Sep 242013
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Having trouble deciding what body parts you are going to be training in the gym day in and day out?

Designing your training program or workout split for the week can be tricky depending on how many days you are going to be training or what your overall fitness goals are. Regardless of what your goals are, you want to make sure you target your major muscle groups and not train the same muscles back-to-back days in order to give your muscles time to repair. Sure you want the buff chest but let’s not neglect your other muscles…especially legs fellas! Here are a few tips for making efficient training programs or workout splits.

  • Work on your primary movers (quads, hamstrings, chest and back muscles) first in any program. For example, if you are working on your chest, do major chest movements ie., bench press, push-ups, before you target your triceps. Training secondary movers (triceps, biceps) at the beginning of your workout will take away from the strength of your primary movers. Think of a powerlifter…they do not spend time training their triceps first before they are about to ¬†throw hundreds of pounds on the benchpress. This would diminish their power of being able to press the weight up.
  • Start supersetting (performing one exercise after another) when you are short on time or number of days you are able to workout for a given week. You can superset between muscle groups, cardio and ab exercises depending on your fitness goals. This will not only save time but will keep your heart rate elevated by using active rest by continually being in motion and working different muscle groups.
  • Know what your short term and long term goals are. For example, if you want to focus on running the entire week it might be a bad idea to have a heavy leg day at the beginning of the week. The muscle soreness and fatigue can hinder your ability to effectively run for extended periods of time and take away from your speed if doing sprints. Not to mention if you really destroyed your legs you will have trouble walking the next day let alone running.
  • Mix it up every week to keep things fresh. The programs we design can be performed every week but it is a great idea to mix it up and keep things fresh. This will not only aid in muscle confusion but will help keep your routine from becoming stagnant. What I like to do is lift heavy for a week or two and then the next week do a HUB program, Time Under Tension or some other sort of supersetting for a couple weeks before I lift heavy again. This is where it is important to listen to your body though…if you feel like you killed it in the gym by doing a HUB program but do not really feel any muscle soreness the next day or two, it is probably a great idea to lift heavy or stay away from lengthy supersets the following week for that muscle group you did not feel got worked.
  • Remember to instill or keep a positive mantra throughout your workout. Studies have shown that self-talk had a positive effect on task performance, increased self-confidence, reduced cognitive anxiety, and that changes in task performance were related to changes in self-confidence[1].

These are just a few ideas to keep your workouts fresh and fun.

[1] Kolovelonis, A., Goudas, M., & Dermitzaki, I. (2011). The effects of instructional and motivational self-talk on students’ motor task performance in physical education. Psychology of Sports and Exercise, 12(2), 153-158.

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