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Default Are frequent program changes necessary ?
by Carl1174 02-23-2011, 04:29 AM

Stupid Myths: Frequent Changes Are a Necessity
by Christian Thibaudeau - 02/21/2011

Another very commonly accepted idea is that to progress you need to completely change your workout very often (authorities recommend anywhere between changing every 2 to 6 weeks). If you listen to them, if you do not do that, you are an idiot doomed to a life of stagnation in the gym. As you might tend to believe, I do not agree with them. Here are a few reasons why.

1. Look at some of the most successful athletes and bodybuilders; they stick to the same program for very long. Oh, sometimes they might change the number of reps or sets that they do (within reason) but most of them stick to the same lifts week in and week out.

All elite olympic lifters only do the snatch, clean & jerk, squat and front squat (a minority will throw in a few assistance exercises) and most of them don't vary their reps much. Yet their strength goes up.

Dorian Yates stuck to the same training program for all his Olympia wins, except for some minor changes because of injuries.

Ed Coan and many top powerlifters from the 80s and 90s used the same exercises year round, only varying the reps.

2. Often times frequent training revamping is (like the 1-hour rule) a way for trainers to make more money. Since it's good for business, it is in their interest to promote the myth that you need to change your training (and thus BUY a new program) frequently. When a lot of people say the same thing, that thing eventually begin to be seen as factual, even if the guys doing the talking have an interest.

3. When you first start a program it takes you a week or two to get used to it, learn the exercises and master them. Even if you know the exercises, if you've been away from them for a while you have quick "progress" for 2 or 3 weeks. That progress isn't due to better muscle stimulation, simply to an improved coordination and efficiency on that lift.

After 3 weeks or so, the "quick" gains (neural adaptations) stop and your progress slows down. You then change your program completely and you start improving your lifts again... not because you are getting stronger or bigger... because you are getting used to the new lifts. It gives an ILLUSION of progress but in reality very little growth will be stimulated.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't vary your training, far from it. I include a lot of variation in my own training. But these are micro-variations... doing a few more or a few less sets... varying the reps a bit ... adding or removing an assistance lift, etc. I stick with the basic movements for a while. It is not until you are very efficient at them that your body will need to build more tissue to adapt. If you change these exercises too often then they will not give you their full benefits.

I always stick to the same movement "core"... for me these are the push press, bench press, power snatch, squat and a form of pulldown. These will stick with me almost year round. The assistance work is then adjusted daily on a need-to basis.

from T NATION | Training Lab LiVESPILL

Remember only DOING A LOT OF HARD WORK will bring real muscle growth... frequent changes (complete revamping of a program) only gives the illusion of progress.


Carl.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:06 AM   #21
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This is slightly off topic, but I am going to post it any way. After Christian Thibaudeau's dip into the darkside with I,Bodybuilder/Anaconda stuff, I am glad to see a good series of posts from him. I like his stuff overall, and these articles move to the top of my list of his. Welcome back Christian.

Great posts Carl and the comments thus far have been as good as the original article. Since I train alone, I do not have the conversations you all have. It is good to hear the murmuring going on in the real world.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:08 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl1174 View Post
Me too Tim, the guy I worked out with preps guys and used to say we had to swap things about every 4 weeks to keep the muscles guessing and he lives in BB'ing circles... juiced ones admitedly...

I swapped around all the time though thinking that i would make better gains with different programs etc, always looking for that elusive 'wonder routine' that would have me spouting 18" arms within a fortnight....

All i really needed to grow, was a 'beginner' fullbody, with 'basic' lifts and a ton of good food

Carl.
I wasted alot of time not even understanding proper form on the basic lifts. I'm still learning. I wish I had found this site years ago but at least I now am equiped with knowledge and a great support system and an amazing gym.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:12 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by bigtim27 View Post
I'll be honest I was one of those people always changing things because thats what I read I had to do and even had trainers at my old gym tell me I had to change my routines to shock the muscles
Right. As if putting 10-15 more pounds on the bar doesn't count as a "shock."
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:39 AM   #24
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I took them at their word. Only to realize now they didn't know that much to begin with.
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