How to switch up your workout routine, without changing all the exercises

How to switch up your workout routine, without changing all the exercises

TL;DR

Feeling like your workouts are getting stale? Knowing how to switch up your workout routine makes it possible to inject some excitement into your sessions without changing everything.

Simple tweaks like using different grips, changing exercise order, or reducing rest times can make a familiar routine feel fresh again.

If you’re in the gym all the time, try increasing your range of motion, mixing up your last set, or incorporating techniques like cluster sets or AFSAP to ramp up the intensity.

Not sure exactly how to implement these? More detail below.

Are you starting to feel like your workout routine is more of a chore than a challenge? It’s a common feeling, especially when you’ve been following the same program for a while. That feeling when you see what’s on the list for today, want to go sit in the sauna instead.

In that case, it’s probably time for a change… but remember, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

You shouldn’t have done that…he was just a boy! Poor little feller!

Before you consider a complete overhaul, small changes can reignite your enthusiasm and get you back to loving your workouts.

In this post, we’ll look at some simple yet effective ways to add variety to your workouts, keeping them exciting and challenging, without ripping everything up.

HOW TO SWITCH UP YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE, WITHOUT CHANGING ALL THE EXERCISES

1. USE DIFFERENT ATTACHMENTS/GRIPS

Ever noticed that odd-looking handle at the gym and wondered what it’s for? It’s time to experiment. Switching grips and attachments can transform an exercise you know inside out, into a whole new challenge.

For instance, swapping from an overhand to an underhand grip on pull-downs shifts some of the focus from your lats to your biceps. Similarly, using a rope attachment instead of a straight bar for tricep pushdowns can hit different muscle fibers.

These small tweaks not only add variety but can also change muscle engagement and prevent overuse injuries.

2. CHANGE THE ORDER OF YOUR EXERCISES

It’s mad how a simple change in the sequence of exercises can massively alter your workout experience.

Remember that time you had to do change the order because ‘The Guy Who Always Has The Kit You Want’ was using what you needed? The entire session felt different. Try doing that on purpose for your next training block.

By moving those chest presses later in your workout, when you’re already a bit fatigued, they suddenly become more challenging. This reshuffling not only tests your muscles in new ways but also keeps your mind engaged. It’s a simple trick to refresh your routine without changing the exercises themselves.

3. REDUCE REST TIME

If you’re guilty of spending your rest periods scrolling through Instagram (watching cats knock sh*t off tables n wotnot), it’s time to rethink your downtime in the gym.

No, thumbs DOWN, mate. Phone down too…

Reducing the rest between sets is a straightforward way to ramp up the intensity of your workout. By shortening these breaks, you’re increasing your heart rate and the workout’s overall metabolic demand. Plus, it’s a great way to make your workouts more time-efficient – more work in less time!

[Choose your exercises wisely for this… your heavy lifts (3 – 6 reps) will still require a lot of rest…]

4. INCREASE THE RANGE OF MOTION

By increasing the range of motion in your exercises, you’re challenging your muscles in new ways.

For instance, going deeper in your squats or ensuring full extension in your bicep curls can activate different muscle fibers, leading to better overall development, and strength through the whole movement

This approach not only jacks up the effectiveness of your workout but also promotes better joint mobility and flexibility.

5. CHANGE WHAT YOU DO ON YOUR LAST SET

The last set of an exercise is an opportunity to really push your limits.

Mixing things up with techniques like drop sets or switching to lighter weights for maximum reps can add an exciting twist.

This not only provides a physical challenge but also keeps you mentally engaged. It’s a great way to finish your workout on a high note, leaving you feeling accomplished and energized.

Use this sparingly though, especially if you’re going to failure, as it’ll push your fatigue levels closer to the end of the dial.

6. USE CLUSTER SETS/REST-PAUSE/AFSAP:

These advanced techniques are perfect for adding intensity without overhauling your entire routine.

  • Cluster Sets: This involves breaking your sets into mini-sets with short rests in between. For example, instead of doing 10 continuous reps, you do 5 reps, rest for 20 seconds, and then another 5. This allows you to maintain better form and lift heavier over more reps.
  • Rest-Pause: Lift, pause briefly while still holding the weight, and then continue lifting. This method helps you push past the point of fatigue.
  • AFSAP (As Few Sets As Possible): Here, you focus on completing a total number of reps with minimal rest, maintaining good form throughout. It’s a test of both physical and mental endurance, challenging you to push through fatigue while keeping your technique intact.

Most of us don’t need to do these all the time, and again I would use sparingly with one or two exercises per training block, but they can be a great way to increase your output, and freshen things up.

WHAT NEXT

We can all use a fresh exercise stimulus from time to time, and it can be the difference between sticking to a training regime, and not. If you know how to make simple tweaks, you don’t need to make up a new session from scratch every time.

  • Which of these have you tried?
  • Do you have any other tips for freshening up your workouts?
  • Do you use the same program all the time?
  • Do you think floor-baby grows up to be a super villain?

JUMP IN THE COMMENTS AND LET ME KNOW.

Got a question about how to switch up your workout routine; adding any of these changes; or anything else related to your exercise or nutrition? You can ask that in the comments too…


[N.B: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I will get a small percentage of the sale should you choose to buy any of the products. I’ve chosen the products in each link based on their price (obviously the lower the better) and their ratings (4 star at the very least, with a high number of reviews). But all I’m really fussed about is you get some decent kit to use, so feel free to search for items on Amazon yourself  if you don’t like the one I’ve suggested. The product price may change from when I originally publish this article, so it’s a good idea to have a little shop around anyway.

I’d also recommend asking around locally, or looking on your local selling groups for certain items to see if anyone is selling some. It may be a cheaper alternative to buying brand new.]

If you found this helpful, share it with someone else 🙂

About the Author Alvin Nurse

Alvin runs Reboot Fitness Coaching and has been a Fitness Coach since 2010. When not helping awesome people in their 30s rejuvenate their bodies, you'll find him listening to music, chasing a ball, or avoiding runny yolks...

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: