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should i switch up my workout routine

Switching Up Your Workout Routine to Be More Athletic

Let me ask you something. How often do you switch up your workout routine? Is it quite often or almost never? Or maybe you are the one who doesn’t workout long enough to have to switch up your workout routine. Whatever the case, find out why you should, who should, when and how often you should, and different ways to switch up your workout routine.

Reasons to switch up your workout routine

Quite frankly, it says it in the title. It makes you a better athlete. If you are doing the same thing over and over, every single day, you are not getting better. That is not an opinion, that is a fact. Now, I realize, you can improve on certain exercises, but we want to not just work the same parts of the muscles every single time.

Take the biceps (wait, biceps is singular?) for example. Please don’t think that I am saying that biceps are more important the other parts of the body. In fact, I will say it. They are not. I am just using them as an example.

If we are doing a dumbbell curl, we are working the just the biceps, right? Well, it depends on the type of dumbbell curl. There is normal (supinating) dumbbell curl, supinating inner curl, supinating outer curl, reverse grip curl, neutral curl, and so many more variations. Sean Nalewanyj has an easy-to-read diagram that shows you the difference between neutral and supinating. My point is that there are so many different ways and angles to go at muscles, that we must switch it up to challenge ourselves.

If you want to know, here is a basic explanation of how the muscles react to stress put on them, based on the general adaptation syndrome, by Plateaus.

  1. First, they are alarmed when we do new workouts. So, as a beginner, this is why you start gaining muscle so quickly. Your muscles have never been introduced to these exercises, so they increase because of intramuscular, intermusclar, and neural adaptations.
  2. Second, the muscles start to adapt and resist. They get used to the same workouts, and now the stress that is being put on them isn’t enough to cause much change. This usually happens over a long period of time. Switching up our routines and nutrition patterns can fight against this.
  3. The final stage of GAS (haha, I said “Gas”) is exhaustion. This is where the muscles in the body can no longer take it. If you have heard someone talking about overtraining, this is what they meant.  To combat exhaustion, add in a rest week. The frequency of the rest week varies, but the more advanced you are, the more often you should take them.

Isn’t that the goal, to challenge ourselves? That is what this whole website is about, improving and becoming the best athletes we can be. We can’t do that if we don’t try new things and try to excel at them.

Who should switch up routines?

Anyone who wants to improve or get better. Now I realize some people are not working out every single day, every single week, every single month. I realize some people have busy schedules and lots of other priorities. If you only workout once a week, you probably don’t need to switch up your routine very often. I do, however, suggest that you do more than one workout per week.

Something that I suggest to people is- rather than working out once a week for an hour, trying working out five times a week for 15 minutes each. I like consistency, and even though you may be consistently getting those workouts in once a week, I would still prefer you are exercising daily. This keeps your muscles active and ready, and it lets them know that they need to stay awake throughout the day.

Working out more frequently will also give us an opportunity to switch up our workout routines. Do more…more frequently.

When/how often should you switch workout routines?

A rule I try to live by is I usually go until I am bored of a workout set, and then go one more week. If I just give up when I am bored of a workout set, that doesn’t show much discipline. In most cases, I switch up the cycle once every two months. If you want to more often, more power to you.

You can also do the sneaker attack (I made that name up). This is where you sneak in a different exercise every workout you do. Let’s say you are on a “chest and back” day, and you usually go back and forth between chest flies and lat pull-downs. So now, instead of doing lat pull-downs, you decide to sneak in one arm dumbbell rows. Now you will be able to tell how that one specific workout reacts with your body the next couple of days, without having to try to figure out which exercise it was that did the damage.

Ways to switch up the routine (the good part)

Just remember, there are always ways to improve without adding more weight. Click To Tweet

Now that we have covered the basics, let us get into the good stuff. I have already given ya’ll (sorry, I visited Tennessee a week ago and brought back some bad habits) a few examples of how to switch up your workout routine, but here are some more, just for you.

Exercises (duh)

I mentioned this several times. I will also add that just adding weightlifting exercises IS NOT ENOUGH (sorry, was that too loud?). You can add so many unique and fun exercises into your workout plan. Here are some ideas, but not limited to:

Running, yoga, stretching, balance, coordination, dancing, bodyweight, rock climbing, swimming, hiking, and so many more.

If you want to learn more about training your whole body to become a better athlete, put your name on my email list. I will be writing about all of those. Seriously, if you don’t believe me, I took a screenshot of my future article list:
read articles for athletes

Sets/repititions

So, just because you switch up your exercises frequently, doesn’t mean you will automatically improve. Let’s say you have reached your new personal record. You can now squat 180 pounds! “Well,” you say, “it looks like my work with squats is done, what next?”

