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Workout Progression | How Often Should You Change Your Exercise Routine?

Writer and expert8 years ago
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Luke Teuma | UK Personal Trainer

We all get into a habit of doing the same workouts, with the same exercises, sets, reps and weight.

This is a big reason why we plateau, the human body loves patterns as it becomes comfortable and familiar doing the same thing. But in terms of progressing with your workouts, sticking to a pattern for too long could actually cause disaster!

How often should you change your workouts?

The answer to this question is IT DEPENDS, it depends on the person, how your body is currently reacting to your workout and how you feel doing your workout.

I don’t personally believe there is a specific time frame when you should ideally change your workouts, but it is important to do so.

The best way to know when you should change your workouts is pay attention to your body.

3 Signs It's Time To Change Your Workout Routine


These key factors are all so important to determining how you’re body is reacting to your current training regime.

Not Making Progress? | How Often Should You Change Your Workout Routine?

#1 If your body isn't changing

This one is obvious, if you’ve been sticking to the same routine for 2 months, made some progress but now your body doesn’t seem to be changing at all, this is a good indication you need to change your workout regime.

#2 Are you struggling to lift more?

If you've been stuck on the same weights for a while you may need to change some of your workout variables in order to push past this barrier! Different training systems allow your body to break out of your comfort zone on exercises you usually perform in order to add more difficulty.

#3 Are you bored?

This is especially important because it's all to do with your mindset. If you're bored, there's no healthy aggression or hunger to push your body to its limits!

Every time you're about to train, you should enter the gym with a positive mentality, thinking about your aims, goals and expectations.

Always remember: where the mind goes, the body follows.

How can you change your workouts?

Here are the best variables to change the way your workouts affect your body!

Not Making Progress? | How Often Should You Change Your Workout Routine?

? Tempo

Changing tempo within exercises is a great way to suprise your body with more load as it will change the amount of time under tension.

This is extremely important as this can determine how much load the muscles have to deal with during an exercise, and that determines how effective the movement is.

? Rest periods 

Certain rest periods will need to be different depending on what type of goal and weights you're using.

For example: Higher rest for heavier movements. Changing this variable will determine how much time your body has to recover during sets, potentially making it work harder!

? Sets 

Same old sets all the time? Add more volume to your workouts to make your body work longer than usual.

? Reps

Different rep ranges help with different goals, typically lower reps will be for a heavier weight, higher rep ranges will be for a lighter weight.

Change these up to see how they feel during your workout.

? Weight

Push the boundaries! Don't keep going for the same dumbbells, the same plates on the bar, do something outside your comfort zone to again push progress and make your body work harder.

On the other hand, if you always go heavy, go lighter and increase your time under tension to see how the body copes.

? Training systems

Doing 4 sets of 10 or 5 sets of 5 aren't always the best approaches to achieve gym goals. Whether it be negative training, drop sets, or even partial rep training, it's essential to push the body further than usual or particular exercises.

Look into new training systems to make your sessions more exciting even if it's with the same exercises.

Workout Progression | How Often Should You Change Your Exercise Routine?


Changing these variables can really give your body something new to deal with and help you stay on track with your goals.

Even if were to do the same exercises for 5 months, as long as you changed some of these variables, your muscles wont get used to working with the same load, therefore you can do what movements you're comfortable doing, but changing how your body has to react to it.

Can you switch up your workouts too much?

Indeed you can! If you are trying get stronger on your squat doing a heavier weight and lower rep range, then 2 weeks later you then move on to a higher rep range and lighter weight, your body won't have enough time to build up the adequate amount of strength in that period of time.

This is why it's so important to set goals, if you aim for a particular weight for a personal best, you can continue with your strength plan until you hit that target and then change a variable within your workout to make sure you don't plateau.

Take home message

Set your goals to determine how long you should spend on your exercise plan before you change it. Use different variables to change your bodies normal training patterns and to push you out of your comfort zone.

Use your own body to determine to you personally when you should change your workouts and simply keep pushing the boundaries, and keep progressing!

Workout Progression | How Often Should You Change Your Exercise Routine?

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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

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