Today’s post is short, but powerful.
It contains key information which will produce better and faster gains.
I’m sure most of you have heard many “experts” recommend that you change your routine frequently to ignite new gains – sometimes as often as every week. But…it’s just wrong.
No matter what they say about “muscle confusion”, muscles don’t get confused.
Here’s the problem with this strategy…
When you change exercises, you have to go through an initial period of “neural” adaptation i.e. your nervous system “learns” how to do the exercise in the most efficient way possible.
Over the course of a few workouts, you get better and better and the weights and reps can go up quite dramatically. You think this is some kind of proof that changing your routine produces faster gains, but you’d be wrong.
You are making neural adaptations, not size and strength adaptations. You are simply getting better and more efficient at performing that lift, not necessarily stronger.
After a few training sessions, when you are at 100% efficiency, then you start making max gains in size and strength. Now that you are at 100%, your central nervous system can recruit the maximum number of muscle fibers and you can start stimulating some real gains.
While these increases are much slower – they’re real. You may go up 1 rep here, and 1 rep there. But a 1-rep increase is significant in terms of actually stimulating real, hypertrophic gains.
But what so often happens is a trainee sees the rate and speed of his increases slow and assumes the exercise is no longer working.
But in fact, the exercise is really only beginning to work now. However, because of his mistaken perception, he makes a switch to something else and has to go through a period of adapting neurally all over again.
THE “WOBBLY” BEGINNER
Ever seen a beginner train? Even with something simple like dumbbell curls for the biceps, his arms are wobbling all over the place. It will take a little while for this guy to become efficient at this movement.
To a lesser degree, the trainee who changes his routine frequently is going through this process after every shift.
So switching your routine too often means that those initial weeks of training are going to be mostly about making new neural adaptations, not genuine strength (and size) increases. And it can be a huge waste of time and effort.
It’s perfectly ok, and even to be expected, that after a few weeks of training the rate of strength increases starts to slow down.
This shouldn’t be alarming to the intelligent bodybuilder. Rather it should be accepted and welcomed because you are secure in the knowledge that you are now making REAL increases in strength.
For example, if you can generate 100 units of force in a particular exercise because you are accustomed to the movement, it would be counterproductive to drop it for something else.
If you change sub it for an exercise that you’d never done before, you may only be able to generate 80 units of force until such times as your nervous system learns to master the movement. If this took until your 3rd week of training, you can see how your first 2 weeks could not possibly have been MAXIMALLY productive in terms of stimulating increases in muscle size. (The above “units” I’m using are arbitrary and are used only to illustrate the point being made).
If you totally changed your routine every 1 or 2 weeks, you can begin to see how ineffective your training would actually become! You’re always in that “neural” zone and are simply incapable of stimulating maximum increases in size and strength.
It makes a LOT more sense to really master a movement (neurally speaking) and then KEEP PUSHING and progressively overloading the muscle for true gains.
So in THT we use the same program for 10 weeks at a time. We simply seek to make strength progressions in every single workout! After 10 weeks we move to a new cycle of THT and take the opportunity to use the Exercise Bank and select new exercises from the recommended list.
Yes there is a time to change things up. We all experience plateaus on certain lifts and psychologically speaking, a change keeps us motivated!
NOTE: You can download the full and free THT training program (and Exercise Bank) right now and start packing on mass like these guys did. You don’t have to go to your email to confirm anything. Once you click the button, you’ll be taken straight to the download page 😀 I operate a ‘Strictly Zero Spam‘ policy.
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