CHALLENGE AND CHANGE
THE IMPORTANCE OF VARIATION
It is important to ensure that you do not fall into a routine when you implement a training program. You may think that it is better to follow the same routine constantly as opposed to not partaking in any physical activity but this may not be the case and you may be doing physical activity that have little to no benefit to improving results. This is due to the body’s ability to adapt to a certain task if repeated constantly which will allow the task to be done much more efficiently with less results.
The main requirement when working towards improvement is that we need to be challenged when doing physical activity, this results in being stronger and improved endurance. Most individuals have great success during the initial phases of their training routine but as they continue with the physical activity they tend to progress less. This occurs once the body adapts to the physical activity resulting in the body not responding as responsively to physical activity and this may slow or even stop the improvement phase you where achieving. This in training terms is referred to as “hitting a plateaus”. To effectively get over this phase you need to implement variation into your training routine, this may include frequency, duration, intensity, location etc. This variation is beneficial both physical and mentally and may result in increased motivation and limit boredom.
This variation does not require an individual to change all aspects of their routines and we recommend only change one at a time, below we have listed simple changes to ensure variation in both resistance and cardiovascular training:
- Vary the weight – This is critical to challenge the body, ensure that as you increase weight you may need to decrease the amount of repetitions you try to complete.
- Vary the repetitions – The amount of repetitions you do has a different effect on the muscles, low repetitions with heavy weights may result in muscle building while more repetitions may result in increased endurance. Once again ensure that you vary the weight accordingly to ensure that you challenge the muscle, the final set repetition in a set need to be extremely difficult.
- Vary the sets – This may require that you vary your training routine to include single sets which would include 3 sets of a specific muscle group in succession, super sets which would be include movements that use multiple muscle groups back to back with no recovery period between sets, and circuits that would have individual sets focusing on each muscle group in succession and then repeated for a set amount of times.
- Vary the grip – This may be as simple as changing your grip when doing a pull up or changing your hand position when doing bicep curls, this is termed as over-hand and under-hand grips.
- Vary the activity – implement some form of cross training into your resistance routines, this may be kettle bells from dumbbells or free weight on a bench to a Swiss ball
- Vary the type of exercise – This may be varying your lunge patterns over various intervals, a front lunge may be substituted with a side lunge.
- Vary the type of exercise – It is important to implement cross training into your training routine this may include running, cycling, swimming or indoor training equipment.
- Vary the activity – To break boredom try and implement training that may be fun try activities such as hiking, climbing, skipping, rowing, roller-blading, trampolines and various other fun cardiovascular activities.
- Vary the terrain – ensure that you run on different surfaces, by including off road running into your routine you give the body a break from the constant pounding on the road or sidewalk.
- Vary the program – Change the distances, times an intervals you train, include flat terrain, elevations and High Intensity Interval Training, change these routines over different days. If you are training on indoor equipment such as running on a treadmill, spin bike, or elliptical trainer you can change up your training on the pre-programed programs that are supplied on this equipment.
When looking for variation ensure that you are creative and look into all the available options this will eliminate hitting a plateaus and the benefits will be evident both physical and emotionally.