Although the rules about changing a program aren’t set in stone, it’s a good idea to start making some changes if boredom has started to set in or you feel like you’re no longer progressing. As a general rule, most people change their program every two to twelve weeks, although some people can follow the same program for months, only increasing the weights if they’re seeing results.
One benefit of sticking with a program is that it allows you to keep track of your results and your growing strength. You can focus on what is and what isn’t working, on how your body is responding to exercise and on whether or not your strength levels are increasing. You might start squatting with a particular weight during the first week of your program, for example, and find yourself tripling the weight by the end of the month, highlighting significant changes in your body.
Beginners should be able to stick to programs for a prolonged period of time (up to 12 weeks) and still see results, as their body responds slowly to the workouts. As you become more advanced, however, you run a higher risk of adapting to a program faster and plateauing, so it pays to err on the side of variety and change your program on a monthly basis. If your workout routine has become monotonous, do whatever is necessary to keep yourself motivated and challenged. This could be something as basic as switching up an exercise.
When you’re training with weights it’s always beneficial to keep challenging yourself and striving to improve. This can involve lifting heavier weights to build more muscle and increase your strength.
It would be almost impossible to increase the amount of weight you’re lifting every time you work out, so it helps to progress gradually. If a particular weight is extremely light, increase it on the spot until you have difficulty finishing the final rep of the exercise. Beginners tend to advance extremely quickly, and can find themselves packing on lean muscle overnight. As you reach your peak and get closer to your goals, you’ll notice that your progress will start to slow down. It helps to gradually encourage progress in stages.
One method of ensuring you progress is to increase your weights each time you’re able to do a complete set of your targeted reps. For example, if you’re aiming to do 12 reps of a barbell press and can do it easily, increase the weight and aim to do 10 reps. There may be times when you increase your weights every week, while at other stages it may take up to a month. You’ll discover that your progress will be quite inconsistent. However, changing workout programs regularly can keep you intrigued and motivated to continue to improve.