Gym Workout Rules-of-Thumb

Dumbbells Set

The sample gym routines provided on take certain factors into consideration. Although there are many different ways you can train, you should consider these factors and follow the suggested general rules of thumb.

Gym routine factors:

Exercise Choices
The exercise choices should be appropriate in relation to both the participants ability and goals. For example, a soccer player may perform exercises that mimic movements used on the pitch, whereas a strength athlete is likely to perform mainly compound exercises.

Exercise Order
With many muscle groups working together to perform an exercise (whether in unison or other), it must be considered the roles that these muscle groups play and the subsequent order in which we perform exercises within our gym workout routines. For example, as our core muscles (lower back & abs) stabilize us during most exercises, ab and lower back exercises should be performed at the end of a workout. The exercise diagrams on this website indicate the functions different muscles play during exercise, which will help toward designing your own gym workout routines

Sets & Repetitions
Although some people are predisposed to be or look a certain way, thanks to their genetic make-up, our body still adapts to the stimulus we place upon it, thereby making it more efficient. So, in terms of sets & repetition ranges, these should be relative to our goals. For example, many would-be bodybuilders like to perform an infinite number of repetitions in order to feel a "pump". Given that this "pump" is lactic acid buildup, they are increasing the endurance capabilities of their muscles by attempting to lift the same weight for a longer duration each time. Their muscle will only adapt & grow if their weight training warrants it - frequently & consistently subjecting the muscles to a greater load. The sample gym routines provided suggest what I (GP) would call "sensible" set & repetition ranges. With the aforementioned in mind, you should also take note of the suggested working load (1 RM %) on the sample gym workout routines.

Training Days
You should avoid over training, but be aware that not training often enough will not bring about the desired physiological changes. Again, this subject is open to debate, but certain circumstances will indicate whether you are training too little or too much. For example, a common under-training mistake for a gym newbie to make is to revert immediately to a split routine, whereby they train a body part once a week. Their muscles ache for several days afterwards and yet the weights they're lifting remain the same. Why? They are not training frequently enough for their muscles to warrant adapting (growing) to cope with the load being lifted, therefore, each week they suffer the same muscle soreness and can only lift the same weight. In this instance, a greater frequency of training (perhaps each body part twice a week) and an increase of dietary protein would be advisable

This article is an extract from the bestselling book Gym Workouts: Maps to Success. For further information & ideas on structuring your weight training, please consider purchasing the aforementioned publication. The book provides easy-to-use process maps with hundreds of gym workout routines for you to follow (whatever your ability, sport or goal). For news updates, please join the Gym Professor FREE Newsletter. You can now also download our acclaimed gym workout app (for free!) at the link below, or simply search 'GP Shuffle' in the App Store. Download GP Shuffle gym workout app

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