How Long Should You Wait Until You Change Your Workout?

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If you were to ask any trainer how often should you change your workout, this question would get many different answers. Some would say that you should change your workout every few weeks, some may say that you need to change your workout every day, and some may say that you never need to change your workout.  Previous research has shown that changing reps, sets, and rest duration all have impacts on increasing strength and muscle mass. The relationship between training intensity (load) and training volume (volume of repetitions) is one primary distinctive characteristic of periodization models in resistance training, thus, a review of periodization schemes in resistance training is warranted. Periodization or alteration of key training variables over time falls into three main categories: linear, non-linear, and block. Linear (and reverse linear) periodization. Non-linear periodization involves altering training variables from day-to-day or from week-to- week such that all training variables are used similarly within short periods of time. Block periodization involves training for a specific goal in successive, additive cycles.
Researchers set out to compare the effects of different periodization methods on gains in maximal strength (as measured by 1RM and 10RM across eight resistance training exercises) in advanced recreational athletes. 200 healthy subjects were randomly allocated into four groups of 50 subjects each.

-Constant load and constant volume of repetitions over six weeks.

-Increases in load and decreasing volume of repetitions made every two weeks.

-Decreases in load and increasing volume of repetitions made every two weeks.

-Daily changing load and volume of repetitions.

The total number of repetitions were identical between samples. Subjects performed resistance training for six weeks, involving three training sessions per week, and the same eight exercises that were used for the testing (the horizontal leg press, chest press, butterfly, lat pull-down, horizontal row, dumbbell shoulder press, cable triceps pushdowns, and dumbbell biceps curls).

At the end of the study, after six weeks of resistance training with all training programs resulted in significant strength gains in advanced recreational athletes. Resistance training following daily changing loads causes significantly greater strength gains than any other form of training periodization.  So if you’re looking to make the most of your workout, change your workout frequently to make continual progress. The researchers made some fascinating theories as to why the daily changing of your workout could be better than other training programs. Here were some of the research’s speculations on why changing your workout daily may be superior.
1.)    Daily changing of your workout places greater stress on the neuromuscular system, so greater strength gains are the result.
2.)    Daily changing of your workout causes greater fluctuation in motor unit recruitment may lead to the exhaustion of more and different units.

Eifler C. Short-term effects of different loading schemes in fitness-related resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Dec 12.