My definition of this condition is "taxation without representation". This occurs when we train in vain. We don't push ourselves to stimulate new growth or realize new gains. It's easy to fall into this trap.
Training In Vain
Why? Well, think about it. Anything that becomes "routine", by default, implies very little thought is needed. We subject ourselves to this condition when we say things like "my workout routine". The problem here is "routine". We fail to "think" about pushing ourselves to exceed what we did yesterday. This usually results in very little (if any) progress at all. So, what is the answer? How do you change your direction? Use the term "Taxation with Representation" when describing what you plan to do at the gym next time. What does this mean?
This means that each set of every exercise should be performed with maximum focus and intensity. Be warned. This does not mean perform each set to failure.
To "represent" oneself by taxing the muscle being worked simply means exerting maximum effort when performing each set beyond your warm-up set(s). You may ask, "How do you gauge maximum effort". It's different for all of us but as a general rule of thumb you must be able to perform at least 5 reps with full control. The final rep should be the most difficult and I personally ensure I complete the rep with a 2-4 second ascent. Again, full control is mandatory! Another alternative is using pre-exhaustion techniques. This again is simple. An example might be performing a set of cable flys then performing a set of flat bench press.
This ensures maximum chest fiber invocation and is the key to stimulating new growth. Again, control the movements always. Other ways to represent by taxing yourself is to totally re-order your workout. If you feel sluggish and aren't motivated when you arrive to the gym, simple make an executive decision and deem that day as an "iron blitzkrieg" or a quick and surprising war against the iron.
I use this method to effectively turnaround an otherwise thoughtless and unmotivated training session. It has been my secret weapon that I use only we I must and it comes in handy about once a month. There are several types. One could be changing your "routine", by performing all exercises in reverse order. Another could be performing a full body workout and cycling through each part for 3 to 4 complete cycles.
100 Rep Sets
Another might be doing interval cardio followed by weight training using full body or reverse order techniques previously described. Of course, giant, super and drop sets also can be used as a means to "represent". Although my personal favorite of all times is the 100 rep set! The 100 rep set will raise you practically from the dead.
It is simply performing 100 reps for one (or if necessary more) continuous set(s) for each major muscle group. I like to execute this for my delts, quads, back, and chest (in this order). For delts, I use overhead dumbbell press. For quads, I use the leg press. For back, I like the Hi or Lo Row. For chest, I use the flat bench press. I try to select a starting weight that I can perform half (50 reps) of my goal.
If necessary, I will drop weight, as needed, until all reps are performed non stop. The goal here is not to exceed your personal limits! If you decide to try this, don't be afraid to stop, rack the weight, drop the weight, stretch/flex, and begin again. I know I do. I never recommend exceeding personal limits. This could ultimately lead to injuries.
Also, I never recommend performing 100 rep sets using exercises that have a higher potential for injuries such as, squats. As you can imagine, 100 reps of anything will fatigue your total body and will have a definite impact on your balance and stability. Doing squats (in a traditional sense) requires balance and stablity when not fatigued! A final method to represent is to find a different means to exercise. Personally, I like to swim. As a youth, I competed as a member of an area swim team.
At the time, I did not realize how swimming made me faster, more agile, and stronger than many of the other students in my class. These benefits and more worked to my advantage and I was too young to even realize it!
I now use swimming as a means to achieve a higher level of conditioning with out the risk to my joints and tendons that can result from using traditional cardio equipment or running. Now it's up to you. Will you find "Taxation with Representation". I believe you will!
Thanks for reading and see you soon!