An effective workout routine is more than a sum of random exercises put together.

It’s the ability to create a progressive and time efficient programme to achieve your goal or performance.

This can depend on several different things such as, the set and rep scheme you use, exercises, order of exercise and ultimately how it challenges you week-to-week and month-to-month.

An exercise programme which is too light will not create any long-lasting changes to your body, whereas an exercise programme which is too intense may not enable you to complete your programme due to injury or overwork.

Aerobics, tone building, and flexibility exercises are key ingredients to reaching and maintaining optimal physical fitness.

Your programme should include a combination of the above and centred around personal goals which might be running a marathon, losing weight, improving posture, or even controlling a disease such as diabetes or hypertension. Therefore, there is clearly no one simple solution which caters for every need.

It is, however, possible to provide some guidelines to start you off.

So, before you wing another workout, read on, and follow these six steps to design your ideal workout routine.

Moderate or rigorous aerobic activity should be performed at least 5 times a week, muscle tone training 2-3 times a week and flexibility exercise every day.

1. Have a specific goal

Work a specific muscle, body part, or skill, or what needs tp improve. Called “the principle of training specificity,” it might seem basic, but it’s foundational to effective exercise training.

Your goal ultimately determines the exercises that needs to be part of your workout routine.

If your end goal is to build muscle mass on your back, then you need to focus your training around the correct rep, sets and exercise to reach that goal.

2. Split your workout days

Before you can create the ideal workout sessions, you need to determine how often you can realistically commit to attending the gym.

That’s because, if you are going to perform three or fewer workouts per week, it’s most effective to make every workout a total-body workout,

However, if you want to work out four or more times per week, you’ll need to break things up to prevent overtraining. Rather than splitting workouts based on body parts you might divide them according to movement type.

For instance, you might schedule an upper-body pull day, an upper-body push day, an leg day and a rotational day.

Whatever your schedule, make sure that you get enough rest by scheduling at least one full day of rest each week, and making sure no two high-intensity workouts fall back-to-back.

3. Be creative and change things up

Think about your gym’s layout and overall environment when selecting exercises as well as protocols.

If your gym is typically busy, you’ll probably want to stick with one piece of equipment at a time or have an alternative piece of equipment to hand to maximise your workout routine

For example if weights are in short supply, it might be more efficient to perform as many exercises with one set of weights or use a barbell or kettlebell to give you the same training effect to reach our goal

4. Commit to a set-rep-rest scheme

To decide how many sets and reps you’ll perform of each exercise, think back to your fitness goal.

If strength is what you want, you should focus on low-rep, high-set schemes such as six sets of three to five reps. Meanwhile, three sets of eight to 12 reps are more effective for putting on muscle size. If fat-loss is your main goal, high-rep schemes like three sets of 15 to 20 reps work well, as does circuit training.

Overall, keep in mind that when you decrease the number of reps per set, you need to increase the load you’re lifting.

When it comes to rest, you’ll generally need more depending upon how much you’re lifting,

Performing max or near-max lifts, performing just one or two reps per set, will often need two to three minutes to sufficiently rest up between sets. Meanwhile, 45 to 60 seconds rest is best for elevating heart rate, calorie burn, as well as muscle growth.

5. Hit compound, then isolation moves

You only have so much energy, so it generally benefits you to structure your workouts so that you perform larger, complex movements earlier in your workout and isolation movements towards the end of your workout.

For example, more complex and power movements such as a power cleans require a lot more energy, power, and focus than do biceps curls, and big moves are the ones that make the biggest difference in your ability to hit your fitness goal.

There is one caveat, though. If your primary goal is to strengthen one specific body part, it’s OK to organize your workout so that you isolate that muscle before performing compound movements that hit other ones as well, he says. It’s all a matter of priority.

6. Stay focused, follow the process, and change things up

Creating the perfect routine or workout session does take some time. But to keep benefitting from it, you need to constantly change it.

The body adapts in about 12 to 14 weeks to whatever stress is being applied, so you need to change up your workout routine every eight to 12 weeks to prevent plateauing.

Luckily, you don’t have to throw out your whole routine to keep your body guessing.
You can perform the same routine, but with different equipment; changing your set and rep scheme; or simply changing the exercise variations you use.

So instead of performing back squats like before, maybe you opt for front or single-leg squats or the equipment you use.

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