How long have you been doing the same weight training routine? Are you still getting the results you would like to see? If your progress has slowed or halted completely, you many need to change up what you are doing. The body is very good at adapting to whatever activity we put it through; if you are just doing the same thing day in and day out your body is getting really good at that exercise. That is a common reason why you may see someone who has been at the gym every day killing it on a machine for a year and never improving. The problem is their body has adapted to doing the same activity and consequently learned how to burn as little fuel as possible during this activity.
Some people change up their workout programs every 6 weeks, for some it is weekly, and for others it is daily. You can change it up in different ways.
Below are some examples on how you can change up your weight training. Some examples of what you can change are the exercises you are doing: instead of doing bench press you can do some flys or push-ups. Instead of lat pull-downs you can do pull-ups; beyond that there are other techniques we use to train. Here are some other examples:
#1 Add More Weight
This tends to be a really obvious one. You generally want to always be upping how much you can lift. When 10 lbs gets light it is time to raise it. Generally, when anything gets easier, it is becoming less effective. Weight training in general can get easier because you learn what you are doing more and your mindset changes, but if it feels like the weight you are lifting is not as much of a challenge anymore, then it is time to bump it up!
#2 Drop Sets
A drop set is when multiple weights are used for an exercise. For instance, a biceps curl may be done with one set using 15 lb dumbbells and then immediately moving to a lighter pair of weights, maybe 10 lbs, and do another set. To push it even further, you can make it a triple drop set and go for a third set using a pair of 8 lb weights. Don't rest between changing weights. The point of this is to take it beyond what you could normally do with a set. You should base your starting weight with what you would normally do. If you do bicep curls with 25lbs, then you would start your first set at 25lbs and drop the weight from there.
#3 Go Slower
Going slow and controlled can be a great way to change things up. There are people who only work as slow as possible. Test this out and see if you notice a difference in the amount of weight you can lift and how sore you are the next day. When you are doing this you want to isolate and go for at least a 4 count up (contraction) and a 4 count down (retraction). You can go even slower than that if you would like. Another benefit of doing it slow and controlled is that you will be able to really focus on good form. Many people move so fast that they just throw form right out the window; don't let your ego get the best of you with this one. Most of the time when people go super slow they have to drop the weight they have been doing significantly. So if you have been doing a 100lb chest fly you may only be able to do 50lbs, which is fine and normal. Remember this is just a different way to perform the workout and your strength can increase dramatically by lifting the lighter weights super slow and making sure the form is good.
#4 Compound Movements
Compound movements are the types that use multiple muscle groups. If you are one of those people who have very little time to workout, this is what you should be focusing on. This is the way to optimize the limited time you have available. Some great examples of common compound movements are Squats, Push-ups and Pull-ups. These are three exercises you can do almost every workout. If you are working upper body, do push-ups and pull-ups; if you are doing lower body hit squats. If you had to choose only three exercises to do regularly those would be them. Many people add more steps to their complex movements to get even more out of each exercise such as adding bicep curls to squats or pushups with side plaks. You can get creative with these and combine many different things and get in much more than you would have in your allotted workout time.