Monogamy Is Not The Answer

Monogamy?  Overrated.  If you’re as surprised about this statement as Pauly D appears to be, then let me explain.  I mean that when it comes to exercise, monogamy is overrated.  In fact, I think it’s a flat out bad idea across the board, unless you’re talking about commitment to regular exercise.  That‘s a good idea.

If you’re married to a specific routine or piece of equipment, you’re setting yourself up for poor results.  At best they’ll only be less than the best, or you’ll plateau; at worst, you’re setting yourself up for an injury.  How often have you heard this phrase:

The best program is the one you aren’t currently doing.

You’ve heard it before because it’s true.  If your entire program is focused on one lifting intensity, one volume, one piece of equipment, or one mentality and methodology, you could be seeing better results.  Daily change isn’t exactly what I’m talking about, we don’t need to be as vague or random as the latest CrossFit WOD.  Instead, focus on systematic, sequenced changes that allow you to continuously progress in small increments.

Variety is key!

Rotate your exercises, implements, volume, and intensity, among other things.  If you’ve become accustomed to a full range of motion barbell bench press for sets of 3, try to use a floor press instead, or use an incline bench.  You may have hit a plateau with your deadlift, so rotate a few variations around.  If you consider full range of motion traditional stance, sumo stance, and trap bar deadlifts, you have 3 variations which can be used for several weeks at a time, and then switched when a plateau is reached.  The same goes for any and every exercise you can think of; when progress with a given lift peaks, switch to a similar but different variation.

Just as you should vary the exercises that you’re using for any given movement, it’s also a good idea to vary the volume and intensity as well.  A workout may be as ‘short’ as working up to a heavy single, or you may plan on the 10 x 10 of German Volume Training.  (Most of you fall somewhere in between.)  Wherever you sit on the volume/intensity curve, spend some time on the other end of the spectrum; I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it.

For those of you with a broader range of resources, you’ll certainly have the most options when it comes to varying your training stimulus.  We typically hear about the differences between machines and free weights.  Machines work exceptionally well as coat racks, but consider the other options you have:

  • Body weight exercise (both loaded and unloaded)
  • The ‘bells:  Barbells, Kettlebells, and Dumbbells,
  • Cable Stations
  • Bands and Chains
  • Suspension Trainers, such as the TRX, EliteFTS’ Blast Straps, or the Jungle Gym
  • Strongman Implements, such as Prowlers (and other sleds), farmers walk implements, tires, sledgehammers, and stones.

If you start to break everything down, that list can become pretty damn long.  If you’re dedicated to regular training, that’s a great thing.  If you can’t remember the last time you modified your program, you may want to look into adding some variety to your training.  Your body will thank you for the change in stimulus, and you’ll be so excited to try something new that you’ll receive an oft under rated mental boost.

I hope the above statement provides some insight into the importance of regular change in your routine.  If you’re looking forward to making a change, or already know what you’re planning to do, let me know in the comments below!

2 Replies to “Monogamy Is Not The Answer”

  1. I don’t think people need much encouragement to change their workouts. Plateauing is certainly a good reason to change, when something is no longer giving you results, change it.

    But most will abandon a routine long before it’s had a chance to give them results in the first place, they get nowhere close to stalling on their results. Past the 4-12 weeks of newbie gains from the shock of the body doing something other than sitting on the couch eating Tim Tams watching Oprah, most will stall because of inconsistent random workouts.

    1. Kyle, that’s a good point. mostpeople don’t need encouragement to change up what they’re doing, but most people also aren’t training hard enough for them to plateau. If you’re looking at the stereotypical thrice weekly bencher who supplements with curls and leg extensions, they should definitely change up what they’re doing, as should the person who only squats, cleans, and deadlifts. Between the two though, I’m sure we’d both agree that one program is going to provide ample gains for an extended period of time compared to the other. In the long run, I think that exercise rotation and variety is just as much about the mental factor as much as it is the physical factor.

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