How To Structure Your Workout
You might think I’m just going to give you a routine. What I will actually do is make you think. I will give you the steps to create your routine but then you will do it by yourself. And then you can come to me with it and we can fine tune it.
Your workout is simply structured like this
1. Cardio warm-up – about 10 min
2. Warm up stretches. These not stretches you hold. They are movements that slowly stretch and unwind your body and which should mimic the exercises you have planned in your main section.
3. Main section. This is where you push really hard, your main workout. Around 30 min.
4. Cardio cool down – about 10 min. Here you can walk , slow jog etc
5. Cool down stretches. Here you can really stretch, holding the stretches for 10-15 sec and even give that box split a try. But be aware there are some basic guidelines for stretching to avoid injuries. However I will not discuss them here now.
Now, if you were to work with me you’d add the technical section as well, just before the main session.
Ok, cool, so this is it. This is how it looks. Usually training sessions last 1h but my sessions and those of my clients last for 1h30min.
Why? you ask. It’s simple. Before the “push hard” section we practice technique.
This ensured the body knows how to move and what to do in the most efficient way. This is where we build strong, long lasting foundations.
Furthermore the body and brain cannot just understand and fine tune movement after one try, so we are consistent and we repeat and build on the previous sessions.
I personally like to make my clients understand that training is more than just moving the body, it requires attention, focus as and fine tuning details.
How to plan your session
1. Type of session. Decide whether you are doing a strength, cardio, endurance etc.
2. Strength session. What are you going to focus on? Upper body, lower body, core or full body? Then select 6-7, maximum 8 exercises. Depending on your focus you make the appropriate choices. If you do a full body you might want to consider alternating arms with legs, doing 1 arms exercise then 1 legs, or 2:2 etc. If your focus is on arms but want to bring some leg exercises in you can simply do 2-3 arms:1 leg.
3. Cardio session. This is usually characterized by speed training doing exercises such as sprinting, cycling or jumping and bring strength exercises in between. You can also do running intervals, or on the cross trainer (but that’s indoor and it can get boring). So here we also talk about power and explosiveness, getting your heart to beat faster.
4. Endurance. This can be done either by long duration training (running, cross trainer, cycling for long periods of time at a constant pace/speed) but also by holding positions for a longer time (planks for example, or squats). A mixture is the best.
Other stuff to consider
But wait, besides the general, basic structure outlined above there are a few elements to consider, again general knowledge.
1. Don’t fatigue your core. You will use your core muscles in almost everything you do. Even if you isolate muscle training you still use your core up, even if less. So make sure you don’t do intense core exercises at the beginning of your workout as it will fatigue and it leads to injuries. Save them for the main section and towards the end of your session.
2. …but you should “wake up” your core muscles, to get them going. Try doing some press-ups or planks. But not too many or for too long so you don’t fatigue. If you are not supervised by an experienced coach you can easily you can easily end up injuring yourself due to fatigued muscles.
3. Don’t overdo the cardio. Again you want to warm up the body not fatigue it.
4. Avoid brutal warm-up stretches. They should unwind your body, opening up the joints and releasing the muscles so they can stretch and contract easily.
5. “Calamity springs from lack of carelessness” (the 7th Guiding Principle of Karate-Do). This means that when your mind is not where your body is there is lack of awareness. And this is when injury happens. If you cannot focus and be mindful you should stop your routine and re-gain your focus, change your routine to match your state of mind or even stop and go home.
6. Resting. Athletes rest, they even rest for one whole week after a series of intense training sessions. Take one week off training ever 12 weeks of training or somewhere around there. This does not mean you stop moving, it means you do something else such as swimming if you are a runner, running if you are a cyclist, play squash, badminton, practice some Tai Chi etc.
7. Recovery between sessions. Allow for at least 1 day between sessions. This is a general rule but, depending on your level, your training purpose and your routine this can change. If you have a routine and you are unsure of how to plan your rest get in touch.
8. Be flexible. Your routine should allow for unforeseen circumstances. Injuries, emergencies, feel unwell etc can get you out of balance but you need to adapt.
When you reach the plateau not matter how much you try you may not see any progress anymore so you need to make some changes. To change your routine get creative by addressing:
★ number of exercises
★ number of sets
★ target repetition range
★ recovery periods between sets (decrease, increase)
★ workout frequency
★ movement speed – slow to fast
★ different exercises
★ stable to unstable surface
★ simple to complex
★ split routines
Things to add you probably never thought about
These are some elements that very few consider and if they consider many don’t action them as it seems they are not useful, but actually they are the foundations. You are as strong as your weakest link!
1. Fluid movement
2. Breathing exercises
3. Flexibility and mobility ONLY sessions
5. Barefoot or minimalist training (caution here, risk of injury)
6. Balance ONLY sessions
7. Training the foot muscles (strong foundations…)
So now let’s design your program, keep it simple, then you can work on it. Download the PDF document I created for you, a table for you just to fill in, and get started.
Are you stuck or need guidance on this planning? Jump on a FREE call with me and let’s create a program for you. I will also help you program your rest days and training for a month. Book here.