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When Is It Time to Change Your Workout Routine?

Bored? Hit a stalemate? It's time to change up that workout!

It happens to everyone. You are at the point where instead of enjoying your workout, it has become a tedious chore. You feel like you can perform each exercise in your sleep, and even though you sweat, you don't feel challenged. And here's the worst part — you are not getting stronger, leaner or faster. It's time to take a good look at your workout plan and overhaul it.

Evaluate First

Some people just do random exercises or target a muscle group or two during their workout. Others have a written plan that they follow. A plan is a great tool. It gives you goals and guidelines to follow to reach your goals. However, you may have been following the plan for too long. So, sit down and look it over. Identify the exercises you do, equipment you use, repetition and set ranges, and how you split up your workouts. These are what you can focus on to start changing it up.

Employ Periodization

Periodization is a method of splitting your training into phases that focus on a goal or objective. Professional athletes use periodization all the time in order to prepare for competition and stay at the top of their sport. Even though you may not be a professional, or even a weekend, athlete, you can use periodization to keep your body challenged and keep your workouts interesting. An athlete breaks up their training into the following phases: pre-season, in-season, post-season and off-season. The focus on skills and conditioning pre-season, maintenance during the season, recovery post-season and strength, power and muscle building during the off-season.

For the everyday person, you can still utilize this type of training. You can separate your year into 3-month blocks. Focus on muscle building in one phase, endurance and conditioning in another phase, functional fitness, and maintenance in the third phase and active recovery in the last phase. If three months feels too long, you can switch it up every month. The point is to actively change up your routine, and plan it out.

How Much Should You Change

It's often tempting to change everything overnight. And if you've been exercising regularly for a long time, you can probably get away with that. However, most people should change it up a little at a time. So, change your sets and reps first. Keep the exercises the same, but try higher reps and less weight, or lower reps and more weight. Just do it differently than you used to.

Now, try changing up your exercises and the equipment you use. A lot of people that train regularly have the staples they love: squats, bench press, deadlifts, etc. But there are a ton of variations for those exercises. For example, you can use a bar or dumbbells for squats, change body and foot position, and even the depth you squat. Just little tweaks force your body to adapt to the new stimulus. So, as you make your plan, be specific in your exercises and the equipment you will use so that your workout is challenging again.

Employing New Methods

Most people are familiar with circuits and rest periods for weight training. In general, a circuit keeps you moving quickly from one exercise to the next, while you may take longer rest periods between sets if you lift heavy. When you design your periodization scheme, you can employ methods such as circuits, standard rest periods, supersets, giant sets and high-intensity interval training. Employing these various training methods with purpose allow you to stimulate your muscles and force your body to change. Plus, you'll enjoy those training sessions again.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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