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Why Shorter Workouts Could Be Better for You

When it comes to exercise, less can be more

(This article appeared previously on KathySmith.com.) 

Here’s one excuse to cross off your list of reasons for not exercising: I don’t have enough time. 

Longer is not always better. When it comes to strength training, burning fat and shaping your body, it’s not just a matter of how long you exercise, but how you exercise.  

Here are four critical things you can adjust in your workout routine to get better results and burn fat. 

1. Speed Alternating the speed of movement in your workout routine can work wonders. Going super slow on your strength moves ensures you activate every single one of those muscle fibers. And you get the added bonus of being able to focus and perfect your form. 

2. Progression Nothing puts your body on autopilot like doing the exact same series of moves, in the exact same order, every time you work out. Never changing up the progression of your routine will eventually cause you to plateau, so that you stop seeing results — not to mention that it can get downright boring. In your next strength-training workout, start switching up the order. 

3. Resistance "Go heavy or go home" is the motto with strength training. Increasing resistance helps keep your body guessing, which helps you avoid plateaus so that you can continue to see fat-burning results in your workout. 

(MORE: 7 Ways to Build String Bones)

If you can do 15 repetitions at your chosen weight comfortably, increase the load. Try counting to six as you lift, and again as you lower, to get the most out of a rep.

No need to worry about getting big or bulky muscles. Without an intense supplement and an extreme strength training routine women’s bodies don’t produce enough testosterone to create that effect. Instead, changing up the resistance just helps you to build lean muscle tissue — and more lean muscle means better tone, and faster fat-burning metabolism. 

4. Angle Another way to ensure you’re not wasting time with your routine is to approach your routine from a different angle — literally. Take triceps. Altering the position of your arms makes a world of difference. See the tip box for two moves that work the back of the arm — your tricep— but use different angles. 

(MORE: How Fit Are You Really?)

Varying the position of the exercise ensures you tone the entire muscle. It’s a faster way to get results, by toning the body from various angles, in a shorter and more effective workout routine.

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