If you repeat the same workout or training program over and over, you have likely seen your results stall. It’s important to switch things up occasionally, especially if progress has stalled.
While the strategies listed below will make your workout more challenging, it is important to note that working harder isn’t always better. The goal of your training should be making progress, not some superficial “feeling” of hard work.
If you are making solid gains on your program and haven’t been on it long, you can continue on your current program. But if you are looking for a new challenge or to inject some variety, here are a few ways.
- Increase Resistance – Perhaps the easiest way to change up your program is to increase the resistance. This doesn’t have to be a massive increase, sometimes 5 or 10 pounds is enough to overload your system and continue pushing yourself forward.
- Vary the exercises – Sticking with the same exercises can certainly stall your progress and make it difficult to improve that exercise. Varying the exercises can be minor, like switching from flat bench press to incline bench press, or more extreme, like switching from lunges to a plyometric jump.
- Decrease rest periods – If you are a strength athlete, this might not be the best option for you. But for trying to improve overall fitness, you can try to have shorter rest periods while maintaining your sets, reps, and weight.
- Slow eccentrics – Eccentrics, or the negative part of a lift, are usually viewed as the easier part of a lift. All things being equal, the eccentrics are actually more challenging for your body. We just don’t realize this, because we are stronger eccentrically than concentrically. By focusing on slow eccentrics – 5+ seconds lowering the weight – you can really work your muscles. Be careful with these if you haven’t tried them before, as eccentrics can take extra time to recover from.
- Supersets – This consists of performing 2 exercises back-to-back and only resting after you have completed a set of each. This works really well with exercises that work antagonist muscle groups. One example is doing bench press followed by pull-ups. This way you can your pressing muscles can recover while doing your pull-ups and vice versa. You would take a break after the pull-ups before performing your next set.
There are plenty of other ways to vary up your training. Do you have a favorite that you prefer?