In almost any avenue in life try to keep things simple. For lifters that can simply be to have a plan, stick to this plan and track your progress. It is not rocket science.
Over-analysis or ADD
Too many lifters spend countless hours pouring through article after article on the internet addressing a new training modality THEY MUST TRY. They see something new on T-Nation.com and switch up everything they do based on the newest article they read. Whether this is a complete program or a new lift they must try out it results in a completely different set of exercises every single time they go to the gym. This is variety overload and not effective for long term training progressions which result in continued gains. There is a saying amongst the smartest minds in training that the BEST program is probably the program you are NOT doing. There is absolute truth to the axiom that you do need variety in your workouts over time, but NOT chaos.
Achieving or seeking muscle confusion is one thing, but this constant changing every workout is training ADD; jumping around from program to program like a gypsy. It's similar to the people who go out to a bar or nightclub only to spend the entire time trying to decide what bar to goto next, as if that next bar will be the magical experience they seek. Spoiler Alert, that next bar is no better than where you are now, because once there you will ruin any experience by thinking of the next bar, then the next bar and so on. If you never stay any one place long enough how do you know if it is was any good or actually did suck?
One can apply the same logic to workout programs with folks that are CONSTANTLY on the look out for the next best thing. Whether you are doing volume work German Volume Training of 10x10s, full body strength based workouts of 5x5s across the board, or 10x3 for all the big lifts for max power or dynamic effort. It doesn't really matter as long as you hit each bodypart at least once a week (ideally 2 or 3times). If you spend more time actually DOING a workout versus looking for the next best workout they all present value. It is perfectly fine to switch things up but try sticking to something for 4 weeks before moving on. If you absolutely must have variety add in 5-10 minutes at the end of each workout for single joint vanity lifts that are just "for the pump".
Four weeks provides you with the opportunity to actually progress through a program via adding more weights and more reps through the Double Progression Method. If you are changing up EVERYTHING every single week or worse, every single workout, you have no way to gauge your progress. You may get some results for a while simply due to the muscle confusion but without consistent progressions any gains you achieve will be lost next time around and over time you will get stuck in a rut.
Any solid program is based on a weekly set of workouts comprised mainly around your big lifts that progress over a time span. For wheelchair lifter these lifts are Bench Presses, Military Presses, Rows and Pull-ups. A couple big pushes and a couple big pulls. Each workout add in some quality ancillary work for the smaller muscle groups (triceps, biceps, etc), and as mentioned above the finishers for each workout is where you can add the day to day variety if you must retain some of the ADD. If you read something new and wonderful that you want to try out, great, but don't go overboard with a constant change in direction. Work in a new movement into your existing plan. If the new thing is an entire training program, finish out your current program before jumping into the next thing. Give something a long enough chance before deeming it sucks.
Some basic rules for any trainee:
- Have a plan for the week, month, whatever. Plan out what days you will workout, and which bodyparts you will hit.
- Stick to this plan for a minimum of 4 weeks.
- Track Progress on each main lift via reps and/or weight every workout.
People jump from program to program way too often just as too many people jump on and off every single diet fad. Try something new, give it a few weeks and if you are happy with the results add it to your long term arsenal for the future. Have a plan, stick to this plan and track your progress.