I know I’m definitely heading toward middle age when I make sweeping generalizations about the younger generation, but here we go: People today are never satisfied. On the whole, no matter how good they have it or how good things are going, they can’t help worrying that they are missing out on something better. In part, that explains the astronomical divorce rate as well as why people move from job to job and city to city far more frequently than in decades past.
So it is with bodybuilders and their training. Most are forever on the lookout for the magic exercise or workout routine that will catapult their physique to the next level. I confess I fit into that category too. In a sense, it’s an excellent quality to have because you tend to keep an open mind trying new things. The downside is that we often switch from routine to routine without ever giving a program any real chance to perform. Perhaps even worse, we’re quick to ditch productive workouts and techniques in our haste to give something new a try.
I’m often asked, How long should I stick with a routine? My blunt reply is, as long as it keeps working for you. Look at someone like Ronnie Coleman, who racked up an incredible 26 pro wins, including eight consecutive Mr. Olympia titles, without changing a thing about his training. His workouts while preparing for his first bodybuilding contest in ’89 were remarkably similar to his workouts leading up to his last contest in ’07 (unless he comes out of retirement). Clearly, Coleman found what worked best for him, which was using mostly free weights, a lot of basic exercises and an explosive rep tempo, and he stuck with it.
Another prime example is David Henry. He began training DC style in the summer of 2004 and has been faithfully following that system ever since. The steady improvements to his physique every year demonstrate that he has indeed discovered the best way to train for his body. Many other top pros I speak with make only minor adjustments to their training as the years go by unless they have a weak bodypart that isn’t responding.
The lesson to be learned is that we all do need to try a wide variety of routines, exercises and techniques so that we may find what delivers the best results for us. Once we do, however, we must not abandon them simply because we feel there must always be something better just around the corner. Try to remember the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In the long run it could very well make a big difference in your physique. IM
Editor’s note: Ron Harris is the author of Real Bodybuilding, available at www.RonHarrisMuscle.com.