Posted on May 30, 2018 by Jenny Cromack

When is the best time to change up your training? Lately my progress with my current programme has been giving diminishing returns. This in turn can affect my motivation to train so I’ve decided to mix things up with a change of goals. So how long should you run a programme for before changing?

Goal-based programming

Most sources say to change your sessions every 8-12 weeks. As a general rule of thumb however I think it’s dependent upon your goals. For example someone with a fat loss goal can continue with the same programme for longer as the primary objective for this goal is to create a calorie deficit whether that’s through food or exercise.

Increasing muscle size

For goals centered round increasing muscle size, there are three main factors of training can influence growth when accompanied with adequate nutrition:

  • muscle tension – this can be increased by the tempo at which you lift.
  • metabolic stress – some evidence supports that the build-up of metabolites within the muscle from isometric holds and prolonged sets can induce hypertrophy.
  • muscle damage – this is best achieved by micro loading your lifts to progressively overload.

If you perform the same workouts every week with no progression then the body will adapt and become more efficient at handling the loads you give it. For size goals about 12 weeks is right for changing your sessions just make sure you stay interested in your training; but every week aim to add more weight, even if its just 1.25kg each side, to ensure that you’ve stimulated the muscle enough.

Improving strength


For strength related goals, these programmes can run for longer depending upon when you hit your desired goal lifts. My new goals are strength related but I am a way off what I’d like to be lifting, so I’ll probably stick to the program for 16-20 weeks to reach them. With strength programmes the emphasis is on progression, similar to hypertrophy, but with longer rests between each sets to recover more. Strength programmes also tend to have more periodisation; so reps, sets and weights differ each week along with the introduction of planned de-load weeks every 4 – 6 weeks.

If you want help with your programming, feel free to contact one of the Motive8 team!