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I've been training for several years, stopped for a while then started back but kept working out regularly (4-6 days a week) for the past 2 years.

I lift heavy weight, do bodyweight training, skip rope, explosive workout (burpees for example) and eat quality food with a controlled diet.

However lately i just don't feel any pain, sore muscles, or any kind of challenge while working out.

What do you peeps do when you reach this phase, in order to keep improving (shredding more fat, adding more muscles)? I know that adding more weight usually helps and that's what i do , but what could possibly be done other than that?(change of diet, resting for few weeks, new workouts..etc..)

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

You want to choose a type of exercise that allows you to incrementally increase the load that you experience.

When running, you do this by increasing the distance, or adding hills.

If lifting weight, you increase the weight.

You don't necessarily need to feel pain or sore muscles. In fact, if you are working in the 5-rep maximum range for your lifts, you likely will not feel much soreness. It should definitely be a challenge, though. Is your last rep not difficult? If not, then you need to increase the weight so that you can barely do the intended number of reps.

The importance of incremental increases is explained in this article by Mark Rippetoe: Incremental Increases. Some types of exercises better allow for incremental increases than others, so your training program should have been designed with this in mind.

The idea that you need to switch up your workout to keep making improvements is false. All you need to do is increase the loading. If you've chosen a well thought out training program that is in line with your training goals, just stick with it, keep increasing the difficulty as your body adapts, and you'll continue to get stronger.

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+1 heavier weights, longer/harder/faster intervals, etc. I would add that for bodyweight exercises, such as pushups or pullups, when you become strong enough that you need more challenge, there are always plenty of advanced variations, and another option is to put on a weight vest. –  J. Winchester Jun 6 '12 at 18:28
    
@J.Winchester thks for the feedback. +1 for the use of weight vest for bodyweight exercises(completely forgot about it) –  shadesco Jun 7 '12 at 23:03

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