Changing your training program every 4 weeks is very popular.
It’s also one of the dumbest things you can do.
Much of the “gains” you experience in the first few weeks of a new program are neural, i.e., your nervous system getting used to the workout and the exercises.
It’s not until after this break-in period that any increases in strength are more likely due to gains in muscle tissue.
By constantly changing your program, you’re essentially re-starting the whole process just before you start seeing meaningful returns.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t make ANY changes.
If things feel stale or progress has stalled, look for SUBTLE ways to increase the difficulty and coax progression.
You can progress deadlift difficulty by going from the Trap Bar to Romanians to conventional, through to deficit or snatch-grip pulls.
The biceps curl can be tweaked by changing the position of the elbow (preacher curl, incline DB curl) or changing grips to recruit more forearms and brachialis (DB hammer curls, DB Zottmann curls, reverse EZ bar curls).
Then there’s changing attachments, modifying grip widths, and foot position. Even just changing the order of exercises will refresh the stimulus without resetting the neural clock.
And the more advanced you are, the more frequently you’ll likely need to tinker. Total program overhauls, on the other hand, should be the LAST THING you do.
Save those for when life demands it:
* your schedule changes
* your goals change
* you switch gyms
* you get pregnant (congratulations!)
* you got someone pregnant, and now you have to get a real job (sorry for your loss).
Realistically, I’d go so far as to say the longer you can stick with the same base program AND make progress, the better.
Don’t chase novelty, chase results.
— Coach Bryan