Not everyone uses a training plan, as some see any sort of gym work as a bonus to either maintain their physique, or purely to burn some calories. A training plan is an essential tool enabling you to follow a structured routine, meaning nothing gets missed (unless it’s a leg day for some) and as a useful reminder as to what weight to use.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR TRAINING PLAN ISN’T WORKING
The whole point of a training plan is to have something that you can follow. Now we’ve all got a certain exercise or two we don’t particularly like, but if the whole plan doesn’t suit you or you simply hate it, chances are, you are going to lose interest in training, as for the most part, training should still be fun.
1) CONSIDER YOUR EXERCISE CHOICE
There are many ways to hit a particular muscle group, so if one exercise gives you trouble, either through flexibility issues, previous injuries, or balance problems for example, then you need to find an alternative way to get the work done.
There was a time when not using free weights was deemed to be ducking out of the hard work, but modern machinery can serve as a great – or even superior option to work around a problem you may be facing. The quality of work will always outweigh the type of work, and sometimes being locked into a machine may even serve you better. Remember what Arnold said – “I only start counting the reps when they start hurting…” so if a certain piece of equipment serves you better, and lets you really hit a muscle – use it!
2) BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR ROUTINE
Like the idea of certain routines, but not all of it? Then alter it! Don’t be afraid of creating a hybrid of two or more training plans to make one plan that suits you best, and that makes your training effective and enables progression.
3) CONSIDER PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD
This simply means doing more than you did previously. We grow bigger / stronger through the resistance from training and our bodies compensate and adapt to this new environment. Once we have adapted, a new stimulus is required to further encourage more development compensation. This could be done in several ways. The first option that will spring to mind is to add more weight (resistance) to the bar or down the stack. Another is more reps – aim for an additional rep or two within a given set, or altering the cadence or tempo within a repetition. This could mean that during an eccentric movement, the time taken to lower the weight could increase from two seconds to four for instance.
REMEMBERING WHY YOU CAME
Training should be fun and can be a great stress relieving tool, so make sure it works like that. Having a training plan you simply hate, but are only following because someone else is doing it, could mean you end up looking for excuses to not go or even totally avoiding the gym completely.