How many times have you considered going to the gym, but ended up opting out because you had already washed your hair that day, couldn’t spare enough time for a workout and shower, or didn’t want to get your clothes all sweaty?
Exercise typically raises your core body temperature, prompting the release of perspiration which cools the body as it evaporates. While the process is supposed to bring your body back to baseline, it still leaves your skin and hair feeling moist and icky thanks to the mineral deposits your sweat leaves behind.
But before you let perspiration deter you from squeezing in a workout, remember: You don’t have to sweat through your shirt to make your workout count. Make these modifications from certified strength and conditioning specialist Jake Boly and you’ll get your workout glow without getting drenched:
1. Hold a single position. As lazies know well, moving takes more work than holding still in a single position. While jump squats might leave you gasping for air and sweating like a beast, a squat hold or wall sit will still make your muscles burn without the sweat.
2. Straighten your knees and elbows. Your muscles work harder to keep joints bent, and the sharper the angle, the greater the challenge. It’s why forearm planks performed with bent elbows are tougher than planking with your palms flat against the ground. (And why it’s easier to stand than squat, FWIW.) But hands planks are still plenty hard, so you’ll still engage your core, chest, and shoulders.
3. Forget fitness props. Performing exercises that call for tools like a Swiss ball or BOSU, which challenge your balance in a way that makes minor muscles work harder, end up requiring more effort on your part. Unless you’re already used to moves that involve this sort of equipment, they’ll end up raising your heart rate and ultimately making you sweat. Planks or squats on performed without props will challenge you without leaving you drenched.
4. Lighten up — or lose the weights. While lifting heavy weights can help you build strength, the more weight you attempt to lift, the greater the challenge and the more you’ll probably sweat. Stick with weights you can carry through at least eight reps of a given exercise without seriously struggling. (This may not make you much stronger, but it will help you maintain your current fitness level *and your blow out*.)
5. Speed through bigger movements. To anyone who’s ever done any high intensity interval training — aka sweat central — it may seem counterintuitive to move faster when you’re trying to keep your cool. But speed can create momentum that makes compound moves (like a weighted squat to bicep curl with overhead press) feel easier without wiping out its effectiveness.
6. Slowwwww downnnnn mini movements. Taking your time with single-joint movements — like straight-up bicep curls — can help you minimize sweating, according to Boly.
7. Know when to stop. Your fitness level will dictate how many reps you can handle before the sweat starts dripping down your brow. “Ideally, you want the last rep to be somewhat of a struggle, but not impossible,” Boly says.
8. Rest between sets. Jumping from move to move in quick succession robs your body of the time it needs to revert back to its resting heart rate. Rush through breaks and you’ll end up having to wring out your shirt.
9. Pick exercises involving slow and controlled movements. While you can’t expect to clock cardio or see major changes in your body without raising your body temperature whatsoever, you can still squeeze in some strength training and get away with skipping a shower if you stick to the slow and controlled moves like these.