If you're an experienced strength trainer looking for creative ways to make your workouts more challenging -- and a little more interesting -- try these advanced techniques occasionally:

  1. SLOW-MOTION REPS. Take 15 seconds for each repetition: 10 seconds for lifting the weight up and 5 seconds for lowering it.
  2. DROP-SETS. After your last repetition in a set (typically the one that brings your muscle to the exhaustion point), drop the amount of weight by 20 to 25 percent. Then do three or four more repetitions at this lower weight. Drop-sets can be performed with free weights or machines. However, if you are using a bar, be sure to use a spotter to avoid injuring yourself.

If you are trying a new technique or are working with a new machine, ask a trainer for assistance in learning how to perform the exercise properly. Better safe than sorry!