Wrong. you can still improve on the squats, even if you don’t want to increase weight. Let me repeat that. You can still improve on the squats, even if you have perfect form, without adding weight! Try doing more squats. Like 10? No. 15? No. 25? Okay, that will do. Or if you want, do 10 reps for five sets. Or maybe even 10 sets, doesn’t that sound like fun!

Just remember, there are always ways to improve without adding more weight.

Intensity

Sometimes, we need a gut check. Are you half-butting it in the gym? If so, pump up the intensity. Go into the gym with a positive attitude. Get off the sugar, and get on the leg press. So many different things can effect our attitudes, and in return, effecting our intensity.

I read a book once called “Success is Not an Accident”. It taught me so many lessons about habits and giving full effort. I highly recommend you read it. Or “Dare to Win”. Both are excellent reads.

Length of workouts

If you are crunched for time, this may be difficult. If not, why not give it a try. Instead of going in for the usual hour, try a 45 minute, high intensity workout. Or maybe try to make it for an hour and a half. If you really want a challenge, try to make it two hours. It will hurt, but boy will it feel good after!

Amount of days

And the final suggestion is to switch up the amount of days per week you workout. Usually, I don’t recommend to workout less days than you already are. I tell people to workout more days than they currently are.

Now, don’t do this every week, because rest days are important, but try going for seven days in a row. Do it not to be in better shape, but for discipline. If you can go for seven days in a row, you have just given yourself the confidence to go out and try new things at the gym. And maybe, just maybe, you will succeed the next time you try something new because you succeeded previously. That’s how the mind works. Use it to your advantage.

 

If you want even more ways to switch up your workout routine, check out Muscle and Strength’s list (I’m not affiliated with them. I just think it is a good list).

Here are 11 signs that you need to switch up your workout routine, according to fitness experts (wonderfully written by Bustle):

  1. Bored
  2. Not showing improvement
  3. Low on Energy
  4. Don’t feel challenged
  5. Focusing only on one thing
  6. Don’t feel motivated
  7. Notice imbalances
  8. Same muscles are always sore
  9. Never sore
  10. Nagging injuries
  11. Don’t see results

 

 

Run Faster – Workouts and Tips That WILL Help You Be the Fastest You Can Be

Running is useful in almost any sport. Running fast is even more important in any sport.  I’ve heard a lot of people talk about speed as a purely genetic thing. While genetics do play a role in speed, it is not everything. I believe that genetics give us a base of our speed, then we can make the most to add to that.

I am going to show you how to add to your current speed. Whether you need to lose weight, tone up, or attain better form, I am here to help. I recently wrote an article on the controversy of whether or not bigger legs make you run slower. To sum that up, yes, bigger legs can make you run slower, but it depends on how you counteract that extra weight you are adding. I realize I could have left a lot of readers asking, “Well how exactly do I do this?”, and that is the reason for this article.

I am basically going to just list off a bunch of cool stretches, workouts, exercises. I obviously don’t know what you are working for, so you pick and choose from the workouts. I thought about making a running workout routine, but it would be very difficult, not knowing your schedule, current running ability, and how far you want to go. I will warn you, because I am telling you to pick and choose, don’t cut yourself short. If you think that doing all of these will help you, then do all of them. Give yourself your best.

 

Stretching: This is key no matter what workout or exercise you are doing. As I go about my days, I always hear people reminding and talking to each other about stretching before lifting weights or playing a pick up game of football. While I would agree with stretching before activities, I mostly only like dynamic stretching before activities. Static stretching (holding for 30+ seconds) should almost always only be done after workouts or during another time. The key to static stretching is making sure your muscles are warm before performing the stretches. Not doing so will probably only harm you.

If you want to know more about dynamic vs. static stretching, check out Static vs. Dynamic Stretching.

Dynamic Warm-up (before workouts/running): 

-Warm up jog: Make sure not to just start running right away. If you are coming from sitting in school or a desk all day and then start running full speed, you are in for some trouble.

-Hip circles: Place your hands on your hips, standing up straight. Rotate one of your hips in a clockwise pattern. After 10 rotations, switch to the other leg. Now go in a counterclockwise rotation for the same time.

-Walking lunges: Just how they sound. Take a step forward and drop the back leg’s knee to the ground. Lift up that back leg and step forward, dropping the other leg’s knee to the ground.

-Monster Walk (Frankensteins): Stand up straight and don’t bend your back during this dynamic stretch. Keeping your leg straight, kick it up in the air. As you kick up in the air, reach out to touch it with the opposite hand. Bring that leg down and kick the other one up, keeping it straight, and touch it with the opposite arm. Repeat.

-Leg Swings: Find a wall and place both hands out on it. Place one foot back. Swing the other leg side to side (in the direction of each hip).

-Butt Kickers: Jog slowly kicking your feet up to your butt.

-High Knees: Jog slowly kicking your knees up to the sky.

