Switch It Up: Get gains by changing exercise routines
Thursday, May 4, 2023
From the dedicated gym rat to the avid at-home athlete, exercisers always seem to look for new ways to maintain their health and fitness. Some claim that increasing intensity does the trick, while others dedicate days to different muscle groups by alternating between exercise routines. So, what do researchers say is the best way to obtain and maintain gains?
A study published on the Semantic Scholar website in 2019 found that varying exercises promoted muscle improvement and proved key to maintaining motivation to train. For those of us who have trouble staying on the exercise wagon, that finding is a big deal.
Daily exercise provides a wake-up stimulus to the brain, and our busy brains find it interesting when every day feels a little different. So, while performing the same movements every time we exercise can offer a reliable way to track progress, replacing running with a hip hop class or swapping soccer practice with skiing will boost our bodies, brains and chances of maintaining physical activity.
Research posted on the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research website in 2014 shows that varying the exercises in a workout yields greater improvements than just increasing (or decreasing) intensity levels. So, what if we alternated exercises and modified intensity levels? Unfortunately, science says changing the exercise regimen and the intensity at the same time won’t provide a double boost of benefits. The study found that changes in training intensity are not crucial for maximum strength gains. Instead, maximum results come by focusing on changing the exercises.
It turns out that rotating our workout routine leads to a greater motivation to train, reduces the risk of injury and results in more muscle gains. So, keep it interesting and try something new for tomorrow’s workout.
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