I, Larry Weltmanwill be the first to admit that it’s boring doing the same thing over and over. So when it’s something as important as working out,
We need to find ways to mix it up. Don’t become a creature of habit!
Not only will mixing up your weight training get you out of the doldrums but it’ll also get you out of that rut that comes when your body gets ‘used’ to its workout. We reach a kind of plateau when our body is no longer challenged by our training regime, when our muscles are no longer taxed. This won’t happen if you change up your weight training.
It’s not hard to mix up weight training routines. There are so many variables: how much weight you use, which exercises you employ, how many reps, how often the workouts are, that there are lots of ways to change it up. Here are a few ideas.
First, figure out your goals. What are you trying to achieve with your strength training workouts?
Once you know this, consider whether all the muscles are being tended to. Often we are so focussed on one area that we neglect other muscle groups. So a focus on arms and chest could mean that we’re neglecting shoulders and abdominals. In the long run, this will pull us out of balance and might even ending up creating problems. Balance is really critical: keep this in mind while you move between various weight training routines.
Change up Your Exercises
Not only does your body get tired of the same old moves, but so does your brain. Our brains get used to the same motions to the point where the exercise isn’t so effective anymore. It’s one of the reasons we hit the plateau where muscle growth slows. Changing it up helps both mind and muscle. Changing up exercises also ensures that we don’t neglect any muscle groups. Read up a lot to find new and varied exercises. You will be very pleasantly surprised that moving away from one exercise for a period time and going to another one, how much you will improve when you come back to that exercise.
Change up Your Sets
Try adding a set or two to give your body an added challenge. Always remember that the muscles have to be pushed to their edge in order to stress them. Adding a set can be just the way to see if you’ve been pushing the muscle hard enough or not.
Add drop sets, and rest pause sets for an extra challenge. Super set training is another great way to mix it up.
Recent recommendations suggest:
For building strength: between 1-6 sets of 8-12 reps each
For muscular endurance: between 1-3 sets of 12-20 reps each
For maximum power, strength and size : between 1-5 sets of 1-8 reps each
Make sure to add sets into your routine slowly, giving your body a chance to adapt.
Change up Your Frequency
How many times a week you are doing weight training depends on your goals and whether you alternate upper and lower workouts or do a total body routine. Consider reversing what you currently do, but remember to take rest days. Or consider changing for a few months to a total body workout in one session – do 5 to 7 exercises in your routine mixing up body parts.
Changing from a full body routine to an alteration of upper and lower body days will allow you more focus on individual muscle groups. Changing from a split routine to a full body one will allow you a way to work out fewer days in the week and probably less time in the Gym
Change up Your Method of Training
I really only advise this one for people who are fairly experienced with weight training because changing the format of your workouts can be drastic.
Things like pyramid training, dropping sets, doing super sets, moving to eccentric or super slow training need to be approached with caution. So, if you don’t know what we’re talking about with that last list, don’t attempt making this change just yet!
Lastly, keep in mind that all these variables are all related, so keep it simple and go easy so that nothing gets out of balance and so you avoid injury.
Take off for a while
Yes taking off a week may be just what you need! I, Larry Weltman, give you my full permission to take a week-long break sometimes. One week off will give your body a great rest. You will not fall behind. In fact you will come back stronger.
Change your gym
Sometimes a new place with different equipment and a fresh environment can motivate you big time.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and for general information. The author rakes no responsibility for any damages of any kind incurred or suffered as a result of the use or reliance on his views expressed in this article. Readers should consult with a professional fitness trainer and medical adviser before starting or changing any fitness program.