What Do I Do To Change My Workout? And When?
We learnt in the last post here that the body adapts to exercise: the more exercise that you do, the better and more efficient the body becomes in coping with the demands of that exercise. All levels of your body become fitter too, so at the cellular level; neurologically; and cardiovascularly: your body improves its ability to perform that style of workout. In essence, the exercise becomes easier for your body to do, and it takes less energy to do it. This is becoming FITTER!
When you switch up your workout:
By changing the order/ weight/ duration/ intensity/ time, or by doing a completely new exercise, you shock the muscle into adapting in a new way. A muscle needs to be challenged to be changed.
How to change your workout:
To change your workout, consider what it is that you have been aiming to achieve, as this will help to guide the changes that you make.
Do you want to get faster? Then why not try interval running; sprint sessions and perhaps some hill work? This can be mixed with days where you run the same distance with no break.
Do you aim to get stronger? Why not change the number of repetitions/ the weight/ the rest period duration?
Here are some quick ways to switch it up yourself:
1. Superset your weights – Take no rest between one exercise and the next.
2. Change the tempo – Lower the weight slowly and lift fast/or vice versa.
3. Drop sets – Keep going with a weight until you can no longer perform a full repetition, then grab a lighter weight and continue with no break. Keep going until you reach the end of the stack of weights!
4. Change the order by doing the last exercise first, for example.
5. Add just one new exercise – see bodybuilding.com (or similar) for their exercise database.
6. Perform your exercises in a circuit and do each for a set duration of time instead of repetitions.
When to change: It will usually take about 4-6 weeks for your body to completely adjust to a new program under normal circumstances. Using the above techniques can keep the body guessing and continue to produce more results without having to reinvent the (workout) wheel. After 6 weeks of a program, I usually have one week where I de-load (or pull back a little on the exercise sessions), before I commit to a completely new program. This allows the body to completely recuperate before a massively new regime.
Remember, to progress and keep reaping the rewards of your fitness efforts, the body and muscles need to continually be challenged. If you do not change anything, nothing changes!