By Angeliki Mavrantza
Having a structured and consistent workout routine makes a difference in the results you see from working out. But sticking to the same routine for too long can lead you to stop seeing progress as you hit a plateau in your training.
So, how often should you change your workout routine? And what should you keep in mind when doing so?
For most people, every 4-6 weeks seems to be a good amount of time to change up their routine. However, for beginners, sticking to the same workout routine for 6-12 weeks is highly encouraged, because beginners often require more time to perfect their form on primary exercises.
What changes should you make to your exercise routine?
When shifting your routine, you won’t need to make any drastic changes. Instead, focus on small, subtle changes that will challenge you a little more as you progress in your fitness journey. Here are some options:
- Try different equipment. When you're training, you don't always have to stick to the same free weights every time, because using different types of weights or equipment – such as kettlebells or cable machines – can help keep your sessions exciting while challenging your muscles in different ways. The same goes for other types of exercise, such as cycling or running, during which you can again play with the equipment and/or location to keep things interesting.
- Change your tempo. A lot of times, a small change in your tempo can make any exercise more challenging. For instance, slowing down while performing repetitions adds more time under tension, which makes your muscles work harder. Another way to achieve that is by placing an isometric hold at the top of the movement for about 4-5 seconds.
- Incorporate supersets. By grouping your exercises in sets of two, you create supersets that can help increase work capacity while giving a greater challenge to your body.
What should you do if you like having consistent variety?
If you don’t necessarily like having a set routine, and you want some variety in your workout, you have to be smart about how you change things up so that you don’t lose progress. Try leaving some space for flexibility in an otherwise consistent routine, so you can try out other activities you may want to incorporate later into your regular routine.
Overall, you don't need to make any significant changes to your training program to see results. Depending on your experience, small, subtle changes about every 4-6 weeks are all you need to implement into your routine! That way, you keep challenging your body in new ways while seeing progress!
The FIU Wellness and Recreation Center is a valuable, on-campus resource that you can utilize to increase your physical activity. For more information about the WRC's programs and services, please contact WRC@fiu.edu.
Angeliki (Angie) Mavrantza is a certified personal trainer who is currently finishing her master's degree in exercise science and kinesiology with emphases in neuroscience and psychophysiology at FIU. Mavrantza works as the graduate assistant of fitness and wellness at the FIU Wellness and Recreation Center.