Last week we discussed the importance of changing your routine to shock your body to get better cardio results. This week we want to extend the concept to strenght training.
Many of us have at some point fallen into a routine where we go to the gym on a regular basis and do the same exercises, hitting the same body parts, all with the same number of sets and reps. The only thing that changed was the amount of weight we used, but even that probably plateued at some point. That's because as our bodies acclimate to a situation, even a strenous one, we stop responding to it as much.
The key is to constantly introduce variety into your exercise sessions. Here are a few ways of effectively doing so:
1 - Change the days you target specific body parts: If last week you did an upper body workout on Monday, this week start with legs.
2 - Change the order of exercises: If you are used to doing isolation exercises followed by compound ones, try them in reverse order.
3 - Change the composition of sets and reps: If you normally do 4 sets of 10 reps, try doing 3 sets of 20. You might have to reduce the weight to get more reps, but there is nothing wrong with that. Muscle endurance is just as important as muscle strength.
4 - Introduce variations of a specific exercise: Instead of just doing pushups on chest day, try doing pushups one week, then pushups on a medicine ball another, then pushups on a bosu .
5 - Take a week off: We've discussed the importance of rest before. You might be surprised as to how much progress you can make if you take some time off and then return and have a big workout.
Lastly, we'd like to let you in on a little secret. Every year some new fancy workout comes around that scores of people swear by because they saw very quick results. Although the workout itself might be great, a large portion of the benefits its latest adoptees are seeing are simply because it got them to change their routine.