Structure in business leads to growth and financial rewards.
Structure in a working day leads to increased productivity and career progression.
Structure in a training program leads to long term development in strength, muscle structure and mobility.
Structure breeds success!
So here’s how I recommend structuring your training sessions and then your training week if you enjoy programming your own training 🙃
Warm up - NO more than 15 mins
3-5 mins of heart rate raising cardio - This is NOT going all out crash bang wallop. This is to let the body and brain gradually know that it is about to train. Pick a piece of cardio equipment and just get moving.
3-5 mins of mobility work - if you are working the upper body, mobilise the shoulder first then make it session specific. If you are working the lower body, mobilise the hip first then make it session specific.
1-3 mins of lift specific work - perform 1-2 sets of the first exercise on your program. But keep it to no more than 60% of your intended working weight. This will let you know if your body is really ready to go in today’s session or whether you’ve got to dial it back a bit - You are human… and as such, you are not going to be able to go full beans every single day.
Main - 45-75 mins
Decide if you want to focus on:
Hypertrophy (3-5 sets 8-12 reps)
Strength (3-6 sets 3-5 reps)
Endurance (3-4 sets 15-20 reps)
Power (3-5 sets 5-8 reps)
Then add in a structured and specific rest time which will fit in in between these sets.
Pick a movement or a section of the body to use as the session focus (push, pull, legs, upper, lower).
Note on this.. I advise against muscle group specific sessions such as the old school bodybuilding style of: Chest, Back, Legs, Shoulders etc. You can get so much more bang for your buck if you focus on big compound movements.
Identify the key exercises within this movement structure:
Push = Push up, Bench press, DB chest press, Dips, DB arnold press, Seated lateral raises, Half kneeling overhead press.
Pull = Pull ups/downs, Deadlifts, Rows, Inverted rows, Face pulls, External rotations, Shrugs.
Legs = Squats, Split squats, Lunges, RDL’s, Hip thrusts, KB swings, Step ups.
Then add in a sprinkling of trunk exercises and you should be all set.
Then If there is time - add in something that’s going to get your heart rate up (conditioning).
Cool down - ???
Research is mixed, but stretching immediately post session I don’t really buy in to it being of any benefit to us. What I do however believe in is continued mobility work for 5-10 mins each day. Pop up out of bed and get a little bit of movement in before you get on with the day.
So you’ve now got the structure of a session, but what about the weekly program?
Here’s how I recommend splitting up your week dependant on your availability to train:
2 days per week - Full body/Full body, or, Upper/Lower
3 days per week - Push/Pull/Legs, or, Upper/Lower/Upper, or, Lower/Upper/Lower (dependant on goal)
4 days per week - Push/Pull/Legs/Full, or, Upper/Lower/Upper/Lower, or, Upper/Full body/Lower/Full body
5 days per week - Push/Pull/Legs/Upper/Lower, or, Upper/Lower/Upper/Lower/Upper
Any more than this and in my opinion that is over kill and only likely to lead to burnout and potentially injury.
Now unfortunately, even if you do get all of this in you won’t be guaranteed to get results… BUT, you will most certainly be on the way!
Remember, excellent execution leads to excellent results! If you are performing sloppy reps and sloppy sessions, expect sloppy results!
But if you have structure, you work hard, you execute really well and you are consistent over an extended period of time, then your body will change dramatically.
Go in, work hard, but more importantly work smart and the results will be phenomenal!
Yours in health