From too much stress to not enough sleep, there are many reasons you might stop seeing results when exercising. One of the most common — and one that’s easily solved by knowing how to change your workout efficiently — is a lack of variety in your fitness routine.
Our bodies need fresh action in order for us to adapt and get stronger, otherwise, all they’re doing is responding to stimuli they’re already accustomed to. But how frequent is too frequent when we talk about switching up our physical activity? Here, we look at how often you should change your workout, the best ways to do it, and the benefits you might see.
The benefits of varying your fitness routine
1 – Prevents overuse injuries
Consistency is a brilliant factor in any workout routine, but too much repetition in movements can lead to injuries. Performing the same exercises again and again won’t allow muscles to recover — mixing up your movements gives them time to heal and grow.
2 – Keeps you motivated
It’s a strain to even get your training shoes on and out the door if you’re bored and unmotivated, let alone finish a workout. Research has shown that motivation to train increases when workouts are varied — something to consider if you’re feeling dull about your daily drill.
3 – Improves strength and performance
If you change your workout frequently, you’ll challenge your body in a range of ways. This leads to more muscle breakdown and recovery (leading to better strength and performance), hitting muscle groups you might have skipped by sticking to the same routine.
So how often should you change your workout?
The frequency at which you change your workout is dependent on your level of fitness and personal goals, but the benchmark figure is between six to eight weeks. This ensures you create a stable consistency before you move on to the next workout routine. Advance too fast and you can’t monitor your progress, but staying the same for a longer period of time can lead to a plateau.
If you’re unsure when the best time to transition to a new routine is, an expert personal trainer can help. At EVO, our personal trainers create customised programs for our members.
For progress to happen, you need structure in your routine. Start by monitoring metrics such as your reps, weight, speed, distance — whatever you’re achieving in your workouts. This can set a solid base to grow from, making it simpler to branch off into new variations of your routine more effectively.
With firm foundations, there are numerous ways you can change your workout, from tweaking the tempo of your routines to varying your rest times. Functional fitness makes it easy to bring in a new routine altogether — try this 30-min functional strength workout for a start, or mix it up with a fun 20-minute pyramid workout.
However, a completely different workout isn’t always necessary. Simply subbing in a few different moves can prevent a workout plateau, such as replacing a push-up with a barbell chest press. Do make sure you’re still targeting similar muscle groups with the varied movements though. For example, swap a lateral lunge for a curtsy squat, rather than with a lateral arm raise: after all, you want to ensure you’re mixing it up without missing any muscles out.