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Coming up with the right workout might be a bit intimidating, but let me tell you that it is a lot easier than you think. In this post, I will show you how to design the perfect workout for strength and muscle building. I will take you through the process step by step and at the end you will also get a sample workout to get going right away.
Whether you are doing this for yourself or someone else as a fitness coach, the principles will always be the same and if you follow this step-by-step process it can also be fun to give a workout your personal touch.
Step #1: Setting the right goals
One of the first questions you should ask yourself or you client is, “what do you want to achieve with this workout?”
Most beginners will name things like „build muscle“, „look better naked“ or „become stronger“ it makes sense to get a bit more specific than that. Make sure you know what the primary focus is.
Do you want to build muscle as fast as possible?
Or maybe you prefer to focus on strength?
Or maybe even muscular endurance?
It also makes sense to if there is a specific body part that needs special attention. This will help later with exercise selection. If there isn’t then don’t worry about it and just assume that all muscles need to be targeted equally.
Step #2: Deciding on training frequency
The next step is to determine how often you or your client can work out per week. The ideal training frequency is always open for debate and you will get thousands of different answer if you looked online.
For beginners it makes sense to go with 3 to maximum 4 workouts per week. This makes sure to work the muscle enough to cause hypertrophy but to not overwork it either.
Many beginners will want to do more than that, because they think more workouts mean faster muscle growth. The problem is that muscles don’t grow in the gym but afterwards when they have time to rest.
If you don’t give them the necessary time to recover, you can quickly burn out especially if you aren’t used to training with heavy weights.
Step #3: Exercise selection
The sheer amount of possible exercises can make it seem hard to select the right ones. However, when focusing solely on effectiveness, compound exercises are always the way to go.
The four most common compound exercises you will find in the gym are the squat, bench press, deadlift and the overhead press. All of them should be included in a good beginner workout.
That’s because they utilize multiple joints and are usually performed with free weights instead of machines. Unlike isolation exercises, compound movements work several muscles at once. This will give you the best results measured by the time you spend training.
Always start your gym routine with compound exercises that target whatever muscle group(s) you are training that day. Not only will you achieve maximal muscle recruitment, but more nervous system activation and a better overall stimulus.
To round up your workout you also want to include some assistance exercises. Here are a few good examples:
For the upper body you can include: pull-ups and rows for the back, incline or decline bench press for the chest and side or front raises for the shoulders
For the lower body you can include: lunges, hack squats, Bulgarian split squats or good mornings
And lastly, you can include one or two isolation exercises at the end of your workout. These would be things like bicep curls, triceps push-downs, leg extension or calf raises.
Like I said before, these are just examples and there are countless exercises you or your client can do. You will see that over time everyone will find their favorite exercises and they will adjust their workouts accordingly.
Step #3: Choosing your weight, sets and reps
Now that you know your exercises, how many sets and reps and how much weight should you do?
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