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More Training Info > Changing Routine

Changing Exercise Routine

Q. How often should one change his/her weight-training routine? Six weeks? Two weeks? Three months? Since it takes a while to get results, how can you be sure when to tweak it?

A. Basically, whenever you are starting to feel bored with your routine, you should change something about it. Another thing to think about is your "training age"--people who have been strength training for a while need to adjust their workouts much more frequently than someone who is just starting out. As an example, I have been lifting weights since 1984 and usually have four different workouts (a light lower, light upper, heavy lower, and heavy upper, all completely different exercises) going all at once, for a three week period, and then totally change things around. If I were to do a single workout three times a week for a month, I'd drive myself crazy!

I'd like to suggest that if you are just starting out, try a full body workout two or three times a week, with maybe one exercise for each body, a set or two with 8-12 repetitions. This might include (in order given) squats, lat pulldowns TO THE CHEST :) , dumbbell chest presses, shoulder presses, a variation on a step-up, triceps extensions, dumbbell curls, back raises, calf raises, and some abdominal work. (work large muscles to small in general, with more difficult exercises early in the workout while you are still fresh). Once you have done three workouts to get used to the form and to find the appropriate weight for you, then try changing something about it--maybe shorten the rest between sets, try supersetting (working back and forth between two opposing muscle groups, like chest and back, or biceps and triceps), try adding weight and doing fewer repetitions, etc. When you stop making improvement or start wishing for something new, then BY ALL MEANS change it up. Vary the squat. Throw in some deadlifts. Use a barbell instead of a pair of dumbbells.


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