Strength training: Tired of the same old routine? Mix it up

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Strength training: Tired of the same old routine? Mix it up

Question

For several years, I've followed the same strength training program on weight machines, with good results. Now, I'm being advised to "mix it up" with free weights and exercise balls. Are there any advantages to this?

Rick
Minnesota

Answer

It sounds like your current program is working well for you and no changes may be needed. However, variety can be the "spice" of strength training. Muscles gradually adapt to the same stimuli over time. Your strength training gains may plateau if you stick with the same routine.

Experimenting with different forms of strength training challenges your muscles to adapt and improve in different ways. Free weights may help improve whole-body stabilization. They also promote symmetrical muscle development. Exercise balls can help you effectively work the "core" abdominal muscles. Even different exercises that work the same muscle groups can provide a different stimulus for the muscles to improve.

The bottom line is that you have to enjoy the exercises you do in order to do them. So if you're doing well with your current program and you're meeting your strength training goals, you may not need to "fix" anything.

Last Updated: 01/18/2005
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