How Long Should You Stick To A Workout Routine?

tough set
October 26, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “how long should you stick to a workout routine?”. Many people have problems with this as some jump from program to program.

Others continue running a program even after their progress has stalled and they even go backwards.

How Long Should You Stick To A Workout Routine?

You should stick to a workout program for long enough so that you can reap the rewards and make progress. This can vary in length but it is typically from 6 weeks to a few months. It all depends on the program in question.

Another factor is the intensity of the program and the cumulative fatigue it places on the body. Programs with a very high level of cumulative fatigue should be shorter in duration.

If you run a program like this for too long you can burn out and fry your central nervous system. Programs like German Volume Training and the 20 rep squat program are good to try shorter term to induce more muscle growth and provide unique muscle stimulation. 


A natural point where you can assess whether you should stick to a certain program is a plateau.

If you are making progress for many weeks and the progress starts becoming slower you can assess the program. You could continue grinding it out, if you start going backwards then you can modify or change the program.

In many cases, you may not need to change the program completely. Just a tweak or modification of a few exercises could do the trick. 

Personally, I wouldn’t change my program completely unless I wanted to try a completely new method of training. Alternatively, if I started going backwards on many exercises, I would look to make a change.

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Problem With Changing Too Much

The phrase “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” comes to mind. A problem that plagues many inexperienced lifters is changing their workout programs too often and too quickly. 

This is a big problem and it results in poor progress long term. You have to let the fruits of your labour show, consistency is always king.

Even if you have a sub par program and are extremely consistent, you will outperform the person with a great program that is inconsistent.

In the video below AlphaDestiny touches on this issue and I completely agree with his views on this. If you constantly hop from one program to another without giving the program a chance to work for you, you can never make great progress.

The same applies to many areas of life. In investing or trading for instance, you must religiously stick to your plan. If you chop and change too much, all you will ever do is lose.

Assessing Cumulative Fatigue

How long you run a program for should depend on the expected level of cumulative fatigue. Programs like GVT or Smolov with high volume will be a lot harder to recover from than ones with less total volume.

Therefore, you should run programs like this for a shorter length of time. Being able to recover from your workouts well is crucial for long term progress. If you are grinding hard on a tough program there is only so long you can keep it up from a recovery perspective.

One of the greatest powerlifters of all time Ed Coan would have specific blocks in his training where he would focus more on bodybuilding style movements. He had other blocks in the year of training where he was focused on hardcore powerlifting.

Going balls to the wall year round with super heavy weights is not something that can be done long term. The injury risk is increased and the biggest threat to your progress in the gym is getting injured!

Programs that can minimise injury risk are preferable in my view and you can run them for longer without adverse consequences.


Motivation is a big buzz word in general and one that you hear a lot. It is simply impossible to stay motivated all the time. 

In order to make great progress you have to be consistent and able to work hard even when you are not fully motivated. When it comes to training, you should ensure that the workout program you follow suits your psychology.

This is a very important point that few people consider. If you are doing a very high volume program but you know that doing high volume doesn’t suit you psychologically, you are doomed from the outset!

The best results happen when you have a solid program that suits you and you can follow for a long period of time consistently. If you are following a program that doesn’t motivate you, results are short lived and not sustainable.

There is an article on my site where I discuss how to motivate yourself to workout – you can read this article HERE.

Final Thoughts

How long should you stick to a workout routine? I hope this article has gone a long way in giving you all the information you need to know about this topic.

The most important thing is to find a program that suits you psychologically and time wise, stick to it and milk it for all it’s worth. Ensure that you reap the rewards for your effort and stay consistent.

Be cognisant of the level of cumulative fatigue from the outset. This will inform how long you should be running the program for, combined with any plateaus that you may experience.

Above all, be consistent and see the program through! Consistency will always prevail and is the true distinction between winners and losers. People who succeed stay consistent for years and never give up.

If you have any comments on this topic please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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