Picture the scene…You find an exercise routine that you enjoy and are able to do, it takes time and dedication and begins to help you achieve your goal of weight loss! Initially, you notice that you’re shedding pounds and the exercise routine pays off. However, after a few months, you start to stagnate at the same weight, even if you do the same amount of exercise and you stick to your diet plan! The reason for this is simple and something that isn’t considered by many. With repetition of the same type of workout, your body simply adjusts to the exercise routine and ultimately consumes less energy.
So you should absolutely consider varying your exercise routines for two fundamental reasons. Firstly to prevent the boredom associated with doing the same workout and secondly to avoid reaching a plateau in performance and subsequently results. A plateau is a time where you are no longer progressing in your workouts. Furthermore, if you change up the exercise routine, your body (and mind) will be continually challenged, burning more calories and in turn resulting in more successful weight loss if that is your end goal!
I’d be the first to admit that I have my favorite go to work out style, which is hypertrophy training. Hypertrophy training is a type of strength training to maximize the fastest route to muscle growth. However, I have learnt that stepping out of your comfort zone always proves to be beneficial and recently varying my routines to involve other training styles. I now include some aspects of the ever popular ‘functional training.’ This can help correct bad posture and any muscular imbalances you may have. Furthermore, another benefit of functional training is stability; every session includes flexibility, core stability, balance and strength training to keep your body challenged.
There are several ways you can spice up your current workout routine, one of which is the intensity of your workouts. For instance, if you walk or run, try incorporating some intervals of jogging or sprinting or adding more hill work to your routine. You can also cross train and perform different activities to provide your body with a new challenge. A nice alternative for resistance-training exercises involves changing the sequence in which you perform the exercises. For example, if you perform bench press then a back exercise like a seated row, try during the next set to perform the seated row exercise first? By fatiguing the muscles in a new order, you are requiring them to adapt to a new training style and therefore shocking the muscle into developing further!
Alternating exercises is an effective way to make your routine more fun and interesting. Changing the exercises can be as simple as doing barbell bench press one week and dumbbell bench press the next. Another effective way is changing up the sets & repetition’s you do each week. If muscle growth is the desired goal, then routines with exercises in the 1-3 rep range are not best as this is primarily used for strength training. However, if you always perform 3 sets & 8-12 reps on each muscle group and reach a plateau try doing 4 sets and 6-8 reps.
Personally, I change up my routine every 4-5 weeks. I tend to set certain weeks as low repetition ‘muscle growth’ weeks and other weeks as high intensity high repetition to ‘shock’ my muscles. After 4-5 weeks, I then change up the exercises. I replace primary muscle movements (e.g. barbell shoulder press) with secondary muscle movements (e.g. alternative dumbbell shoulder press). This ensures my muscles adapt and assists with continued development. It’s also put simply far more interesting!
So with all that in mind if any of you need some help in freshening up your gym routine we are all here to help so just stop one of us in the club and ask away!
Yours in training