People enjoy having a routine, because getting up every morning and going through the same motions, is comfortable for us. Similarly, this habit can also spill over into our workout routines, because you know what to expect every day and what you will get out of it.
When you are practicing weight lifting-a.k.a. resistance training-it is not uncommon to default to the same weight day after day, which then turns into week after week. This may seem great because you know what you can handle at the gym, but you may not be getting the variety of weights you need to create an effective workout session. Continuously maintaining the same weight will cause you to miss out on some great weight lifting benefits. You will adapt and your body plateaus, because it knows what’s coming and thus won’t change or improve, causing you to get bored and even miffed at minimal to no results… Then just give up.
Your body adapts to the resistance when you do the same things all the time, which in turn won’t result in strength gains, toning, definition or muscle size. The same goes for doing the same cardio workout every day. Once your body is used to a workout and expects it, it’s not going to improve because you are not surprising it in any way. The body needs to be challenged in order to grow, just like our minds do. If you learned the same lesson over and over each day, after a while the routine would become a bore and stop benefiting you.
That being said, one great thing for people who don’t vary their resistance, is that they will continue to have muscular endurance. Their muscles will still have the ability to work over an extended period of time, which is important for intense and long duration workouts, such as running a marathon. This type of endurance can also help you have more energy during the day, improve your posture and decrease your risk of injury. For certain, doing repetitive exercise each day is better than doing no exercise at all.
If your muscular endurance is improving, you can tell by how tired your muscles get during a set of reps with your regular weights. For example, if you can perform 16 reps of an exercise when you started with 12, that means your muscular endurance is improving. You can continue to improve it by adding reps to your routine, which will in turn help to increase your muscular endurance. Tracking the number of reps you do as you work out is important here…So you can keep track of your progress.
However, if you want to change your body and have it become leaner and more toned, you will have to increase your resistance, which means increasing your weights. You’ll know it is time to add weight to your reps if you are able to increase by two additional reps than you intended with your normal weights. Start with an increase of five percent in weight and move up slowly from there, then each time you can easily add two reps, increase an additional five percent.
Try to keep the routine of your workout consistent with your fitness goals. If you don’t want to build a ton of muscle, don’t aim for the highest weight. If endurance is your only goal, which is fine, just continue to increase how long you challenge your muscles, so that they benefit from the exercise in the long term.
SOME RECOMMENDED REP AND SET COUNTS FOR LIFTING WEIGHTS
• GENERAL FITNESS: Do one to two sets of 8-15 reps with 30-90 seconds in between each set.
• MUSCULAR ENDURANCE: Do two to three sets of 12 or more reps with 30 seconds or less rest.
• HYPERTROPHY (increase size): Do three to six sets of 6-12 reps, with a 30-90 second rest.
• STRENGTH: Do two to six sets of 6 or fewer reps with a 2-5-minute rest.
With a little extra planning, you can adjust your workout routine as needed in order to fit your goals. Though the easiest thing to do is to get a routine and stick with it, the benefits to your body won’t necessarily continue in the long run. Try out different types of weight training and various activities to keep your body guessing, so it will continue to grow stronger.