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How long can you stay on the same weightlifting routine?


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I read that you have to change up your routine so your muscles don't get used to the movement.  That if you stick with a routine for too long, you start to get a lot less gains.  How long should you stay on the same routine before it starts being a problem?

I'm not trying to get much bigger or stronger.  Maybe just a tiny bit more definition, but mostly maintaining.  Went from P90X and random fitness videos at home to doing a lot of machines in the gym.  Then did the NROL for Abs Phase 1 workout for about a month and a half.

But my gym membership ended so I'm now using my dinky little apartment gym.  And for the past two weeks, I've been doing a simple routine that I really enjoy and want to do it for as long as possible - Deadlifts & Decline Push-Ups and Goblet Squats & Lat Pulldowns.  I throw in some planks here and there, but for the most part, that's all I've been doing for the past two weeks.

If I'm mostly just maintaining muscle and strength, can I just do those 4 exercises indefinitely?  I know it's better to mix things up, but I'm a guy who thrives on structure and consistency.

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You stay on the program until you can no longer progress.  Consistency is the key to long term progression.

 

The "muscle confusion" theory is BS.

In Starting Strength and Stronglifts it's the same lifts always adding weight each week or something.  I tried Stronglifts for about 2 months and just got bored to tears with is, as I was used to the NROL workout philosophy of doing a few weeks of each phase then changing it up and doing different stuff.

Just out of curiosity why did you stop NROL4Abs once you moved to the apt gym?  do they not have free weights, squat racks?  I am in phase 3 and really don't think much equipment other than the basics are needed.  some dumbbells a bench an oly bar for some moves but most of it can be done without the real fancy stuff.  

If you want to keep your muscles build strength just make sure you keep lifting heavier - 

Original Post by littlesimongeorge:

You stay on the program until you can no longer progress.  Consistency is the key to long term progression.

So...then you'd switch programs? Or do something like take a month off and pick back up?

I've not been lifting long enough to stop progressing on a program.

I think I'd try different lifts / programs but I sure wouldn't take a month off- maybe a week, do something not lifting related and then go back - sometimes a recovery week is all that is needed to get back on track

Original Post by bierorama:

Original Post by littlesimongeorge:

You stay on the program until you can no longer progress.  Consistency is the key to long term progression.

So...then you'd switch programs? Or do something like take a month off and pick back up?

I've not been lifting long enough to stop progressing on a program.

Yep, once progression has dried up you change programs.

Most likely you'd go from a simple linear progression program like stronglifts or starting strength to a periodised set up like 5-3-1, Texas Method, Hepburn etc etc

Just to follow LSG's point... you aren't really "changing" your programming when you are swapping from those linear progression programmes (SS, SL etc) to periodized programming (such as TM, 5-3-1).

You are really changing your rate of progression.  You are going from daily progression to weekly (TM, "Madcow") or monthly (5-3-1) or longer (Korte, Juggernaut).

Improving your strength in the major movements - squat, press, bench, deadlift - are still the focus.

When you are well past the novice stage then changing your focus - perhaps a more bodybuilding style - may make sense.

But its all really goal dependent - if you just lift to maintain some muscle, then as long as you are doing the major movements of deadlifting, squatting, pressing and pulling then what else do you need.  If you are wanting to continually improve your strength and/or musculaturethen you will employ a proper strength program.

Thanks everybody!  Based on all the responses and my goal to just basically maintain strength/muscle, I think I'm safe to continue performing the same 4 moves - unless I get super bored of them, which I don't see happening anytime soon.

To answer dbackerfan - I just stopped the NROL for Abs after looking at the Phase 2 workout and didn't feel like learning and doing all those different, crazy exercises.  I'm a bit of a simpleton.  And my small gym has very little equipment - barbell with weights, dumbbells, lat pulldown & row machine, treadmills, and ellipticals.

Original Post by littlesimongeorge:

You stay on the program until you can no longer progress.  Consistency is the key to long term progression.

 

The "muscle confusion" theory is BS.

I hope it's bs.  I keep reading it everywhere.  But maybe that's just the marketing team trying to sell new exercises and new machines.

Muscle confusion is from the Weider Marketing Machine originally, meant to move copies of his magazines with a new workout every month. His superstars - Arnold, Ferrigno, Columbo, etc, all trained basically like power lifters with some extra pump workouts thrown in around competition time as their diet left them without the energy to do the big lifts so they'd move to isolation work.

 Later, a lot of people have picked up on it, Beachbody being the latest. Much easier to keep selling you new workout programs if you think you need them for reasons other than boredom.

 Oh, just read your routine, it's a bit unbalanced. your body has 6 main movement patterns - vertical and horizontal push and pull, squat and deadlift. There's a bunch of smaller ones but the muscles used in those are also involved in the big 6, so unless you've trained enough to identify a specific weakness or imbalance you want to correct isolation work isn't really helpful.

