If I had a dollar for every time I have heard “you’ll never get bored” or “you’ll never do the same workout twice” over the last 5 years, I would have at least $4000.
Not enough to retire on, but still a bucket load of cash and still enough for you to realise that it’s really annoying and quite a deceiving subject.
The reason why this is “terribly wrong” is because constantly varying your workouts and lacking training structure is one of the worst things you can do on your pursuit of body composition or performance.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing the same movements and workouts more than once. In fact, anyone who knows anything about fitness/ strength training will tell you that it’s probably the best thing you can do.
After all, they call them repetitions for a reason.
Following a structured/ periodised strength and conditioning program formed with scientific evidence will yield far greater results than a randomised program which is solely focused on entertaining you with manufactured movements and making sure you feel “flogged”.
If someone is selling you into their membership program on the sole fact that your workouts will be fun and you’ll never get bored, RUN THE OTHER WAY.
This isn’t a playground and you don’t want someone who feels they need to manufacture workouts just to keep you entertained.
Of course workouts don’t have to be mundane and boring, but at the end of the day, your goals are to build enough lean muscle mass that you have control of your movement, drop enough body fat that you don’t jiggle when you move, earn a few more years without being ridden with fat related chronic diseases like 70% of the population currently is, learn some movement skills so you can uphold the minimum standard of being a human being and not fall into dys-evolution and lastly, make sure that you don’t get injured so you can maintain quality of movement into your 80’s and push off the retirement home.
The best way to achieve all of these things aforementioned results is not by confusing yourself or creating new movements, it’s by getting really good at the most basic movements and then progressively overloading them to ensure you’re constantly evolving and getting a stimulus.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as “confusing your muscles”. There is creating a variation of stimuli, which can be achieved in a number of ways, but trying to confuse your muscles by constantly varying the movements is ignorant and unsafe.
You are more than likely confusing your brain more than your muscles and you will end up with a lack of results and most likely injury.
There are 2 ways to alter/ affect your training stimulus:
- Overloading the central nervous system drive (CNS): by lifting heavier and creating more force production through motor unit recruitment.
- Overloading the mechanical tension of the muscle: increasing the total training volume through altering your reps, sets and time under tension at given loads.
Which is really hard to do if you are constantly changing and varying the movements or trying to create new ones. You need structure and repetition so that you can maintain a linear or progressive overload and keep track of the progress.
Notice the difference of program A and program B
Week 1: Front squats 5 x 10 reps at 60% of your 1 rep max
Week 2: Front squats 5 x 10 reps at 62% of your 1 rep max
Week 3: Front squats 5 x 10 reps at 65% of your 1 rep max
Week 4: Front squats 5 x 10 reps at 68% of your 1 rep max
Week 1: Front squats 5 x 10 reps at 60kg
Week 2: Bosu Ball squats 3 x 15 reps at 10kg
Week 3: Jumping squats 4 x 50 reps at bodyweight
Week 4: Lunges10 x 20 reps at 5kg
Which of these would be easier to learn correct form and track appropriately?
Which of these is actually proven to increase lean muscle mass, increase metabolic response and drop body fat whilst promoting motor pattern development.
Which of these has enough training load and volume to develop a stimulus for you to adapt physioloically.
Questions to ask yourself or the person coaching you.
1. What is the science/ reasoning behind what I am doing right now?
2. Is this the most effective thing I could be doing for MY goals?
3. Am I creating unnecessary movements/ workouts that could be simplified and executed with precision by completing something I can already do really well.
4. Is there enough of a training stimulus from the movement I am completing, or am I just moving to burn calories in this acute moment. (Better put, is this movement any better than jumping over a stick for 10 minutes?)
If you or your coach can’t answer this with an evidence based answer, there’s a good chance you should look at finding a new approach.
How to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of pointless workouts.
- Create a structured strength and conditioning program that follows the basic principles of periodisation and progressive overload
- This includes a structured warm up to prepare your body for the workout at hand.
- Includes strength protocols which are aimed at developing both the central nervous system and building lean muscle mass. Ideally, this is where you should maintain structure and repetition without too much variance.
- Include systemised conditioning protocols which will help increase training volume whilst being aimed at promoting lean muscle development and extra metabolic stimulus. This is where you can increase the rep ranges and decrease the rest periods to get a metabolic / aerobic / anaerobic response (fitness).
One of the biggest mistakes we see is that people spend too much time in the conditioning phase or HIIT without enough time in the strength phase.
There is definitely nothing wrong with wanting to expand your repertoire and movement library, especially in a world where creativity is king, but the number one rule to follow should be to know why you are doing something and make sure it is congruent with your goals and expected outcomes.