“You Must Have Variety, Bro!” Oh Really?
Some say that you won’t make progress if you do the same workout twice in a row. Others say that you won’t make progress if you keep the same exercise in your program for more than a few weeks.
The truth? It’s those who don’t stick to any one program for more than a few weeks that never seem to make any significant progress.
They’re the ones quoting old-school Dave Tate articles, yet don’t even look like they could squat their bodyweight. The worst culprits are those who like to toss in exercises for the novelty alone. “Look Ma, BOSU ball squats while juggling oranges! You know, to keep the body guessing!”
The Greatest Training Gap
Look, I’m not bashing exercise variety. Variety has a time and place. However, the greatest gap in most people’s training isn’t lack of novelty, but rather lack of mastery.
Most people never experience their “true” fitness or strength because they never allow themselves enough time to get comfortable with a particular lift or movement. Who wants to perform plain ol’ vanilla deadlifts when you can add chains or perform them in a mine field?
Master the Simple Stuff
To add variety you don’t need to be excessive. Just changing your grip, foot stance, bar height, or adding pauses can be enough of a change to make the deadlift more effective (given a specific technique flaw or weakness). So rather than adding exercises haphazardly for the sake of “doing something cool and different,” use less variety and learn to get really good at doing the simple stuff well.