Why And When To Shake Up Your Workout Routine

If you’re serious about getting results from your workouts, knowing how to avoid training plateaus is key. Some people switch up their routine way too much, and others do the same thing every single time they hit the gym.

Aside from running the risk of becoming bored or disengaged with your workouts, it’s important to change up your training routine so that your body can respond and continue to make gains. Follow these simple guidelines to make sure your getting results:

When should I change my workout routine?

*This varies on the individual, the routine, and your training split, but every 4 to 6 workouts generally works great (or every 3 to 4 weeks for most people). Example: If you are rotating between 3 workouts (chest/back, lower, and shoulders/arms) but are working out 4 times a week, it will take you 3 weeks to complete each workout 4 times. If you are a beginner and doing the same full body workout 3 times a week, switch it up after 2 weeks (or 6 workouts total). Start with your goal and work backwards to ensure you have the best routine for you.

How do I know when it’s time to switch things up?

*When you aren’t getting results. If you’ve been feeling stuck with a strength or fat loss plateau, seek out the help of a qualified coach or trainer to educate you on what needs to be done to break through.

*When you change your goal. It sounds simple yet so many people think they can get different results doing the same thing they have always done. If you want to achieve something different, there is a pretty good chance you need a new plan.

*If you don’t enjoy it. I don’t expect clients to love every bit of their workout routine but there definitely needs to be some buy in from them. It’s important that you are aligned with your plan and engaged with the entire process. If you show up at the gym complaining about your workout or you feel like you are dragging yourself to get it done, it’s probably time to explore a program that is more aligned with your values and current situation.

What are some ways I can change up my workout routine?

*Change the tempo. Most people neglect this very important component of any workout plan yet it is crucial in determining your training outcome. If this concept is new to you, try doing 10 chin-ups with a 1-second eccentric/negative vs. 10 chin-ups with a 6-second eccentric/negative. I’m confident that you will notice the difference ;)

*Change the exercises (or number of exercises per workout). There are so many ways we can target the same muscle group. Don’t get too carried away with this one though; some of my favourite workouts contain only 4 exercises. It’s important to understand the basics of good strength training. Yes please to squats, deadlifts, and presses… but no tricep kickbacks or bosu ball one arm biceps curls while you balance with the other leg.

*Change your grip or toe angle. Explore different grips (neutral, supine, pronated) to target different areas of the body; you can also change your toe angle in hamstring curls, squats, and posterior chain exercises to target different areas of the body.

*Bump the volume or intensity. Make sure you are pushing yourself on a regular basis; your last rep should not be easy (if you are carrying on a conversation while lifting, you are not working out hard enough).

*Change the sets and/or rep range. Play around with different rep ranges and increase your total number of sets to mix things up.

*Change the frequency. Switch up the days that you train or do some full body workouts if you have been doing all split training. You do not need to designate one day of the week for leg day forever.

*Try something you’ve been avoiding. If you’ve been reluctant to incorporate interval training into your workout routine, start with 1 day a week. If you are scared to tackle dead lifts, hire a coach or trainer to teach you. Don’t miss out on great results because you are in the habit of following the same old routine for months, or even years.

Related podcasts:

Why Strength Training Over Cardio

Interval Training

Helen Marie Fox is a health and performance coach who has helped hundreds of individuals and groups perform at their best. Her strategic approach to goal achievement leaves people armed with the knowledge, skills and essential mindset required to create change. Read more


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