Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How Changing Your Exercise Routine Helps You Grow Stronger.

     Have you ever hit a plateau in the gym?  We all do it, we do the same exercises in the same order overtime we go into the gym for a long time and get results for a while, but then after a few months your muscles start growing slower or not at all. Overtime you go into the gym do you do the same workouts in the same order every time.  In this blog post I will describe what has been working for me.  I also talked about this in an earlier blog post but will share this updated version for people who want to read it and the new viewers.
"How long should I stick to a routine?"
     I had my routine for a few months but knew it was time to switch it up recently and try something new since my muscles were getting used to the old way.  I'm not saying I won't ever go back to drop sets but for now I am doing high rep low weight exercises instead, the drop sets did work very well, but we always need to be challenging our muscles in new ways, just as we do our minds.  I stuck with this routine for 3-6 months which for me is when I usually notice I need to change up my exercises and routine.  Although everyone is different our muscles all will get used to doing the same thing overtime eventually.  If a routine is working very well for you definitely stick with it as long as you can.  A routine working well means you are increasing weight gradually every time you go into the gym.  With drop sets I was easily adding weight to most exercises doing the same amount of reps and every time.  Until I started to not increase after a few months for a couple weeks so then I knew it was time to try something knew.
     Like I said in the above paragraph I started doing high rep low weight workouts.  I do anywhere from 15-40 reps depending on the workout and how much weight I use.  When doing this routine I like to concentrate one arm or leg at a time if its arm or leg day.  Using both arms to do a preacher curl with a bar for example can result in one arm doing more of the work and building on more muscle than the other.  So for that exercise I would for example use a dumbbell in one hand do my set then switch hands to make sure both arms are doing the same amount of work.  To get back on topic, switching a routine can be very beneficial, but before switching to a whole new routine I highly recommend you switch up the order of the workouts you are doing in your current one if you are hitting plateau.
Keeping a weight log.
     Is keeping a weight log of your workouts really necessary?  The answer is a huge and I mean HUGE YESSSS!!!  keeping track of every workout is very crucial to improving in the gym.  Now this is something I struggled with and still sometimes do, but have been forming a habit over the last few weeks to keep the log in the notes on my iPhone.  Everyone is bringing their phone to the gym anyways so this is a way to proactively use it to benefit your workout experience and is very simple, but like any habit is hard to get into.  I used to just walk into the gym and do my workouts and keep track of my exercise weight mentally.  You can already tell how that went.  Lately I decided to take 2 seconds after each workout and record the weight I did for each exercise.  By typing the name of exercise or machine, then the weight I was lifting and how many reps I did.  I am now about 75% used to the habit and it has helped me tremendously.  Not only am I able to add a little weight to my workouts every time I go into the gym, but I am also noticing my progress and muscles grow faster.  
     I would like to share my new ab routine that I made, I know you guys will love it, especially if you love a challenge.  Depending how strong your abs are you can do 1-3 sets of this workout and/or rest instead of doing mountain climbers (MC).  I currently do 2 sets and the routine is straight forward.  Go back to back with each exercise 20 reps of each exercise including MC, then when you complete the round take a one minute rest and start over if you need to drink some water during the round feel free to as well, what matters is doing it and achieving what you want to achieve!  Summer is coming lets crack right into the exercise to help you form those abs for your summer body!
Reminder all are 20 reps!
1) Bicycles
3) Iron butterflies 
4) MC
5) Leg raises (Lay on your back hold your legs straight up at a 90 degree angle and lift your butt)
6) MC
7) Roman twist
8) MC
9) Leg spreads (Hold your legs straight in front of you about 4-6 inches off the ground and spread then close and repeat)
1 minute rest.

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