When should you change your workout routine? 1 month ago

When should you change your workout routine?

It's a question almost as old as time itself

Just when should you change your workout routine? Is it worth completely tearing up your gym plan every few weeks? Or can you just make smaller adjustments instead?

We asked a leading personal trainer for their thoughts.

Andre Murrell is a Course Advisor at Premier Global NASM, qualified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach and WBFF Pro bodybuilder.

What are the signs you should change your workout routine?

According to Murrell, there are two main things to look out for:

"Lack of progress. Hitting a plateau in progress is a telltale sign you’re in need of a switch up. Our bodies have an astonishing ability to adapt, therefore regularly creating a new stimulus to break through plateaus is fundamental to see continued progress.

"Boredom. Keeping things fresh and exciting in the gym is not just important physically but also mentally. Imagine eating the same meal, at the same time, at the same restaurant, every day. To keep your body physically stimulated you must constantly switch things up and keep challenging yourself with different exercises."

Photo: iStock

When should you change your workout routine?

"Many scientific studies have proven the most efficient time to change up your workout is every 4-6 weeks.

"This based on BIG workout changes, so smaller changes (e.g. bi-weekly rep and tempo changes) are still very beneficial, but the bigger the change the more significant the gains."

How often should you change your routine?

"Numerous studies show that big changes, such as the number of sets and rep ranges, are the most efficient when changed every 4-6 weeks. Smaller changes like rep tempo and 1kg-2kg weight increases can yield great results when implemented bi-weekly."

Do we need to overhaul the entire training plan, or just certain exercises?

Murrell says this may be differ for each person. It depends on your individual goals and how long you have been following your training plan.

"If you are focusing on muscular hypertrophy (gaining size and strength), a change to your workout routine is best when done less frequently (e.g. every 4-6 months).

Arnold Schwarzenegger in the gym with Serge Nubret If you're training to get a little bigger, no one's expecting you to be like Schwarzenegger. But you may need to wait a little longer before changing your workout plan.

"You need to give your body enough time to exhaust the full benefits of the training plan. Changing it too early or too often can be counterproductive."

However, when it comes to switching exercises within your overall training plan, this should be more frequent.

"Think of the gym as a battle. There are hundreds of exercises to help you win. Like any battle. To win you must frequently change your weapons of attack."

Surely, certain exercises such as the bench press and deadlift should always remain as staples?

"The short answer is yes. Both exercises are both fundamental to building strength and muscle mass.

"By continuously performing these exercises and ensuring your lifts improve, you will see gains in other muscles groups and build strength in almost every exercise."

Andre Murrell is a Bio-Synergy ambassador