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"Understanding the Importance of Varying Your Routine"


Throughout my personal life of exercise, and my career as a trainer, I have talked to numerous individuals about joint soreness and pains. One person once told me, "I don't know what is wrong with my elbow. It just started hurting and I have done nothing different to my workout. I can't figure it out!" With that statement he explained what was causing his troubles. After speaking with him, I discovered that he had been performing the same biceps exercise for nearly five months. The only thing that he had changed was the intensity.

Performing the same repetitious range of motion for a prolonged period of time can cause, in some instances, extreme pain and discomfort. I didn't just learn this from others. Early in my training I found out for myself!

The amount of sets, reps, and exercises that you perform during any given training session will all depend on your own personal goals. However, it would be very smart to integrate new exercises into your program every 3 - 5 weeks. For instance, if your biceps workout includes preacher curls, hammer curls, and pull-ups, try to change it up next time to concentration curls, cable curls, and standing alternating curls. You will still be targeting your biceps, but slightly hitting them differently.

Another important reason to vary your routine is for strength and growth. If I have been training with basically the same exercises and I am not noticing any improvements, I will change my routine. After a period of time your muscles will adapt to the stress that is placed on them, resulting in a stop in growth. When you vary your workout with different exercises and resistance, you will force your muscles to react to the new stress that is being imposed on them; in turn, stimulating the muscles for new growth.


Remember that if you are having severe or consistent joint pains, please see a physician before you continue with your program.

                                     -- Author:  Chad Barnhart, AFTA Fitness Director