I don’t know if this is unique to my gym or what, but the people asking me for advice almost always claim they need “more variety” in their training.
This affliction may also have something to do with the Joe Weider “Muscle Confusion” principle, which states you need to “confuse” a muscle to get it to grow. Muscles don’t have brains. They’re not complex entities. They understand one thing: TENSION. Increase the tension or force needed to lift an object, and it registers.
The muscle will get the message – you better go get some friends, because if this happens again – you’re going to need them. That’s an overly simplified example of how muscles grow, but it’s still valid (sidebar, if you eat and sleep enough).
It seems to be happening more and more, this “I need more variety in my training”. Or, if they’re dispensing advice “You need more variety in your training”. This is among the biggest fallacies and most preposterous suppositions I’ve ever heard.
For example: Have you ever known a bodybuilder to say, “I’m sick and tired of getting bigger and stronger every week – time to switch everything up – I need more variety”. Of course not.
Nobody in their right mind is going to trade measurable progress for something different – just for the sake of something different. Real strength athletes don’t get bored with getting bigger and stronger every week – they thrive on it. They’re motivated by it. It drives them. I know, because I study them.
The simple truth of the matter is that they progress fastest by working month in, month out on getting better at the fundamentals. They’re regularly increasing the weight they use – or at least try to.
They’re focused on getting more total work in – in the same amount of time. They’re eating enough and training consistently. All things that ultimately, will make a better strength athlete.
This is true for almost all athletes in all sports by the way. If you want to get better at baseball, you practice hitting, throwing and fielding. And practice. And practice. And practice.
No baseball player gets from the minors to the majors by ditching fundamentals. Abandoning the basics and instead doing jumping jacks to failure WILL give you more variety. It WON’T get you to the big leagues.
It’s that simple.
So the next time you hear “I need more variety in my training”, realize what a fallacy that statement really is. Change is sometimes good, but never at the expense of progress. You won’t get very far “winging it” either, so stick to the basics.
Basics and best, steady as she goes. The fix for little to no progress is ALWAYS in the fundamentals, no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going.
Try and remember that, and you’ll be a lot better off.