Individualization of Training: Structure and Balance
The term “individualization” refers to the practice of changing one’s training program according to personal preferences or goals. There are many ways in which individuals can modify their own training programs, but there are two main approaches.
One approach involves using a systematic approach in which each individual follows exactly the same routine; the other approach involves making changes at various points throughout a workout based on what is working best for that particular person (or group).
A systematic approach is the most common way of doing things because it allows for easy tracking of progress. However, if everyone followed the exact same routine, then no one would ever see any results!
A well-designed structured routine will allow you to make adjustments along with keeping your overall training volume constant over time. If you follow a structured routine, you won’t have to worry about having too much or too little rest between sets or exercises. You’ll always get enough rest so that you’re able to perform all your reps and complete all your sets.
Whether you follow a structured routine or not, it’s important to stick with one set of exercises for most of your training career. The human body quickly becomes accustomed to any demands that you place upon it.
In order to continue seeing results, you have to keep changing up your routine so that your body doesn’t get used to anything! This is why most people who are successful at building muscle switch up their routines every few months.
The best training programs are designed in such a way that they incorporate a systematic as well as an autoregulated approach to training. The main goal of any well-designed routine is to keep your body guessing while still allowing you to make steady progress over time.
If your routine consists of only random changes without any systematic approach, then your body will never have a chance to adapt structure to the demands that you place upon it. If you don’t give your body a chance to adapt, you’ll never have the opportunity to build a foundation of strength and muscle.
Whether your routine is systematic or random, it’s important to allow your body to adapt to your routine before increasing the intensity or volume of your training. It takes the average person about six weeks to adapt to any new style or routine.
If you attempt to rush this process, you risk overtraining and even injury. The key to continued muscle growth and development is to be consistent as well as patient.
When training, it’s important to take frequent breaks from any specific routine or style of training. If you give your body time to rest and recuperate between workouts, you’ll be able to train with maximum effort during each session.
Although it is true that constant change is required in order for you to continue seeing results, that doesn’t mean that you should change your routine every other week. Remember that it takes your body about six weeks to adapt to any new routine.
If you change your routine too often, it won’t have enough time to adapt and change will become irregular and random. A common mistake made by people who attempt to follow a non-structured routine (as explained above) is changing their routine too often.
When you do choose to change a routine, you should give your body at least six weeks to adapt. However, you only really need to change a routine every six months or so.
Any more often than that and you’re just doing it for the sake of changing the routine.
It’s also important to understand that there are many other types of routines that are BETTER suited for beginners. Routines such as the German Volume Training routine are a perfect fit for beginning bodybuilders because they take little effort and can provide great results.
This type of routine is more autoregulated because it’s based on the unique needs of the person performing the routine. As you get more advanced, you’ll have to start paying more attention to the various demands of your body.
This is also when structuring your routine in a more systematic manner becomes important.
As you advance further into your training, you’ll need to learn how to fine-tune your routines so that they meet the demands of your own body. No two people are the same and there is no one routine that will work for everyone.
That’s why bodybuilders have so much variety in their training and they don’t just perform the same routine over and over again.
In order to reach your full potential, it’s important to understand that your body needs a systematic routine. If you just go into the gym and lift without any rhyme or reason, then you’ll never get ahead in your training.
By structuring your training, you’ll be able to reach new levels of strength and muscular development.
One of the most common mistakes that people make is copying someone else’s routine without considering their own needs. If you don’t have the same genetics, body type, or experience level as the person whose routine you’re following, then you will not get the same results.
It really is a misconception that in order to get big you have to follow a specific routine. If you want to get big, then you HAVE to follow a routine.
If you want to be a Jack-of-all-trades, then it’s okay to not follow a routine because that’s what worked for you in the past.
In general, when people refer to routines, they are talking about systematic routines. There is nothing wrong with non-structured routines such as German Volume Training if they work well for you.
It’s just that they won’t work forever. As you get more experienced, your body will eventually adapt to such a routine and you’ll have to make changes in order to continue making gains.
If you are a beginner, then it’s best to start out with a structured routine and when you advance enough, you can try non-structured routines.
A common question that comes up a lot is:
If I don’t structure my routine, then how will I know when to increase the weight that I’m lifting?”
There are several factors that go into figuring out how much you should be lifting:
Your past performance – Have you been regularly hitting new personal records lately?
If not, then you probably should not increase the weight.
Your technical abilities- Are you able to perform the lifts with perfect form?
If not, then you need to work on your technique before you add more weight.
Your energy levels- Are you feeling particularly worn out after the workout?
If so, then you should either decrease the weight or take a rest day.
There are other factors but these are some of the major ones that go into determining whether or not you should increase the weight. You don’t always have to follow a routine.
I often will increase the weight by myself when I hit a plateau, but only if all other factors seem to be in check and I’m reliably hitting new personal records. Other people might take this approach.
However, if you’re just starting out then it’s a good idea to follow a structured routine until you get a better feel for what your body can handle.
Another common question that comes up is:
Which routine should I follow?”
I will include two sample routines that provide different types of stress for the body. Which one you should start out with depends on your situation.
If you have been going to the gym on a regular basis for quite sometime and you’re already getting tired of your current routine, then it’s time for a change. Go with the second routine.
If you just started going to the gym, then it would be better for you to start out with the first routine until you get a feel for your body and how it reacts to different exercises. Once you feel like you’ve learned enough about your body, then you can move on to the second routine.
Both routines are written for three days of weightlifting per week. Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of days that you perform the routine.
Both routines utilize a linear method for the first six-week period with the second six-week period utilizing a weekly undulating approach which I will detail later in this article. Both of these routines focus on compound movements and ignore isolation exercises because those are not necessary for building a great body.
Let’s get started.
The first routine is a more stressful one that will result in more rapid strength and muscle gains, but may be harder to stick with. Choose this routine if you’ve been going to the gym for quite some time and are looking for something a little more challenging.
A1. Upper Push 1
A2. Upper Push 2
A3. Core exercises
A4. Lower Body 1
A5. Lower Body 2
B1. Upper Push 3
B2. Upper Push 4
B3. Core exercises
B4. Lower Body 3
B5. Lower Body 4
1A. Plank – Hold for 45 seconds
1B. Alternating Leg Lift – 10 reps per side
2A. Super Man – 10 reps
2B. Scissors – 15 reps per side
3A. Seated trunk rotation – 15 reps
3B. Lying trunk rotation – 15 reps
4A. Half Get Up – 5 reps each side
Sources & references used in this article:
Training Load: Find Your Right Volume by C Mack – breakingmuscle.com
When Too Much Choice Is Bad for Your Training by C Marker – breakingmuscle.com
You Are Not Normal-Here’s Why by C Marker – breakingmuscle.com
Prioritize Results, Not Popular Advice by A McCubbin – breakingmuscle.com
Anti-Bro Arm Movements: Bicep Curls for a Healthy Back by B DeSimone – breakingmuscle.com
Working with Special Populations Part 2: Asthma by A Larsen – breakingmuscle.com
Regulatory and autoregulatory physiological dysfunction as a primary characteristic of post concussion syndrome: implications for treatment by JJ Leddy, K Kozlowski, M Fung… – …, 2007 – content.iospress.com