Exercise Selection Part 2 - Build A Workout!
Oh look, it’s part 2 wahoo! Hopefully you’re here from part 1, ready to ignore the stupid shit and get your correct, efficient and effective exercise selection on! So, we will go through building a workout/programme, how differing movements/exercises mimic/aid each other and if variety is needed.
So quick overview done, time to get into the meat!
Compound Exercises – The bulk of work
Starting off with the bulk of your exercises, it’s all about the big compound movements!
What are they??
Now your compound exercises are the ‘big daddy’ of movements, the exercises that are going to use multiple muscle & body movements to complete. Looking for examples, well the ‘big 3’ of squats, deadlifts and press are perfect! In terms of weightlifting, these will be your key exercises to be working around and will more than likely be 80%+ of your work. Other examples, using bodyweight rather than weights can be your burpees, press ups, planks etc.
Why are they the bulk??
These are your major exercises that push the body, through using a whole host of muscles to complete the movement and place it under a large amount of stress. The phrase ‘most bang for your buck!’ sums it up nicely. Now as these movements work multiple muscles and multi-joints they become the most time effective and efficient way to hit your goals and grow muscles/strength.
The final point for these is your set/rep ranges to work and experiment with. These will change throughout your program of exercise, especially as you move from newbie to more experienced lifter!
The common amount quoted for hypertrophy (muscle growth) is around 6-12 reps, completing anywhere between 10-30 sets per week depending on your level of experience. One point to note here, newbie gains is such a thing!
So good news for you guys starting out, due to your new experience, often lighter weights and getting to grips with the correct exercise technique means that you can often train more to begin with as your recovery is greater.
Isolation Exercises – The accessory
Next up, the isolation exercises!
What are they??
So as your compound movements work a host of muscles together, isolation exercises are those that focus on singular muscle activity. Prime examples, your bicep curls (for the gurls) or kickbacks (for the booteh).
Why are they accessory??
Now in terms of the newbie/less experienced trainer, I’d always have these as an accessory and majority of time for the more advanced too! (only in certain situations could they be more than that)
Why? For the simple reason that they aren’t as efficient for your training. Very rarely do you have the time to go to the gym for hours on end each and every day to work the smallest part of the body through isolations, so it’s compounds for the win!
Why use them? These are perfect movements for many reasons;
Hitting specific muscles for growth
Help build stability and joint motion control
Help bring up lagging muscles/errors in your compound lifts.
Again, using bicep curls as an example, yes, we can work the biceps just as well through chin ups but if you’re wanting to grow your arms then using bicep curls as a specific target will aid in the development!
Variety – Why/when to use
Next up, let’s look at variety. So, do I need to keep changing my exercises every session? It’ll shock the body ya!? Nope! Variety can be used for many reasons, it’s not necessary at the very beginning and the body won’t get shocked by a new exercise. So, why/when can variety aid?
Boredom creeps in
If you’re someone who gets easily bored of the same old routine, then variety is your friend. The good news is for majority of exercises, there’s always a slight variation to the same movement that can keep your training fresh! Take the squat for example, you can bodyweight squat, barbell back squat, front squat, goblet squat, landmine squat, dumbbell squat…… need I say more??
Exercise specific goals
Are you looking to hit a specific weight goal on your deadlift/squat etc? Well adding in variations around it will aid in the build-up of your strength, helping you to eliminate lagging body parts and hit that goal you’ve set.
Progressions/regressions & working around injury
Again, let’s take the deadlift for our example. Maybe you’re struggling to keep your back flat pulling from the floor, however if you pull from a few inches higher your deadlift it’s strong and straight? Then that’s where you start from, using more of a rack pull style deadlift and working your way down to floor. (Using regressive movements to aid in progression)
You’re struggling on your weighted squat and losing the form? Maybe your back is taking over from the legs in the lift. Here, adding something like the belted squat will help build your leg strength up in isolation. (Isolation exercise to aid in the compound movement)
The injury point is something I’ve commonly heard before, ‘x hurts so I just can’t train.’ Here is where variation can be key to continue you training the body parts still. Maybe it’s a case of hitting a certain depth causes pain, well vary it by limiting that range of motion for now. It could be that flat bench pressing is causing you shoulder pain but when you switch it up to press ups and take some of the strain off the shoulder joint it feels fine.
It’s still the same movement pattern, just less stressors on certain joints!
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