Often one of the big things with Personal Training Clients is that they are bored of the gym! I get it, doing the same thing over and over again can get pretty boring for some people! Perhaps not, perhaps you’re one of those people who thrive on entering the gym and hitting the same routine. If so, this post may not seem of interests at first. However, it may spark a thought or two in your training. If you’re the kind of person who struggles with set routines (like myself), then most definitely read on and find ways to add some variety to training.
Decide Your “Must Do” Exercises First
Depending on your goal, or training phase or injuries etc, there may well be certain things that NEED to remain constant in your training. For myself, I know that for many years I avoided heavier loads and ‘typical’ strength exercises for my lower body. This most likely led to a number of my injuries i picked up playing Rugby! However, this is taking off track! The point is, within in a week I need to Squat and Deadlift heavy. So, a heavy lift is a “Must DO” for me. As a result, this goes at the start of my session. My motivation is highest at this point, my energy is also high and central nervous system is firing on all cylinders. Getting in and getting the must do’s, done, is essential. But now is the time that you can have some fun!
Variety in Accessory
I’ve done my major lifts, now you would typically do 3/4 accessory lifts, either to compliment or contrast the first half of your session. Quite often people will pick these and keep them the same and not really worry to much about them. Personally, I think this is a good time to experiment, have a play and have some fun in your training.
Now, I’m not saying just pick random things that look fun and have a go! You still need to have a plan, but understanding that plan will allow you to deviate from the norm and still get the benefit. Let’s have a look at some “traditional” accessory exercises that may follow some heavy squats. You may move onto the leg press, perhaps some lunges and then some calf raises before taking on a few attempts at some planks? These are all perfectly fine and make sense but let’s break them down a bit and then see how we could have a play.
Leg press – the focus here (generally) is to focus in more directly on the quads and most like “get a bit of a pump”
Lunges – a single leg focus through a big range of movement
Calf raises – well we can’t just focus on the quads!
Plank – anti-rotation, core control etc etc (no not a 6 pack)
Take away the exercises and look at the reasoning behind them. Now have a play. I’m looking to, hit the quads, move through a large range of movement (ROM), hit some single leg control across the whole leg and perhaps get a pump. Why not try something along these lines.
Complete 4-5 Rounds (rest only as needed)
- Narrow Stance Goblet Squats – 20sec Hold, 20sec Pulse, 20sec Full Reps
- Quads, ROM, Pump
- Skipping – 1 Minute
- Ankle stiffness, calf dominant, low-mod impact for joint health, cardio vascular involvement
- Split Squat Paloff Press – 8-12 reps each side
- Single leg focus, anti-rotation, trunk control
Now here is the key – you have these exercises and you have the rationale for using them! Keep them in there for 2 weeks (2-4 sessions). Now, rotate through different exercises with similar attributes. This way you are keeping the stimulus the same, while adding variety and avoiding doing the same thing over and over again.