So before you replace an entire program, see if you can “breathe new life into it.”

The changes can be as simple as refreshing rep ranges or making subtle adjustments to the exercises—anything from grip width and attachments to bench incline or pulley height.

And if things “feel flat” (no pump, poor mind-muscle connection), there are plenty of ways to reconnect with your program:

* Change the order of exercises in the routine. If you always start with pushing exercises, start with pulling instead.

* Bump up the rep ranges. People avoid high-rep leg training because it’s brutally hard! But, back in the 80s, sets of 15-20 reps for legs were the norm. If you have never done it, try it.

* Tighten rest intervals and keep things moving, especially with build-up sets or isolation work. At the same time, avoid turning a weight–training workout into circuit training.

* Chase different “carrots”—go for cumulative rep goals versus trying to increase the weight.

* Use more supersets or giants sets to target different points along the strength curve (innervation style training)

* Use techniques to turn up the heat, things like rest-pause sets, drop sets, isometric pauses, and high-rep back-off sets. But no more than one or two per workout.

And we didn’t touch training frequency or swap out all the exercises!

This is FAR more subtle than going from “Chest Month” to “Legs Month, which is generally way too much of a slingshot for most people to make any appreciable progress. Cause they will often get stuck in the initial, novel neural phase.

Of course, you can still specialize.

It just needs to be done within a much bigger, well-thought-out plan. One that applies the desired emphasis while leveraging progression from the prior programming.

Now there’s one caveat to all of this: any exercise that hurts suddenly—DROP IT.


Whatever the cause, now is not the time for subtlety. Replace it with something that doesn’t hurt and get back to making progress.

You can always revisit the offending exercise and verify your technique.

Just make it well after the smoke clears.

– Coach Bryan