When you are working out you should have specific goals you want to meet. Whether it be to lose 20 pounds over the next 4 months, or to gain 10 pounds of muscle in the next 8 weeks. To go along with those goals you should have a pre thought out workout routine that will allow you to hit those goals.

A common question from people who are following workout routines is “How often should I be changing up my workout routine?”.

This is a good question, and one that is important to ask.

A lot of beginners will learn a limited number of exercises and perform only those exercises day in and day out for a long, long time because that is all they really know. This is a very bad idea. Down the road you will probably start to develop muscle imbalances which can lead to injuries. You will also notice that you hit plateaus and your improvements in the gym and when looking into the mirror slow down significantly.

Firstly I recommend that your workout routine has a few different individual workouts within it. For example let’s say that your workout split is lower body and core/back and shoulders/chest triceps and biceps. I would recommend that you have at least two different workouts for each day. That will make sure that you aren’t doing the exact same workout within the same week. Try and mix up the exercises so you are hitting every part of each muscle.

If you stick to the guideline below of not performing the same workout more than once in a week I would recommend that you change up your entire workout routine about every 12 weeks.

There are people who will say to change your workout routine every 4 weeks, and people that say to stick with it for 20 weeks before changing it up. Really it is a personal choice, and you have to see how your body responds.

If you start to notice your progress really slowing down week to week it is probably time to change up your workouts. Whether that be changing up your workout split, the type of training you are doing (strength, power, size, circuits, etc), volume of workouts, or performing entirely new exercises that weren’t in your last phase.

Here is an example change:

Weeks 1-12

M – Chest/Triceps/Biceps
T – Lower + Core
W – Back/Shoulders
Th – Off
F – Chest/Triceps/Biceps
Sat – Lower + Core
Sun – Back/Shoulders

Weeks 13-24

M – Lower/Shoulders
T – Chest/Back
W – Off
Th – Core + Cardio Work
F – Triceps/Biceps
Sat – Off
Sun – Core + Cardio Work

The most important thing to do is just “listen” to your body and analyze your workouts and performance. When progress starts really slowing down change up your gym routine. You should be able to go about 2-3 months with the same routine (assuming you don’t perform the same workout twice per week).

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