It is Monday and it is time to start the week off right by getting in that very important and always needed workout. When you roll into the gym, what is your plan of attack? Do you do some cardio first before hitting the weights? Do you do some light stretches and hit up the machines? Or since it being Monday, do you go right to the first available bench and start banging out your bench press routine? What is your plan of attack when you workout? Do you even have a plan or do you just ‘play it by ear’? In order to get the most out of your exercise routine it is best to have a plan of attack. Now everybody’s plan is going to differ slightly due to different goals, but irregardless everyone should have a plan. What is it you are after? What are the goals you are working towards? Is it weight loss, muscular strength, muscle hypertrophy or just general fitness? Establishing your goals will help you establish your plan and what you need to do in order to get the results you are after.
My plan right now is to get stronger on several of the big lifts like: squat, deadlift, weighted pull ups, overhead press and dumbbell bench press. My plan for doing this is lifting 3 days a week and targeting specifically those lifts. The only way to get stronger at those lifts is to perform those lifts(I know it sounds crazy). Even with my plan, I have a plan inside my plan and that is the way I design my workout and the order in which I perform those movements. I believe every great workout starts with a pretty good warm up session. Your warm up should be part of your workout and your workout should be your warm up.
My warm up usually consists of: push ups, pull ups, overhead squat, mini-band walks, 1 leg reaches, side lunges, bridges, marching bridges, bird dogs, Turkish get-ups, farmers carry, suit case carry, overhead carry, chops and lifts.
After all that, my body is ready to begin the meat and potatoes portion of the workout. Now I strongly believe every workout can strongly benefit by starting with a big lower body lift like squat, deadlift, snatches or cleans. Performing these first is best because you are fresh, have the most energy and they recruit the most muscles. Start with a warm up set and then start to get into your routine. Good rep schemes I really like to use are: 3 sets of 8, 3 sets of 5, 5 sets of 5 and 5 sets of 3. The rep scheme depends on how you are feeling and what you are trying to accomplish. If you are looking to put on some size then 3 sets of 8 is great and if you are just looking to get stronger then 3 or 5 sets of 5 is perfect. Once I am done completing all my sets on that lift, I shift to an upper body to lower body superset. Then I go into a 3 exercise set circuit and into a 4 exercise circuit. Always focusing on strength and trying to get the major movements in.
An example of this is my workout today:
Straight Bar Deadlift: 225lbs (5 x 3)
Straight Bar Overhead Press 95, 105, 115 lbs(3 x 5) / Back Squat 95,105,115 (3 x 10)
Seated Cable Row 160, 170, 175 (3 x 8), Incline Chest Press 60, 65, 70 (3 x 8), 1 leg squats off the box (3 x 8)
Kettlebell Squat Clean & Press 30, 40, 40 (3 x5), Double Kettlebell Swings, 30,40,40 (3 x 10), TRX Row (3 x 15), Rotational Sand Bag Back lunges 40, 50,50 (3 x 20)
Cardio Finisher: 3 rounds of 100 meters on the rower for time
If you look at the example you will see, I covered pretty much all of the basics lifts and movements and not a lot of filler work in between. I would perform each circuit all the way through before taking a rest. Your workouts can be more effective and productive too if you have a plan. Start it out with a big lift and then add in all of the other movements like push, pull, press, squat and lunge. Try to think of ways to move around a little more at the gym and different ways to do mini circuits. You will get more out of your workout in a lot less time. And always remember to do a cardio finisher, something you can go all out in and get your heart rate up fast such as: sprints, rower, battle ropes, sled, kettlebell swings. Whatever you want as long as it does the job.
Have a fantastic Monday everyone. Remember to go out there and do something great!