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You Should Alternate Your Workouts to Avoid Adaptation?

February 2, 2017


You Should Alternate Your Workouts to Avoid Adaptation?

It’s time to change our workout Live Video

Follow up to my early video changing or workout Live Video

Seniors(baby boomers) do not let anyone tell you, you are to old to do strength training or interval training it is not true research has shown a group of seniors at a senior home who were on a controlled work out routine to gain muscle mass, they all increased their muscle mass and what was really cool their bone density improved, here I am just a few months away from being 65.


Everyone needs a change from their workout. If you continue to follow a workout without any change, it can place you in a tough plateau to break. Aside from that, it can hinder your results and make your workouts tedious.

Plateaus occur in training due to a phenomenon known as homeostasis. This was first researched by a Canadian endocrinologist by the name of Hans Selye. From his research and experimentation, he produced a theory known as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). This details exactly how the body responds to stress. The reason this pertains to bodybuilding is that lifting weights and performing cardio are two examples of activities that create “stress.”

Phase 1:

The first stage is Alarm Reaction, in which the body immediately reacts to a change in stress. This is why so many trainees gain extremely well as beginners. Since the body has never been subject to training before, muscle growth is induced and strength increases rapidly due to intermuscular, intramuscular, and neural adaptations.

Phase 2:

The second stage of GAS is the Stage of Resistance. During this stage, the body begins to adapt to the stress being induced externally, i.e. weight lifting. This phase does not occur rapidly, but over an extended period of time.

For beginners, gains can be seen for up to a year without the body completely adapting. After the beginner phase is over, however, great care must be taken to continually change workout programs throughout a training year. Nutrition must also be specific to the training goal.

For example, during a weight training phase in which muscle growth is induced, there must be a caloric surplus in order to further stimulate the growth. Conversely, during a phase where fat loss is preferred, a caloric deficit must be in place for this to occur.
Nutrition and training combine synergistically to fight against the body’s constant adaptations.

Phase 3:

The third and last stage of is the GAS Stage of Exhaustion in which the body is no longer able to resist the stress. This is why over training occurs. However, to prevent over training, a rest week or a deloading week in which volume is cut in half should be used. This varies upon prior training experience – for beginners, a rest/deloading week should be used once every 10-12 weeks; for intermediates, once every 6-8 weeks; and for advanced trainees, once every 3-4 weeks.
Avoiding Adaptation:

How Should One Alternate Their Workouts to Avoid Adaptation?

To avoid adaptation in training, variety is the key. The best way to approach this is to sit down and outline your goals for the upcoming training year. Make short term and long term goals. For example, break down goals into different categories such as 1 year goals, 6 months’ goals, and 1 month goals. Then make assessments monthly, biannually, and annually.

These goals could be changed at any time in order to adapt to injuries, unforeseen changes, or fast/slow progress. A daily workout log would go a long way in helping you to know what kind of goals to set. A workout log is especially important for future reference so that you will know in the future what has worked and what has not in the past.

What Should You Change?

Sets & Reps:

Changing sets and reps is key to preventing plateaus. It is also vital to prevent adaptation so that different goals are met. If muscle growth is the desired result, then routines with exercises in the 1-3 rep range are definitely not the best. However, if you are always performing 3 Sets x 8-12 Reps for each muscle group and you have reached a plateau, try doing 10 Sets x 3 Reps.

This is a very unconventional yet extremely effective method to break out of plateaus. In this case, the total volume is approximately the same but the total weight lifted (tonnage) is much higher. For example, if you perform 3 Sets x 10 Reps x 200 lbs for the bench press then your total tonnage would be 6000 lbs. However, by switching to 10 Sets x 3 Reps x 250 lbs, your total tonnage would be 7500 lbs.

This change would make a substantial difference in muscle gains and would help you easily break out of a plateau.

 Weeks 1-2: Squats – 4 Sets x 8-12 Reps
 Weeks 3-4: Squats – 6 Sets x 6 Reps
 Weeks 5-6: Squats – 10 Sets x 3 Reps
 Weeks 7-8: Repeat


Alternating exercises is an effective method of avoiding adaptation as well. Most elite-level powerlifters perform a different exercise each week for a certain lift they are training for. For example, one week they perform Close Grip Bench Presses, the next week they perform Board Presses, and so forth.

Changing exercises can be as simple as doing Barbell Bench Presses one week and Dumbbell Bench Presses the next. If you have reached a plateau, it would be advisable to change from dumbbells to barbell or barbell or dumbbells, depending on which you have reached a plateau with. In general, to avoid adaptation, you should change exercises once every 3-5 weeks.

Make a list of exercises for each body part and simply pick a new exercise every 3-5 weeks. This will go a long way in helping you make consistent progress.

 Weeks 1-2: Bench Press – 4 Sets x 8-12 Reps
 Weeks 3-4: Dumbbell Bench Press – 4 Sets x 8-12 Reps
 Weeks 5-6: Dips – 4 Sets x 8-12 Reps
 Weeks 7-8: Repeat


Alternating intensities can be very effective in preventing adaptations from workout to workout. For example, you can perform two high intensity workouts per week, one medium intensity workout per week, and one low intensity workout per week. It is very difficult to go at full intensity for weeks on end without burning out.

