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When Should I Change the Exercise Program?

Monday, September 6, 2021


A question that many people who exercise are often mindful of and no one has yet fully answered, when should I change the training program?

So do you know what the correct answer is?

In this article, we will touch on many topics from when the training program should be changed, to the pause of development with neurological adaptation, the ways to overcome the plateau period, and how to change your training program.

If you still have questions about training program changes, this article is for you!

Why change the training program?

There are a few reasonable reasons to change the training tempo. If you have one of these reasons, it may be a good idea to change your training program.

Causes of neuronal adaptation

Imagine you are wearing a new shoe. You feel the sole of the shoe with all its details, right?

Now rewind your dream a little bit further and imagine a moment you walk an hour later. You no longer feel the sole of the shoe as before.

Here is an example of the neuronal adaptation I gave above, a beautiful example of life. In this example, you see the responsiveness of nerve tissues to an activity that you have just started and are not accustomed to, as well as the response it gave after a while.

The situation is the same with exercise. Your sensitivity to this exercise that your muscles are not accustomed to during the process you start your exercise will increase your reaction.

By day, your nerves will decrease this response and after a while, no response will be obtained in the nerve and muscle tissue due to adaptation.

The lack of response, that is, the development of muscle and the increase in strength caused by the adaptation mechanism, constitutes the majority of the need to change your exercise program.

Motivational reasons

Do you think it is a coincidence that most of the mistakes made in the workplace are created by senior officers?

I think no! Unfortunately, the frustration of his job for a long time and all the surprises that may occur make him unwilling and careless. This situation leads to decreased productivity, decreased job quality and unhappiness.

The situation I mentioned above is also valid in training tempo.

If the exercises no longer interest you, attract you and create excitement, there is a big problem.

Instead of using the time you spend during the exercise unproductively, changing your training program will help you.

Other reasons

All the reasons that you cannot get into the two options that I mentioned at the beginning can actually be written under this title. Two of the most common reasons that you may encounter in practical life are

Your target can be listed as the reason for the change and Disability.

When should I change the training program?

Now you know why you need to change your training program. But you still think of “when?” I know you have a question.

First of all, there is no clear answer to this question, unfortunately. Many personal and general variables, such as the type of exercise you do, your body and your training program, affect this period.

But I will help you test this time by clarifying yourself.

Change due to the adaptation mechanism

The biggest fear for those who do weight training is to enter the plateau period and as a result, the development of muscle and strength slows down. The neuronal adaptation mechanism that I mentioned at the beginning of this article plays a key role.

I want to share a nice graphic about this mechanism. With this chart, I believe that the process will come to life better in your eyes.

As you can see, as a result of neuronal adaptation that lasts about 6 weeks, your nervous system will adapt to the exercise and reduce the frequency of the stimuli sent after the exercise.

With the fast developing power factor, your muscle mass will increase slightly and the increase rate of your muscle mass will slow or stop as the power increase stops.

In this case, it takes a maximum of 18-20 weeks, depending on the individual. Changing the training program at the end of this period will affect the muscle and strength gain positively.

Of course, there are exceptions in this regard. The most important of these is that you are a beginner athlete.

If you have just started exercising, your body will be slower both in understanding the technique and in adaptation.

For this reason, if you have just started exercising, you should follow your progress and continue with the same training system until your development slows down and you understand the exercise technique.

Change due to motivation

Motivation is a factor that affects exercise performance closely. Ignoring this factor may have unpleasant consequences.

For this reason, you should definitely know yourself and follow your exercise motivation.

I would like to share some warning signals to help you with this. if

If you are reluctant to exercise,
If you see the time you train as lost,
You are missing some exercises, if you are training sloppy and fast,
You may have problems with the training program. And you should evaluate this problem within yourself and get the right answer.

How should cardio performers act?

It is a known fact that the heart rate adapts very quickly to cardio exercises. With this information, the question that comes to your mind is “How fast?” I can guess.

Unfortunately, the research does not give a clear answer to this question.

Fortunately, the research states that program change is not important in cardio exercises, and intensity change plays a key role.

The most known and safe techniques with variable density in this regard can be listed as HIIT and Tabata protocol.

In this type of techniques, it is easier to change the intensity and due to its constantly changing structure, both the adaptation mechanism and the decrease in motivation can be disrupted.

If you are following the HIIT and Tabata protocol, which is very successful in this regard, you should definitely follow your heart rate and change the intensity as soon as you start adapting to exercise.

How should you change the training system?

If you are satisfied with the movements you are doing in the training and you are getting enough efficiency, you can apply the exercise program by changing the set / repeat order on the same training program.

Although there are many options in this regard, it is useful to try the super / tri set layout and pyramid variations that have been proven to increase the development positively.

If you are not satisfied with the movements you perform at the training pace, or if there is any disability, you should completely change the exercises in your training program and edit the regions where you exercise on a daily basis.

Programming with periodization

Although the decrease in performance due to the fixed exercise program does not bother athletes at the amateur level, it is very important for professional athletes.

Exercise science experts, who realized this, solved this situation with periodization.

Periodization can be explained as creating training programs with a target focus and assigning them to “periodic” intervals in accordance with the purpose throughout the year.

Although there are different periodization systems for many sports branches, I will share two different periodization programs for runners and weight trainers.

Periodization for weight trainers

Strength—–Hypertrophy– Stamina– Recovery
3-4 weeks—- 4-6 weeks—- 2-3 weeks —2 weeks

The order of application is from left to right

As can be seen in the table above, the aim is to gain strength first, aim to increase the muscle mass with the strength provided effectively, then add resistance to muscle and strength increase and relieve the physical and mental fatigue of all these periods.

If you don’t know how many reps and how many sets to do for the goals in this periodization table that lasts about 4 months, the number of exercises and repetitions: how many reps should I do? You can read my article.

Periodization system for those running

Long Distance Running>>2 weeks

High Intensity Running>>4 weeks

Cross Running>>2 weeks

Recovery>>2-3 weeks

As seen in the table above, we aimed to gain endurance with long runs and then improve the speed factor with high density runs.

Then, we tried to adapt to different tracks with cross runs, and then we tried to renew the body and mental condition with recovery runs.

It is important to remember that the running periodization program given above appeals to beginner and intermediate runners.

Now you have the answer to the question “When should I change the training program?”

So, will you change your exercise program?

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