Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Basics: More Weight is the Easiest Way to "Change it Up"

How do you make your workouts more productive?

You'll hear about things "Muscle Confusion" and "changing it up" as ways to get your body to grow.

This is true, to an extent. The body responds to new stimuli by adapting to it, and then adapting to grow stronger than what is minimally necessary to respond again in the future.

So yes, you can swap out exercises, change up your workout day after day, and progress.

But there is an easier way to do it.

Keep the exercises the same, keep the reps and sets the same. Just add more weight - even the minimum possible jump - and do them again.

This is a change. A deadlift for 5 reps at 135 pounds being "changed up" to 5 reps at 140 pounds is enough of a new stimulus to get your body to respond.

Don't worry about changing things, just make them harder for as long as you are able to keep getting the reps.

This is not to say there is no value in changing the exercises workout to workout. A rotation of workouts might do this - Monday is Workout A, which includes the Barbell Bench Press and Pullup, and Thursday is Workout B, which includes Pushups and Dumbbell Rows. But next Monday you could come back to Workout A and simply try to add more weight to the bar for the same sets and reps to progress.

Remember a change in stimuli is a change in stimuli - you don't need to keep swapping around workouts, rep ranges, sets, and exercises to progress. For someone just trying to get in shape, adding weight to the bar, plates to the cable weight stack, and using bigger and bigger dumbells and kettlebells is the way to go.

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