Without a doubt lifting could become a rather boring activity after a while. You do the same workout day after day, week after week, month after month. Here and there you add a little weight, set a small PR and post about it on Facebook. Sometimes this is just enough action to keep you going, but no matter who you are, there will be moments when you will question the whole thing.
One of the ways people deal with boredom are constant routine changes. The goal is to “make the muscles guessing”, as Rich Piana would say. Truth be told, the mind needs variety more than the body. The brain is the one that easily gets sick and tired of constant repetition, not your quads.
If you incorporate frequent deloads in your training sessions, you can do the same routine for many years without changing a thing, provided that there are no slip-ups.
Why deload? Because deloads are part of a natural process called cycling. Life itself is a cycle and when your training reflect this fact, you have a pretty decent shot at increasing your training longevity. Deloads could be looked at as sleeping. You need sleep no matter who you are and what you do for a living.
Let’s say that you routine consists of a few basic exercises that cover pretty much the entire body. You can technically stick with this training approach until the end of times. However, you will notice that there will be periods when you just can’t handle doing the same thing. The mind needs to be lied to and kept entertained. That’s why people change their routines more often than needed.
Constantly changing your routine is not the best way to add variety to your life. There are activities which work much better. Looking at lifting as the only way to have fun will actually hinder progress because you will feel impatient. This thing moves slow man, regardless of what the YouTubers who seem to be setting PRs everyday say. In the real world, progress is slow.
Sure, there may be some cookie cutter routine such as Smolov that could potentially add 100 pounds to your squat in three months, but the truth is that those are just temporary solutions. Sooner or later you will have to come up with a training schedule that is long term focused and comes with slow progress. That’s just the reality of lifting. You may be able to add more pounds to your lifts in a short period of time using some Soviet or Rippetoe magic, but at the end of the day your long term approach is what keeps your going forward.
I have experienced my fair share of boredom with lifting too, because I have tried to use it as a universal problem fixer many times. This is one of the issues ordinary people often experience. In general, our lives are very oppressed. We are allowed to observe what the high class is doing thanks to movies, magazines, books and other forms of media, but we don’t have permission to experience those things ourselves.
The result is overheat. You are allowed to look, but never to have it yourself. The biggest irony is that in order for the rich to be rich, somebody has to be poor. The Earth is a dualistic realm where balance is obtained at every cost. You can’t have CEOs and politicians a.k.a. Talking Heads fooling around in the newest cars, without an army of working bees doing production work behind the scenes.
What’s left for the little man?
It depends on the individual. Some go to Disneyland, others focus on living through their children, while people like me hit the iron in an attempt get rid of all that negative energy.
Your boss may be able to exploit you because the system thrives on such mechanisms, but he can never steal your bench press numbers, right?
Well, technically he can by leaving you on the street.
After spending enough time there, you will forget what a barbell is. Anyway, I get the idea. The iron is an equalizer. As the popular quote goes 220 lbs are 220 lbs no matter what, right? You can cheat people, but the iron doesn’t buy it. It’s there and it’s heavy.
Truth be told, variety is often overrated as far as long term progress is concerned. Many people don’t progress in any area because their goals keep on changing. When you have too many goals, you energy is spread thin. Nevertheless, I am not saying that doing the same thing is the answer either. If that was the case people, who go to the gym and do the same routine, using the same weights every time, would be the strongest people on Earth. They are not and never will be.
Lifting weights is about adding more iron to the barbell/machine and improvement is not measured by the number of exercises you have done in your life. Adding weight is how you get stronger, and the thing that makes all the difference. You can do the same routine forever, but you will only progress in terms of strength, if you are also adding weight.
I think the key to avoiding true boredom and stagnation is finding the equivalent to adding weight to the bar in other aspects of life too. It’s different for everybody, but once you find it progress will come. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but that’s the way this place works for good or bad. Progress will still be slow, but slow progress is better than no progress, right?.
Without increasing the difficulty level, we can never go to places we’ve never been before and staying at the same level for decades is a great way to bore yourself to death. Heavier weights are better opponents.