Variety is the spice of life and it’s also the key to fitness. Diversifying your workout not only keeps it interesting, it’s essential if you want to avoid plateaus and keep seeing results.
If you repeat the same or similar movements or use the same weights, chances are your body has adapted to that stimulus and is no longer challenged. This principle applies to all types of fitness including aerobic exercise, strength training, core and balance exercises and stretching/mobility.
Embracing variety might be a challenge for those of us who like certainty and the predictability of our daily routine. However, in the case of exercise, the law of diminishing returns applies and even a little bit of variety helps us ensure we still feel and see benefits.
Variety doesn’t mean the loss of a structured routine. For example, if you are training for an event like HBF Run for a Reason you’ll have a goal focused program designed to make you a better and faster runner. However, even in that scenario your routine will have structured variety. As the weeks pass you will experience variations in tempo, pace, distance, exercises and a taper just before the event.
If you like to run (for example) and aren’t training for a specific event but want to keep improving, vary with interval sprints, middle and long distance options. Try running up hills or cross country to improve endurance and explosive exercises to improve power. Then add in something completely different like a strength routine designed to improve your overall strength and address imbalances. Don’t neglect mobility and technique, small changes in performance, precision and stability can massively improve your gait. Believe it or not, you can become a better runner by doing more than just running each day.
In the case of strength training, I’m not suggesting that you forever chase heavier and heavier weights. Nor should you stick with the same set of weights for life. Simply put, in order to keep getting stronger you have more options than changing weights. You can diversify your routine by trying different exercises, tempos, workout lengths, intensity, resistance bands, volume and more – all of these variations and more are tools in the quality Coaching & programming toolkit.
The key message here is twofold
Coach Nicky McKimmie