Contrary to popular belief, there's no secret knowledge regarding working out that's only available to selected paying customers. Whether you're a novice, intermediate or even advanced trainee, everything you need to know about your ideal workout and weight-training routine is at your fingertips. Whatever your experience level, familiarize yourself with the corresponding routines below.
A Beginner's Routine
As a beginner to weight training, you may feel lost and helpless when it comes to designing your own workouts. All you have to understand to develop your first workout routine are the following basic fundamentals. Schedule your training sessions for three times per week, with each session lasting between 45 minutes and one hour. Limit your exercise selection to the fundamental, compound mass-building exercises: chest press, shoulder press, bent over row, deadlift and squat. At each session, perform each of these exercises for five sets of five repetitions, using the heaviest weight that you can manage without sacrificing form or range of motion, says the book "Designing Resistance Training Programs." Rest for no less than 90 seconds between sets.
An Intermediate Routine
After between six months and one year of following a novice mass-building program, many trainees are ready to graduate to an intermediate program, but are unclear on how to proceed. At this stage, you'll have to rework your routine to feature an extra session each week and divisions between sessions of different muscle groups. For example, you might choose to work your "pushing" muscles on Monday, your "pulling" muscles on Wednesday, your legs on Friday and your core on Sunday.
While each workout should still feature its corresponding compound movements, you may also select isolation movements appropriate to the muscle groups in question, according to the journal "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise." For instance, you might follow the shoulder press with lateral shoulder raises. For each exercise, perform three to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions, resting for approximately 90 seconds between sets.
An Advanced Routine
After several years of basic training, many trainees will find that their progress begins to plateau. If you're faced with this predicament, it's time to graduate to an advanced routine. Advancement, however, does not imply that you'll have to seek the advice of a professional guru; simply make the following changes to your routine.
Assign a separate day to each muscle group, and increase your training frequency to five sessions per week. Due to the extra time afforded to each muscle group, you'll find that you have a great deal of latitude in customizing your routines. For instance, if you find your rear deltoids are lagging, schedule an isolation movement or two that directly targets the rear deltoids in addition to the basic shoulder press.
Further, begin to vary your rest and repetition schemes; for instance, while five repetitions and two minutes rest may make sense for heavy deadlifts, 12 to 15 repetitions and 30 seconds rest might make more sense for light triceps extensions, according to ""The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" by Arnold Schwarzenegger.