The keys to designing an effective resistance exercise routine are balance and variety.
Balance applies not only to how often you work each muscle group but also to how you work each part of the individual muscle. As you can see in EMG’s exercise videos, each exercise can work different parts of a single muscle or muscle group. By working each section of a muscle or muscle group, you will create a more aesthetically pleasing physique and ensure that the muscle or muscle group functions better.
Variety is important because your body will adapt to whatever routine you put together. When you first start training, you will see massive gains, but these gains will plateau over time. By varying what exercises you perform, in which order you perform them, and how often you train, you will prevent your body from adapting while maximizing the results of your training. Variety is also important for how it affects your mind. Monotony can kill your motivation, so a varied workout will keep your mind sharp and focused on the exercises at hand.
Designing Your Own Weight Training Program
- Step 1: Goals – When designing your own resistance exercise routine, the first step is to establish your goals. If your goal is to gain muscle mass and strength, you will want to utilize big, basic exercises like bench press, military press, and straight bar curls. If you already have mass, you will want to utilize more specialized movements and a higher rep range. If you’re looking to train one of your weaker muscles, train it more than the others and train it at the start of a workout when you have the necessary energy (this is called weak point training).
- Step 2: Time – It would be much easier to stay in shape if you could train for hours on end. Sadly, your exercise routine must usually be squeezed into a busy daily schedule. Lack of time is a major reason why many people stop going to the gym; they simply do not make time to work out. Whenever you have to work out in a limited amount of time, be sure to get the most out of each workout. Maximize your effort on each rep and each set because you may not have the opportunity to complete multiple sets. Even when you are doing a short workout, be sure to always work either the entire muscle group (if you work out individual groups each day) or each major group in the body (if you do a full body routine each day).
- Step 3: Exercises – This may seem like a broad step at first. However, once you determine your goals and the time you are going to spend and combine that with balance and variety, the exercises will come together easily. For example, if you are putting together a chest workout, you would find exercises that work each part of the chest. If you are only using two chest exercises, use one press motion that engages the muscle in a big way and then follow that with a fly motion.
Always apply the principles of variety and balance to any muscle group when building your routine. If you are still not sure which exercises to use, look at EMG’s Workout Routines for Men and Exercise Videos for some guidance.
EMG Exercise Homepage: Exercise for Men