Mix It Up In The Weight Room

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If you have been doing the same program and the same exercises in the weight room, it’s time to change it up. Although there are a lot of different ways to lift weights, the only perfect resistance program is one that changes. A program that we design today, may be perfect today, but in about 4-8 weeks, it will no longer be as effective.This is due to the Overload Principle – a training principle that you must understand in order to experience ongoing results.

When you first begin exercising, the body is exposed to a stimulus that it’s not used to and it will be forced to respond in a positive fashion by getting stronger and fitter. This is called a physical adaptation, which means that your body has structurally, biomechanically, and physiologically improved. But simultaneous with the physical adaptation is the physical plateau that many people experience. In order to experience ongoing results, the body must be stressed or stimulated to a greater degree than what it is used to. We know that the body needs to be challenged in order to progress. This overload principle can be adhered to by changing your program in a variety of different ways.

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For example, you could:

  • Increase the resistance you lift
  • Increase the number of sets you perform
  • Increase the number of days you strength train
  • Change/Advance the exercises
  • Adjust the order/sequence of exercises

    • It’s best to mix up the sequence of your routine during your weekly regime. For example, if you always do your cardio exercise first, next workout do a brief warm-up, then do your muscle conditioning exercises and then finish with your cardio. Then next workout, do your cardio first and muscle conditioning last. And on another day, alternate back and forth between muscle and cardio. It will be a completely different workout and a new stimulus for your muscles and your heart.
    • With that said, if your primary goal is muscle conditioning and developing muscle tone/bulk, you may want to do your muscle conditioning first when you have the most energy and strength so you can really focus on this area.
    • This same principle applies to lower body and upper body conditioning. For example, if you always do your legs first, then mix it up and next workout, do your upper body first and your lower body second. Or combine lower body and upper body movements into an integrated exercise. But again, if upper body is your focus, do this first when your energy levels are highest.
  • Increase your volume of training

      • You could accomplish this by focusing on specific fitness goals per workout. For example, you could work legs and core one day, chest and shoulders another and back and arms on a third day. By splitting up your program, you will be able to complete more sets and volume of work.
  • Adjust the amount of recovery time you take between exercises.
  • Utilize a different resistance training technique. For example, superset training, pyramid training, super-slow training, split training, post-exhaust training, circuit training etc.

    • When deciding which technique to use, remember there is no perfect training programOne study comparing nine different training routines found no statistically significant difference in the strength increase produced by any of them. So the message is clear – a multitude of training techniques will achieve results. Just be sure you change what you’re doing regularly.

This is where an investment in a personal trainer will save you a lot of time. Some people see their trainer multiple times during the week.  But even just one or two sessions every few months, in order to make the changes required for you to see continued results, will go a long way in maximizing your workout time.

IDEA, the International Health and Fitness Association, released a statistic at one of their International conferences. It stated that only 25 percent of people working out in a gym are getting the results they wantBut out of the 25 percent of people getting results, 90 percent of them are working with a personal trainer. So, it is quite clear that having a personal coach oversee your program, monitor your progress and make regular updates is an investment in your health worth making!  Even elite level athletes have an entire entourage of trainers and coaches helping him achieve their best. If they can benefit from this one-on-one attention, so can the rest of us!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

August 18th – 20th
Frenchmans Bar, Vancouver WA

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