You walk into the gym, you know what you want to work on, but you are sick and tired of doing the same old thing. It’s become monotonous and you are losing motivation.

Sound familiar?

I used to do the same workout all the time. I worked my butt off, but I did not see results. Why? Because my body got really good at doing that workout!

In order to see results, you need to “shock the system” or do something that your body is not used to doing. We still want to utilize the four basic movement systems, but we need to change up how we do this.

Here are four easy ways to mix up your workout!

1. Incorporate Tabata Training

If you do not know what Tabata training is, download the app on your smartphone right now. Go ahead, it’s free! Here’s one for Apple and Android.

Tabata training is essentially a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The original system was developed by a Japanese scientist and is comprised of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds.

Let’s say you are planning to do Goblet Squats, Bent Over Rows, Kettlebell Good Mornings, and Push Ups. (Because remember, you want to incorporate the Four Basic Movement Systems!)

Instead of doing a determined number of sets and reps for each exercise, you use the Tabata as your guide for work and rest. We start with the first movement: Goblet Squats. You perform the squats for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat for 8 rounds. Then you take a minute or two to catch your breath and grab some water (you’ll be tired!) and repeat with the next exercise.

This is a good way to get a lot of work done with limited time. It also keeps your heart rate high, causing you to burn more calories and have a higher EPOC. (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption – basically you continue to burn extra calories for a period of time after your workout.)

And you don’t have to stick with the :20/:10 ratio of work and rest. You could do :30/:30 or :40/:20 or any other combination. Obviously the more time you spend working and the less time you spend resting, the harder the workout will be. Another idea is to start with an even ratio like :30/:30 and then decrease the rest time each week eventually getting to :30/:15 or even :30/:10.

2. Set a Timer and do AMRAP

AMRAP stands for As Many Rounds As Possible. It is a CrossFit term that has found it’s way into many workouts and programs.

Let’s say that we are still planning to work on the previous four exercises: Goblet Squats, Bent Over Rows, Kettlebell Good Mornings, and Push Ups. You set a timer for 30 minutes and see how many rounds you can complete in that amount of time (doing all four exercises one after the other and resting as much as you need before starting again).


Hopefully you have a more advanced timer 😉

Or you can break up the four exercises into two supersets. You set a 15 minute timer to do the Goblet Squats and Bent Over Rows. Rest. Then you repeat with Kettlebell Good Mornings and Push Ups.

I like the AMRAP principle when used in an intelligent manner. It’s a good way to challenge yourself to take shorter rest periods and see how many sets you can complete in a limited amount of time. Plus, you can keep track to see if you are able to increase the number of sets each week with the same amount of working time.

However, please be smart. If your form is starting to give out because you are overexerting yourself, either take more time to rest, or use a lighter weight. Nothing is worth injury.

3. Ladders

Ladders are either an increase or decrease in reps.


Are you going up, or going down?

Let’s start with the Goblet Squat and say that you are planning to do 3 sets of 8 reps. Instead,  you could do a ladder of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 reps.

This is a great way to increase the volume in your workouts. For example, in our original plan of 3 sets of 8 reps you get a total of 24 reps. When using the ladder, you get a total of 30 reps!

You can also do the ladder in reverse, decreasing reps each time. And you can even combine the ladder of one exercises and superset it with the ladder of a different exercise.

For example:

Goblet Squats – 10 reps/Bent Over Rows – 2 reps

Goblet Squats – 8 reps/Bent Over Rows – 4 reps

Goblet Squats – 6 reps/Bent Over Rows – 6 reps

Goblet Squats – 4 reps/Bent Over Rows – 8 reps

Goblet Squats – 2 reps/Bent Over Rows – 10 reps

Total Reps:

Goblet Squats = 30 reps

Bent Over Row = 30 reps

Lastly, 2,4,6,8,10 is just one example of a ladder.

Here are some other examples:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

3, 5, 8, 10

5, 10, 15, 20, 25

6, 8, 10, 12

4. Pyramids

Pyramids are similar to ladders, except that you increase and decrease the reps. It’s simply another way to add to your rep volume.


You’ll be sweating like you’re in the desert after this workout!


Goblet Squats – 2 reps, 4 reps, 6 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps, 2 reps.

Pyramids can also be done upside down and superset with another exercise ladder.


Goblet Squat – 2 reps/Bent Over Row – 8 reps

Goblet Squat – 4 reps/Bent Over Row – 6 reps

Goblet Squat – 6 reps/Bent Over Row – 4 reps

Goblet Squat – 8 reps/Bent Over Row – 2 reps

Goblet Squat – 6 reps/Bent Over Row – 4 reps

Goblet Squat – 4 reps/Bent Over Row – 6 reps

Goblet Squat – 2 reps/Bent Over Row – 8 reps

Goblet Squat = 42 reps

Bent Over Row = 38 reps

Again, 2, 4, 6, 8, 6, 4, 2 is just one example of a pyramid.

Here are a few others:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

3, 5, 8, 10, 8, 5, 3

6, 8, 10, 12, 10, 8, 6

5, 10, 15, 20, 15, 10, 5

Final Thoughts

The above examples are just a few ways that you can take your same old workout and make it more exciting or challenging!

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