So a while ago I asked if you guys wanted to know how I planned my workouts and so I’m finally getting around to answering your questions…sorry!
Let me just preface this with saying how I workout is not necessarily for everyone and this blog was originally written in 2018. A lot of lessons have been learned and modifications over the years have been made, so this is not necessarily how I work out now!
If you’re interested in how I structure my workouts now, my Lift Like Laura Programs are based on my own workouts!
Working out should be fun and if you don’t find this fun, try different things until you find something fun!
The Overall Plan:
Let me start out by saying I like to spread out my workouts over a longer period of time. You can definitely condense this and have it be more high intensity and get similar results. I know my workout may sound intimidating but, when I workout I have a balance between rest and exercising at various intensities. I think of going to the gym or working out as play, so I enjoy spending an extended period of time at the gym or working out at home.
I have a planned workout 5 days per week where I lift, run, and hand balance. Although, I guess I really shouldn’t call it a lift anymore, because now most exercises are using my body weight… But anyways, my “lift” takes me 1.5-2 hrs, running about 30-60 min depending on the day, and 30 min of hand balancing. On weekends, I typically try to stay active with a fun workout at the park and an easy run or walk. I’ve been trying to not use a car on the weekends, so I’ve been getting my steps in walking to the grocery store or running other errands. I don’t typically have a scheduled rest day, but I definitely take them from time to time if I’m super exhausted.
I typically use the same workout formula for all my planned lifts for the week. So like I said, I have 5 lifts per week and I have 4-week progressions for those lifts. Therefore, I create my plans monthly. Honestly, there are times when I sit down and plan them all at once and some times when I just write something down right before working out. But I definitely recommend sitting down and planning it out…it works out so much better!
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), you should take at least 48 hours between working out a certain body part for recovery (e.g. legs) if you want maximal strength gains. But I personally like to do full body workouts every day; I find it more fun when compared to doing 1 day of legs, arms, etc. My personal work out goal is to have fun, not necessarily max strength gains. So if your goals are different, you 100% want to structure your workouts differently.
I typically do 4 sets of supersets (so pairing 2 exercises for opposing muscle groups) then 4-5 core exercises. My first set is typically compound lower extremity lifts (e.g. squats, snatches, cleans/jerks, deadlifts) and I always try to do at least one hamstring focused exercise in each lift (ACL paranoia). Then I typically do an arm focused superset (e.g. pull ups and dips or variations of that). The third superset varies between legs and arms or grip depending on what I felt like prescribing for myself that day. I typically try to do something a little more fun to keep things interesting. My last superset isn’t really always a superset, but it may be a compound set if you want to get all technical. But I include some shoulder prehab exercises to keep my shoulders healthy as I put a lot of stress on them with handstands and calisthenics (and recently ninja too). The core exercises typically include some hanging abs and some traditional ab exercises like v-ups, crunches, etc.
I try to remember to incorporate different planes in each muscle group to have some variety. For example, I may do some squats one day, but Cossack squats the next or crunches one day and overhead lateral flexion or med ball rotational toss another and for an arm example it would be pull ups/dips one day and push ups/rows the next.
Sets and Reps:
For the reps and sets, I typically use ACSM guidelines. So if you want to build muscle mass (i.e. hypertrophy) or work on power (i.e. strength with a speed component) you want to do between 8-12 reps. If you want to work on pure strength, you want to increase the weight and decrease the reps to less than 8 reps. Then if you want to work on muscular endurance, you drop the weight and increase the reps to about 15-20 reps. Regardless of the number of reps, you want to use a weight that’s challenging while ensuring proper form.
You want to do between 2-4 sets of each exercise for strength and power, but even 2 sets are enough for muscular endurance.
For strength progressions, it’s all about progressive overload. So basically you need to constantly challenge your body to improve. Your body adapts to the stresses you put on it…so don’t be afraid to up the weight (ensuring good form of course)!
Keep in mind that the ACSM guidelines say you should train each muscle group 2-3 times per week with at least 48 hours in between training the same muscle group.
A book that I highly recommend if you want to plan your own workouts is the ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. It’s actually one of the books used to prepare for getting a personal training certificate, so it’s a great resource! Literally, this is my most used textbook in my six years of education! The pictures below show the books that at least used to be used to study for becoming a certified personal trainer, which can be great resources for planning workouts.
Again, this workout plan is not for everyone and you should focus on your goals. This is just what I have found I like to do. If you don’t like this style of working out, please find something you like! I feel like I’m constantly telling people, if you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong!
As always, I love hearing from you guys, so if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, comment below, email, or DM me on instagram! If you want to see videos of my workout’s, check out my instagram page @paradigmofperfection!
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Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.