You've been working out consistently for almost a month at this point. Now for the fun part — creating your own workouts! While you can certainly keep repeating the workouts from Jordan well into the rest of the year, you may also want to try flexing your creative muscles at the gym too.
So here's a quick guide on how to create your own strength training workout, specifically tailored to your goals and fitness level. Though the main purpose of this guide is to help you build a strength training workout, but a lot of these suggestions can overlap to cardio and flexibility workouts as well.
Start With What You Have
Before you dive into the nitty gritty of structuring a workout, ask yourself a few questions:
- What equipment do I have access to?
- What style of workouts do I enjoy?
- How many days a week do I plan to work out?
- What is/are my goal(s)?
The answer to the first question will help you pick exercises you can realistically do. For example, if you don't have any equipment, you'll only want to choose body-weight exercises. The answer to the second question will help you pick a type of workout — HIIT, circuit training, supersets, powerlifting, etc.
The answer to the third question can help you figure out how long each workout should be and whether you can split each session up by body part or whether you'd be better served doing full-body workouts. The more days you can work out (and the more advanced you are), the easier it is to do a body-part split workout. So your week might look like this:
- Monday: full-body workout
- Tuesday: rest or active recovery
- Wednesday: full-body workout
- Thursday: rest or active recovery
- Friday: full-body workout
- Saturday: rest
- Sunday: rest
Fewer days (or being a newbie) means you should opt for full-body workouts. In that case, your week might look like this:
- Monday: lower body workout
- Tuesday: cardio
- Wednesday: upper body workout
- Thursday: cardio
- Friday: core workout
- Saturday: rest or active recovery
- Sunday: rest
And the last question also helps inform the type of workout as well as giving you drive and motivation to complete each of your workouts. If you want to PR a race, make sure you focus on running. If you want to get stronger, you'll need to lift weights regularly.
Pick the Best Exercises
Throughout this challenge, we've talked about the importance of targeting each of your muscle groups. So you already know a little about the best exercises for each. When you're putting together your workouts, either choose a few from each of the following groups for a full-body workout or choose a few more to separate your workouts by body part.
Upper Body Exercises
- Bent-over row
- Bench press
- Shoulder press
- Chest fly
- Biceps curl
- Triceps dip
- Lateral raise
- Front raise
- Bicycle crunch
- Russian twist
- Scissor kick
- Leg lift
- Side plank
- Weighted side bend
- Mountain climber
- Reverse crunch
Lower Body Exercises
- Hip thrust
- Frog jump
- Hamstring curl
- Glute bridge
- Leg press
- Single-leg deadlift
Choose a Rep Scheme
Knowing whether you're going to be doing a HIIT, Tabata, circuit, superset or any other kind of workout will give you a framework to hang all of the exercises listed above on. Your rep scheme (how often you do each exercise and how many rounds you do) could look like any of the following:
- HIIT: work for 15 to 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds and repeat for a given length of time (try 8 to 10 minutes)
- Tabata: work for 20 seconds, rest for 10 and repeat for 4 minutes total
- Circuit: do a set number of reps and run through a list of four to six exercises, and then rest and repeat the circuit for a total of three to four rounds
- Superset: group your exercises into pairs and do the exercises back to back (ex. biceps curl + shoulder press), and then rest before doing the next pair
If you're going for traditional strength training, you may be wondering how many sets and reps you need of each exercise. That depends on what your goal is. The chart below can help you figure that out.
- General muscle fitness: If you're looking to "tone up" and generally be healthier and more active.
- Muscular endurance: If you're also a runner/endurance athlete or you want to increase the amount of time your muscles will last under tension.
- Muscular hypertrophy: If you're looking to gain muscle mass and "get swole."
- Muscular strength: If you want to be able to lift more weight.
- Power: If you want to increase the amount of weight you can lift in a shorter amount of time.
More Advice on Structuring Your Own Workouts
Don't stop here! Keep learning more about how to build your own strength training workouts to help you reach your goals faster.
How to Join the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge
1. Sign Up for Daily Emails
Every day, we’ll be sending you your daily workout and a healthy recipe to try, along with fun extras like workout playlists, motivational quotes, self-care tips and other fitness and nutrition information to make 2019 your best (and healthiest) year ever!
2. Print Out Your Calendars
Isn't it so satisfying to check things off of your to-do list? Each day during the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge, you're accountable for two main things: working out and eating healthy.
To help keep you on track for the entire month, we created two calendars — one with each day’s workouts listed and another with each week’s nutrition goal and healthy recipes. Print them out and check off each workout and day of healthy eating as you complete it.
3. Join Our Challenge Facebook Group
For daily support, motivation and camaraderie with LIVESTRONG.COM team members, join our Facebook Group for the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge. We'll share recipes, tips, motivations, pictures and more! Plus, we'll answer all your questions.