Tired of Your Workout?

According to Frédéric Delavier, coauthor of the upcoming Delavier’s Core Training Anatomy (Human Kinetics, October 2011), the same workout every day may reap rewards for a short period, but continued success requires modifying abdominal workouts to keep muscles challenged.

1. Plateau or loss of strength. A workout routine is no longer effective when progress abruptly stops and muscles stop gaining strength. This phenomenon doesn’t occur in one or two workouts, but is a trend over at least one week. When improvement begins to stall, a radical change is required. “The difference between a beginner and an experienced athlete is how quickly the person perceives these signals,” says Delavier. “So be attentive and be sure to keep a notebook so you can quickly pick up on these clues.”

2. Boredom. When a person loses enthusiasm for working the core, a program has become too monotonous. According to Delavier, there are two types of boredom, and determining which is which is important because each requires different changes to a workout program.

The first type is great boredom and a complete lack of interest in abdominal work resulting from the monotony of overtraining. “When you first start working out, you feel like exercising every day to see results quickly,” Delavier says. “But this excess enthusiasm can cause you to lose strength rather than gain it—a sign of overtraining.” He advises reducing the quantity of training and starting a new workout program.

The second type of boredom involves a lack of interest in a particular exercise. “This is a sign that you have burned out the specific neuromuscular pathway for that exercise,” Delavier explains. “You have to replace that exercise, but you may not need to make any other changes.”

Delavier also stresses the importance of rest in a training regimen. “Muscle growth occurs only during the rest phase between workouts and not during the actual workout,” Delavier says. “So it is just as important to know when to rest as it is to know when to exercise. If you aren’t making progress, then you aren’t getting enough rest.

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