I’ve been repeating my training for months, by constantly progressive overload.
As they said we should not constantly change programmes. But sometimes we also do not stick to a programme for too long.
That leads me to think, what is the true way to add stimulus in our training program, without overdoing it?
Here’s come another question, are those random workout video works? If doesn’t which is the best way to do so?
I had seen people constantly changing programs throughout the years. Some of them said this approach actually keep things fresh and we are constantly exposing ourselves to a new stimulus, but there are also people that against this.
Therefore, in order to make a great process, to what extent do we need to change the program, and to what extent, we do not need it?
This is the question that had keep in my mind for a long time, as a person that sometimes found changing the programme excites me, but sometimes I also tend to prefer to stick to the old programme. In this post, we will be talking about everything about changing the program, and the best way to do if you wish to make adjustment with your current programme.
Let’s dive right into the findings.
The Muscle Adaptation
Ever noticed that most of the time we found we are able to lift the heavier load, not in the same session but after we take a few days of rest and return to the gym? It is the sign of what our body did for us to improve our strength, it’ss called ‘adaptation’.
Therefore in order to let your muscle grow or in some cases, improve strength. We need to train harder with heavier load, we can’t just grow stronger if we did not change the stimulus for years. However, there is some limit where the same stimulus is no longer useful for triggering the signal to ‘grow’ or ‘get stronger’.
There is an initial period from one to three weeks upon starting an exercise programme, during which the body detects that a new stimulus is being applied. This is the phase your body tries to get through the steep learning line (similar when the threshold of you learning to ride a bike for the first time).
After four weeks, the performance had turned from ‘trying to adapt’ to mastering, that is the point you found you are doing the same exercises better than last time. The ‘mastering phase’ usually lasts for between 4 to 16 weeks.
Why random workout and why it doesn’t work?
As we can’t directly determine a sucessfulness of a program just because we constantly changing it. There are a few critical factors that determine whether we need to change the programme.
This is the most obvious one, we need to consider how long did we commited to a program. Is it lasts for month? or are we constantly changing programme, or didn’t ever have a fixed plan?
For this, we need to look at the section above, the time frame which the body is still in adaptation mode. What we try to do is to optimise the growth between the adaptation phase and mastering phase. After the phase is over, it is better to changing up something.
Why sometimes constantly train with random training structure often leads to no progress, because we did not follow a training structure. As we know, different strength training structures target different goals. If we mixed then up, it is hard to track our progress.
Or the other way, you use back the same exercise, similar structure, but you swap those exercise. For this, I don’t think it is a good idea, there are always some exercise that meant to be before certain exercises. Therefore it actually doesn’t help more rather than just making your workout inconsistent.
We usually workout with different body part split. A program that works is those that allows rest days after the day you work on that muscle group, at the same time you make sure the programme doesn’t become counterproductive because.
If we just workout with random body parts, chances are we did not have a well planned days for that muscle group to rest. And we just train it before it had gone through the recovering state.
The results, the muscle adaptation slows down, and you found the improvement is slower.
The Answer: Random Workout Doesn’t Work For Certain Goals
Of course for those that just looking to maintain health and stay active, there is not much requirement on the programme. You could benefit most from a random workout and keep motivated.
However, for most of us, we usually have specific goals.
There are three types of muscle adaptation: Strength, Endurance, Hypertrophy. If this is the case, it is better to plan your workout according to the variables that you wish to work on.
For instance, if you wish to improve strength, then the stimulus that you need to change is the load.
If you wish to improve endurance, then Endurance is to add the reps in the same load.
Hypertrophy is kind of at the middle, which is you train with the load that challenging but not as heavy as the strength and keep the rep range within 8-15.
In my previous post about progressive overload, this is to add stimulus based on skeletal muscle adaptation. With this, it is actually not much alteration required. We can just add load, add reps and plays with tempo.
What if I really want to change my program?
That leads us to the next session. The right way to change or make adjustments with your workout programme.
You change the exercise for better performance
For most of the beginners, we often found we were unable to perform certain movements with the correct form. This is true especially for compound movement, as we tend to overuse the assisting muscle instead of using the muscle group that we intended to train. In this case, it is better to change the exercise selection to those that are within your capability but still challenging.
Same goes for those exercises that is difficult and often required better-balancing skills, such as bulgarian split squat or plant to rotation etc. If you really can’t drop down the weight and often found the balancing act distraction, it is always a good idea to swap it with a similar movement.
Compound to compound, isolated to isolated
My most recommended training style is a mixture of both compound and isolated movement. Therefore, if you wish to change some of the exercises that is already in your plan, try not to mix up compound movement to isolated movement.
The exercise should also serve a similar function and be able to train the same muscle group as the previous variation.
Here are some examples:
Front Squat > Goblet Squat
Bulgarian Squat > Lunge
Arnold press > Dumbbell press
Clean to press >
Rear delt fly > Superman
Barbell row > cable row
To make progress, it is better to commit and be consistent.
That’s why someone that is just scrolling through youtube videos and follow along with a random workout, often found them doesn’t make any significant progress.
However in the other case, if you are those that love follow along videos, let’s do this instead: Do the same video for each body part, and constantly add weight or intensity. Once you feel the workout is no longer challenging, move to a harder one.