Lifting has the capacity to quickly turn into a rather boring activity. 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 or Instagram. Sometimes this is just enough action to keep you going, but make no mistake about it – there will be days when you would rather play Solitaire than fight gravity in a sweaty gym.
That’s why many people do constant routine changes as a way to fight boredom. The goal is to “кееp 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 reflects this fact, you have a pretty decent shot at increasing your training longevity.
Technically, you can stick with this training approach until the end of times. However, there will be periods when you just can’t handle the lack of variety. The mind has to be kept entertained. That’s why people change their routines more often than needed.
Sadly, constantly modifying your routine is not the best way to add variety to your life. There are activities that work better. Looking at lifting as the only way to have fun will actually hinder progress because you will become impatient. I am almost sorry to inform you, but lifting progresses slowly, regardless of what the YouTubers who seem to be setting PRs everyday say.
Sure, there may be some shortcut routines like 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 long term training schedule. That’s just the reality of lifting.
I have experienced my fair share of boredom in the weight room too as a result of trying to use it as a universal problem fixer. Many lifters do the same thing because our lives are oppressed. We are allowed to observe what the high class is doing through movies, magazines, books and other forms of media, but we don’t have permission to experience those things ourselves.
The result is overheating. You are allowed to look, but never to touch. 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 the 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 says 220 pounds are always 220 pounds. 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 because they keep on changing things. When you have too many goals, your energy is spread thin.
The key to avoiding true boredom and stagnation is finding the equivalent of adding weight to the bar in other aspects of your life too. Lifting weights cannot fix everything. Yes, it’s boring, but if you love it enough, you will keep going. This is the true test.