Fitness

7 Workouts To Try If You’re Bored Of Your Current Routine

It’s your workout. You make the rules.

You've long since memorized all the running trails in your neighborhood, and you're stumped to come up with new ways to swing a kettlebell. Let's be real: daily exercise can be a drag without your gym buds. If you're bored with your quarantine workout routine, it might be time to spice up your yoga mat.

"Whether it’s a pandemic or not, workouts can get really boring and stale," says Joey Thurman, a certified personal trainer and coach for home fitness company MYX Fitness. "Doing the same thing day in and day out doesn’t provide enough stimulus to your mind or your body."

Changing up your fitness routine doesn't just get rid of the boredom ⁠— it also challenges your muscles to adapt to new forms of exercise. When you task your body with figuring out a new set of physical demands, your mind also tunes back into your workout. When you want to keep exercising but you've hit the workout wall of boredom, tunnel through it by trying out these seven changes to your quarantine fitness routine.

1
If You Like Jogging, Try A Fartlek Run

Whether you've been jogging since birth or quarantine made you a runner, you might be getting tired of passing the same old coffee shops each time you lace up your sneakers. Try a fartlek run to refresh your workout. ("Fartlek" is Swedish for "speed play," but that doesn't make it sound less hilarious.) Basically, you'll be playing with speed at unpredictable intervals, determined by nothing but your own creativity and the course you're running. Warm up first, then pick your first goal. Want to sprint to that stop sign? Do it. Then slowly jog to that garbage can. Take a moderate pace past the Black Lives Matter sign your neighbor's got in their yard, and then head into another sprint until you pass that patch of unidentifiable yellow flowers. You'll keep your mind occupied and your body engaged in something much different than your usual jog.

Not ready to tackle a fartlek session? No problem. "Simply switch it up and take a different course," Thurman advises.

2
If You Like Wheels, Learn Some New Tricks

Has quarantine gotten you on the roller skating train, but you're looking for a new track to blaze down? Find some flat pavement, wear your helmet, and practice braking, turning, and maybe even spinning in place.

Want to go from wheels on your shoes to wheels under your feet? Switch to skateboarding and see if your new roller skating skills translate onto a board. Your mind will be so occupied with keeping your balance that you'll forget you're getting a workout.

3
Been Using A Kettlebell? Switch Up Your Angles

Sure, there are nearly endless ways to use a kettlebell, but that doesn't mean you'll never get bored of your swinging routine. When your kettlebell life needs some variety, you don't necessarily have to learn an entirely new set of movements (though you definitely can). You might stick to your tried-and-true exercises, but with some new twists.

"Maybe that double kettlebell swing is now with one arm at a time," Thurman says. Tired of the same old goblet squats? "Think about how you can change the angles of your movements." If you usually hold the kettlebell with both hands, try using one in front rack position. Or, widen your stance and hold the bell closer to the ground for sumo kettlebell squats.

You can also play with time and reps. If you usually count your reps, try setting a stopwatch and swinging for time instead. Usually go for time? Try counting your reps.

4
Bored Of Dumbbells? Get Playful

Dumbbells are extremely versatile fitness friends, so it's easy to switch up how you use them. Instead of your usual rep scheme, use time as a variable. Say you're doing bicep curls. Count very slowly to three on your way up. Pause for another slow three seconds at the top, and then — here's the fun part — count slowly to seven on your way down. You won't be able to do as many reps as normal, but you'll be increasing time under tension, which is great for your muscles (and keeping your mind occupied).

5
Over Your Resistance Bands? Get Fancy

Resistance bands can do so many things for you that Thurman encourages you to "get fancy" with them. "Try adding extra movements with the bands," he says. If you're using bands to help give resistance to your shoulder press, for example, Thurman suggests adding a squat to the move. Are you only using one band to help with your bicep curls? Get ambitious and use two instead. And if you want to add a challenge to your pushups, loop your resistance band around your back and under your palms. The options really are endless.

6
Bored Of The Same Bodyweight Moves? Play With Your Holds

Moves like pushups, air squats, and lunges are all classic bodyweight exercises that you might have gotten acquainted with during quarantine. "Bodyweight is tough to change things up, but you can get creative with tempo and holds," Thurman says. "Most people do bodyweight exercises as fast as they can. Have you tried your same exercises extremely slow?" Use your new slow-mo super power to increase time under tension to add mental focus and extra muscle engagement to your routine.

Been there, done that with slow reps? Learn some animal flow, which is a series of ground-based movements that will teach you to move your whole body as a single unit. You can't possibly be bored during animal flow sessions, because all your focus will be spent on your balance and whether you're supposed to be moving your left or right hand.

7
Need A Break From Yoga? Try Pilates Instead

Even if you absolutely love your YouTube yoga sessions, you don't have to feel guilty if boredom is slipping in. Try Pilates if you want to stick to a similar type of movement. You'll already be familiar with the isometric nature of Pilates from your yoga sessions, but Pilates will emphasize improving your posture while focusing specifically on strengthening your core. You don't have to bid your mat a permanent goodbye, but rejuvenating your practice with a new form of exercise can get you back in the yoga game with renewed vigor. Get as creative as you want — it's your workout, and as long as you're staying safe, you get to make the rules.

Experts:

Joey Thurman, certified personal trainer, coach at MYX Fitness