Plan Your Workout Program Properly
Most people who start working out give up or fail for a few simple reasons. The most common reasons are they don't see the results they want quickly enough, they injure themselves or they don't train for the right amount of time, be it too much or too little.
Here are 10 simple commandments to follow in planning your workout programme that will most definitely help.
1. Go See A Doctor
Getting in shape starts with being healthy in general. You would certainly check under the bonnet of your car before racing it or going on a long journey so don't be afraid to do the same for your body.
2. Know The Lingo
A repetition (or rep) is simply an exercise performed once (which means both raising AND lowering the weight). A set is a group of reps done one after another. Doing one set of 10 reps means doing the exercise 10 times in a row.
3. Stick With The Order
Most exercise routines, and all beginners programmes are designed to work the larger muscle groups first (legs, back, chest and shoulders) and the smaller muscle groups last (triceps, biceps etc...) The reason for this is simple: exercises that work larger muscle groups also recruit smaller muscle to help stabilise the body. If you pre-fatigue those smaller muscles, they will fail when you are lifting heavier weights while working the larger muscles.
4. Use A Spotter
Having someone watch to make sure you are in control of the weight is absolutely crucial, especially when you are pressing the weight overhead. A decent spotter will also provide extra motivation when things get a little tough.
5. Let The Air Flow
A lot of people make the mistake of holding their breath as they lift. Doing this not only raises your blood pressure, it also cuts off valuable the oxygen supply your body needs for energy. Make sure you continuously breathe throughout each exercise, inhaling as you lower the weight and exhaling as you lift.
6. Stay Smooth And In Control
Going too fast or moving your body round when lifting lets momentum help the weight up, this is called cheating and it prevents your muscles form getting the full workout benefit. Taking it slowly and under control isolates the muscles that you are trying to work, and greatly reduces the risk of injury. It is recommended that you spend two seconds lifting the weight and four seconds lowering it.
7. Time Yourself Between Exercises
After each set, your muscles need a chance to recuperate before you lift again. Resting for between 60 and 90 seconds is recommended, but watch the clock carefully. Waiting too long gives the muscles time to cool down, while jumping into another set too soon will leave them unable to do their job properly.
8. Pay Attention To Pain
Experiencing muscle soreness during and following a workout is normal; in fact, it means you are making progress. Contracting a muscle past its normal threshold causes waste material and acids to build up inside it. Experiencing this burning sensation means your muscles are getting their money's worth. If you feel a muscle begin to cramp you should stop what you are doing and gently stretch until you feel it unwind. Finally, if you feel and sharp, continuous pain during exercise or pain that persists for several days after training you should go and see your doctor.
9. Take A Day Off Between Workouts
Muscles do not grow while you are in the gym, they grow while you're at home watching TV, sleeping and generally relaxing. Working out tells your muscles what you expect of them. After that, they need time to repair themselves and prepare for the next workout. This muscle remodelling takes place when the muscles are left to rest for at least 48 hours. To make sure you give your body enough time to grow, try scheduling your workouts every other day; Monday, Wednesday and Friday, perhaps.
10. Chart Your Progress
Keeping track of your exercise routine is extremely important. The fastest way to see results is to challenge the muscles every time you work out. Problem is, you will never accomplish this if you can't remember how hard you worked them last time. Record every detail about your workout including how much weight you used, how many reps and sets you did etc... And refer back to it before your next workout.