Life is undulating and I don’t know that I would want it any other way. It allows us to appreciate the highs, allows us to learn, allows us to grow. Undulating means to have a wavelike form. Just a “smart” way of saying life has highs and lows. You’re going to have to release the demon after eating that delicious burrito. Take the good with the bad. Learn to appreciate both.
It is important to remember that life is undulating so that when you are having a “bad” day and everything just seems to be going wrong, or possibly even a bad week or month, things will get better. When things do get better, you will appreciate how good it feels. All we can continue to do during those moments is work on ourselves because that is the only variable we can control.
Since everything in life undulates, from energy, to the weather, to your mood, appetite, strength, and will power, it is only right to treat your training accordingly. Many people complain of hitting a plateau with their training. Usually when I ask them what they’ve been doing it is something along the lines of doing the same weights, same reps, same sets, same numbers of days per week for the past however long.You know, same shit, different day. This can be alright if you are undulating time under tension and mixing up a few other variables that aren’t mentioned but most likely that is not the case. If you have been doing the same thing for a while, there is nothing for your body to adapt to. Your muscles don’t need to be confused but they need to be challenged and forced to adapt to stressors. Our bodies are very efficient machines, so if you habitually hit it with the same stimulus, it will adapt over time and figure out the easiest way to deal with the stressor. This is why undulating the load, reps, and sets can be important for achieving gains over time.
If you currently have been doing the same thing for a while (few months, years even) time to create some new hotness (Men in Black reference). You can either add a few more reps to each set or add another set all together. If you are doing three sets of a given exercise, do four instead. If you are doing 8 reps per set, boost that up to 10. This is an easy progression you can make. If, let’s say, you have been doing high reps, 8-15 reps per set you could instead work in the lower rep ranges for a while such as 2-6 reps per set. If you are worried about the decrease in volume by lowering your reps, then you can do more sets to help equal the same amount of work being done in a session. If you choose to work in the lower rep ranges, ease into it as you will be using heavier weights which will put a different kind of demand on your body which you will need to give your body a chance to adapt to. Remember what I said about undulating. In both the higher and low rep ranges there needs to be some sort of variation and it usually can’t always track upwards. Having easy days every once in a while is important to achieving close to continuous gains.
As I read in Peak Performance, “hard work done all day every day can’t be hard work.” Bouts of hard work must be met with bouts of rest. If this does not happen then some form of burnout will take place. Whether this is having time off from work, having at least a day off per week of lifting or running or whatever your jam is, we have to allow the body and mind time to recover. During the day even building in time of rest if you are sitting at a desk plugging away on mentally intensive work then standing up once per hour and walking around will do wonders towards keeping your energy high, keeping your skill high and avoiding “plateauing” or stagnating. Undulating just about everything we do in life will help to ensure we discover the Power of Strength and that we hold onto its power until the day we fizzle out.