Fitness memberships have increasingly grown over the past few years. Many people hit their favorite group class each week excited to see what the workout of the day is. Others follow a fitness app with hundreds of random workouts they can choose from to avoid getting bored. But if you’re switching up your workouts too often, it could hinder your progress. So how often should you switch it up? Here’s what you need to know about when to switch up your workout routine.
Spoiler alert! Doing the same thing over and over works. The more often you practice a certain movement, the better you get at it. The more often you squat, the stronger you get at squats. The more often you run, the faster you get at running. To truly master something, you must do it consistently until it becomes almost second nature. Think of working out as a skill, not a task.
Sticking with a routine long enough to make progress is important, but so is staying motivated. If you get bored with your workouts, you most likely won’t put in the necessary effort to get better, so mixing it up every so often is a must.
How will I make progress by switching my current routine?
Let’s first talk about the principle of progressive overload. In short, we get stronger and build muscle by lifting a little more weight, doing an extra set or a few more reps, consistently over time. Another example is when we consistently run further or at a slightly faster pace. We will in turn get faster, our lungs get better at using oxygen, and our heart gets better at pumping blood to our working muscles.
So how often should you switch it up?
For most people, every 4–6 weeks is an appropriate time to change your strength-training movements. However, that doesn’t mean to go change everything all at once to the point where the routine is completely different than your previous one. Sometimes less is more.
To be clear, you don’t have to revamp your current routine completely; just minor tweaks are necessary to keep things interesting while still moving toward your goals. For example: switch from reverse lunges to walking lunges or switch from pushups to dumbbell bench press. In other words, sticking to the same muscle group but performing a different movement. This will not only help you progress physically, but it will also help you mentally by becoming increasingly motivated once you start seeing measurable results.
If you haven't switched up your routine in quite some time or if you have yet to stick to a regular routine for a few weeks, now is time to start. Begin with a full body strength training routine including a squat, hinge, push and pull and adhere to that for at least a month. Once you perfect these movements, adjust it a bit by tweaking a few of the movements. Or if you prefer, stick to the same routine and simply add additional weight, sets or repetitions. Your body will thank you, I promise!