Can you perform the same workout over and over and achieve the same results? The short answer is no. At some point in training, your body adapts and you need to change the landscape. The National Institute of Health consistently publishes research on the topic of adaptation and many of the studies tell us similar things.
Your body (and muscles) are made up of different tissues and these tissues respond differently to the same work. There are fast-twitch and slow-twitch and there are different ways to work them, including light weight and high reps to increase muscular endurance or continuously increasing weight to improve strength.
The important thing is that you have a way to assess where you are at and whether you’ve adapted to the point of a plateau. There are a couple ways to react if you are the point of adaptation. I’d like to focus on three; weight, duration and the order of exercises. Strength seems obvious (add more weight), but that isn’t always true. Often, ancillary muscle groups require work before you can pile on more weight. By pre-exhausting a muscle group with an initial set of higher reps and lighter weight, the working set is more intense because the muscles are already fatigued. Duration changes could include a reduction in rest time or perhaps extending the length of time depending on your goal. Lastly, try reversing the order of the exercises you perform or insert a superset (where you switch back and forth between two exercises) with minimal rest in between to give your body a shock.
This is some of the research behind our programming at Accelerate. For example, many of the members in our group classes have the specific goal of reducing body fat and increasing muscle. We know from research that metabolically the body burns more calories when the working set is long and rest is short. Accelerate classes use circuits that intersperse intense conditioning with resistance training and stability work. By combining these principles into one training session, we can maximize efficiency and make sure members’ bodies are always guessing and never stagnating.
We strongly recommend a mixture of 1:1 personal training with the group classes, because this is the best way to avoid adaptation and plateau. In personal training, the focus is on personalized strength programs that improve muscular strength and power, while the conditioning through group training improves aerobic capacity, overall conditioning, endurance and balance.
And that’s just the beginning. There is reliable research coming out every day and we use it to make our classes effective for all levels. Our goal is to inform our members about the realities of research in training and conditioning. Once you are informed, the potential for success and performance are limitless.