We are staunch advocates of healthy and active lifestyles, and we’ll never pass up the opportunity to welcome someone wholeheartedly into the world of fitness. However, an alarming trend is picking up steam, and it’s people sticking to one routine, never changing, and expecting to see the same results as when they first started. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with loving a specific exercise, but getting too comfy with it can mean fewer results!
You see, much like how we get efficient at doing our work and get our responsibilities done much faster than we first began, the body also adapts to repeated exercises. It finds ways to be more efficient, use much less energy, and not require you to put in the same amount of effort. So, today we’ll be learning the significance of changing up your workout and how you can keep things fresh.
But, I Still See Progress?
Now, for most beginners and newbie gym-goers, trying out different exercises and changing up your routine now and then isn’t the best advice. As beginners, you should be focusing on your compound movements like squats, bench press, and deadlifts. So, don’t be too worried about introducing too much exercise variation because building a strong foundation is more important. But, for the veterans and active athletes, here’s how you can overcome your plateau:
#1 Increasing the Intensity and Resistance
One of the simplest ways of keeping things fresh is by increasing the intensity of your workouts and adding more resistance. You want to continually challenge your body, encourage it to bust out all the stops, and maintain progressive overload. As a result, you can expect significant changes in muscle strength, size, and endurance.
- Adding More Weight: There’s a reason why weight training is popular; (1) it challenges the body, and (2) all you need is to add more weight to make your body feel like a beginner again. So, if you ever feel like your leg workouts don’t get you the same level of pump and satisfaction, you might want to increase the overall volume. The same principle applies to bodyweight training; introducing resistance bands, and a bit of weight can go a long way to challenge your body.
- Rep Tempo: Apart from weight, changing the rep tempo can also increase the intensity of your exercises and might even demand more from your body. From fast-paced but safe movements with heavier weight to slower and more controlled movements with lighter weight, you’ll find these both equally challenging and exhausting to do.
#2 Moving to Advance Movements
Once you’ve built a strong foundation with the basic compound exercises, you’ll start seeing a plateau in your gains as less-focused muscle groups start lagging and require your attention. At this stage, it’s time you move onto more advanced movements or maybe even address some of the simpler exercises that you’ve intentionally skipped on your fitness journey. Remember to stick to complex routines that you can accomplish because you don’t want to put your body in harm’s way.
- The Body Adapts: As we’ve mentioned before, the body will learn to adapt to the basic compound movements and any repeated exercises, and a great way to overcome this is by taking on some challenges. If it’s your core that you want to burn out, then maybe go back to your roots and try a 4-week plank challenge. There are plenty of exercise communities that openly share their programs, so don’t shy away from other people’s advice!
- Exercise Variation: Exercise variation is simple. You’ll want to switch out your usual exercise for something that still tackles the same muscle group but in a new motion. You could try the many dumbbell variations out there, or maybe even get a slice of the pie of kettlebell swings and their total-body workouts.
#3 Overdone vs. Not Enough
Of course, while changing up your exercises is all done in the name of effective weight reduction and achieving your body goals, you must find the middle ground. You don’t want to overdo things and have a brand-new workout every single day, and you don’t want to take a year before trying something new. Keep it a modest rate of every four to six weeks, and you’re good.
- Don’t Forget the Compound Exercises: Now, while we did say that compound exercises serve as the foundation, we never said to forget them. So, don’t put them on the back burner because they’re still the most effective movements that hit multiple muscle groups.
- Cardio Doesn’t Get a Pass: All of the principles mentioned above also applies to cardio, so don’t go thinking that a 20-minute jog after your workouts will do you well forever. Practice your sprints, try some hill runs, and keep your cardio fresh too.
Challenge Yourself. Surpass Your Limits.
The body is a beautiful vessel capable of so many things, and being creative with your workouts is but one of the many aspects that make it unique. So, introduce a bit of change into your workout routines, challenge yourself, and surpass your limits.