Are you doing the same workout you were doing last year? 6 months ago? 1 month ago? Well time to change it up! If you are sticking to the same routine week after week, good on you for sticking to it. But you might be short-changing yourself. Why? Here are a few reasons.
Your Body Has Adapted
Most people work out to improve physical attributes. Strength, stamina, lower body fat, co-ordination, balance, flexibility, posture, speed, agility or whatever you want your body to do or look like are only some of the reasons. When you train your body and put it under stress (overload), your body sees that it is struggling to cope with the demands. So afterwards your clever body decides to go about coping better next time by building neural pathways (brains connection to muscles), increasing muscle mass, reducing body fat, increasing circulatory system capabilities. Collectively these changes can be called adaptation. The first few times you try a work out, your body will adapt the most as it sees that it is struggling. After it makes some adaptations and begins to cope better, your body relaxes a little bit and figures out it can cope alright now. This is known as a training plateau. You put in all the effort still but your gains have leveled off.
Time for a change up! Try adding some instability to resistance workouts with a fitball, switch from a barbell to dumbbells, a machine to free weights or try it on one leg or one arm at a time. You could increase the intensity by adding reps, decrease rest time, add a 30-second sprint in between sets or perform 2 exercises back to back with no rest. Your body will see the increase in difficulty and adapt accordingly.
If you end up doing the same thing over and over again, you must get bored eventually, right? I know I do. So why not have a complete change up. Try something new … you never know … you might like it. Here are some suggestions:
BORED OF – The same old resistance machine circuit – TRY – A free weight circuit using dumbbells. The cross over is easy as you can replicate the same moves just with dumbbells in hand. The instability created by having free weights rather than fixed machine will challenge you and make you stronger in the long run.
BORED OF – Treadmill pounding – TRY – An interval class. The constant change in pace will peak and trough your heart rate. Results will include increased VO2 max, speed and stamina.
BORED OF – Training for the sake of training – TRY – A new sport. Never played racquetball? Give it a go. Wondered what water polo is like? Try it out.
BORED OF – Cycling – TRY – Hiking. You are still in the great outdoors, and you get some beautiful views whilst hiking. Still great exercise and no more punctures!
BORED OF – Dumbbells and barbells – TRY – Kettlebells. I’ve loved kettlebells ever since I first heard about them 5 or so years ago. I used them with my clients and they loved them too! Great workout to improve power for sports.
If you repeat something over and over and over again, you can put a lot of stress on the body parts and muscles used for that movement. You can risk joint damage, connective tissue damage or tendonitis. Mix up your workout to include movements in different directions, planes and ranges. The more balanced your body is the stronger it can be. Swap out a barbell squat for a dumbbell side lunge. Instead of long run, try cycling or a game of soccer with friends or family (you will run a lot still but in all different directions). I play a very repetitive sport, golf. I am always swinging in the same direction. My body will naturally want to develop one sided. This can create imbalances and lead to injury. I always train both sides of my body equally. I include movements that have me moving front to back, side to side and rotating. This keeps my body balanced and hopefully it will remain injury free.
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