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The Science Behind How Often You Should Change Your Workout Routine

More variety is always better when it comes to fitness. Here's why you need to know about muscle memory and how often you should change your workout routine.

James Cambell
The Science Behind How Often You Should Change Your Workout Routine
Table Of Contents

Are you a fitness fan who loves mixing up your workout routine? Or do you prefer to stay with the same exercises and reps week after week? Well, if finding balance in your workouts is essential to you, then you might be interested in hearing what science has to say about how frequently you should change your exercise routine.

It's not just hype—regular exercise, and a balanced diet are essential for leading a healthy lifestyle.

After all, nobody wants to be stuck doing the same ol' tired exercises repeatedly. In this blog post, we'll delve into some of the research behind why it's beneficial for both beginners and seasoned athletes alike to mix up their workouts—all backed by evidence-based studies.

Let's start uncovering just how often it might be beneficial for our bodies (and minds) to switch things up!

Why Do You Need to Change Your Workout Routine

Changing up one's exercise routine is grounded in the ideas of progressive overload and the principle of diminishing returns. Progressive overload states that to keep seeing improvements, you need to increase the demands of your exercise routine continually.

When following these principles, individuals should switch up their workouts to provide an appropriate stimulus that will help them continue progressing as they become more experienced and thus less likely to make gains with a given stimulus.

Periodization is a training methodology to incorporate fitness principles into an individual’s regimen. It involves manipulating various aspects like exercise volume, intensity, and frequency over a set period, usually between 8 and 12 weeks.

The two main models of periodization are linear and undulating. Linear periodization sees gradual increases in a variable, such as heavier loads but fewer sets or reps throughout the program.

Undulating periodization instead focuses on periodic shifts in variables throughout the program, often with more drastic changes occurring than those seen in linear models. This approach allows for optimal performance outcomes by providing variation and preventing plateaus in progress.

The undulating periodization model cycles through different intensity and volume levels throughout the program, allowing for greater adaptation by not letting muscles become accustomed to one specific set level.

Undulating periodization is a training methodology that manipulates certain factors—such as volume and intensity—to maximize fitness gains. This type of periodization takes place on a day-to-day basis, where each day has its specific focus.

For example, one day might involve heavy lifting with lower repetitions. The following day could involve lighter weight and higher repetitions, followed by an explosive or speed priority the next day.

This type of periodized programming can yield superior results compared to non-periodized approaches, with no difference between undulating and linear models observed.

Most fitness routines typically span a period of approximately two to three months to increase the intensity to maximize gains gradually.

This approach is known as periodization and involves incorporating linear progressions such as increased repetitions, heavier weights, shorter rest periods, and fewer sets. This allows for progression through a sequence of exercises tailored to an individual's goals and abilities.

Factors to Consider for Changing Your Workout Routine

When it comes to updating your workout routine, there are several factors to consider. Knowing your objectives can help you find the best fitness plan for you. The goal is to make fitness an enjoyable part of your life.

Consider Your Goals

Variable exercise selection involves switching between different exercises for the same muscle group rather than sticking to just one. This can be beneficial in achieving muscle strength and size because this approach is more effective than a fixed exercise selection.

It is also essential to take a constant intake of Pre Workout Supplements and enhance the process.

If someone typically does a squat for their leg day, switching to a leg press the next time could be beneficial. On the other hand, fixed selection entails sticking with the same routine throughout; in this example, it would mean doing just squats every time.

This variation of exercises not only offers potential benefits in terms of results but also enhances motivation levels.

When it comes to improving physical and athletic performance, the ability to master complex movement patterns is essential. This includes exercises that involve multiple joints and muscles, such as those performed with a powerlifting barbell, as opposed to simpler movements done on gym machines.

Practicing these exercises regularly is critical for making steady progress and reaching any goals related to performance or strength. Failing to put in the necessary practice can lead to slower progress and make it more challenging to achieve your desired results.

When it comes to varying our exercise routine, it is essential to consider how long it takes for the body to adjust and benefit from the activities we take part in.

Do What You Enjoy

Adaptation to physical activity or training can be a quick process, but it may plateau quickly following the initial gains if the stimulus is not maintained. Each of us could be said to have our limit above, requiring greater effort to see further improvements.

This follows the idea of diminishing returns—the more you train, the fewer rewards you will receive for each additional hour or session. To keep adaptation alive and prevent plateaus from occurring, some suggest changing up your program every 12 weeks.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, however; what is essential is that you find an approach that works for you and that you find enjoyable enough to stick with over time, as that is key to achieving gains in response to training.

Consider Adding Running to Your Routine

Individuals who engage in resistance training can experience muscle growth within three weeks of following a program and reach their maximum strength gains after three months if they start without prior exercise knowledge.

Additionally, cardiovascular fitness has been found to increase as soon as one week into a training program with running and adding supplements like Omega 3 Fish Oil to the diet.

However, further progressions must be made for these benefits to continue beyond three weeks as the body will plateau otherwise. Even with a longer-term aerobic regimen, measurements of cardiovascular fitness have been observed to level off nine months into the training.

That is why you hear stories of people making drastic changes to their lifestyle, resulting in quicker progress and better long-term results. But if you want the journey to culminate at a destination that's 8 or perhaps even 9 months into the future, it must involve consistent progression over weeks, months, and years; otherwise, your body simply won't take you there.


1. How often do you change your workout routine?

The exact number of days or weeks you should switch depends on several variables—like your fitness level and goals—but generally speaking, you should switch it up every 2-4 weeks to ensure optimal results.

2. How often should you change your workout to build muscle?

It depends on your progress and what type of activity you're doing. However, a general rule is that if you find yourself hitting a plateau with your lifting or cardio goals after a few weeks, it's time to change!

3. How long should you do the same workout routine?

It is essential to vary your routine every four to six weeks. Sticking with the same moves for too long can lead to poor results, and worse yet, it can cause injury due to repetitive stress- in other words doing too much of anything isn't always a good thing.

4. How to change your workout routine?

With a new gym or home program, you can rethink old habits and create something that works better for you.

You could even look further afield and try activities like rock climbing, swimming, or dancing – it could be just the challenge you need! Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s manageable and within your capabilities; nothing kills enthusiasm like being constantly out of your depth.


To progress and achieve better performance, you must add varying workouts to your routine. Varying workouts help you achieve better intensity, exercise volume, and frequency over a period and motivation, fitness, and better improvement only in two to three months.

It is significant to consider factors like your goals, exercises you enjoy, and adding running to your routine for variation. These aspects will help you achieve the perfect body toning, performance, and progression you need in your workout. You don't want to leave out this and all the added benefits. Watch out!

Reading List

Article Sources

  • Baz-Valle, Eneko, et al. ‘The Effects of Exercise Variation in Muscle Thickness, Maximal Strength and Motivation in Resistance Trained Men’. PLoS ONE, vol. 14, no. 12, Dec. 2019, p. e0226989. PubMed Central,

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James Cambell

James Cambell is an editor at DMoose, where he loves to write about fitness, nutrition, and health tips. He has received a degree in Nutrition Sciences and is a certified dietitian.

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