If you want to know the most important factor to achieve any goal you want and to make consistent results it´s variation.
There´s not a perfect workout or a program you can follow for months and months, your body adapts to everything you need to keep changing things and challenging yourself for your body to respond.
The time you´ve been training determines how long can you stay with the same routine, if you are starting your focus most be learning the exercises and movements until you feel comfortable increasing weight, the more trained you are the more you need to change and vary your workouts, someone who has been training for 15 years or more may need to change every week.
To add variation to your workouts you can use the training variables we´ve been talking about which are volume, frequency, intensity, rep ranges, progressive overload and the exercises. This all are options you can play with on your workouts to keep your body guessing.
You can also use some advance techniques like supersets, giant sets, circuit training which we are going to talk about in future posts. This technique are great to help you add variation and you can combine both the training variables with some advance technique according to your goals.
How you add variation to your program depends on many factors, where are you training, how much time per day you have to exercise, how many days a week can you workout, the equipment you have.
There are some fitness experts and people on the industry that don´t consider variation to be necessary and they stick with the same program for months or years, this is what I think. If you want to look different, if you want to get different results you need to add variation, staying with the same goal for months or years don´t motivate you enough to exercise. You can follow the same program for 6 or 8 months and get results if you are progressing, progressive overload will give you results as long as you continue challenging your body.
Variation is necessary not only to get consistent results also to add variety, avoid adaptation and keep your workouts interesting and fun.
The easiest way to add variation to your program is to change reps ranges, if you are a beginner lifting on the 12 – 15 reps until you feel comfortable with the exercises and from there keep increasing weight until you hit the 5 – 8 reps. If you are more advanced I recommend lifting in the 5 – 8 reps to build dense hard muscle for 4 to 6 weeks or even 8 weeks and then work in the 10 – 12 reps to use more isolation exercises and hit weaker muscles.
You can focus on power for some weeks working on the 1 – 4 reps, you can even lift lighter weight for higher reps like choosing to exercise per muscle group and do 50 reps you´ll be working on endurance and it can also help you build muscle.
If your goal is to gain muscle as fast as possible you add variation playing with the volume and frequency of your workouts, increase the volume of your workout for 6 weeks and the next 6 weeks divide that volume into to add frequency.
Progressive overload is a most you need to progress at every workout, lift more weight, do one more rep or one more set. This journey never ends it´s all about changing you goals and being better than you where yesterday.
The best strategy you can use is to use some advance techniques like supersets when your goal is fat loss, work on the 5 rep range for bodyweight and compound movements and 12 reps for isolation exercises you can add HIIT to lose fat faster and for muscle gains stick with straight sets, work on 6 – 8 reps.
Another great way to add variation is to change exercises, you can stick for 4 weeks with compound movements and then change to bodyweight for another 3 to 4 weeks. You can also change the equipment you are using, if you´ve been using barbells change to dumbbells.
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