VARIETY IS IMPORTANT!
It may be tempting to treat familiarity as permanence, but there are pitfalls. We need variety in our routines for many reasons. Most experts recommend that we switch up our workouts every 4-6 weeks. This is not an ironclad rule, only a general guide. We differ in our strength levels, intensity of workouts, nutrition and individual physical structures.
We generally know not to train the same muscles on successive days, but we need to also be aware that our bodies can adapt to any workout program after a period of time. We may become too efficient in an exercise and thus limit our growth.
Here is a good video, which will explain why we may benefit from periodic changes of our routines.
It makes sense to change our routines when:
- The workout becomes too easy – after all, the point is to progressively overload our muscles
- We become bored – this affects me and is my biggest indicator of my need for change.
- We’re not as hungry – we need protein to repair muscle tissue and our bodies should call out for food.
- Our heart rate slows – this may show that we are not working hard enough
- We’re not sore – aches and pain are not desirable, but a total lack of any soreness at all shows that we have adapted to our routine
- We don’t see any changes in 4-6 weeks – this indicates that either our program or nutrition need revising
The remainder of this post will address the ways by which we may change our routines and will list some types of equipment to make this more effective. I will also make note of a few specials now running on health items.
THIS IS HOW WE MAY MAKE CHANGES
If we lift a certain load of weight for a period of time, our bodies adapt to this workload and our strength growth and muscle growth come to an end.
Muscle and strength gives us a list of different ways to beneficially change our workouts:
- Increase the intensity – as we do the same workout, we may lose intensity without knowing it. We may get into a rut.
- Do different exercises for the same muscle groups – there are many such choices
- Do drop sets – this is when we do a set until failure and then drop the weight and do another set to failure. Highly intense!
- Switch the days we work certain muscle groups – generally, it is best to work on our weaknesses first, but it helps to change this at times. Our weaknesses may become strengths and new weaknesses (by comparison) may emerge. When I played tennis, I would practice weaker strokes, but not forever. I wanted an all court game.
- Use supersets – with a stubborn muscle, we may start with a compound exercise and then immediately finish with an isolation movement. For example, heavy bench presses, followed by light pec deck or lying lateral raise movements
- Cycle your reps – first week – do 12 reps for a set, second week – do 10 rep, third week – 8 reps, fourth week – 6 reps
- We may change the number of days we work out – more rest time helps our muscles to recuperate
- Do negatives – lowering the weight can be as effective as lifting it. After lifting a weight, lower it very slowly for best results.
- Do slower reps – this may require less resistance, but it increases the time in which our muscles are stressed
- Change the order of our exercise movements – again, this helps to interrupt the adaptation of our bodies to what we are doing
- We may pre-fatigue our muscles – this is the opposite of doing super sets. We may begin with an isolation movement (leg press, for example) and then follow with a squat
- Forced reps – this is simply using a training partner to assist in the final reps we do. I would often do as many heavy bench presses as I could and then have a spotter help by lifting with a finger or two on the reps I could not otherwise do
USE DIFFERENT EQUIPMENT
In a gym setting, we can easily use a different machine or station to work a muscle or muscle group. This is also easy enough to do at home. Many people prefer to do home workouts and even those who go to gyms may benefit from having equipment at home. After several decades of gym workouts, I now like to do my workouts at home before breakfast. A back-up plan is always helpful.
Amazon is an excellent choice for quick delivery of just about any workout device we may need. As an Amazon associate, I may use their links in my posts to provide relevance. I may earn from activity on the links, which has no effect on pricing. Here are a few Amazon workout items to consider. Each link has detailed descriptions and illustrations, as well as prices, reviews and other similar options.
OTHER ITEMS FROM DIFFERENT SOURCES AND CURRENT DISCOUNTS
Bullworker Fitness is able to give us workout equipment to provide both isotonic and isometric modes within the same set of reps.
Check out the Bullworker site at the side of my website. It is a permanent link.
The Total Gym is a proven workout device for both cardio and resistance training.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is now offering special discounts for Mother’s Day (see my recent post) or see my permanent link at the side of my website.
Goli Nutrition currently has many interesting specials on their gummies. Note the reduced prices.
How often we should make changes in our workout program has no definitive, all-embracing answer as it turns out. I can easily recognize when I experience burnout. It shows up in lack of energy or enthusiasm.
It seems to me that we can become stale in many endeavors other than workouts if we don’t make periodic changes. It’s helpful to visit new places, meet new people, read new books and otherwise have new experiences. It’s refreshing!
Let’s try our best to avoid complacency. It can become quite easy to continue doing what we’ve always done. But change is generally stimulating!
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, email@example.com.
Let’s all enjoy the beautiful spring weather!