Archive for the tag - routine

Restructuring Your Workout Routine for Better Results.

Hi Davey,

I’ve recently gotten heavily into working out, and your blog has been a great source of information. I go to the gym five days a week and have broken up the days into two kinds of workouts – biceps/back/legs on one day and chest/triceps/shoulders on another. This was a good way for me to start, and while it’s toning my muscles, I’m not seeing the growth that I would like to see. With that said, what sort of regime would you suggest and how should I break up the muscle groups throughout the week?

From,
Jack

Dear Jack,

A few things.

First things first. To target muscle growth (rather than toning and definition), ensure that you are training in a way that encourages actual muscle growth. This would require:

  1. Doing weighted exercises (i.e., using dumbbells, barbells, body weight or anything else that applies resistance)
  2. Performing a low number of reps at heavy weights (you should be fatigued in 10 reps or less)
  3. Experiencing muscle failure on your last rep (you should be unable to do one additional rep – if you can do another rep, then you should increase the resistance)
  4. Pushing yourself to higher levels of resistance (i.e., constantly progressing to heavier weights, etc.) and trying new things – like the P90x workout.
  5. Following a proper, high-protein diet
  6. Allowing your body sufficient rest (and never training a muscle that is still sore from a previous workout)

After following the above guidelines, you may wish to restructure your workout. Currently, you have two different types of workout days – and on each day, you are training three different muscle groups. Since we know that shorter workouts are wiser (strength training workouts that exceed 45 – 60 minutes are to be avoided), the result is that you are hitting all three muscle groups lightly. You have a lot of muscles to train in a little amount of time. If, instead, you focused in on one or two muscle groups per workout, you could really fatigue and work those muscles at a much deeper and more effective level.

While you currently have two different types of workout days, I have found that four different types of workout days is the most effective training experience for me. I do chest/forearms on on day, then biceps on another, then shoulders/back and then legs/triceps on my fourth day. I pepper my ab workouts in between. I’d encourage you to restructure your workout along those lines for enhanced results.

Love,
Davey

Grip Strength Training Mistake.

So you’ve started going to the gym—and you’ve even put together a workout schedule. You’re working different muscle groups on different days and allowing for proper recovery time. You’re off to a great start.

Even so, you still may have fallen victim to one of the most common mistakes that exercisers make when writing their own routines: Pairing grip-intensive exercises.

Whether you’re working your chest, arms, back, shoulders or legs, many exercises require grip strength. If you’re holding dumbbells or a barbell, then you’re engaging the muscles in your forearm and hands and using your grip strength.

As it turns out, our hand and forearm muscles aren’t as strong as our body’s major muscle groups like those mentioned above. And so if you pair exercises that make use of grip strength—i.e., pairing bench presses and dumbbell pec flies on a chest day—then you’re liking to experience grip fatigue before your pec muscles max out.

A smarter routine would pair bench presses with an exercise that gives your grip a break—like pushups. You can still do pec flies, of course, but don’t pair them with another grip-intensive exercise.

Correcting this mistake is simple and easy, but yields some really great results.

Part II: Frustrated By Lack of Results? Create a Better Game Plan.

If you are frustrated by a lack of results, it’s probably one of two things. Either it’s an issue with your goals, or you need a better game plan. Yesterday, in part I, we discussed the importance of creating S.M.A.R.T. goals. Today, in part II, I’ll show you how to connect your workout routine to your fitness goals.

How to Create a Workout Plan that Achieves Your Goals

You have a goal or set of goals. It seems intuitive, but virtually everything that you do at the gym must be connected to those goals. Some people think that going to the gym and doing whatever is a means to achieving their fitness goals – but it’s not.

If your goals involve bigger muscles, for example, your workout must be intentionally structured around that. To get bigger muscles, you’ll want to stick with free weight exercises that involve either dumbbells or barbells. Moreover, you’ll be doing a low number of repetitions (probably between 4 – 8 reps) at a heavy amount of weight. You’ll want your muscles to be fatigued when you perform your last set, and you’ll need to constantly be progressing to heavier and heavier amounts of resistance. Most likely you’ll do different muscle groups on different days, and your cardio will probably come in the form of jogging, running or sprinting in intervals on the treadmill.

If you’re looking to maintain muscles, then your workout must be structured around that, too. When it comes to strength training, don’t increase the amount of resistance for those muscles you are looking to maintain. And, you’ll probably perform 10 or more reps since the weight will be only moderately heavy.

If you’re looking to lose weight, it’s important to build a well-balanced workout schedule that includes cardio and strength training (many people forget about the importance of strength training when trying to lose weight). Intervals are also great for releasing weight, and you’ll probably spend a higher percentage of your time doing cardio than your muscle-building counterparts.

Everyone’s goals are specific, and it’s beyond the scope of this blog post to create a personal workout routine for you (that’s what my Ultimate Guide to Working Out is for), but the point is this: Going to the gym and just doing whatever is not enough – each rep of each set of each exercise of each day at the gym must be intentionally connected to your goal or goals. Know what it takes to get where you want to go – and then do it!

Video: Exercise Routine for Commercial Breaks

A week ago, I wrote a post wherein I recommended exercising during commercial breaks while watching TV.

A number of blog buddies asked me to create a sample commercial break fitness routine. So I put together this total body workout for those 2 and a half minute commercial breaks. Enjoy trying it out!

And feel free to use this as a general guide – customize it so that it works for you and the duration of your commercial break.