Change, Is It In You?

Variety is the key to any workout program. That is what most bodybuilders will tell you, and of course they are correct. In order to continue your gains you must change your program. Learn why!
Variety is the key to any workout program. That is what most bodybuilders will tell you, and of course they are correct. In order to continue your gains you must change your program so that your body doesn't adapt to what you are doing. People seem to like to get into a "groove" and continue the same workout program over and over day after day. Why do they do this? Because it is easy.

The Key To A Successful Program

The thing is everyone knows that building muscle isn't an easy job. Lifting heavy weights isn't easy, getting to the gym consistently isn't easy so why should your workout program be easy? Change is a key in a successful program. The body learns and quickly adapts to the punishment you put it through. Keep in mind your bodies only goal is to reduce the pain you are causing it by any means necessary. Your body has no desire to build muscle. Muscle requires a lot of effort which isn't necessary as far as your body is concerned. This is why your body disposes of muscles every chance it gets. Don't eat enough food? Fine, the body will eat muscle. Not fat, fat is stored for emergencies, but muscle is fully disposable.

What people don't seem to understand is that there are so many ways of working the muscles. People seem to think that there is one proper way and they are all searching for the "best" workout program. Well they will never find it. What works for one person may not work for the next. And everything works, but nothing works forever. I'm going to speak of a few different methods of training to give people ideas of just how they can change up their routine.

HIT Training

Low volume training or HIT training is popular among many weight-lifters. Many other weight-lifters are afraid to attempt a HIT workout as they believe such low volume is not capable of bringing about results. The testimonials of many who have done HIT workouts say that they build muscle and increase strength much more quickly than anyone doing volume training (to be discussed later). The idea of HIT is to work the entire body quickly and infrequently to avoid overtraining. An example program may be 2 days on and 5 days off. Workout Monday and Thursday, doing as few as 5 total sets for a day. Doing abs both days for only 2 sets. Seem too easy? Even with taking each set to failure the workload seems small.

Advice from people who practice this type of training however leads us to believe that this quick program may be just the change some people need. Overtraining leads to no muscle growth. Under training will also, but if you are going to make a mistake which mistake would you rather make? Train for hours every night and not gain a thing, or train for 30 minutes twice a week and not gain anything? I say give it a try, all you have to lose is an hour a week.

Volume Training

Next on the list is volume training. My method of training sometimes falls closer to volume training. The biggest problem with this type of training is the time required. Volume training can require as much as 20-30 sets for the same body part. It is a very labor-intensive program which is quite exhausting. The benefits of volume training are mental if nothing else. The idea that you are tearing your muscles apart for maximum recovery later is a great feeling. Not being able to drive home because your arms are so exhausted they can't reach the steering wheel is quite an experience as well. Many people however believe that excessive volume training will quickly lead to overtraining. Which is probably true.

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If you volume train frequently you must eat well, sleep past the bare-minimum requirements of sleep, keep alcohol out of your system and basically do anything you can to keep your body in great spirits as you will need the energy for the program. Volume training programs aren't for those who are short on time either as they can take an entire evening to complete. Extremely high volume training should probably be left to the professionals as the average person would probably receive no benefit from doing so many sets.

Full Body Training

Full-Body workouts. Doing full body workouts is another method of training. This would fall closely to HIT training as most people will do low volume for each body part if they are working out every part. Otherwise it could take all night to finish a workout. Being in the gym to long, around 45 minutes to an hour, can start having negative effects on the body so it is a good idea to get in and out as quickly as possible. Doing a full-body workout is a debatable practice. The body parts you do last could suffer as you could be well exhausted by the time to get to them to work them properly. Also if you do full-body workouts too frequently you may experience overtraining.

Most bodybuilders probably fall somewhere in between hit training and volume training. My workout schedule is 2 body parts a day for 9 sets a body part. Pretty much in the middle of the two different methods of training. I find 9 sets gives a great pump without overtraining the body part. And with 2 body parts a day I am not in the gym long enough to experience exhaustion before I complete my workout or before I get to my second body part.

I am usually in the gym for only 30 minutes. Also doing 2 body parts a day gets enough done that I only need to be in the gym 4 times a week. So I almost have as many rest days as workout days to recover from my workouts. Due to a busy work schedule this extra free time is ideal. I'd recommend the same number of sets to anyone who is working out. The key is to switch up the routine every now and then.

My routine changes with my lifestyle. I am always going to or from university so my workout plan changes accordingly. When I'm at school I have my most free time.

During this period I can sleep more and eat more frequently. I also have extra free time to actually spend in the gym. During the school year I switch my workout closer to volume training to take advantage of my extra free time. For visits home I sometimes do HIT training or even full body training of my schedule is very tight. During my visits I am very busy but that doesn't mean I can't spare 30 minutes here and there to keep up with my program.

Plus the change into a new routine shocks my body while I'm doing it and then shocks the muscles again when I return to school and start up my regular volume training again. During the summer I have a moderate amount of free time so I do my usual training of about 9 sets. This falls somewhere in between the other two that I do the rest of the year. Once again its good training and its something my body isn't use to so the muscles must become strong and adapt to the frequent changes.

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Another key is consistency. When I do visit home I continue to workout. Even if the workout changes drastically I still do it. The muscles need stimulus to grow. I have never been much of a fan for taking long periods of time off. I'd rather go to the gym and do a quick intense workout than none at all. The point is to train, no matter how you do it make sure you keep doing it. Everything works, but only for a certain period of time. So if you can't remember the last time you've done something new in a workout its time for a change, your body will thank you for it, in its own nagging, stiff, painful kind of way.

How Often Do You Change Your Workout Routine?
    Every Week
    Every Other Week
    Once A Month
    Once Every 12 Weeks
    Once A Year