This post originally appeared on MaxximusFitness.com on February 28th, 2017. I was responsible for all edits pertaining to diction, grammar, organization and structure. Maxx Holdrieth was responsible for the concept and the content.
Greetings, Fitness Warriors,
I hope you all found last month’s newsletter, “The Warm Up” beneficial. This week, I bring to you Part Two of my Three Part series on “Designing A Workout.” Something tells me you’ll be more excited about this month’s topic: “The Workout.”
A quick disclaimer before we get into the good stuff: This isn’t your typical bodybuilding.com, “Back & Bicep Blaster.”
Rather, the information that follows will serve as an educational tool for you, the dedicated gym goer, to begin designing your own effective programs that, above all, create a well balanced, well moving and well functioning body. My hope is that as a result, you will not just LOOK better; you will FEEL and MOVE better.
Now, let’s get to it.
Designing your own kickass workout should not be complicated, and in most cases (yes, even you Mr. Meathead), it does not have to be. Instead of breaking your workouts down bodybuilding style—by isolating individual body parts—consider designing them as full body routines. Personally, I hit both my upper and lower body every session, without exception (you’re welcome for that bump in testosterone). In fact, I said goodbye to chest/tricep and back/bicep days a long time ago. And so have my clients. Our workouts are always full-body/multi-joint movement days.
“Wait, Maxx, you just said designing my own workout should not be complicated, but that last sentence was pretty damn confusing!”
Trust me, things are about to get very simple. Generally speaking, there are just 7 basic human movements that need to be addressed on a weekly basis:
Hinge (think bending)
Rotate (think twist)
Locomote (think moving forward; walking/jogging)
By incorporating these 7 human movements into your weekly routines you inevitably hit all major muscle groups and teach your body to move better. Throughout a day, our bodies rarely move in isolation (think biceps curl). Rather, our movements often depend on full body, multi-joint movements (think deadlift). Thus, when your workouts are ‘full-body/multi-joint movement days’, as opposed to ‘individual muscle group days’, you teach your body to move how it is intended to move.
I like to break my workouts down into circuits. When creating a circuit, I usually group 2-3 exercises together, depending on my goals. When grouping these exercises together, think of your body as an X. You have two arms, two legs, and a core (hopefully I haven’t lost you yet). Within each circuit, aim to pair an upper body exercise with a lower body exercise, supplemented by a core exercise. A sample circuit may look like this:
Goblet Squat (Squat- lower body push)
TRX Row (Upper body pull)
Ab-Wheel (locomotion- core):
Once you have constructed the first circuit, ask yourself: “What movements have I yet to cover?” Reverting back to our sample circuit, we have already covered lower body push (squat), upper body pull and a core movement (locomotion). Working backwards, this now leaves us needing lower body pull (usually a hinge), upper body push and another core movement. It may look something like this:
Kettlebell Deadlift (Hinge- lower body pull)
Push Ups (Upper body push)
Med ball Low-High Chops (rotation – core)
These 6 exercises cover 6 of the 7 fundamental movement patterns of humans (lunges being the only movement not hit). The selection of exercises used to address these movements can be adjusted to any fitness level from first time gym goer to the seasoned fitness vet. For example, your upper body push could be made more challenging by doing bench press instead of push ups, while your lower body pull could be made easier by doing hamstring curls instead of kettlebell deadlifts.
The point I am trying to make is this: pick which exercises best suit you. Once your exercises are selected, the only things left to fill in are the sets, reps & rest. These factors, including your exercise selection, will all be predicated on individual needs, wants, and personalized goals. Generally speaking, however, you can’t go wrong with 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps. Rest for a sip of water in between sets and get back after it. Depending upon pace, aim to complete 2-3 circuits composed of 3 exercises, per workout session. Once completed, be sure to save a few minutes for what I like to call “The Finisher,” which I will cover in next week’s newsletter: “Part Three Of Designing A Workout: The Finisher.”
Thank you so much for reading. If you have any feedback, questions, or topics you would like me to cover in future newsletters, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I leave you with this quote to ponder regarding your exercise programing:
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex…it takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein
In Health and Happiness,