So recently I've been having a great deal more success in my basic fitness training. This evolved from changing a few key ways I train that weren't working for me and also from adopting some basics that I should have really been doing from the outset. I'm not sure if any of this will help other people but it was a great help for me:
1. Stop counting reps
Most fitness manuals or resources give you number of reps per exercise per set. I realised that I find it distracting and boring counting out reps while I exercise. So instead I simply give myself a time period (usually 1 or 2 minutes) and set a countdown on my phone. If I can do 2 mins without collapsing in a heap I change the exercise to something harder. If I can't do 2 mins worth of exercise I got to keep pushing myself to get there. The key thing is that even if you have to take breaks you've got to do the time, this means I often push myself way beyond what I could do counting reps.
2. Stop overreaching
Always start with the "wussy" version of an exercise as this develops your technique and strength to do the proper exercise fully. So, no failing utterly at trying full one arm push ups and getting demoralised but rather doing one arm push ups from your knees.
3. Train less often but harder
Three or four times a week max. It's better to train hard twice a week but every week than to go hard for a week then stop for a month.
4. Exercise different areas
So, this is pretty much 101 but I didn't appreciate the benefits: I now have an upper body day, core day and leg day. If I keep this in the same order I have 5-7 days rest for the body areas between workouts. Basic and makes a huge difference
5. More variety
I've got lots of books of different exercises so each time I have a core day I vary my exercises while still ensuring I target all the areas. I like trying new things and learning new moves so this keeps me mentally engaged. I see a "new" exercise and I can't wait to try it, rather than feeling bored about the same old moves.
6. Get good multipurpose kit
Almost all of my exercise equipment is homemade and multipurpose however recently I splashed out and bought a dumbell set and an incline bench. Pretty much every basic exercise can be made as hard as you'd want with these two things.