To design your workout can be difficult. Most of us show up at the gym with no plan and just do something. It’s great that you’re moving and burning fat, but it might not be enough. You need a plan to reach your goals. We’ve broken down the workout basics here to show you how to design your workout today.
Design Your Workout
The Warm Up
You should always warm up before jumping into a workout. Warm-ups help raise your body temperature and get the blood flowing. It also gets you mentally in the game.
When you design your workout, always allow a few minutes for warming up on your favourite cardio machine. Start at a slow pace and build to a steady pace by the end.
If you are just strength training, warm up by doing a few reps of each exercise, if you are lifting heavy weights. Alternatively, dynamic stretches are a great way to warm up and stretch the body for activity.
Workouts can vary widely, depending on your goals and your interests. I’ll use strength training as an example, since most people don’t understand how to design their strength workouts properly. There are various theories and styles that you can use to create your workout, based on your goals.
If you have specific goals, like a bodybuilding competition, you should talk with one of our personal trainers today for unique training plans that design your workout specifically for your goals. But, if you’re the Average Joe, this article will help you with the basics.
If you’re just looking to stay active and fit, you should schedule full body strength workouts three times a week. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are good (don’t forget the music!) Muscles aren’t built in the gym. They are built while resting and recovering. Try to leave 24-48 hours between strength workouts to allow your muscles to recover and grow.
Focus on a full body workout instead of body-part specific workouts. Aim to work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, arms, and core. Here are some suggestions for exercises:
- Quads: Squats, lunges, box jumps
- Glutes and Hamstrings: squats, dead-lifts, hip raises
- Push (Chest, Shoulders & Triceps): push-ups, dips, overhead press
- Pull (Back & Biceps): Pull-ups, chin-ups, dumbbell rows
- Core: Planks, crunches, mountain climbers
Now the big question: how many reps and sets? A set is how many rounds of the exercise you do. For example, you do three sets of squats. Repetitions, or reps, are how many times you do that exercise in one set. For example, you do 15 reps in one set. We recommend doing 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps. If you can do over 15 reps of one exercise, it’s probably not too difficult for you. Add more weight!
If you’re looking to build size and strength, then you’ll want to lift heavier weights. But, as you add more heavy weight, you need to reduce your reps. If you’re lifting close to your max, aim to do 5-8 reps per set.
As you’ve probably found out the hard way, you can’t do all your sets in a row with no break. You need to take a rest break in between each set so your muscles can recover. If you’re lifting heavy weights at low reps, you should rest for 3 to 5 minutes. But, if you’re lifting lighter weights at higher reps, you can rest for 1 or 2 minutes in between sets.
The Cool Down
Don’t forget the cool down. A cool down helps slow down the heart rate to prevent your muscles from tightening up and becoming sore. Take a short walk around the gym and shake out the legs. Don’t forget to stretch. Take a few minutes and stretch out your legs and arms. Your body will thank you tomorrow!