We think it’s important that you guys know what goes into a program and also how to make your own program. This is a good skill to understand in order to make sure your training is working, and also allowing you to confidently change things in your program without throwing everything out of whack!
If you guys want to watch a video instead of read, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_VUr_I_s28
First thing to do when you want to begin a new program, especially if it’s the first time, is write down your goals. This can be as in depth as you want to go with it, but you need to choose from a more general goal first, such as: Building Strength, Building Muscle, Getting Fitter, Losing Fat. It may also be prudent to write down why you want to achieve this goal, in order to stay motivated.
FREQUENCY AND MUSCLE GROUPS:
The next thing to look at is the amount of times you’re coming in per week and on which days your training each muscle group. In order to create a balanced and healthy body most people will need to be train all of their muscle groups two or three times per week, this is dependent on your goals and experience.
This is one of the places where people’s programs differ. You could have one person training 3 days per week, full body sessions; or someone training 6 days per week doing a different muscle group each day. There are a ton of combinations, so it’s important you find out what works best for your schedule.
Now that you’ve figured out what muscle groups you’ll be training and what days you’ll be in the gym, you need to decide on the exercises you’ll do to target those muscle groups.
There are a few staples that are recommended by most professionals, (e.g. barbell squats, deadlifts, rows, bench press, etc), these are generally compound movements. If you’re a beginner then it’s a good idea to google the best exercises for a particular muscle group or ask a trainer to help you choose and then learn the exercises.
SETS AND REPS:
Once you’ve got your exercises sorted, you will need to choose the sets and reps you’ll be doing for each exercise. This can also be highly variable, but the main ranges that we work in are:
Strength: 4 – 6 Reps, 4 – 5 Sets
Muscle Building: 8 – 12 Reps, 3 – 4 Sets
Endurance: 15+ Reps, 3 – 4 Sets
You can apply different ranges for different exercises, and some exercises lend themselves better to higher or lower rep ranges. This is something to experiment with or bring up with your coach. Lots of sites have examples of sets/reps online after you look up the exercises you want to add to your program, but if you aren’t sure then feel free to email us and ask!
Next you have to choose the weight you’ll be lifting, when starting out you’ll just have to experiment. Remember that if you’re in a specific rep range, you want to always be aiming to fail towards the end of the range. To make sure you’re exercising with enough intensity to make a change, you need to be getting close to failure.
I.e. if a program prescribes you 8 reps for an exercise, doing a 9th or 10th rep should be near impossible.
Finally you must be taking specific steps to progress. Every two weeks you should be aiming to make your training harder in some way. The most common way is to increase your weights, which is recommended for a beginner – but you’ll also need other ways in order to make sure you don’t plateau.
Other common ways of progressing include: Increase Reps or Sets, Decrease Rest Time Between Sets, Perform Exercises Slower or Supersets (perform exercises back-to-back, like a circuit).
Note: If you do not progressively overload, you will not see any longterm progress. It’s impossible to make your body change if it doesn’t have a new stimulus to adapt to – so make sure you make your training difficult! Only you know how hard you can go.
If you guys want a new program, or a template to follow when designing your own program, Stefan has uploaded his personal training plan to our website, it’s a program he started this week to build muscle and strength. Go to www.fitnessroom.com.au/store to download it!
Thanks guys! If you have any questions about anything here then we’d be happy to help out!