Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip
How Do You Increase the Intensity of a Routine Workout?
(April 3, 2007)

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How do I know when to add weight to my exercise and make my workouts more intense at least for my level? Any help would be appreciated. (Stephanie, Greenport.)

Adding more resistance to your exercise will increase intensity and difficulty. A rule of thumb would be following an 8-12 rep scheme. By the 10th rep you should feel like you are working to complete the set. However, when the 12th rep becomes easy, you can increase the number of reps or add a little weight to make the 12 reps a “working” set.

Exercise is about positive adaptation. As your body adapts and gets stronger, you must keep growing and keep training positive. Ways to build intensity:

  • Pick a harder exercise for the body part. For example, instead of doing your chest press ups on a flat bench, try doing them on an incline.
  • Add more repetitions or increase the number of sets of the exercise.
  • Challenge the muscle to work in a different environment. For example, using a stability ball, Bosu or core board while doing upper body exercises with weights.
Any method that you use to increase the intensity will be a positive step to your progress. “Same remains the same.” When you stand still, with no movement forward, you are essentially going backward. But when you a move, even a little, you will still be moving forward a little.

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on