds recovery. Repeat three to six times. Cool down for five to ten minutes.

Mini Pick-ups

Warm up for five minutes. Do five minutes at regular speed. Alternate fifteen seconds hard with forty-five seconds moderate for ten minutes. Recover for two minutes. Then, repeat the intervals by alternating fifteen seconds hard with forty-five seconds at regular speed. Cool down for five to eight minutes.

Try AMRAP Training! AMRAP stands for “as many rounds as possible.” AMRAP is an example of time-based training. With AMRAP, you aim to fit in as many cycles of circuit as possible without a set time frame. The faster you get through the reps of each exercise, the more times you will complete the entire circuit in that given time-frame.

AMRAP workouts are effective and efficient workouts because they burn lots of calories in a short amount of time, plus they provide a higher EPOC, which is the amount of calories you burn after the workout is over.

I encourage my clients to try them because they can be done using a wide range of equipment. If you are at home, do body-weight exercises like squats and burpies. If you are at the gym, use the barbell, Bosu or cable machines.

Sample 10-minute AMRAP

Time yourself for ten minutes- do as many rounds as you can of 10 push-ups, 10 lunges on each leg, 12 bent-over rows and 10 squats. Record how many rounds you get through. Gradually work to increase the number of rounds you can complete in 10 minutes.

A word of caution: only include exercises in your AMRAP that you can do with perfect form. If you can’t do squats well, try lunges. If you can’t do full push-ups, try modified push-ups from your knees. No injuries allowed!

Daniel Igali– Olympic Wrestler

Go according to your pace and your pace only!


Find out your max heart rate! It’s simple: 220 minus your age.

That’s the maximum your heart rate should be. So, for example, if you do 10 seconds of boxing on the bag and you want intensity, you have to hit that number. Even kicks on a bag in a very short time, like 5 seconds. This really pushes you to give their all in just a short time window plus it is fun! For an added bonus, if you do not make it, you have to perform burpies!

Knowing someone out their is training to kick your ass is also a great way to boost your intensity and your mental toughness. Literally in kick boxing or taekwondo, someone out there is thinking about fighting you if I plan to compete. It helps motivate me a lot. If I’m a bit lazy, I just imagine that there is a guy out there right now who is thinking about kicking my ass and let’s be real, who wants to lose?