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Thoughts on Doing the Same Program Forever?

Dear Jim,

Good afternoon Jim. Brandon here.

What is your thought of one keep doing the same program forever?

I am sorry if you already answered the question above before.

Hope to hear from you soon.




Forever? Like year or so, why not? But forever?

Everything must evolve. Including training. So, to answer your question: NO

I suppose it can work for some. If I have it correct, Ed Conan and Kirk Karwoski stayed on the same programs for years with only minor tweaks.

I am kind of doing this currently although its a modified leader/anchor program that is essentially block periodization so there is enough variation for consistent progress. I make really minor changes and have more planned based on reaching goals/milestones. Jim has probably said this, if it works why change it. If you are not making progress and doing the same program forever I think that answers your own question too.

I rotate between Krypteia and 1000% Awesome. It works for me based on my schedule and life. If it wasn’t giving good results, I’d switch it up.

I did the same program for six years because I didn’t know any better, but I sort of got away with it because I was young. Wish there had been t-nation back then. “I coulda been a contender!”

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But 6 years is not even close to “forever”, which implies to having the same program for the rest of your life.

Sorry for being a prick, but the OPs question is pretty vague. There is a vast difference if he means:

“Can I do the 5/3/1 for 5 years straight?” (yes, easy to build in periodization, even with the OG program).

“Can I do Smolov again and again for the next 20 years?” (hell no).

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It depends on the program. If someone did 200 pushups,10 jumps and took an hour walk every day for the rest of their life they would be in phenomenal shape.

No they would not.


Depends on what you mean by ‘Program’.

Some ‘Programs’ will be:

Exercise 1 - Bench Press: 3 x 10 @ 200lb

This kind of program could, clearly, not be run forever.

Some ‘Programs’ will say:
Phase 1 Day 1:
Exercise 1 - Chest Muscles - Work up to a single at RPE 9, 10% backdrop tripples to RPE 9

If it has loading parameters, accumulation and deload phases, then I can see a program being at least somewhat effective forever, yes. Possibly not optimal, but loose training templates with sound fundamentals would be an effective lifetime strategy.

If by ‘Program’ you mean something broader like 5/3/1, well Jim literally wrote a book called 5/3/1 forever, and your question is a little silly.

So I guess the answer is, it depends.

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I use some kind of 531 template for most of the year, but will run other programs as a break. I think the “problems” of running the same program forever:

  1. boredom. You will simply want a change eventually, and your effort may wane after a long time of doing the same thing each week.
  2. overuse injuries. I ran Krypteia twice, with the second time being even more aggressive with the assistance. Doing weighted pull ups that often and heavy did cause some elbow pain that’s slow in healing.

If the program is helping you meet all your goals, you’re not hurting yourself and your training doesn’t go stale then I don’t see why not.

That would be a hell of a program that could meet every training goal you could ever have across your lifting career without any modification.

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His goals may be to reduce his stress levels through physical activity or demonstrate discipline to his children or grandchildren by consistently training each week. In which case, he has no issues with one program.

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You are technically correct, but compared to how I work out now, changing my routines every two months, six years would feel like forever.

Is changing routine every two months actually working for you? Whenever i did that I had 0 results

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Generally, yes, because I learn what works best for me. For reasons not particularly clear to me, I tend to lose more weight when doing a half hour of body weight exercises most mornings at home than spending a hour lifting weights in the gym 3-4 days a week (after I got my bench + squat + dead lift = 1008 pounds I decided it was time to get serious about losing my spare tire), but I do get a little bored with them. I’ve learned that higher rep, lighter weight squats work better for my metabolism than heavy squats. Sometimes I do pause squats to increase my range of motion because I am weakest at the bottom. Walking helps me lose weight more than running.

Right now I’m using a modified program from a T-nation article that has provided me with gains. The original program was something like this: Monday heavy chest, Tuesday light chest and heavy squats, Wednesday light squats and heavy upper back, Thursday light upper back and heavy shoulders… around and around you go, and in theory you could work out every day. I couldn’t, so on Mondays and Thursdays I go heavy with an upper body group and Tuesdays and Fridays I go light with that group for hypertrophy and then do leg exercises. My work sets for bench, rows, and shoulders all went up.

Anyway, I learn what works best for my body by changing things up, and so I have four basic routines that I get results from. If you look on Youtube, you can find a video by Arnold S. about how he changes things up to “shock the body.”