The 1-Second Hack That Will Improve Any and Every Exercise

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

Sometimes working out can be the best thing in the world. You feel great, you look great, and your hard work pays off in the form of the results and dream body you've always wanted. But in the real world, things don't always work that way. In fact, it takes a very long time and a lot of hard work to see the results that you want.

Aside from doing the work, being diligent in the gym and the kitchen, and staying committed to the process, there are very few other ways to get the body that you want. But there is one secret that most trainers and specialists don't advertise to just anyone. What is that secret, you ask? Pausing at just the right time when you're lifting. That's right! Stopping, and knowing when to do it during your workout, is the difference maker for many people seeking the same results as you are!

Here's How to Do It

Every exercise has a concentric and eccentric part. What does all that science mean? Simple: there's an up (concentric) and a down (eccentric) part to almost all the exercises you've followed your whole life. The key to this simple trick is to focus on the eccentric movement, or, in simpler terms, the downward motion of each set.

According to certified personal trainer Kendal Wood, CSCS and coauthor of Core Fitness Solution, "Many people allow the weight that they carry on the second part of each rep to simply swing down, and lose a lot of the benefits of the exercise in doing so." Wood told us that just letting the weight fall is only half of the exercise.

"Instead of dropping the weight, lower it to the start position slowly," said Wood. That's a normal rep. But if you want to take advantage of this key pointer for better results, you have to know when to put a pause in your rep! Halfway down through the lowering process, you should pause for a one count. "This ensures that you harness all your muscle to hold the weight at its weakest point," said Wood. "And only greater benefits come from that extra exertion."

Why Does It Work?

The answer to this is quite simple: more effort, more precise care to the movement, and total control of your muscles through each rep causes better results because there's nothing for your body to do but tone and tighten up. As Wood told us, "Doing this pause method for one of each set you do for every muscle group every week is almost like doing two sets instead of one." And being able to do two exercises in the space you planned to do one is a great way to ensure better results!