Are you one of those guys that’s followed the same workout day in, day our for the last 10 years? Or are you a bro that changes his bodybuilding routine faster than his tub of protein?
You might have heard the old school guys at the gym. They’re all about ‘keeping the muscles guessing’ and ‘muscle confusion’.
They say you’ve got to change up your routine regularly or you’ll stop making those sweet gains.
Well, they’re kind of right. You do need to change your workout to keep progressing.
But not because of muscle confusion. That’s a myth that needs to be put to bed.
To an extent it’s a pretty universal approach to training to mix up the workout and throw in a few curve ball exercises. But changing things like load, reps and rest time are just as important.
In this article we take a look at how often you should change your bodybuilding workout routine…
Muscle Building Basics
If you’re a reader of the golden nuggets of information given to you by SpotMeBro, you might already know the basics about building muscle.
But even if you’ve got a solid pair of 20 inch pythons and quads that mean normal pants aren’t on your radar, you can always learn more.
Bottom line, bullsh*t like ‘shocking your body’ is just a myth. Your muscles don’t have brains and they can’t think for themselves.
You can’t walk up to the squat rack, get ready to go ass to grass and then without notice bust out a set of dumbbell curls, and think that you’ll somehow trick your arms into more growth.
That’s just dumb.
As long as the stimulus is greater than what it’s used to, you’ll keep grinding out more mass. Forget trickery, tomfoolery and hocus pocus stuff like muscle confusion.
But how exactly do you keep the stimulus front and center?
Here are the essentials of adding mass…
When you up the load and lift a heavy weight, or smash out a set of high reps to failure, your taking your body on a journey to a place it’s not been before.
Progressive overload means challenging your body with something it’s unaccustomed to.
Your body is an amazingly clever unit (yep, even yours).
When you challenge it on a regular basis it responds by adapting. If you do loads of cardio you develop a higher aerobic capacity, if you play sports, you get more skilful.
And if you lift heavy ass weights your body adapts by growing muscle and getting jacked.
If you use the same weights every workout, eventually you won’t be providing enough of a bodybuilding stimulus for muscle growth.
After a while, you just stop making gains.[infobox]
Just the tip: You need to follow the principles of progressive overload to make muscle building gains.[/infobox]
To stimulate muscle growth you’ve got to do more than just chase a pump or take a f*ck ton of selfies in your two-piece tracksuit and snap back.
To really ramp up gains you have to hit enough volume.
By volume we mean the total load when you multiply the weight you lifted for an exercise, by the reps and sets you performed.
100 kg on bench press for 3 x 12 reps gives you ‘load volume’ of 3600 kg.
The higher your load volume, the more mass you create. Whether that’s by adding reps or using a heavier weight.[infobox]
Just the tip: The higher your load volume, the more gains you’ll make.[/infobox]
A novel stimulus is needed for growth. But don’t let that confuse you…
The truth is that as long as the workout has sufficient volume and creates a progressive overload environment, you’ll make gains.
So you never need to change your workout?
You still need to change your bodybuilding workout routine.
You just don’t need to change the exercises that often… and you definitely don’t need to swap them around in every workout.
When do you need to change your bodybuilding workout routine?
The bottom line here is that you only need to change your workout when it’s no longer novel.
Although the reasons for changing your bodybuilding workout routine might vary, here are the most common:
- You’re not getting stronger, leaner or adding quality muscle
- You feel tired during your current bodybuilding workout routine
- There’s a real loss of energy or general motivation. Basically, you’re bored.
- If your goals change and you suddenly decide to run a marathon or some crazy sh*t instead of bodybuilding
5 Ways to Change Your Bodybuilding Workout Routine
So your progress has stopped, you’re bored with your current bodybuilding routine or your goals have changed.
How exactly can you change your bodybuilding workout routine?
Well, it depends.
But here are a few ways you can get back on the horse and start making gains again…
Use an advanced training system
When it comes to muscle-crushing, pump-inducing training systems, you’ve got plenty of options.
You could dip your tip into cluster sets, or even take a run at something like yielding isometrics which have you crying like a lil’ bitch on the leg extension.
You’re not even changing your bodybuilding workout routine either – just throwing in a little special sauce with the exercises you’re already using.
Don’t rely on muscle splits
Old school bodybuilders love a good muscle split. Chest on Monday, delts on Wednesday – that kind of thing.
But deciding to work just one muscle per workout soon leaves you running out of ideas for specific exercises. You’ve done pulldown and rows for months and just can’t think of any other ways to hit the muscles.
But full body workouts not only build more muscle, they give you more options for training too. Mostly because you don’t need to perform as many per workout.
Use rep cycling
Using periodization techniques where you change the emphasis of your workouts every 4-6 weeks or so allows you to plan rep and loading ranges frequently enough to keep building muscle.
Rep cycling is a great way to boost progressive overload while still getting a muscle-splitting amount of volume into your program.
You could do heavy 4-6 rep sets for one month, then lighter, high-rep 12-120 sets the next. You don’t even have to adapt your exercise choice either.
Switch up the exercises
It’s not that important to change the exercises you use.
As you’ve seen above, there’s plenty of productive ways to keep building muscle before you have to think about stripping your bodybuilding workout routine back and making changes.
But exercise selection can be used as an option that helps to keep things fresh and interesting.
So How Often Should You Change Your Bodybuilding Workout Routine?
The bottom line is probably not as often as you think.
Most bros respond well to adapting their bodybuilding workout routine every 4-6 weeks. But for you it could be either shorter or longer dependent on the program.
And here’s the kicker…. you don’t even need to chop and change the exercises you use; but the loads, rep ranges and rest times do need adapting regularly to keep progressing.