Submitted by: Justin Glenn
Many new comers to exercise and fitness have a difficult time choosing a workout program. There are so many programs that it can be overwhelming. This article is going to give you five ideas to consider that will help you choose a workout program that is best for you.
1. The Program Should be Appropriate for Your Fitness Level
You never want to do too much, too soon. This leads to injury and is the number one reason why people fail when it comes to achieving their fitness goals. If you are new to exercise you should focus on two things: Core strength and body control. You can achieve this by doing exercises like body weight squats, planks, and push ups.
For advanced athletes a more rigorous routine will be appropriate. One sign you may be doing too much is the inability to recover properly between workouts. Constant soreness is not good. If this is the case, scale the program back. Also, if your form is constantly breaking down the movements are probably too advanced for you.
Remember, change will happen so don’t rush it.
2. The Program Should Fit Your Goals
If your goal is to gain muscle mass, a bodybuilding routine or strength program will be best for you. If your goal is generalized fitness and health, a calisthenic program might be a good choice. It is all relative to your goals. Just be sure that the program is designed to get you the results you desire.
3. The Program Should Fit Your Schedule
If you can only workout three days a week, pick a program with that type of split. It seems like common sense, but I often talk with people who are trying to fit programs into their schedules that their lifestyle simply doesn’t have room for. By doing this it makes them feel like a failure and often times they give up. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
4. The Program Should Be Based Around Multi-Joint Lifts
Multi-joint lifts are movements that require more than one joint action. When you move more joints, you activate more muscle. This results in burning more calories and allows you to move more weight.
You can break the upper body down into directions (vertical and horizontal) and movement patterns (pushes and pulls).
- Horizontal Pushes: Bench Press, Push Up Vertical Pushes:
- Over Head Presses, Military Press
- Horizontal Pulls: Rows
- Vertical Pulls: Pull ups, Lat Pull downs
The lower body multi-joint movements will be some version of a squat and deadlift.
- Squat: Barbell Squat, Body Weight Squat, Lunges, Side Lunges
- Deadlift: Conventional Deadlift, Sumo Deadlift, Stiff Legged Deadlift
If these types of movements are not the focus of your program, you need to really reconsider your choice. You know your workout program is terrible if you find yourself lying down for a majority of it or if you are doing an over abundance of isolation work. These types of exercises are reserved for people who do not have the capacity to move and are rehabbing injuries.
5. Make Sure You Enjoy It
Your program should be challenging but it shouldn’t make you dread life. There are many ways to get the job done, so choose something you enjoy to do. If you enjoy yourself you are more likely to stick with the program. The only workout you should dread is the workout you miss!
If you are new to the gym I would suggest following my Beginner’s Strength Training Program. This program will help you understand the fundamentals of working out, exercise progression, and will help get you started off on the right foot! I hope these ideas can support you on your journey to shaping yourself!
Image courtesy of StockImages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net