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HEY SAM:  You mentioned “shocking” the muscles when you work out and doing different exercises. Does that mean that every time you work out, it’s good to always change your workout, or should you be consistent and change your workout routine every couple weeks? -Joseph, Los Angeles

The body responds rapidly to any weightlifting or exercise routine, and yes, it’s important to continually challenge your muscles by “mixing it up.” When I train clients, I make sure to change up their routine (on average) every four weeks (or every 8-12 workouts).

The theory behind this is called “periodization” which means that workouts should be periodically changed to make them effective.

You can “periodize” your own weight workouts by trying these 6 steps:

  • CHANGE THE ORDER. Do your current workout backwards. For example, if you generally finish by training abs, on your next workout, start with abs and work backwards.
  • CHANGE THE REP PATTERNS. If you generally lift in four sets of 12, consider changing your rep pattern to an inverted pyramid (i.e., 12, 10, 8, 6, then 12) or change the number of repetitions for a given set from 12 to 15, or 20.
  • PLAY WITH THE WEIGHTS. If you’ve become accustomed to a certain weight on an exercise, try reducing the weight and working with higher rep patterns with extremely strict form. Or if you’re using light weights, try “upping” the weights to heavier amounts and doing fewer reps (again, with very strict form).
  • CHANGE THE EXERCISES. Probably the most obvious thing to do is to do different exercises to hit the same body parts. For example, if you’ve been doing squats, try lunges or the leg press instead.
  • CROSS TRAIN. Remember that the goal of weight training, for most of us, is not to become a competitive bodybuilder, but for “real life” strength. Cross train your muscles, using circuit training, “boot camp” like classes, “core” classes, and other types of training that bring resistance work to a new level.
  • TRAIN YOUR WEAKNESSES. I’m a sucker for a good pull-up, because they are by far my worst exercise. But I manage to do several pull-ups every day in my quest to improve. What are your body’s weaknesses? Be honest about them, then hit those areas in the gym with rigor and fierce dedication.

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About The Author

Sam Page's picture

Named one of the “Top 5 Trainers in Los Angeles" by Ranker.com, Sam Page is the owner of Sam Page Fitness (www.sampagefitness.com) and the force behind PeaceLoveLunges.com. He can quickly identify problem behaviors through motivational interviewing, and uses science, exercise physiology, and 10 years experience as a coach to produce red carpet results. 

A technology fanatic since his time at Apple, Sam was one of the first trainers to offer remote online guided training to people around the world using his app, PocketSAM. He continues to educate and inspire others with regular speaking engagements at wellness conferences across the country, and is a regular contributor to MensFitness.com, Passport, DNA, HIV Plus, and The Advocate. Sam is certified in Executive Protection, CPR/AED, and First Aid, and is active in the Buddhist, LGBT, and SMART Recovery communities in LA. In his free time, Sam enjoys documentaries, playing flag football, and hanging with his Yorkie, Max. He is founder of Athletes for Humanity.


Andie Hanson (not verified)

We do regular exercise to

We do regular exercise to stay fit and active and now it became a new trend for people to a perform regular exercise for better fitness. But due to lack of time, they are facing different types of problems. So, it's quite better to mix up our exercise routine; here, this article describes how to balance and mix up our exercise routine. I would like to follow the instructions provided here. Thanks for such types of wonderful instructions, hope it works.

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