Going to the gym and starting a workout program on your own can be overwhelming. There are so many pieces of equipment, exercises to do, and goals to be met! But when we break it down to exactly what you need to do, everything becomes a lot more clear and easy to follow! So here I will go over what you need to do in order to start up a successful program!
Most importantly, come to the gym with a purpose! Determine whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or just tone up and stay healthy. Based on what you decide, follow the chart below for a basic overview of your suggested rep ranges, rest times, and cardio.
Lose weight and or tone up: 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps with 45 – 60 seconds between full sets. Cardio 30 – 45 minutes 3 – 5 times per week
Build muscle and strength: 3 – 5 sets of 6 – 10 reps with 1.5 – 2 minutes between full sets. Cardio for warm up and 20 minutes 1 – 3 times per week if you want to stay lean.
The warm up is something people tend to overlook, when really it is actually going to set you up for a more efficient workout and feel better throughout each exercise. It is recommended to perform at least a 5 – 10 minute warm up to get the heart rate up, increase blood flow and body temp, and mentally prepare you for a great session. Those quick 5 – 10 minutes can make the difference from making the workout count or just wasting time. Also, if you are lifting heavy, don’t just jump into your max weight. Start off with about 50% of what you plan to lift, and work your way up for 2 – 3 sets. This keeps you from straining your muscles or causing other injury, and increases blood flow to the muscle group you are working!
Order of Exercises
The order of your exercises will be important as well. The best way to start (after your warm up) is with a compound movement. This means you move at least 2 joints during the exercise. For example, doing a bench press you move your shoulders and elbows. Or a squat, moving your hips and knees. These are beneficial to start with as you recruit more muscle fibers, while not straining one specific muscle too much right at the beginning. You are also able to lift more weight with these compound movements which is what you want to do in the first half of your workout. Hit your heavy weights first when you have more energy and power!
As you hit a few more exercises throughout the workout, start narrowing the exercises down to single joint movements such as chest flys, leg extensions, leg curls, dumbbell curls, lateral raise, etc. This will help burn out the specific muscle group towards the end of the session, and ensure a great end to a well planned effective workout!
Check out the quick video below for an example of a shoulder workout that starts with heavier compound movements, and works down to slightly lighter single joint exercises!
Thank you for checking this post out, and I hope it helps you make your next workouts even more effective than the last! For more information on exercise programing, nutrition, or other fitness info please visit my Online Training Page, Self Paced Training Section, and other Exercise and Nutrition Blog Posts!