February Strength Training Routine

A trainer I worked with a few years ago suggested I change up strength training routines every four to six weeks because your body gets used to exercises and won't keep making progress. I did the routine I started in January for five weeks, so I started a new routine last week. The January routine included two sessions of lower body and core and two sessions of upper body, for a total of four sessions a week, amounting to about 140-150 minutes a week.

My new full body routine includes lower body, upper body, and core exercises to be done three days a week. Completing the circuit three times takes slightly over 40 minutes doing 10-12 reps. My goal is to get in 100-120 minutes a week.

I recently went back and read the other advice my trainer gave me. Another suggestion was to mix up free weights and weight machines. I'll be getting back to weight machines in the summer when the gym at the university I work at is a lot less crowded. I've also said I want to try a kettlebell routine.

Another suggestion from my trainer was to incorporate rest. Here's what I had written about that: "Tom explained that while rest may seem counterintuitive (if exercise is good for you, why rest?), your body needs time to recover and will perform better when you give it a week of rest every four to six weeks. This doesn't mean don't do anything, but, rather, don't do strength training or vigorous cardio. Instead, Tom suggested doing yoga or pilates three or four times during the week and continuing the low to moderate intensity walks."

The advice on rest is usually the advice I want to ignore, so this was a good reminder for me. I think I'll take a week off strength training in the beginning of March. And then after my May 3 race, I'll take a rest from running and strength training. 

What do you like better--free weights or machines? Do you have a good kettlebell workout you'd recommend?