Look, I get it. You’ve been training for a while, you’ve got a nice, little, shiny new object staring back at you from across the room, and you’re thinking about switching programs. The old program just isn’t doin’ it for you anymore.
So here’s how to strategically switch programs and ensure gainz continue to follow you wherever you might go.
Step 0a (6-12 months ago): Pick a split that you like, that you enjoy, that you look forward to doing. Inevitably in building this, you’re going to end up choosing from the same 30 or so movements we’re all doing - this is good and important. It’s going to help a lot in a minute.
Step 0b (done in conjunction with 0a): Start gettin’ er done, and naturally, RECORD what you are doing. Logbook, excel, or the obvious answer of logbook INTO excel, document all of your performance week to week and month to month, and while you are doing this, continue to use the exact same split as often as possible (aka every time).
Step 0c (done for the last 6-12 months): Repeat steps 0a-0b for many days, many weeks, and many months, doing so until you’re so bored of continually crushing your logbook, building more muscle than your natty frame can hold, and upsizing your t-shirts every seven weeks because your lat spread keeps bustin’ em that you MUST make a change.
Then wait two more weeks and see if you still want to switch.
Now, assuming you don’t have a time machine and can’t go back to complete step 0, that’s okay…just keep it all in mind as you move to step 1.
Step 1: Assuming you can’t take it anymore, and you’re finally done with your current split, it’s time to march up to CVS, grab a fresh logbook, stare at your blank canvas, and make a little magic. But one last thing - before you store the old book in a plastic tote in the garage, make special note of your PRs or BRs (block records) on any notable exercises you’re interested in tracking (big compound exercises make the most sense here, but you’re the captain, pick whatever you want) Keep these numbers handy (sheet on fridge, backdrop on phone, entry in wife’s planner, etc.)
Now, start building a brand-new split from the ground up. New movements. New rep schemes. New priorities. Keep some of your favorites, or ditch everything. You’re calling the shots, do whatever you want.
Step 2: Similar to before, RECORD everything you do. Make sure you collect the same data you collected in the last block (sets, reps, number of Jealous repeats per session, etc.)
Fast forward 3-12 months…
A little boredom has set in again, you’re jonasing for something new, and so you decide to switch it up again.
Here is where things get fun.
As you build out this new split, strongly consider going back to some of the ones you did in that first block. If anything from the first block strikes your fancy, and you bring it back in, you now already have the hurdle height set before you.
Whether you do exactly the same sets/reps scheme, or you switch it up a little, it doesn’t matter too much just yet. On that one, specific movement you now have an objective reference point that will prove to be invaluable when assessing progression.
Cycle in and cycle out, keep doing this over and over and over, and eventually you will end up with a smorgasbord of matrices with movements and PRs so detailed that in 36 months you’ll not only know your best 1RM squat but also your best 11RM spider curl.
An absolute masterpiece will have been created that will serve you well for all your training days to come.
Now before we get you guys out the door today, one final disclaimer - let’s state the obvious. In physique sports, it's not all about strength and it’s not always setting PRs. When the end product is aesthetic, there are certainly other things to consider (mind-muscle connection, quality of reps, gym lighting for pump pics, etc), But at the same time, you can bet your bottom biscuit that if you’re getting stronger across all exercises and all rep ranges over time, muscle will find its way onto your frame.
If you’re not, then it might not.
Stick with the same split for many months.
Switch to new split for many more months.
Go back to some version of the original split and smash precious performances.