 

Parachute Running:

AGPtek® 56 inch Speed Training Resistance Parachute Running Chute Power (Large)

Since the first time I saw this, I’ve thought it was the coolest thing ever. The best feeling is using these parachutes to train, running as fast as you can. After using the running parachutes, you take them off and try running without them. You feel like a cheetah. The added resistance is great for getting faster. It makes you exert that extra energy you normally wouldn’t. You grow muscle needed to run fast, as well as strengthening your stabilizers.

 

Strengthen up those glutes: The most underrated muscle for ALL sports (and I mean all) in general is the buttocks. I don’t say that to be funny or just to say something out there to gain attention. I really mean it. Think about where all that power comes from in a baseball players swing. How about when a football player jolts at the quarterback to tackle him. And yes, running too. We need it to get that explosive start. It also helps so that not all of the stress is on the other muscle of our bodies because our glutes can’t handle it in long distance runs. Alright, enough talking here’s some workouts:

Barbell glute bridge: Lay on your back, knees bent up, feet flat on the ground. Place a barbell with whatever weights you feel across your body (right above hip area). Push your butt up towards the sky (or ceiling since you’re probably in a gym), go as far as you can and hold at the top for a second. You can do these for power and for endurance.

Single leg glute-bridge: This is for those of you who don’t have access to a gym or barbell. It’s the same thing as the barbell glute bridge, but only use only leg to push up.

Downward facing balance: You are going to need a balance ball for this one. Lay on your groin region on the balance ball with your hands on the ground. Slowly lift your feet towards the sky and hold for 5-10 seconds. Slowly bring your feet back to the ground and repeat.

Kneeling jump squat: You can use a barbell for this one or just bodyweight. Begin kneeling on the ground with your butt up. Bring your butt down to your feet and burst up, generating enough power to get on your feet. Finish the squat upwards.

Hip extensions: Use a resistance band for this one. Place it around your ankle and also under a door or similar. Push out to the side slowly and back in.

 

Fix your running form: I am not going to get into whether or not heel tapping is good or not, because really it doesn’t matter all that much. Too much can be a bad thing, and too little can be as well. The main strategy I will push is that each step you should land underneath your body. Don’t land your foot too far forward or you are slowing yourself down, literally.

While I don’t want to be completely useless and the bearer of bad news here, I will tell you a little secret: there is no secret formula that everyone can use to run faster. I have given you some things to experiment with. It all depends on your flexibility, strength, and the number of steps your taking…and about 50 other factors. Experiment with taking quicker strides. Try keeping your feet under your body as you hit the ground. Try keeping your shoulders and head up. And contrary to popular belief, try hunching over a little more (probably more for power strides or sprinters).

I really don’t like it when somebody tells someone they could run faster if they just do one of these simple magic tricks. It may be because I am biased. I have “terrible” running form. I am hunched forward, I squeeze my hands, my elbows are bent more than 90 degrees, and there is probably more you could judge my form on. Yet I am still fast. I have not done a ton of experimenting with my running form, but when I do I always end up going straight back to the way I know because that’s the way I am fastest.

 

Strengthen up your core: Your core, along with your glutes, is so important to being the fastest you. We use an ab and core workout that is good for really anything. It doesn’t just focus on the abs, but the core as a whole. Try the Ab and Core Workout – Great for Building a Strong Core and Six Pack.

Resistance Training: Similar to the parachute, resistance training will help you drastically improve your running speed. You are exerting so much energy doing resistance training exercises. When you finally take off the resistance trainer, you feel amazingly light. It gets so much easier every time do it. These are best done with a partner.
SKLZ Recoil 360 Degree Resistance Trainer with Free SKLZ Carry Bag

 

Sprint Drills After Leg Day: This video explains it pretty well:

 

Need help deciding which running shoes to buy? Here’s a good start:

Nike Men’s Free 5.0+ Running Shoe

Mizuno Men’s Wave Evo Ferus Running Shoe,Yellow,11.5 D US

Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte Road Running Shoe – Men’s Black/Mango 12

Altra Men’s One 2.5 Running Shoe

Habits That are Probably Hurting Your Workout Routine





A lot of us have searched for all of the things that will boost our energy and workout habits, but what about the habits that hurt our workout routines? There are days where we go into the gym and just aren’t feeling it. But why is that? I’ve compiled a list of reasons why you might be feeling the afternoon slump.

These range from food habits to attitude habits all the way to actual physical habits. I’m no biologist, psychologist, or physical trainer. These results I have come up with are simply in effect to my research and past experiences.

These harmful habits might not only hurt your energy level, but could literally be a roadblock, stopping your muscles from growing. Or at least not helping them in any way.