 You have squats and deadlifts, horizontal push and vertical pull. You're missing horizontal pull and vertical push; of the two horizontal pull is the more important. Add in a row of some kind and an overhead press, and you're good to go.

 If you run out of weights for your leg training you can sub in things like step-ups, split squats, lunges or other single-leg work for squats, and there are also single-leg deadlift variations that will up the challenge rating without using more weight, but you don't have to do any of it until your progress outstrips your available weights.

Thanks Melkor.  I always end my workouts with random extra push-ups and planks.  But I'll replace that with the rows and some dumbbell overhead press.

Original Post by melkor:

Muscle confusion is from the Weider Marketing Machine originally, meant to move copies of his magazines with a new workout every month. His superstars - Arnold, Ferrigno,

 

I loved Ferrigno in "The Incredible Hulk" but I had bigger crush on Bill Bixby!!  Oh even dating myself more by falling in love with Bill from the Courtship of Eddie's Father LOL!!

Original Post by johnnywhisky01:

Original Post by littlesimongeorge:

You stay on the program until you can no longer progress.  Consistency is the key to long term progression.

 

The "muscle confusion" theory is BS.

I hope it's bs.  I keep reading it everywhere.  But maybe that's just the marketing team trying to sell new exercises and new machines.

I went from a 3-4 day lifting to lifting 5-6 days a week one body part a time and saw HUGE/AMAZING results... I wouldn't call it confusion more like muscle exhaustion. I've tried to go back to the 3 days a week and it just doesn't cut it.
I believe...but go ahead and disagree Laughing

Original Post by jamiepantsca:

Original Post by johnnywhisky01:

Original Post by littlesimongeorge:

You stay on the program until you can no longer progress.  Consistency is the key to long term progression.

 

The "muscle confusion" theory is BS.

I hope it's bs.  I keep reading it everywhere.  But maybe that's just the marketing team trying to sell new exercises and new machines.

I went from a 3-4 day lifting to lifting 5-6 days a week one body part a time and saw HUGE/AMAZING results... I wouldn't call it confusion more like muscle exhaustion. I've tried to go back to the 3 days a week and it just doesn't cut it.
I believe...but go ahead and disagree

If you want to see hoooge results, look no farther than LSG over the past two and a half years.

Original Post by jamiepantsca:

Original Post by johnnywhisky01:

Original Post by littlesimongeorge:

You stay on the program until you can no longer progress.  Consistency is the key to long term progression.

 

The "muscle confusion" theory is BS.

I hope it's bs.  I keep reading it everywhere.  But maybe that's just the marketing team trying to sell new exercises and new machines.

I went from a 3-4 day lifting to lifting 5-6 days a week one body part a time and saw HUGE/AMAZING results... I wouldn't call it confusion more like muscle exhaustion. I've tried to go back to the 3 days a week and it just doesn't cut it.
I believe...but go ahead and disagree

Not entirely sure what point you're trying to make. :)

No one said anything about body part splits not working or being effective.

We're talking about the theory of muscle confusion, where people feel the need to change their program once a month because they think it'll shock the muscles into new growth.

It doesn't matter which style you choose, consistency is the key to success.

 

 

humble

i was just kidding trying to stir the pile up.. i have brought up my routine before and as usual on these boards was attacked..hence the smiley face and the debate

Original Post by jamiepantsca:

i was just kidding trying to stir the pile up.. i have brought up my routine before and as usual on these boards was attacked..hence the smiley face and the debate

You have this great shell of muscle yet you think you were "attacked.."

Yeah, that's it.

Original Post by jamiepantsca:

i was just kidding trying to stir the pile up.. i have brought up my routine before and as usual on these boards was attacked..hence the smiley face and the debate


Actually, the question wasn't about what specific routine works best.  Just about if you should change up your routine to "shock" or "confuse" your muscles for better gains.

With that said, I did my same workout routine yesterday - deadlift, lat pulldown, goblet squat, push-ups.  But added a small set of seated rows and overhead presses at the very end due to Melkor's advice.  Fun workout.  Although the overhead dumbbell press put an odd strain on my neck - might need to read up on proper form or something.

Original Post by dbackerfan:

Original Post by melkor:

Muscle confusion is from the Weider Marketing Machine originally, meant to move copies of his magazines with a new workout every month. His superstars - Arnold, Ferrigno,

 

I loved Ferrigno in "The Incredible Hulk" but I had bigger crush on Bill Bixby!!  Oh even dating myself more by falling in love with Bill from the Courtship of Eddie's Father LOL!!

OK sorry OP - Totally off your topic, but it's DB's fault

DB - I remember Bill Bixby from My Favorite Martian.  Now that was great TV!

I would say to split your routine into two- upper and lower body. Then add more variety- curls, triceps extensions, leg curls, etc.
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