I know, because I’ve been there. Except I go to the opposite extreme like spinning four times a week, with weight lifting and running in between those days, and pushing myself so hard that I burn my own body out causing fatigue in which my body feeds on my muscle instead of the fat. Trust me… I’ve tried everything to bust through a plateau. By the one thing that everyone says to me is, “Have you changed your routine lately?”
This is a very important question, because changing up your workout routine is beneficial in seeing results. It is what is also called “muscle confusion”. You want to always keep the body guessing. Never let it know what is coming next, never let it adapt!
There are articles out there that range from changing your workout up as early as 3 week to as late as 12 weeks. I recommend (along with many others) changing it up every 4-8 weeks.
Here are just a few ways you can go about mixing things up:
- Change your rep/set range. If you were previously performing 3 set of 10-15 reps, try doing 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
- Increase Weight. Increase the weight from what you normally lift and decrease the reps
- Alternate your grips/stances. Try switching to a more narrow stance when doing squats, or reverse your hand position when performing lat pulldowns.
- Switch to barbells/dumbbells. Use dumbbells for the bench press instead of the barbell, or try barbell bent-over rows instead of dumbells.
- Switch to free weights. Instead of using the machines try using free weights (barbells and dumbbells). Even the cable machines are great!
- Reduce/add time to rest periods. Take only 30 seconds in between sets to recuperate, or take an extra minute longer than you have been.
- Interval Train. Try sprinting for a minute in between 5 minutes of a regular pace jog or run.
- Same muscle – different exercise. Instead of doing the chest press or bench press, try doing regular pushups.
- Change Machines. Get off the elliptical and run on the treadmill or ride a bike.
- Motivation. Find something that keeps you motivated. Weather it be a workout partner, “goal” clothing, or even a good iPod music mix. Motivation is KEY!
There are many websites out there that can help you find an alternative exercise for the same muscle group. I even found some that we'll map out your whole workout routine for you. And you can always ask me questions on exercises. If I can't find pictures or a good explanation on how to do something I will take a picture or video for you. Just let me know!
Just keep your body guessing!
My Gettin' Fine in '09 Challenge is Posted directly below this!