 

Working out after work
Now, this might only be a small list of you, but the time of day you workout could decrease your workout effectiveness. If you have a job that physically drains you and leaves you without energy, this might help you. Working out in the morning might also get your blood pumping throughout the rest of the day. And now you don’t have to dread the physical exertion that you would have had to use going to the gym later, you’re already done before you head to work, school, or wake up the kids! If you don’t have much time in the morning, try our 15 Minute Daily Workout Routine! It works the upper and lower body, and leaves you feeling like you just worked out for an hour every time!

 

Too much soda (or pop as we call it in Minnesota)
You may have heard that pop is bad for you. You heard correctly. The only time pop has EVER, EVER, EVER “helped” me is when I was sick and wouldn’t drink anything other than pop. Pop has a ton of sugar, carbonation, and other ingredients that simply don’t help you in any way shape or form. Some people it doesn’t affect as much as others, but try going off it for a month and see how you feel. It does wonders for me physically. It also gets rid of the attachment that you feel to drink pop. Some feel it more than others, but if you drink it at all, there’s always a sort of attachment that you can’t let go unless you completely “go off” pop.

 

Naps are putting you to sleep (literally)
Studies have been done recently showing and experimenting with the effectiveness of naps. Different results have been found, and the reason for that is because not all of the test subjects are the same. In fact, none of us are the same. We are all unique in different ways, and different things affect us. One thing is clear throughout almost all testing: sleep is good. Now, naps on the other might not be the best. The most clear answer I’ve found is that usually when we sleep for an hour or longer, our bodies shut down. When we wake up we have to completely reset and get our blood pumping again. Just think how long some of us take in the morning to wake up. Get those 8 hours of sleep. Try to do it at night is my advice, although some people can withstand taking daily naps and still workout afterwards.

 

You’re drained of nutrients.
My mom always would tell me, if I couldn’t swallow pillows, then find another way to get my nutrients. I take supplements like Vitamin C packs, or I look for other athlete supplement replenishers. Powerade and Gatorade do replace electrolytes, but they have a lot of bad ingredients in them, like a ton of sugar. I recently watched a video of how much sugar they put into each bottle, and it honestly made me gag a little bit. In all honesty, if you want the best supplements and nutrients in your body, it’s going to take a lot of research. My advice would be to first of all look for what you don’t want in your drinks, then search for the drinks that exclude those ingredients. This is big in protein drinks. Whenever looking for protein powders, I start with anything that doesn’t have soy, sucralose, sugar, and artificial sweeteners and go from there.

 

Not enough water.
Water is essential in day to day life. I learned this when I was young. If I don’t drink water, my day generally doesn’t go too well. I may have to pee a lot, but at least I am not dehydrated. When you are sick with the stomach flu, a lot of that weakness feeling is being drained from liquids. Staying hydrated keeps cramps away and keeps the body healthy for high intensity workouts. This is not the case for everyone, but if you are not sweating a lot during workouts and you’re getting really tired, you may be dehydrated. Always have a bottle of water next to you while working out, or even just sitting at the computer.

15 Minute Daily Workout Routine – High Intensity Full Body

Now I know there will be a lot of doubters and naysayers out there that will deny that you can build much muscle working out for only 15 minutes per day. I am here to prove you wrong. This workout is high intensity and works most of the major muscles in the body.

The great thing about this workout is that you can do it at home! No weights needed!

*Note that max repetitions does not mean do them as fast as you can. It simply means to do them with good form until the time is up.

Do this daily and within a month you will start to the see the difference. Don’t forget to have fun! Have a stop watch with you. If you are taking breaks in between workouts, you’re probably not building the same muscle you could be without taking breaks!

Just a side note, for those of you who don’t already know, we are currently in the process of making a 6 day a week, 15 minute daily program. Sign up for our email list (on the sidebar) and we’ll let you know when that’s finished!

THE WORKOUT:

-One Leg Push-ups – max reps x 30 seconds each leg up (do about same reps with both legs up)
-Tricep Extensions (hands behind back on table) – max reps x 30 seconds
-Pull-ups – max reps x 30 seconds
-Chin-ups – max reps x 30 seconds
-Handstand Push-ups OR Pike Circles – max reps x 30 seconds
-BW Side Laterals – max reps 30 seconds each arm
-Push-ups – max reps 30 seconds
-Squats – max reps x 30 seconds
-Hip Thrusters – max reps x 30 seconds
-Explosive Lunges – max reps x 30 seconds each leg
-Lateral Lunges – max reps x 30 seconds each leg
-Pull-ups – max reps x 30 seconds
-Back Extensions – max reps x 30 seconds
-Single Leg Thrusters – max reps x 30 seconds
-Knee Get Ups – max reps x 30 seconds
-Drop Squats – max reps x 30 seconds
-Tricep Push-ups – max reps x 30 seconds
-Single Foot Calf Lifts – max reps x 30 seconds
-Sissy Squats – max reps x 30 seconds
-Sit-ups – max reps x 30 seconds
-Crunches – max reps x 30 seconds