Friday, July 15, 2011

How often should you change your workout routine?

We hear it all the time especially on those weekend infomercials..."This program works because it changes every time you workout" or this is one of my favorites "It works because of muscle confusion".  Well let's be nice and say they have it partly right.  You do need to change your workout routine each time BUT within very narrow guidelines.  The same basic 8-10 exercises can serve you for a lifetime of working out without having any type of plateau.  Quite frankly there just aren't too many productive exercises out there.  Always keep in mind that the effort and intensity are the most important factors in achieving results. 

Here's example of the slight changes that can be made continually see results.  We'll take the exercise of bicep curls:

Day                      Set #1                       Set #2
Monday               60lbs x 9reps          60lbs x 8reps
Wednesday         60lbs x 11reps        55lbs x 10reps
Friday                  65lbs x 10reps        70lbs x 8reps

If you remember from previous posts, when 10 reps of a certain weight are done an increase in the weight used is needed.  Look at the differences from each set of the workouts.  Monday's workout you may keep the weight the same for both sets, Weds you may lighten the weight for the second set, and Friday you raise the weight for the second set.  The body only needs this small change to continually see results.  You could change your workout program each time by raising or lowering the weight on the first or second set depending on how many repetitions are done.  Each time you perform more than 10 reps in a set, increase the weight on your next workout.  Remember, the number of reps is a guideline.  Do as many reps as possible with good form until muscle failure.

In order to fight boredom in your workout program, change the exercises but not until you've reached your strength potential for a particular exercise.  This takes some time.  When it's reached, you could change from doing standing overhead presses with a barbell to using dumbells.  Still keep doing the same basic exercises 8-10 exercises.  This will build the most muscle in the shortest amount of time.