A workout plan is like a business plan for a business. It keeps track of where you start, how you can reach your goals, and when you will attain your goals, according to Juan Carlos Santana, director of the Institute of Human Performance. A three-month plan is one of the most effective ways to keep you accountable and your goals attainable. An average person should change the workout once every four weeks.
According to Santana, a three-month plan should be broken down into three, four-week periods. Each period focuses a specific goal or skill, and you exercise between three to five days a week. If you train three days a week, spend each day training on various movement patterns, such as squatting, lunging, push, pulling and turning. On the days that you do not work out, perform exercises that help you recover, such as stretching, yoga or postural exercises.
All exercise programs must start with a basic movement pattern development, according to physical therapist Gray Cook, author of "Athletic Body in Balance." At this training phase, you need to identify any abnormal movement patterns and posture deviations, such as having stiff hip joints and rounded upper back and shoulders. Addressing and correcting these faulty movement patterns and body misalignment help reduce your risk of injury, increase strength and endurance and improve balance and joint mobility.
Hypertrophy and Strength
Santana recommends you perform the strength and hypertrophy, or muscle growth, phase once you have completed the movement foundation phase. This training phase focuses on developing more muscle mass and total body strength. This helps you burn more calories since muscles are your body's fat-burning organs. Having stronger bones and mobile joints decreases your risk of injury when you progress to the third phase of training. If you do not wish to build a lot of muscle mass, you may skip the hypertrophy phase and focus on strength. You will gain some muscles, but not as much as the hypertrophy phase. On your rest days, perform exercises from the movement foundation to maintain your body alignment and proper movement patterns. You should see a significant decrease of body fat and an increase in muscle definition in four to five weeks.
Power, Speed, Agility
This training phase focuses on developing advance physical skills or specific sports skills, such as turning and cutting, throwing and tumbling. Many of these exercises demand high power, body coordination and reflexes. Santana recommends that you should not begin this training phase unless you have completed the previous two phases.
Always consult with a qualified fitness professional before starting any workout program, especially if you have special needs and illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and surgery. The fitness professional may refer you to a medical professional, such as a sports physical therapist or chiropractor, if you experience pain, dizziness or major discomfort during your assessment.