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  • Lawrence Trousdale-Smith

Variety-When changing an exercise makes or breaks your progress

”The best program is the one you stick to”

”Shock the muscle, never do the same workout twice“

”If you change program, you will lose progress”

”If you’re not progressing, you need to change your program”


Thank you internet. Im officially confused, frustrated and no closer to finding an answer to if I should change an exercise.


As with most fitness related questions, the answer is “it depends.” Helpfull I know, but bear with me and we’ll get to know the process to go through before changing an exercise so you can make an informed decision.


1. What are your goals?


Strength/mass/unlocking a new skill. This is a generalisation, but if you’re reading this, your goal is most likely one of if not a combination of the above. Is the exercise going to get you closer to achieving the goal? Dont over think this.


2. Is it in context with your entire program?


”Chest flys aren’t effective“


Not true, but chest flys for heavy reps at the start of your workout isnt the smartest way to go about getting bigger and stronger. Now you know your goals from step one, take a look at your program and put the hardest stuff first. These should be the multi joint exercises where you can lift the most. Pull ups/squats/dips, you know the drill. Where does your questionable exercise fit in?


3. Are you making progress?


If yes, dont change things for the sake of it, keep progressing until you don’t. if not, first check that you’re applying the principle of progressive overload. Are you consistently aiming for higher reps/more weight? This is your number one concern.


4. It in not working, or is it that you dont like it?


Are you questioning this exercise objectively or emotionally? We dont like to do things we’re not good at, so make it more accessable for yourself. If you’re finding it too easy/hard, then adjust the progression as necessary by manipulating the weight or leverage.


5. Realize that there is no “secret exercise”


Your program is not missing the one particular move that is going to skyrocket your progress. I‘ll be surprised if you dont already know if you‘re doing exercises that arent effective, but learning to change other variables such as weight, rep ranges and tempo will help dramitically in your training career.


So come on then, whats the answer?


In general, look for other reasons why you may not be progressing (have you actually stuck to your program to 6-8 weeks?) before changing an exercise. Thats as close to a yes/no as you’re going to get!


Whats been your light

bulb moment when it comes to training?



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