It’s quite a familiar scene. You scan in at the gym front desk, drop your stuff in the locker room, and head to the same workout bench with the same Drake-fuelled playlist so that you can do the same three sets which you did on chest day last week.
Don’t get us wrong, a consistent weight training routine is one of the best habits which you can have. However, when you lock into the same old thing week in and week out, you set yourself up to plateau, burn out, or just give up your weight training routine altogether.
If you’ve ever engaged in weight lifting, you’ve possibly heard of the feared plateau — that is, the moment which your body stops getting stronger or losing fat as it’s adapted so well to your workouts.
Adaptation is a good thing because it means you’ve been working consistently. In addition, it means that your body is stronger and able to handle your workouts. The bad side is that you’re probably likely to hit a plateau, which is a situation you can avoid by changing your workouts regularly.
Own The “Big Four”
The squat, deadlift, bench press as well as shoulder press are the best weight training exercises – period. The chin-up and row are great moves as well, however, don’t make them the focus of your workout. They can be assistance lifts to complement the bench and shoulder press, keeping your pulling muscles in balance with the pressing ones.
Change Up Your Frequency
How often you lift weights depends upon the type of training that you’re doing. If you’re following a total body programme, you’ll need at least a day of rest between workouts. For this reason, you may lift two or three times every single week. If you’re doing a split routine and lifting weights for different muscles on alternate days, you could lift four or more times a week.
Changing how frequently you exercise will change the format of your workouts, pushing you past your plateau. Here are some ideas:
- Mix it up. You don’t need to do one or the other. Try a total body workout on one day and then an upper body workout – as well as a lower body workout – later in the week so you can keep things interesting.
- Try a split routine. Going from total body training to split workouts will give you the opportunity you to do more exercises and also focus more on each and every single muscle group. Some examples include the following:
- Switching up upper body with lower body workouts, alternating push exercises and pull exercises, or merely working opposing muscle groups on different days.
- Try out a total body programme. If you’ve been doing a split routine, going back to total body training can be refreshing as well as a great way to lighten up on your training schedule for a week or two.
Remember that you don’t want to work the same muscles two days in a row, so set up your schedule so that you always include at least one day of rest.
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