If you've been working out for a while, you've already learned that there's no "perfect" exercise routine. That's because what works well for someone else, might not work well for you, and what works great for you right now might not work at all six weeks from now. The simple fact is, you have to consistently change to make gains.
That doesn't mean you have to use a completely different exercise routine, and it doesn't mean that you have to change something every time you work out. Quite the contraryâ€¦ Your muscles need to adapt to certain movements over the course of at least a few workouts before you change exercises. And sometimes you don't even have to change the actual exercise itself, as you can use a variety of training techniques to create enough change to make gains.Simple But Effective Change-to-Gain Techniques
One of the easiest things to do is alternate two exercises at different workouts. For your leg workouts for instance, you could do squats as your main compound exercise. Then at your next leg workout, do leg presses. At the following leg workout, you'd go back to squats, and so on.
As another example, for your chest workout, you might use standard barbell bench presses at one workout and dumbbell presses at the next, alternating those two exercises every other workout. That might seem like you're doing basically the same movement, but they're considerably different. Going from a barbell to dumbbells and then back to a barbell is a great approach on many exercises, including bent-over rows for back, curls for biceps, and lying extensions for triceps. They can shift not only the feel of the exercise, but what muscles are being called upon to do the work.
What about exercises that don't seem to have an alternative movement you can do, such as leg extensions for the quadriceps?
There are plenty of variations and techniques you can use for most exercises, from slow negatives to speed reps (controlled, of course) to partial reps to pyramids and so on. One simple but effective way to add variety for new gains is the heavy/light technique...
For example, at one leg workout you can do leg extensions with high reps and minimal rest between sets, say 15-30 reps with 45 seconds of rest between sets. That can add extreme tension time and muscle burn, which can give you a great natural hormone boost. Then at your next workout, you could do typical heavy sets with a weight that allows just 8 to 10 reps per set, and couple that with longer rests periods of about a minute or slightly more between sets.
That way you emphasize blood flow and muscle fiber exhaustion at the high-rep/low-rest workout and muscle fiber thickening at the next heavier workout. It's one of the best and easiest ways to guarantee change to make gains over two rotating workouts.
And make sure that you're fueled up to power through those intense workout sessions with a pre-workout formula that will give you the endurance, stamina, and drive while also boosting the muscle pump and intensity.