When to Change Your Workout (DON’T MESS THIS UP!)
When should I change my workout?
Stuck in your own workout groundhog day with the same workout programme you were given on ? Chances are your weight’s no longer falling off, the muscles in the mirror aren’t growing and – most importantly – you’re bored at the prospect of your next workout. A programme that doesn’t change hinders your results and saps your motivation stores. But that doesn't mean you should tinker with sets and reps for the sake of it; there needs to be method behind every moderation. We asked PT Andrew Johnston to explain how and when to upgrade your workout regime.
Sure, you’ve got some star lifts you rely on, but sticking religiously to bench press on chest day and back squats on leg day will only take you so far. You need a full squad of exercises to reach athletic excellence. If you can you do your workout with your eyes closed, your muscles are on autopilot and it’s time to sign up some new lifts.
“Make a list of five possible exercises per body part and change to a new variation every 4 weeks,” says Johnston. “This will go a long way towards helping you make constant progress.” Rotate your barbells with dumbbells, your inclines with declines – adapting it to each of your major lifts – to make the most of every month. For example, taking the bench press as your move requiring variation:
Month 1: Barbell bench press
Month 2: Alternate single arm standing cable chest press
Month 3: Decline bench press
Month 4: Dumbbell bench press
Month 5: Wide-grip bench press
The spice of life
Varying your lifts on a monthly basis is only the first step to ensuring you get the best results. Upgrade your sessions further by implementing changes to your workout's intensity on a daily basis. “Alternating intensities are very effective at keeping your programme fresh,” says Johnston. “You can't operate at the same level week on week and not expect to hit a brick wall.”
But be warned: intensity doesn’t mean how much effort you put into your training – you still need to be sweating buckets and gasping for breath, no excuses. Rather it means the percentage of your 1 rep max (1RM) you lift at. For example, a high intensity workout for strength and power involves pushing yourself at 85-100% 1RM; medium intensity means hypertrophy training at 70-85% 1RM; and low intensity focuses on endurance training at 50-70% 1RM.
Training your body throughout a spectrum of intensities every week means you keep your muscles guessing; working out in different ways to burn more fat and build more muscle. Design your week's workouts around the intensity routine below and you'll supercharge your progression like never before.
Video: WHEN TO CHANGE WORKOUT PROGRAMS
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