Whether you are creating your own workouts or following someone else’s, it is important to make sure you are following a well-rounded program. Below are some key elements that a well-rounded lifting and conditioning program will have:
1. A good warm up. Often overlooked, prepping your body for exercise is very important for preventing injury, activating the muscle groups you’ll be using in your workout, and gradually getting your body in the proper positions needed for your workout.
A good warm up should include some light cardio to get your heart rate up, mobility and muscle activation exercises, and some stretching (all specific to your needs or the demands of the workout).
2. Exercises covering all major movements.
Our body is a system and everything is connected. It is important to train similar to how we move our bodies. Very rarely are we using one muscle to move (isolation exercises). So save the bicep curls and leg extensions for a burner at the end of your workout, or omit them to save time.
Exercises (regardless of how you split them up during the week) should include:
Upper body pull exercises, horizontal and vertical (pull up variations, rowing variations)
Upper body push exercises (military press, push ups)
Lower body hip dominant exercises ( deadlift, good morning)
Lower body knee dominant exercises (squat, lunge)
Core anti-rotation, rotational, and bracing exercises (palof Press, cable oblique twist, plank, respectively)
3. Progression. How is your programming continuing to challenge you? Are you increasing the weight each week? Decreasing the rest time? Doing more reps? Performing more difficult variations of the exercises? Doing the same exact thing in the same exact manner from week to week will result in stalled progress.
4. Conditioning that stresses all three energy systems. Not gonna get too much into this, but to sum it up, your training should include aerobic ( longer duration, lower intensity; walking, jogging, biking) and anaerobic (short duration, high intensity; lifting, HIIT, plyometrics) training.
5. A proper cool down. Don’t just drop the waits, grab your gym bag, and leave. Take the time to bring your heart rate back down and do some more stretching. Let your body know that your done exercising.
And last but definitely not least...
6. Recovery. This is where the magic happens. Your body repairs itself from your tough training, making for a fitter, healthier you. Do not neglect your recovery.
Recovery includes rest days, adequate fuel and nutrition, stress management, SLEEP. Schedule this like you would a workout!
How is your current regimen stacking up?! Hopefully I didn’t forget anything! If I did, please share your thoughts in the comments below!