If you’ve just started exercising on your own or have been at it for quite a while and aren’t seeing considerable progress, the first thing you need to do is reassess your workout routine. Building a workout routine that suits your body’s needs is important not only for achieving short- or long-term goals, but also for ensuring you don’t injure yourself while working out.
Planning a workout routine isn’t tough, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many variables — such as your body type, goals, training experience and lifestyle — to take into consideration before deciding what exercises you will be performing, how frequently you’ll be exercising and the intensity of your exercises.
Here are five tips to help you build a workout routine that suits your needs.
Building a workout routine that you can’t follow is a waste of time that can also put you off exercising. So don’t commit yourself to something you know is unachievable — if you hardly find time for yourself or your family due to work pressures, build a routine that lasts 30 minutes instead of an hour.
Furthermore, performing the right exercises at home for 30 minutes is better than spending a couple of hours at the gym doing exercises that don’t yield results. As such, if you’re really busy on most days, say good-bye to the gym and work out at home to save time. Also decide if you can work out in the mornings or in the evenings and if you can work out on weekends.
Just as you need to be realistic with the amount of time you can devote to exercising, you need to be realistic when setting fitness goals. Too much too soon can make you quit, so set small step goals instead of a single big one. In addition to that, aim for short-term goals than long-term ones to make things easier.
Set goals depending on the amount of time you can devote to working out and your fitness levels. If you can’t work out five days a week to achieve something in a particular amount of time, don’t stress over it; just give yourself more time or aim to achieve half of what you eventually want to.
Include some yoga poses in your workout routine to improve your tolerance to fatigue and help you achieve more. Reward yourself every time you achieve your goals to keep the momentum going.
Curls, extensions and flies may be your favorites, but that doesn’t mean you skip squats, rowing and chin-ups. Don’t perform exercises simply for the sake of it; keep your goals in mind and push yourself to achieve them.
Performing compound exercises will engage more muscle groups in your body, giving you a better workout. They also help you burn more calories than isolation exercises.
More importantly, exercise all your muscles — you can’t grow your chest without working out your back muscles. Focusing on just a couple of muscle groups can hamper your gains as well as result in an unbalanced and injury-prone physique.
Additionally, make it a point to move your body in all directions. Just like engaging in sports requires our bodies to turn and twist in various ways, your workout routine should include exercises that involve motions in the frontal, sagittal and transverse planes.
Lateral step-ups and lateral squats are frontal plane exercises. Squats, lunges and anything that requires front-to-back motion are sagittal plane exercises. T-pushups, Russian twists and woodchops are transverse plane exercises. Including exercises from all planes into your workout routine will not only help you build an athletic body, but also will help prevent injuries.
When building your workout routine, plan to perform the important exercises first. Important exercises are those that work more muscles and demand more strength and focus —for example, deadlifts, jerks, heavy squats and snatches.
Follow with exercises like pull-ups, bench presses, overhead presses and rows that work on two or more muscles. Finish your workout with exercises that target biceps, claves or deltoids.
Whether you work out at home or at the gym, you’re sure to get bored of performing the same exercises day after day. What’s more, a repetitive workout routine can stall your progress and even cause muscular imbalances that may result in injuries.
So quit slogging through your age-old workout routine and switch between different exercises systematically. Doing so will enable you to train all areas of your body steadily and help you avoid injuries.
The key to seeing desirable fitness results is exercising right. And you don’t need to hire a personal fitness trainer to know what your body needs. Use these tips to build a workout routine that meets your needs. Plan your workouts and get started on exercising right as soon as you can!
Kyle Richey is the founder and CEO of Strides App. He has an obsession with productivity and setting and achieving goals. This inevitably has a significant influence on his commitment to health and fitness and maintaining a healthy body. Connect with him on Twitter @imakestrides.