Top Tips To Instantly Increase The Intensity Of Your Weights Session

Dan Rayner

How To Increase The Intensity

There are so many ways in which you can increase the intensity of workouts. It can sometimes just take the simplest change to make your workout more intense! Here are my top tips:

big back workout

Time Your Rest Periods


By doing this you’re not only getting a more intense workout, but you’re creating room for more volume, as you can fit more exercises in! Those 5 sets of chest press that usually take you 15 minutes have now been dramatically cut to 10 minutes with a 45-60 second rest period. Your heart rate will be higher and more calories will be burnt.


However, you may wish to have different rest times for different exercises and also depending on your goal. If your goal is to get fitter and strip body fat you may want to keep rest times sharp throughout the entire workout. However, if you are lifting weights for strength, then I would advise taking more rest in between the compound movements such as squats and deadlifts. So you can gain optimal recovery and perform the sets to your best ability with the maximum amount of weight you can lift.


Either way, timing your rest periods with a watch or stopwatch can help provide more intensity, more volume and give you better focus on your performance.

time under tension

Introduce Various Sets


Occasionally introduce super sets, triple sets, giants sets and dead sets into your training plan. Super set means two exercises back to back. Triple set means three exercises back to back. Giant set means four or more exercises back to back. Dead sets mean you lower the weight after your last rep and then go again until absolute failure!


Bringing in any of these techniques can dramatically increase the intensity of a workout, as well as provide a shock to your body! I wouldn’t recommend performing these kinds of sets all the time as you’ll eventually burn yourself out and your progress could suffer. Just now and then to give your body something different!

time under tension

Active Rest


Perform some ‘active rest’ during your workouts. This could mean anything from jogging on the spot to dropping to the floor into a plank hold. Other active rest ideas could be, star jumps, body weighted squats, body weighted lunges, any kind of plank hold, sit ups/crunches.

cable crunches

High-Intensity Interval Training


Introduce some HIIT (high-intensity interval training) at the end of your workout. Performing this at the beginning before your weights workout could tire you out too much. This might lead to your workout performance suffering! For example, the treadmill, 30-second sprint followed by a 60-second walk to recover. Then back to the 30-second sprint and so on. Alternatively, you can perform this technique on a bike, a rowing machine or anything that takes your fancy! You could even perform sprints with short rest periods on your way home from the gym!

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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