Ever notice that some people always seem to be training the same way. Does it seem like they ever make any new gains or do they always look about the same? Did this just describe you?
It happens to all of us. Generally speaking most people are creatures of habit. When you find a plan that you like sometimes you don’t see a reason to switch. Maybe your schedule works best around working out on certain days. Perhaps a 4-day training split just seems more natural to you. That is perfectly fine if you are consistently making solid gains.
But what if you aren’t?
That means you might have fallen into the trap of letting your training routine hold you back.
The Muscle Confusion Principle
One of the classic Weider Bodybuilding Training System Principles is the Muscle Confusion principle. Simply put you need variety to keep your muscles guess and your body adapting. Of course that is the exact opposite of most of us who like our consistent plans. Today is Monday so that means Chest and Triceps. We always start with bench press and then go on to incline flyes. But after doing that for so many weeks your body is ready and very used to the workload.
Yes you might push it very hard during your session and maybe ramp of the intensity with drop-sets or something else. But if that is what you always do then your body is used to that type of strain as well.
The classic saying, “Everything works some of the time, but nothing works all of the time,” is truer in fitness than any other arena. That is why we have so many types of routines available. They all work in one fashion or another. Some will work better for some people compared to others. But that is because we are all built slightly differently.
Getting Over It
The first step is to admit you have a problem. Well, it’s not really a problem but more of a challenge. You need to find different routines to enjoy that will produce results. That is not to say that you can’t keep using this program because you can. But ideally you should cycle between programs to keep each one fresh and your body guessing.
Plus it is always exciting, at least to me, when you start a fresh program. There usually is a bit of excitement and added enthusiasm for trying different mixes of workout days and exercises.
Starting a Cycle
For some really great variety I recommend finding 3 to 4 programs you really like. They can be similar or completely different. Start off with whatever excites you. Then use those programs to create your own training cycles.
Start things off by taking anywhere from 3 to 7 days off from training. This rest period gives you a chance to recharge your physical and mental batteries. Next pick a new routine and do it for the next 4 to 8 weeks. It should be at least 4 weeks (or 6) to really get a good groove going. But once you hit the 8 week period it is time to call it quits. Then simply take another rest period of a week before starting another program.
The rest period is important for recovery. But it also gives you a chance to review the new program and adjust your schedule. Then you can also look back at the old program and check your gains. Really the off time is also like a bit of ‘fitness maintenance’.
Break out of the rut and cycle yourself into some nice new gains!
Ben Sanderson is a fitness trainer and author for Nutribomb.com where our goal is to provide the best bodybuilding and fitness information available.