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Knowing When to Change Your Weight Training Routine

Some people change all or part of their strength-training routine every time they work out. You should consider trying at least one new exercise each month. After you learn a basic routine, expand your repertoire so that you have more options to choose from.

Varying your strength workouts keeps you more interested and can help you get better results. If you stick with the same routine month after month, year after year, your muscles adapt to those exercises; but by working your muscles from a variety of angles, you involve more muscle fibers and keep your muscles challenged.

Changing your exercises isn’t the only way to keep you — and your muscles — stimulated. You also can play with other variables, such as how many sets and reps you perform and how much rest you take between sets.

Consider trying periodization, a method of organizing your workout program into several periods, each lasting about four weeks. Each phase has a different emphasis:

  • The first month you may do a basic routine, using moderate weights and performing one set of 8 to 10 reps of each exercise.

  • In the next period, you may go for more strength, lifting heavier weights, doing six to eight repetitions and taking more rest between sets.

  • In the third phase, you may focus on building stamina, doing 10 to 12 repetitions and taking less rest between sets.

Periodization is great if you’re a beginner, because it helps you focus on one goal at a time.

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