These last few weeks I’ve been nursing an injury as well as had to travel for work. This has forced me out of my normal training cycle, which if I’m honest had gotten stale. Instead of running and playing soccer for cardio I’ve switched to Tabata intervals with battle ropes, bike riding, and even Jacob’s Ladder. Instead of free weights, I’ve been doing body weight exercises and using elastic bands for resistance training.
The interesting thing to me is that no matter how fit I think I am, when I switch up my training it exposes how much work I have to do. For example, I could run 3 to 5 miles with no issue and still have something left in the tank, but 4 minutes of Tabata can leave me sucking wind! Similarly, I’ve been benching heavier weight in an effort to set a new one rep max, but trying to do more than 20 push ups at a clip leaves me on the floor.
It’s been a good reminder to me of the need to switch up your workout routine from time to time. If you’ve been doing the same routine for the last several weeks, here are 3 reasons to switch things up:
- You can break through plateaus. The simple fact is that our bodies adapt to whatever we’re doing, and changing that routine gives a new challenge to your body, and your mind. Variation will help you break plateaus in your muscle growth and weight loss. I know I’ve seen that in the last couple of weeks as I’ve dropped a couple of pounds.
- It can keep you mental engaged. Our brains like novelty. Adding something new or different to your work out can keep it from getting boring and help you stay engaged. A simple way to do this might be to take your workout outside, get a day pass at a new gym, or take a class like spinning or Pilates.
- Strengthen Underutilized Muscles. If you do the same set of exercises for a muscle group all the time, you’re going to end up not fully utilizing all of the muscles in that group. For example, if all you ever do is cable rows and dumb bell rows, trying to do a pull up will work your back differently. I’ve found that doing the battle ropes has made some new muscles in my shoulders and arms sore!