In part one of this article, we talked about the need for change in our fitness routines in order to spark new progress as well as keep motivation and enthusiasm at a high level. Let’s create some simple plans that will allow us to randomize our workouts a bit. I’ll tell you some of the things I have done and perhaps you can incorporate some or all of these ideas into your own approach.
1. Create 4 to six different strength routines and then alternate them regularly. We’ll call them A – B – C – D – etc.
On week one you will do Routine A on Monday, B on Wednesday and C on Friday. On week two do Routine D on Monday, A on Wednesday and B on Friday. During the following weeks just keep rotating the different routines in and out of your schedule. Never do the same routine two times in a row.
2. “Run the numbers”. This is a really simple way to inject much needed variety into your strength routine.
Let’s say you have about 10-12 exercises in each of you’re A-B-C-D routines. Instead of always doing them in a specific order say 1 through 12, or always starting with Squats, each time you go to the gym you start with the next number in the order. So the first time you do Routine A you go from exercise 1 to exercise 12. The next time you do Routine A you go from exercise 2 to exercise 1. This way you are always starting your workout with an emphasis on a different movement. This coupled with the fact that you are already rotating through 4 separate routines will keep your body guessing for quite some time.
3. Try varying your rep ranges and or rep cadence.
If you always train the classic 5 x 5 (five sets of five reps), keep things spicy with some different rep ranges. Week one do sets of 4-6 reps. Week two do sets of 6-10 reps. Week three do sets of 8-15 reps. You can also vary your rep cadence, (the actual speed that you raise and lower the bar) I recommend 3-5 seconds to raise the weight and 3-5 seconds to lower it. If you are used to always moving the bar as fast as possible this decreased speed can really up your intensity and provide your muscles with a new and different challenge.
4. Cycle your intensity
At TNT Strength we believe in training intensely. We also recognize that to avoid over training and reap the rewards of long term progress one must remain keenly aware of when it is time to push hard and when it is time to back off a bit. Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of over training so you can cycle effectively and make uninterrupted progress from month to month.
5. Change the order and or intensity or your “Cardio”.
If you always do Cardio training before strength training, then try doing them in the opposite order for a nice change of pace. Also as stated in part one of this article, in most cases you’ll get far more from your cardio training if you up the intensity instead of adding to the duration. So remember to challenge yourself.
6. Change the days you train.
Too many of us are stuck in a rut that is run by the calendar. If you have some flexibility, add it to your workout routine. If you always train on Monday-Wednesday and Friday and are feeling bit burnt out, train once every three to five days instead. If you are feeling extra fresh and want to step it up try two days on, one day off, tow on two off. Do a different routine or class each day that you go to the gym but just keep to this two on, one off, two on two off approach.
Train on Monday doing a long cardio session. On Tuesday do some some sprints. On Wednesday take a day off. Thursday try a Total-body conditioning class. Thursday lift some heavy weights and then take two days off over the weekend. Monday start the whole cycle over again or even continue to move things around in that schedule.
Our Favorite Training Template:
As you can see at TNT Strength variety is a key component to how we help our athletes stay fresh and continue to make progress for long periods of time. If you are looking for a simple training template to help you add fun and variety into your training routine check out our “Three & Three S&C” program.
Using our Three & Three S&C model we plan our Strength and Conditioning training in two week blocks. In week one we Strength Train on Mondays and Fridays, and do Conditioning on Wednesdays. In week two we flip the schedule and do our Conditioning on Mondays and Fridays and Strength Train on Wednesdays.
Using this template allows us to stay easily within the classic Monday-Wednesday-Friday training schedule while always having plenty of recovery time between both types of workout. We can also continue to vary the specific Strength and Conditioning workouts to match the needs, goals, abilities, limitations, and preferences (psychology) of each specific Athlete or client.
Well, there you have it. Hopefully by now you not only recognize the value of adding some variety to your fitness plan, but have gained some simple ideas about how to make changes that will not only see you making new and continued improvements but will add some much needed spice to an otherwise dull routine. As always if you have questions or feel you need more help with this or any other subject you find here please feel free to contact me at TAKU@tntstrength.com
*Example Strength Routines A-B-C-D
For each workout below, do one set per exercise. Vary reps as needed, for desired results. Rest 30-120 seconds between sets.
1. Leg Curl
2. Leg Extension
4. Calf Raise
5. Overhead Press
8. Bent over row
9. Triceps extension
10. Biceps Curl
11. Bent kneed sit-up
12. 4-way neck
1. Bent Over Row
2. Negative Pullover } Giant set
4. Incline Press
5. Bent armed Fly } Giant set
7. Negative Chin-up
8. Negative Dip
10. 4-way neck
11. Leg Curl
12. Leg Extension
13. Hip adduction
1. Leg extension } Pre-exhaust
2. Leg Press
4. Leg curl } Giant set
5. Stiff-Legged Deadlift
6. Calf Raise } compound set
7. Seated Calf raise
8. Hip Abduction } Compound set
9. Hip Adduction
10. Lateral raise
12. Bench Press
13. Biceps Curl
1. 1-1/2 rep Dip
2. Triceps Extension } Giant set
3. Negative Dip
4. 1-1/2 rep Chin
5. Biceps curl } Giant set
6. Negative Chin
7. Wrist curl
8. Reverse Wrist curl
9. Leg Press
10. Leg extension
11. Leg Curl
12. Lateral raise
13. Hanging Knee raise
If you are Looking for the best Strength Training tool for in Home Training I Highly recommend that you check out the Harambe System. As far as I am concerned it is the best home gym on the market. If you visit their website you can get 10% off using the code TNT at checkout.
For more ideas about creating simple effective strength training and conditioning programs check back here frequently or visit us at: www.tntstrength.com
Register your name and email address on the site to Get Our Free Nutrition & Training PDF! And so you can be kept up-to-date on the latest news from TNT Strength.
Call our TNT Strength Studio for more info: 510-768-5421
TNT has over 40 years of combined fitness experience, so if you’re looking for a coach who can train you in person in our Oakland California Studio or online from anywhere in the world, visit our online training page to book a consultation.