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Changing Exercises Better for Muscle Growth

While there are plenty of ways to alter your workout for better results and improved growth, two of the most common ways are to either a) Change the Intensity of your Workouts or b) Change the Exercises of your Workouts. Most people tend to do a combination of both, but recently, a study was able to find that changing exercises around offers perhaps a better way to support improved muscular adaptations.

In the aforementioned study, a group of 49 active males were split into 5 groups, 4 of which utilised different training protocols for 2 days a week for a total of 12 weeks and a control group. The four different training protocols include:

  • CICE – Constant Intensity, Constant Exercises
  • CIVE – Constant Intensity, Varied Exercises
  • VICE – Varied Intensity, Constant Exercises
  • VIVE – Varied Intensity, Varied Exercises

What the researchers found was that all training protocols elicited an increase in muscle size with the CIVE protocol eliciting the greatest change. The CIVE group also displayed the greatest strength improvements out of all training groups and only the varied exercise groups (CIVE and VIVE) increased muscle size for all muscle of the quadriceps.

Practical Applications

One of the biggest issues with trainers is uneven development of muscles, which can increase the risk of training injuries later on. Varying your exercises not only improves strength, but ensures that all muscles grow at an even rate. Intensity will always be the key driver of muscle hypertrophy or growth, but varying your exercises is what will further you as a trainer in terms of functional strength and injury risk reduction.

Fonseca RM, Roschel H, Tricoli V, de Souza EO, Wilson JM, Laurentino GC, Aihara AY, de Souza Leão AR, Ugrinowitsch C. ‘Changes in exercises are more effective than in loading schemes to improve muscle strength.’ J Strength Cond Res. 2014 May 14.

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