Changing up your workout routine to continue to improve after months of training
Your body responds to demands placed on it and becomes stronger. But it doesn't take long for your body to kind'a figure out your tricks. When that happens, your improvements in strength and size stop. This is commonly called a "plateau". It's frustrating because you aren't doing anything differently from what you were doing a couple of months ago. But actually that's exactly the problem, and you need to change things up.
I went through two periods of explosive muscle growth in my life. Once when I was in my early teens, when I started gymnastics (the skin on my back and shoulders stretched, you can still see it today), and when I picked up weights for the first time in my late twenties (especially my legs, I remember the kids next door commenting on it, and I was just walking around in shorts, not showing off or anything).
My current program has actually been more successful than my optimistic tone would imply. My goal has always been to stay positive, but really, I didn't think that my body would respond with more muscle. I mean, this isn't the 1980s anymore! But it did. I can see it, and feel it. It's what's nowadays called "gains". I did it over the past two years with basic movements, proper recovery, and good nutrition. But lately I've been noticing a plateau. I'm still doing everything right, but I'm still doing the same things that I've done for the past two years. In order for my body to continue to change and improve, I will have to make some changes, and they began yesterday. I'm changing things up.
I will still be doing a split routine. That is, I will be dividing myself up and doing particular exercises with three days of rest in-between. I will be doing a push/pull and legs split along with a miscellaneous day (which covers body parts that I would like to focus on, like shoulders and traps). Since core is used in every workout, there's no need for an "ab day" - I will do an additional ab workout every day, probably in the evening.
My goal now is to shock my muscles. That means pushing the volume way up. This will not only give them something new to think about, it will add more cardio to my training. Instead of doing 45 minutes of 10 to 12 repetitions for three sets, I will be mixing it up a lot. I will be adding speed, I will be slowing things way down. I will be adding more sets, I will be adding stretch and compress. At this point just about anything goes, so I will be adding gymnastics moves, handstands, that sort of thing.
As always, you have to approach your training with confidence. You can't workout with doubt. So doing something new will feel weird, and you will want to hold back. Don't hold back. Push! Focus! Tell those sluggish muscles that you aren't finished with them yet!
Posted by Brad Hall