Why you need to regularly change your workout routine

One fact many athletes or weekend warriors don't know is how quickly the human body adapts. If you've been doing the same workout for months, it is no longer helping you develop.

Doing the same workout over and over again is futile, because your body adapts while progress and further development stops.

Professional coaches know to change their athlete's workout at least every three weeks. That doesn't mean they'll simply change the amount of weight lifted, though working on lifting more poundage is also very beneficial. But it's the line of the movement itself to which the body adapts. For example, if you're doing deadlifts with your palms over the weighted bar, you can make an easy change by lifting with your palms under the bar.

The change you need to keep adaptation at bay can be as simple as frequently changing your grip.

Subtle tweaks

A biceps curl offers many options to keep the movement ever fresh. Start with the dumbbell hanging down at your side, then lift it to your ear. Refresh the movement by holding it a couple of feet away from your side. Change your grip – instead of holding a dumbbell horizontally (parallel to the floor), hold it vertically, so that one end is facing the floor and the other end is pointing at the ceiling. Changing your grip like this will work different muscles in the arm and wrist.

When lifting a loaded bar off the floor, lift for a week or two with both hands at the centre of the bar. As your body gets comfortable with this grip, widen it so your hands are three or more feet apart. You'll be changing your grip every few weeks. Your body won't be able to firmly adapt to the same movement done the same way when you don't do it exactly the same for more than a few weeks.

Go low, look high

You may do squats as part of your normal routine. But even if you're squatting your own body weight, you can make changes. Always start with a lower weight when you make any change in an exercise; you can easily work up to your regular poundage in a short time.

Squat changes are easy. If you've been looking at the wall as you squat, change it up so you're looking at where the wall meets the ceiling. Put a small weight plate under each heel (two and a half or a five pound weight). This shifts your weight stability, again, stopping you from adapting to your regular technique.

Victim to adaptation

One of the ways to tell if your body has fallen victim to adaptation is if you no longer feel a difference between when you started your workout and when you finished. You don't have that super-filled feeling in your muscles, and you're not sweating at all. Consider this your body's notice that you've become used to this unchanging workout, and your body has adapted to it.


Even when doing a warm-up, change the speed and range of motion that you use. Look at it like your workout is an old and favourite pair of jeans. They have adapted to the shape of your body; you no longer have to tug them up over your thighs or struggle to pull up the zipper. They're comfortable. Compare that to your workout routine. You never want it to be comfortable; whether it's resistance work or riding your bike uphill. That's why a physical routine is called a 'workout.'

Adventure Sports Weekly​