If you are anything like me, you know how easy it is to sink into that workout routine. One week that awesome arm workout has you looking pumped and the next week, you feel flat after the same workout! What the heck! How is it fair to finally find a solid workout that gives you results and have it taken away immediately?
It stems from a principle called general muscle adaptation. Simply put, whatever exercise you do, your muscles begin to adapt to it in order to avoid the stress and injury that occurred during the previous exercise session. It is your body’s way of making life a little easier. This seems nice unless you are looking to get stronger or develop increases in cardiovascular fitness! Exercise becomes this game of one-upmanship with your body in order to see the changes you are looking for.
One great way to mix up your workouts is to change up the time in between exercises, sets, and circuits. Your muscles and body will actually get very good at recovering in a certain amount of time. By changing how long you perform or the rest time between sets, you will feel that burn from progression in exercise.
Another method is to change the way you perform your reps entirely. One method that I personally use often is Tabatas. This is a method of repetitions by time. It is split into 30 second rounds where the exerciser is doing as many repetitions as they can for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds. Adding this to a set of lateral shoulder raises for 8 rounds or about 4 minutes will make this exercise feel brand new to your body.
The last method that is a quick and easy change is the weight you are using. Just like your muscles can adapt to timing, they can also adapt to the weight you use. Spend one week exercising with a 5-10% increase in weight with a slight decrease in reps and it will be enough to shock your muscles into growth and efficiency!
This is a tough concept to apply because it is easy to get stuck in a routine. The only way to keep the gains constant is to mix up your workout every few weeks or every month. Not only does this encourage growth, but it keeps the workouts fun and interesting!
By: James Mingle