How to Diversify Your Workout

Three Methods:Try a New ActivityAdd New Steps to Your Current Workout RoutinePerform Atypical Workout Routines

Varying your workout is essential to improving physical fitness as well as to the prevention of boredom. Follow these suggestions for diversifying your workout and reap the benefits of breaking a weight loss plateau or finding the motivation to keep being physically active.

Method 1
Try a New Activity

Trying a new type of workout activity is perhaps the easiest way to add variety to your workout. Consider alternating between workout activities every other day or swapping in a new activity every week to complement your workout routine. New activities will not only add challenge and excitement to your workouts, they will also force your body to use and develop different muscle groups, toning different areas of your body and boosting your metabolism.

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    Add a form of training you currently do not perform. If you are a cardio junkie, try diversifying your routine by adding some weight or resistance training. If you only lift weights, try performing aerobic activities to help improve your cardiovascular health.
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    Make use of indoor and outdoor activities. If you normally work out at home or an indoor gym, try an activity that gets you outside, such as jogging, swimming, hiking, biking, or jumping rope. If you normally exercise outdoors, try diversifying your workout by using the tools a gym has to offer, such as weight or rowing machines, elliptical or step machines, and indoor sports (such as racquetball).
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    Play team sports. Frisbee, soccer, tennis, basketball, and many other team sports can give you an excellent and varied workout with the added benefit of socialization.
    • Many communities offer both indoor and outdoor extramural leagues that meet once or twice each week. Opt for sports that require regular running or other physical activity over sports that allow significant time periods of inactivity (such as softball or croquet).

Method 2
Add New Steps to Your Current Workout Routine

If you already perform a variety of activities or if you do not have the time or desire to change the type of activity you do, consider building variety into your regular routine. Try mixing up the muscle groups you exercise, adding new moves, trying interval training, or using new equipment. Using a variety of techniques in your regular exercise routines will work additional muscle groups and keep your workout session moving quickly from activity to activity.

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    Exercise different muscle groups. If you have a specific routine for focusing on cardio or weight training, you may be working the same muscle groups repeatedly; after a few weeks performing a single activity, your muscles become accustomed to the workout and the benefit you get from the exercise is decreased. Add new moves or change your muscle group emphasis for renewed benefits.
    • If you weight train specifically for your arms, back, abs, and quads, try adding strength and toning moves from Pilates, yoga, weight-free repetitions, and body-resistance training programs. Small substitutions or variations in the way you train each muscle group can challenge your muscles in new ways and keep you from getting bored.
    • If you just do cardio, try scissoring your arms as you jog or switching from a butterfly swim routine to a few free-form or back-stroke laps. Adding motions for muscle groups you use less frequently will make your entire workout more challenging and will help you see improvement in areas you previously did not emphasize in your routine.
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    Practice interval training. Interval training helps vary the monotony of a straight jog or weight training routine by alternating short bursts of intense activity with less intense periods of the exercise. In addition, you can alternate intense cardio activity with strength training to keep the workout interesting; interval training may also help you burn additional calories.
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    Take advantage of different equipment. Using new or different equipment often enables you to work different muscle groups. In addition, it forces you to learn a new skill and vary your routine, keeping your workout diverse and interesting.
    • If you work out at a gym, try using a new weight machine or cardio machine. To prevent injuries, always request assistance from professional staff at the gym before using a new machine.
    • If you work out at home, consider investing in new equipment such as resistance bands, an exercise ball, a yoga mat, dumbbells, a punching bag, or even a treadmill or stationary bike.
    • If you play outdoor sports, try Frisbee golf instead of regular Frisbee, badminton instead of volleyball, or even the monkey bars on a playground instead of just power-walking the neighborhood.

Method 3
Perform Atypical Workout Routines

Many times, activities that are not frequently considered as standard workouts can offer excellent health benefits.

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    Go dancing. Dancing can burn as many calories as regular sports, and has the added benefit of being able to be combined with social events or date night.
    • If you cannot take a regular dance class, try incorporating dance into your evening routine by playing the radio instead of the television a few nights each week or by taking free lessons from YouTube videos.
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    Chase your kids around the house or yard. Getting a workout by spending time with your family will guarantee a varied workout. Running, ducking, and lifting are frequently incorporated with common family games such as hide-and-seek and tag.
    • Other family activities, such as Wii Sports or interactive video games, can also provide an excellent and varied workout when done for at least 30 minutes a few days each week. It also sets an excellent example of health and physical activity for children.
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    Perform an obstacle course. Obstacle courses, such as three-legged races, tire runs, rope swings, tug-of-war, and tunnel crawls work out virtually every muscle group and require balance and endurance. They often consist of multiple activities, which guarantees a varied workout. Try finding a local gym with a pre-designed course or burn extra calories by building your own.
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    Power-shop with friends. Working out with friends not only makes each workout session seem new and interesting, but allows you to vary your routine and combine it with social activities or errands.
    • Try adding a workout to the next trip to the mall by walking the length of the building three times before beginning your shopping.
    • Walk quickly between stores, lifting shopping bags in repetitions to work out arm muscles. Avoid setting bags down as you sift through racks of clothing to force your arm muscles to bear the weight of your prior purchases.
    • Park as far from the entrance to the shopping center as possible to increase the number of steps you must walk to and from the building.


  • Combine as many activities as you like to form a new workout, or get your workout in small segments throughout the day. Consider dancing around the living room for 10 minutes, jogging with the dog for 10 minutes, and doing 5 sets of 10 repetitions of overhead lifts with your baby in your arms.
  • Diversify your workout by listening to music and using songs as intervals for training, using every third song as an interval for intense activity.


  • Always consult a health professional before initiating a new exercise routine or trying a new sport. Some people should not perform certain activities due to heart conditions, former injuries, or current health status.

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Categories: Personal Fitness