It is important to note, that intensity in this case does not mean how much effort you put into your training but rather the percentage of your 1 Rep Max (1RM) that you work at. High intensity workouts would go in the category of 85-100% 1RM strength and power work, medium intensity would be 70-85% hypertrophy training, and low intensity would be 50-70% endurance or speed (dynamic effort) training.

These definitions have nothing to do with how difficult or easy a workout session would be but rather how much weight you lift relative to your 1RM.

 Monday – Lower Body at 85-100% 1RM
 Tuesday – Upper Body at 75-85% 1RM
 Thursday – Lower Body at 50-70% 1RM
 Friday – Upper Body at 85-100% 1RM


Sometimes it is advisable to change the number of workouts you have per week to prevent adaptations from occurring. If you usually perform 4 workouts per week and you have hit a plateau, try doing 3 workouts per week for 1-3 weeks. Additionally, when you plan a year-long cycle, try alternating between different numbers of workouts per week.

For example, during a bulking phase you could workout 4-5 times per week, during a strength phase 3-4 times per week, and during a cutting phase 2-3 times per week. This alternation would do a great deal and your body would not adapt to a specific training protocol which would let you reap greater gains in the long run. Also, cardio should be included when determining the proper frequency to train with.

For example, during a cutting phase you perform more cardio than you do during a bulking phase. Therefore, you would make up for the difference in the frequency of your weight training sessions. For example, if your total number of workouts per week is six, then you can perform 5 weight training sessions and 1 cardio session during bulking and 3 weight training sessions and 3 cardio sessions during bulking.

You can also change the type of cardio you do. For example you could perform HIIT for 4-6 weeks and then do cycling for 4-6 weeks and keep alternating between the two.
Workout Length:

You can often alternate your workout length in order to make consistent gains and avoid adaptation. For example, you can have 1 hour workouts during your bulking phase and 30-45 minute workouts during a cutting phase. This way your body will not adapt to a specific workout length which can only help you to continue to make gains. Additionally, you could alternate between workout lengths within a training week.

 Monday – 45 Minutes
 Wednesday – 30 Minutes
 Friday – 45 Minutes



Nutrition is a factor that many people overlook when it comes to “changing it up.” It is imperative that your training be based around hydration and diet. You must decide when you will be bulking, when you will be cutting, and when you will be maintaining. Therefore, your caloric surplus will correspond with higher-volume hypertrophy training and your caloric deficit will correspond with more cardio and lower-volume training.

This is the single most important issue when it comes to making consistent gains and avoiding plateaus. Simply put, there is no way that you will gain muscle if you do not hydrate with the right water(electrolyzed reduced water) not only does it hydrate you at the cellular level it will also neutralize the free radicals your body will produce during a hard training session it will also flush out the metabolic waste your body produces, by you hydrating with alkalized water your body will recover much faster and you will have less damage to your muscle fibers after a hard training session, sore muscle is damaged muscle, you master hydration you will see great gains check out the short video by some of the top athletic trainers.

Fitness experts on electrolyzed reduced water

Step 2 is you need a healthy eating platform with fresh organic fruits and vegetables clean of all toxic chemicals, you do not need as much meat protein as you think stick to more vegetable proteins like veggie protein powders. the same way that it is impossible to lose fat with a large caloric surplus. Because I hydrate with electrolyzed reduced water my digestive tract works great I am utilizing more of the nutrients and enzymes so my calorie intake is less, I do not get as hungry.

Short video on how we clean our foods from toxic chemicals
Kangen-11.5 strong alkaline water removes pesticides from our foods/organic K8


We choose not to use over the counter supplements, back in the days when my wife and I competed we spent hundreds of dollars per month on supplements most of them do not work, this is why.

My wife and I are now in our med sixties, we train hard and heavy, people in the gym are amazed of the weight we can push, why are we able to train hard at our age, because we have mastered hydration and how well it works for recovery we also eat 95% fresh raw fruits and vegetables that are toxic it free, very little meat, sometimes we can go for 4 months and have no animal meat, we get out protein from plant base, we do fermented foods and kombucha for good gut bacteria, we both drink 1.5 gal of electrolyzed reduced water per day here is some research on alkalized water for athletes check it out.

As a strength and conditioning coach for decades we have found that interval strength training works for all ages, these workouts will keep you from hitting the wall or adaptation.

This is an example of what I do:

Each exercise has an intensity of 1 thru 10, 10 being the highest.

Monday upper body

Dumbbell flat bench
12 reps @ 60# 5 intensity
10 reps @ 70# 7 “
8 reps @ 80# 8
6 reps @ 100# 9
12 reps @ 70# 10

For the Back, Triceps, arms we follow the same routine
Tuesday we do Shoulders and legs same routine

Wed interval cardio 20 min

Thursday upper body chest Incline dumbbells

Friday shoulders and legs again. 6 weeks of this we go to a program where we do interval strength training 3 days a week and interval cardio 3 days a week for 30 days then go back to our bulking up.

To get to your goals you have to master hydration, check out this short video on the water you are drinking and why it is acidic to the body, it is doing more harm than good go to if it makes since to you we give the water away for free for two weeks so you can see for yourself msg me at

Bill & Emily Mabry 6A
Wellness Coach/Strength and conditioning Coach/CMHS


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