Time to Change It Up
For many of you out there, you’ve probably been doing the same weight training routine for some time now. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine that you’ve grown comfortable with. Many people are less than enthusiastic about starting some new. Starting something new usually requires more work and effort than sticking with what you’ve been doing. Get over it. What’s the point in working out if you are making progress at the pace of a snail? You workout to add muscle and continually develop your body; try something new and get going.
We’ve got something good for you that is sure to bring some newfound soreness back to your muscles. It’s a very simply program that would be best utilized for 8-12 weeks. The fundamentals are very straight forward; push movements on one day, pull movements on the next, legs/abs on the following. A three-week cycle would look something like this:
- push/rest/pull/rest/legs/rest/push – week 1
- pull/rest/push/rest/legs/rest/pull – week 2
- legs/rest/push/rest/pull/rest/legs – week 3
Follow that cycle for a total of 8-12 weeks. That said, you could potentially take this routine longer if you made a serious effort at continually upping the weight, or changing up how you lift.
For more experienced lifters and those trying to break through a stubborn plateau, or simply increase muscle mass in their bodies, try doing 3-4 sets of 5-6 reps per exercise. The main point here though, is that you significantly increase the weight used so you are struggling with all your might to knock out that last rep. Lifting heavier weights is going to incorporate more muscle fibers, bringing out more soreness, more overall growth, and more change that your body is not used to. When training in this manner, it is easy to go lighter than you should be on the weights. Be conscious of your body and really stay attuned to whether or not you are failing on your last rep. Low reps can be a god-send or a huge waste of time depending upon how hard you push yourself.
As far as exercises, here are some ideas to get you started:
Push – Bench press, incline bench press, decline bench press, skull crushers, tricep pushdowns, dips, military press, arnold press, side/front/rear delt raises.
Pull – Bicep curls, lat pull downs, bent over rows, incline curls, deadlifts, widegrip pullups, v bar rows, preacher curls, shrugs.
Legs – Squats, deadlifts, hamstring curls, lunges, quad extensions, leg press.
Those are just some basic ideas. Aim to use compound movements as often as possible. When you’re training with high weight/low reps, really focus on exhausting yourself on each exercise. As a result, you will need to do less exercises in the gym. 2-4 exercises per body part, if training properly, is all you will need to experience significant muscle growth.
One last piece of advice that many of us (even myself) tend to ignore; get yourself a journal and mark how many sets, reps, and poundage you are lifting. To experience real muscular progress, you need to be continually increasing the weight you are lifting. Aim to step it up, even if its only 2 pounds, every couple of weeks. When someone doesn’t keep an exercise journal, they tend to stick with the same weights week after week. There is really nothing in front of them letting them know they’ve been doing the same thing for the past 3 months. Make a point to take your journal with you to the gym and take notes on every exercise you complete. Let us know how it goes and happy lifting!