When working out, it’s very easy to fall into a routine and continue to do repetitive exercises. Although the “routine” exercise is better than nothing you could be limiting the effectiveness of the workout. Why? you ask…muscle memory…yep, simple as that. Just like us, the more we do something, the better we become at it. It’s the same thing with our muscles. Over time your muscles will get used to the routine and not respond as much causing results to slow and maybe even stop- “hitting a plateau.” Therefore, switching it up (variation) is very important when working out. Not only does it avoid muscle plateau, but keeps exercise fun and interesting.
Remember, switching it up doesn’t mean to throw your current routine out the door. Nor does it mean to change everything about every workout everytime. It simply means to diversify! For example, if all you like to do is cardio, try to incorporate the following: jumping rope, swimming, cycling, hiking, sprinting, jogging, elliptical, and/or roller-blading.
If you only run, you still can incorporate variation. Here’s a weekly plan:
Day 1: Resistance training- run up hills for 30-45 minutes
Day 2: Interval training-if you have access to a track, you can sprint the straights and jog the curves. If no access to a track, you can sprint for 30 seconds and then jog for 2 minutes for a total of 30-45 minutes.
Day 3: Endurance running- jog 30-45 minutes at a steady pace
Day 4: Sprint-endurance running: similar to gassers or suicides but a longer distance. Mark out 50-55 yards. You start at one end. Sprint the 50-55 yards, touch the ground, sprint back to where you started, touch the ground, and finish at the opposite end of where you started. Each one should be ran in 42-60 seconds with about 30-75 seconds rest in between (depending on fitness level). Repeat 4-6 times
Same goes for strength training. You can do several things to switch it up. For example, change the number of repetitions, change the kinds of sets, or just simply switch the way you hold the weights.
Changing the reps will have different outcomes. To bulk up, do heavier weight and fewer reps. To build definition and build lean muscle, do more reps with lighter weight.
You can also change the kinds of sets. For example, you can do circuits, single sets, super sets or giant sets. Now a description of each:
Circuits: one set of each muscle group.Then repeat each circuit 3 times
Single sets: Do 3-4 sets of same muscle group before moving on to next muscle group.
Super sets: Workout multiple muscle groups in a set, back to back, and with little to no rest in between.
Look to change your grip on the weights as well. It can have a different effect on your muscles. For example, try doing an under-hand grip when doing bench press. Obviously, you want to decrease the weight while still getting a challenging workout.
Bottom line, don’t be afraid to be creative and challenge yourself while doing so. If you go to the gym, don’t be afraid to get outdoors and give yourself some variation. We did it!! JCF Boot Camp…let’s get fit!!