One amazing thing about our body is that it can adapt pretty quickly to new forms of stress. It’s how we’re able to survive and keep sane. So the question is whether or not you should stick with the same workout routine.
If your goal is to just lose weight and nothing else, then yes, you can do the same thing day in, day out and you will get results because your goal is to burn calories. However, you might find yourself having to do more in order to lose the same amount of calories due to your endurance level improving which means you’d have to run longer to burn as many calories.
If your goal is to build muscle however, then no, you shouldn’t stick to the same routine all the time. You’ll want to change it up every now and then in order to give your muscles new challenges.
How to Change Workout Routine
Some people hear about changing their routine and think they have to come up with brand new exercises. This isn’t the case. Here are a few ways you can change things up.
- Increase or decrease amount of reps per set.
If you usually do 8 reps, decrease the weight a little and do 10-12 reps or increase the weight a little and do 6 reps.
- Increase or decrease amount of sets per exercise.
If you usually do 4 sets, you can do 6 sets but less reps for each set for example.
- Change the amount of time you rest in between sets.
The amount of time your rest will usually dictate how heavy you will be able to lift. You can bring your rest time down to 15-30 seconds if you use light enough weights.
- Change how fast your do your reps.
Slow down your reps. For example, instead of benching up 1 second and down 1 second, try up 1 second and down 3 seconds. Slowing down your reps will increase the time under tension that your muscles go through. You’ll likely need to reduce the weights a bit if you do this.
- Increase or decrease the weight.
Gradually increase the weights as you get stronger but also throw in some lighter weights while doing more reps or resting less in between sets.
- Change exercises.
Choose a completely different exercise for each body part. If you do multiple exercises for one body part in a workout, you can either change all of them or just one of them.
For instance, instead of doing bench press, incline bench press, and flies, you can do incline bench with dumbbells, flat bench with machine, and flies with cables.
- Change the sequence of your exercises.
Instead of starting with the regular bench press, you can start with shoulders then do incline then regular bench press. You usually want to do the heavy ones first but switching it up for one workout every now and then is fine.
- Add super sets and burnouts.
At the end of your set, drop the weights and do 10 reps. After you’re done, choose a different exercise that works the same muscle and do 10-15 reps of those.
For example, after you finish your last shoulder press, drop the weights and do another 10 reps. After you’re done, immediately pick up some dumbbells and do 10-15 reps of side raises.
- Pyramid up or down or keep the same weight.
You can either start with a lower weight and increase the weight as you do your sets while decreasing the amount of reps or start with the heaviest weight and decrease the weight as you do your sets. Or you can use the same weight for all of your sets.
Example of pyramiding up:
1st set: 185 lbs x 8 reps
2nd set: 195 lbs x 6 reps
3rd set: 205 lbs x 4 reps
4th set: 215 lbs x 2 reps
Example of pyramiding down:
1st set: 225 lbs x 5 reps
2nd set: 205 lbs x 5 reps
3rd set: 185 lbs x 5 reps
4th set: 165 lbs x 5 reps
You can use whatever rep range you want, the above is just an example. So another way to change your routine is to change the rep ranges while pyramiding up or down.
Example of using the same weight:
1st set: 165 lbs x 8 reps
2nd set: 165 lbs x 8 reps
3rd set: 165 lbs x 8 reps
4th set: 165 lbs x 8 reps
5th set: 165 lbs x 8 reps
6th set: 165 lbs x 8 reps
Since you’re using the same weight for all sets, the first few will feel pretty easy. What you can do to make it more challenging is either do more sets or rest less in between each set.
You can also just use the same weight and see how many you can do each set so the weight will stay the same but the amount of reps will either stay the same or decrease as you do the sets.
How often to change workout routine
That all depends on you. Many people change things up every 4-6 weeks. Some people change it up every 2 months. Others change it up every single workout so no 2 workouts are the exact same in any 4-8 week period.
Personally, I change it up every week or 2 just to keep things fun. You may think it’s too much work, that you have to plan it all out. Once you know what things you can change to make it a different routine and which exercises can be subs for other exercises for a given body part, you can decide a new routine on the spot.
Most of the time, I just change the sequence of the exercises and the rep ranges. I’ll usually change the actual exercise every 2 weeks or so like from pull ups to pull downs or squats to leg extensions.
But if you want to keep things simple, just change your routine every 6 weeks. As you approach the final week, decide how you’re going to switch things up so that on the day you change your routine, you don’t have to waste time figuring out what you should do.
So it’s not necessarily bad to stick to the same workout routine but it’s not an efficient way to build muscle because the longer you stick to the same routine, the more you’ll have to do to get the same effects.