How long should you stick to a workout?
I apoligise if my iggnorance here will annoy experienced lifters, but the more I research the more confused I get regarding how long we should stick to our workout routines.
I've got 2 - 3 routines which I like & I see & feel my body improving with these routines. However I'm always coming across articles which state that you should switch routines every 6 - 8 weeks. Can I stick to my routine? Or should I change every 6 - 8 weeks?
Also, I read that one shouldn't train for more than 1 hour - 3 times a week. But I like to train for 2 - 2.5 hrs Mon - Sat. So is this too much? Am I doing detremental damage to my body that I'll come to regret later on in my life?
Also I like to use Supersets, Tri-Sets & Giant Sets all the time as I get a tremendous pump, & also it saves time for me. Am I correct in incorporating these techniques in every workout?
Again I apoligise for my iggnorance, but my head is seriously fried with all the information I'm taking in. I don't know what is true & what's a gimmick...
I change up routines that work for me only when i start to see gains deminish (SP?)
as far as to how much excercising is too much each day, i say it differs with every person... if you can hit the gym 6 times a week for 2 hours and still function and feel good then i say go for it.... me personally i limit my time to 1- 1.5 hours 5 days a week, but i think it all depends on how your body recovers...
hope this helps and once again these are just my personal opinions
No one here will get irritated .D, were all here to share experiences and to help each other out amongst other things!
When it comes to changing routine i would not change anything that is still producing an result. If you have good results with the way you lift, why change it up just because guy X from muscle and fitness magazine writes you should? Think about it.
Change is good, to experiment and learn how your body responds to different types of training, for me i change it up whenever i get bored or progress halts.
2.5 h 6 days a week is to much for me, i can tell you that. Lifting for over an hour is not adviced for most natural lifters and especially not for beginners.
Getting a pump should not be your main focus in your workouts, it should be to
Overload your muscles with heavier weights == strength == growth.
Supersets and tri-sets have their place but rarely for a beginner and imo not on a regular basis for the natural.
We welcome questions, so never worry if it's been asked before. We're here to help and want to see you succeed.
A lot of the confusion on this issue comes from people trying to apply principles that work for steroid users to natural lifters. Natural and steroid training isn't the same game, and many don't know this, so chaos and confusion ensues.
You really don't "need" to change routines. I would look at training as more of an evolution. Change your training based on needs, instead of jumping from one program to another out of fear that gains will stop.
The idea that wholesale changes need to be made or gains will stall is a myth (at least for natural lifters). As long as you have a core group of great muscle building exercises, and focus on progression of reps and weight using good form, gains won't stall. At least not in the sense that it is painted by many.
This is not to say you can't change programs...you can. Just make sure to keep the core muscle building lifts in the program. If the core lifts are in the mix, you can "shuffle the cards" every several months if you'd like. But do you need to change to make gains? no.
I used a variation of the same routine for 20 years and evolved my training.
Natural lifters experience slower gains the longer they train. This is a natural occurrence, and doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong. In general, the "average" amount of muscle naturals gain looks close to this:
Year 1 - 16 pounds
Year 2 - 8 pounds
Year 3 - 4 pounds
Year 4 - 2 pounds
Year 5 - 1 pound
When gains start to slow, lifters assume the body has adapted and often do radical things, which aren't necessary. Natural lifters are not able to "re-ignite" super spurts of muscle gains. Their best bet is a religious pursuit of simple progression of weight. You might be able to jump on a new program and shock a couple pounds of muscle out, but naturals have finite muscle gain limits. Simply stated - the more you gain now, the less you will gain in the future. So while a shock might work once, it is not a viable long term approach because you can't keep shocking new gains unless you're on steroids.
Simply put, try to add one more rep to each lift each workout session. If you can add more, great! But don't fret if you can't. Even adding two reps to a lift per month will lead to great muscle and strength gains over a 5 year period.
Strength does stall, and over time it will be harder to add reps, but this "stall" does not indicate that a program is ineffective. Like I said, even if you are adding "only" a couple reps per month after you reach the intermediate lifting stages, you are still making what I consider to be good progress - and I don't consider it a stall at all.
A pure stall - or wall - is when you have not made progress at all on a lift in about 1-2 months. When this happens it might be technique related, or you might have a glaring weakness, say tricep strength. When these stalls happen it's time to "evolve" your training a bit, and make a few changes to address these specific needs.
I recommend taking a look at the John Christy thread, and some of the old school workouts on the site. These lifters didn't make wholesale changes every 6-8 weeks and built incredible natural physiques.
John Christy advocates the same program week in and week out for naturals, and I believe it to be a very smart way to train.
Again, you CAN change to stave off boredom and routine, but do you need to change? No. Absolutely not!
Steroid users can "re-ignite" gains after they have stalled by shocking and awaking their receptors with a volume of intense contractions. This is where this myth developed. It is not applicable, nor needed for natural lifters.
good read Steve
Thank you for your input guys. It's a breath of fresh air knowing this is a community where I can get help.
So, in actual fact, I should have a routine which lasts no more than an hour & try to push for that extra rep each session? & also add some weight each session? & not to get too dis-heartened if I can't achieve this, but to set it as a goal to work towards?
I'll take some time to go through the training log thread to see how everybody here trains...
One hour per workout is a good goal. I usually shoot for 60 minutes, and no longer than 75 if doing a fullbody.
As far as progression of weight, using good form simply try to do as much as you can each workout without training to failure. Stop a set when you feel like you may fail on the next rep. It's ok to train to failure from time to time, or accidentally, but it's not needed on every set of every workout.
For example, if you are doing bench press and using a rep range of 6-10 reps, when you can perform 10 reps on that set add weight. That's the easiest way of looking at it.
Don't get discouraged if you don't add any reps in a given workout. I usually have one "bad" workout every 4 weeks. One rep at a time adds up fast, and will allow you to hit your muscle (and strength) goals very quickly.
Until it stops giving results in either size or strength.
Until it kills you. (serious)
If it's a good one, keep it.
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