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 Post subject: Changing exercises.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:34 pm 
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Hi,

I follow the ExRx 2-day split, Push / Pull workout template, 3 times a week rotated over a fortnight. I follow all the guidelines as far as I know, and I think I am making satisfying progress.

The guidelines state that the exercises should be changed every 1 to 2 months. I find myself now not wanting to take my workout card with me, and to simply go to the gym and enjoy moving weights like I used to when I was younger. My question is, if I follow the same routine but mix it up a little by substituting different, yet very similar exercises, with all the same muscle groups, will that cause any diminishing returns on my effort and/or will the psychological benefits that come with the variety outweigh any negative affects such as lack of neurological adaptation? For example, I usually do EZ bar curls (to prevent reoccurring tendinitis). If I decide I want to do DB curls instead some workouts, will that cause a problem? A better example is, as I workout alone I like to do DB bench press, but is it okay to mix that up with Barbell Bench Press or even machine Chest Presses as I feel?

I do feel that I make better strength gains mixing it up despite feeling less pressure to increase the resistance.

Thanks.


Last edited by MikeF on Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Changing exercises.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:12 am 
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Go for it. Especially if one of your reasons for lifting is to enjoy exercise variety and your results are satisfactory. I would suggest you keep track of your numbers and exercises though, as having a reference point for what and when you did things can be useful.


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 Post subject: Re: Changing exercises.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:01 am 
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robt-aus wrote:
Go for it. Especially if one of your reasons for lifting is to enjoy exercise variety and your results are satisfactory. I would suggest you keep track of your numbers and exercises though, as having a reference point for what and when you did things can be useful.


Thanks for your reply.

I notice I'm the only one at the gym who records the weights as they're done. I was thinking about relying on my memory more so I can improve that ability since my memory has been affected by illness. I think I can now remember what weights I have used when they are in front of me. I'm trying not to over analyse everything like I usually do (though I know my posts don't reflect that), but I'm hoping that is logically a justified reason not to write down the numbers and exercises? I also don't plan on much deviation from my workout in the foreseeable future. Mainly just playing with the weight, reps, and grips.


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 Post subject: Re: Changing exercises.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:49 am 
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First of all, keep your notebook. That' not over-thinking. It's just good practice. And look back over it once in a while, so you can learn something from it.

I have two thoughts on changing exercises. Or more.

First of all, it is possible to either change exercises too much, or not enough. Too much is the guy who is jumping to a new workout everytime he sees a different article in T-Nation. Not enough is the guy who stubbornly refuses to change even when he's not making much progress, or worse, when injuries are accumulating.

The other is that there are two kinds of changes. One is just a one-time thing for something different, or to try out something you haven't done before. The other is to make a strategic change in your lifting template. And those changes can be small or big. Make small changes fairly often, big changes less so. Not that I type all of this it sounds obvious, but I don't mean to sound patronizing.

For instance, you can throw in a few sets of a different variant (DB instead of BB bench, or vice verse) just to do something different today, but then sticking with what you had been doing as you continue. But at some point you may decide that the DB would be good for you in the longer run, so you put that into your routine for a few weeks. That's a small change. Or to decide to do chins before bench instead of after. That's a small change.

A big change is a major rearranging of your template. You should do that once in a while, on the order of in a year or two.

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 Post subject: Re: Changing exercises.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:39 pm 
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Jungledoc wrote:
First of all, keep your notebook. That' not over-thinking. It's just good practice. And look back over it once in a while, so you can learn something from it.

I have two thoughts on changing exercises. Or more.

First of all, it is possible to either change exercises too much, or not enough. Too much is the guy who is jumping to a new workout everytime he sees a different article in T-Nation. Not enough is the guy who stubbornly refuses to change even when he's not making much progress, or worse, when injuries are accumulating.

The other is that there are two kinds of changes. One is just a one-time thing for something different, or to try out something you haven't done before. The other is to make a strategic change in your lifting template. And those changes can be small or big. Make small changes fairly often, big changes less so. Not that I type all of this it sounds obvious, but I don't mean to sound patronizing.

For instance, you can throw in a few sets of a different variant (DB instead of BB bench, or vice verse) just to do something different today, but then sticking with what you had been doing as you continue. But at some point you may decide that the DB would be good for you in the longer run, so you put that into your routine for a few weeks. That's a small change. Or to decide to do chins before bench instead of after. That's a small change.

A big change is a major rearranging of your template. You should do that once in a while, on the order of in a year or two.


Other than the notebook, that was exactly what I was talking about. I'm still going to follow the ExRx 2 day, push / pull split. Sometimes I change the order, but only to save waiting for something. I've tried other templates from other sites years ago, but none compare to this one for me (and it also makes the most sense to me).

You certainly don't sound patronising. You echo what I was thinking but put it in another, concise way. I especially like "Make small changes fairly often, big changes less so." I couldn't have put it better and that's what I was hoping to hear. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Changing exercises.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:01 pm 
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Always have a good reason for a change. Sometimes "I feel like it" is a good reason. Other times, not.

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Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan


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 Post subject: Re: Changing exercises.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:20 am 
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As usual, what Jungledoc said - a notebook is good practice. Go for reasoned changes within a consistent structure and enjoy exercising, just don't dodge the hard exercises :)


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 Post subject: Re: Changing exercises.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:55 am 
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robt-aus wrote:
As usual, what Jungledoc said - a notebook is good practice. Go for reasoned changes within a consistent structure and enjoy exercising, just don't dodge the hard exercises :)


I definitely don't dodge the hard exercises. I think they are all hard since no matter what it is I put in 100%. I was thinking of it more for variety and maybe preventing and/or breaking plateaus.


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