Tinkering With Your Workout Schedule
There are times when you really like your workout schedule but want to be able to change bits of it to keep it fresh, keep it fun and avoid the plateau. There are always elements to any workout that can change just a bit and you end up working out very differently, efficiently with an exploration element too.
So what is availible to change? Well the obvious repetitons/sets/weight ratio are the easiest go-to ways to keep it different. There are many other ways. Here's how.
What machines are you using? If you are using weighted machines, why not switch to free weights but doing the same movement? At the weighted arm curl machines? Try dumbell arm curls! Can you go the other way from free weights to machines? Yes indeed you can. The trade-up by going this way is that you go back from general compound movements to isolation so from free weights to machines you would ideally (if you are going forward) is train very heavy with less repetitions and more sets. A different exercise type if you are going tha way.
With exercises themselves, there are tinkering options availible to you. Supersets where you use one muscle group and two back-to-back exercises, tri-sets (the same but three exercies), or giant sets (4+ exercises of the same muscle group). You can go for antagonist-agonist exercises (e.g. a bicep workout followed immediately by a tricep workout) or why not try pyramid sets (after each set, raise the weight, lower the repeitions until you get from 12-6 then go back up)? With the exercises you have just use any or all of these methods availible to you.
So we've established how to tinker with what you use and what methods you have, let's have a look at cardio. On treadmills and corss-trainers on most machines you have many options to choose from to make it different using the software. Simple tinkering can be changing the machine goal from a timed one to a distance or distance climbed one. You can introduce an interval type of training (see cardio articles on the website for more info) to keep it different on the same machine you use.
For HIIT and tricky ab workouts, you may have a really good routine so how to keep it fresh? Why not try doing your rotuine backwards? Start with the 6th exercise and then the 5th etc. It is really amazing how it turns into a whole new routine. Alternatively if you have 30 or 60 second rest times included in your routines, get rid of them! Try that out and see just what happens. It gets harder..oh yes it does.
For more reading on how to vary your workout the PERIODISATION article is a great way to introduce forward planning. This is the best way of making sure you never hit a plateau and keep it fresh. One of the biggest annoyances for anyone who goes to the gym is a stale workout and the best way to keep it fresh is forward planning. Tinkering if mastered becomes a great fall-back just in case you go to the gym and think 'oh damn this boring day again'. Tinker, tinker and tinker again, and you will see a very mobile workout routine which is the best way to keep it fresh. Remember the body loves consistancy but when it comes to working out you want to get rid of consistency so the body can't get used to it and plateau.
Find your best ways of tinkering and you will always be able to exercise in a fresh and efficient and fun way.