What the heck is that supposed to mean?
Let me explain…
The body is an amazing machine. It can recover from just about any abuse you throw at it, drinking, drugs, smoking, diet, being sedentary. It is very forgiving. No matter how bad you treat it, when you start living a healthy lifestyle it starts rewarding you back immediately.
It has great muscle and motor skill memory. If the last time you worked out was ten years ago, and you start training again, the amount of time it takes to be fit is dramatically reduced due to that muscle memory.
If you haven’t ridden a bike in decades, and you get on one, your motor skill memory is amazing and you start pedaling and balancing yourself as if you never stopped!
Now by the same token, this amazing memory can also work against you. With this memory, the body has an incredible way of maximizing the efficiency of whatever you throw at it. What this means is that no matter the workout, the body figures out a way to make it easier to do, thus reducing the effort.
We have all been there. We try something new. At first it is difficult. At first, you become really really sore from doing it. But as time progresses, and you repeat this ‘something new’, it becomes easier, it becomes routine and it even becomes boring!
So you still haven’t answered why workouts should look like fingerprints!
No I haven’t because I wanted to lay the foundation for what I am about to say next.
While your body has great memory and can quickly adapt to any exercise you do, it also has one great weakness that you can use to your advantage. IT GETS CONFUSED EASILY!
When you confuse the body, it causes it to work harder again. That constant state of change is what keeps you progressing forward towards your health goals. Most people, however, think that in order to confuse it, that they have to turn their workouts totally upside down. Throw out the old and start anew with something completely different…. That is wrong!
The body confuses easily so just about anything you do out of the ordinary in your routine is no longer a part of the same routine! So your body now has to work harder because you just threw it a curve ball it wasn’t expecting.
Thus the reason I say, make your workouts look like fingerprints. While fingerprints may look almost identical, it’s those slight changes in its patterns that make them completely different from the other. The same with how your body responds to workouts. Any subtle change makes it different from the other workout although from a distance they may look identical.
So what are those subtle changes?
Ah, there are so many, only limited by your imagination!
So here are some of the things I do to change things up:
- Sequence of your exercises. Don’t do the same exercises in the same order. Keep the exercise but change the sequence. Your muscles will now have to work differently because of that.
- Throw a superset at the beginning or end of your exercise set/rep routine.
- Here is a favorite when I do a 4X set. Before performing it, I do one set with a weight that’s about 10-15% heavier for 6-8 reps. Rest, and then do your 4X set, wow that is a killer!
- If you do pyramid sets, 10-8-6-4, change it up 12-10-8-6, 6-10-8-12, etc, you get the picture.
- Hand spacing on the bar makes a huge difference, especially when working out back. Increase or decrease your hand spacing.
- Hand grip can make a difference, reverse rather than conventional grip or vice-versa.
- Rest interval between sets.
- Number of sets; reduce each exercise by one set giving you enough sets saved to throw an extra exercise to do for 3 to 4 sets.
- Change the days of what body part you work out. If you do chest on Mondays and Legs on Tuesday, reverse them for example.
- Perform 1.5 reps and count that as one rep. Remember to use less weight because this is very hard. So for example, doing benches, 1.5 reps would be taking the bar all the way down to the chest, pushing it up half way, stopping, bringing it back down to the chest, then finishing all the way up with arms in an extended position. This is considered One 1.5 rep. Perform 10 of those. You can apply the same logic to any exercise, presses, squats, curls, etc.
- Control the speed of the rep both in the extended and contracted movement. For example, doing barbells curls, two seconds to bring the bar up to the chest in a curling movement, then four seconds to bring it back down. The contraction and extended counts are endless and can be applied to any exercise.
- Changing the apparatus you use, especially when working on cable machines. The movement of the exercise is the same, but the apparatus you are using to perform the movement will make it all that much more different to your body.
No two workouts of mine are ever the same. There is always a twist and turn to it which is why I always feel some sort of ‘good soreness’ the next day and that’s after 43 years of doing this stuff!!!
So make your workouts look like fingerprints in order to be…Fit Forlife!