Throw Out Your Workout Program
Want to get better and grow as a lifter? Take a week to train intuitively. That means coming into the gym with no set program, and no plan for the deep details on what you're going to train, other than (maybe) the muscle groups you intend to hit for the day.
If you're an experienced lifter who's lived by rigid programming your entire life, that's going to come as a huge shock. But it can also be a great learning tool to force you to understand how to put your knowledge to good use.
Don't count your reps. Don't count your sets. Do isolation work, chase a pump, and focus on muscle fatigue if your goal is hypertrophy.
If your goal is to get stronger, base things off of your rates of perceived exertion (RPE), not the numbers on the bar and how they relate to your "max percentage."
If you feel like you don't have it in the tank some days, don't push it. If you feel like you've got extra gas in the tank some days, then by all means have a two-hour workout that includes 8 exercises for one muscle group. Choose exercises that work best for you by feeling – not exercises that are laid out for you in your program.
Lots of people fear-monger themselves into thinking that if heralded or popular exercises aren't included in their workouts then their program is inferior. In truth, it all depends on the person and what works for him.
It's a valiant idea to squat or deadlift three days per week, but no one talks about the collateral damage that could potentially place on your spine or load-bearing joints.
If you haven't tried this yet for a full phase, or at least one week, let this be your chance to toy with the idea. Your body will probably thank you, and you'll learn a whole lot in the process if you take it seriously.
The most important lesson? You're supposed to be in this for the long haul, so you'd better train like it.