• Nate Johnson

Your Workouts Need Way Less Variety Than You Think (A.K.A.- Stop Trying New Exercises!)

What if I told you the variety in your workouts are slowing down your progress?

What if I told you the fastest way to lose fat, tone up, and build strength is by having way LESS variety?

In fact, what if I told you Abbie, Stacey, and Tamera spent 70% of their time in the gym doing the same 6 exercises for more than 6 months? Well, it’s the truth! Check out their progress:

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In fact, I’ll go ahead and tell you the workouts they did:

Workout A:


Bench Press


(2-3 small exercises for arms, abs, conditioning)

Workout B: Deadlift

Shoulder Press

Dumbbell Row

(2-3 small exercises for arms, abs, conditioning)

We alternated between these workouts for 6+ months, while methodically increasing the number of weight, sets, and reps performed. Basically we focus on getting as strong as possible on those 6 exercises.

Now why would you think you need to do anything different?

Honestly, I’m sympathetic. The magazines, Social Meda Icons, and Blogs are telling you to try new exercises all the time. In fact, CrossFit and P90X are built around the idea that variety is the way to make progress.

They’re wrong. And here are 3 reasons why:

1) Too Much Variety = Jack of All Trades, Master of None

One complaint I hear from people new to weight training is they never really know what to do in the gym. They’re willing to workout but don’t have the experience to know which exercises to choose or if they’re doing them correctly.

When you perform the same handful of exercises, you’ll become more and more comfortable in the gym. This makes you feel more confident with your workouts, but it also allows you to train harder because you’re not second guessing whether or not your form is correct.

Speaking of good form, when you’re constantly trying new exercises, you never give your body time to master a movement. This means you’re way more likely to get hurt. If you’re training hard with movements your body isn’t 100% comfortable with, your form will get sloppy as soon as the set gets hard. And sloppy form = an injury just waiting to happen.

2) Your Body Starts To Really Change AFTER You Master the Exercise

There are 2 main reasons you’re getting stronger at a lift.

1. Neural adaptations/Form Changes: As you learn better form and get more practice with the exercise, your strength increases. This is your body’s favorite way to gain strength. Why? Because becoming more efficient at a movement is much easier than the second reason you get stronger which is through:

2. Muscle Gain: This is the adaptation that’s much harder to achieve, but it’s the one we’re after. Once your body can no longer progress via neural adaptation and improvements in form, your body is FORCED to gain muscle. But if there are still neural adaptations/form changes to be made, your body would rather get stronger those ways. Why? Because building muscle is “expensive” for the body. It takes a lot of energy and resources to build muscle.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you just started doing the deadlift. You may add 20-40 pounds to your deadlift within your first 4 weeks of doing the exercise, but this strength gain is almost exclusively due to neural adaptations. If you change the exercise after 4 weeks, you’ll see very little changes in your body.

BUT if you continue deadlifting after that 4th week, you’ll start to see more and more changes in your body! This is why our clients see incredible physical transformations from spending 70% of their time doing just 6 exercises (3 per workout.)

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3) With Too Much Variety There’s No Good Way to Measure Strength Progress

Not only is variety detrimental to muscle gain, fat loss, and the physical transformation you’re after, it also makes it incredibly difficult to track strength gains.

Here’s what we know: the faster we can get you stronger, the faster your body will change. You know, like tone up and look sexy and stuff.

But how will we know if you’re getting stronger if you’re constantly varying the exercises you do? We can’t! At least it’s a lot harder to track.

You know what’s easy to track? Doing the same dang exercises every other workout. It’s this easy:

If you did squats with 75 pounds for 4 sets of 4 reps on Monday, and you go to squat on Friday, you’ll know you got stronger if you:

-Do 80 pounds for 4 sets of 4 reps

-Do 75 pounds for 4 sets of 5 reps

-Do 75 pounds for 5 sets of 4 reps

Not only will you know you’ve done more work, you’ll also know your body will change as a result of this workout. When you constantly change your exercises, you just hope your body changes.

Telling you to do the same 6 exercises sure isn’t sexy. You couldn’t write a hot article about it. But it works. Every single time.

So I have to ask: Are you after results? Or entertainment?

I hope you’re looking for results. Because at Steel Strength Training that’s what we’re after.

We’ve also found our clients are very entertained with their newfound muscle definition and smaller waistline.

But hey, if you want to try that new exercise you saw in Shape magazine…be my guest. We’ll always be here to help you get started on your strength training journey when you’re ready!

I hope I don’t come across as hateful. I don’t mean to. I’m very sympathetic to falling for all the latest marketing hype in the fitness industry. I fell for the same stuff for years. And years. And years! Until I didn’t. Now I get results.

And that’s all I want for you.

If you’d like to learn more about our program, click here and fill out our form. I’ll contact you personally within 24 hours to learn about your goals and give you the details of the program!