Your workout program doesn’t have to be some exclusive, hard to devise quantum equation. But on the other end of the spectrum it’s shouldn’t be a random concoction of exercises thrown together either. There should be some rhyme to reason. The human body moves in a few different planes of motion. Couple those planes with direct real-world application and you have a great start.
Below are five simple things to consider when building out your workout program. These are things that anyone can relate to. Movements that you can apply to any type of goal whether it’s a circuit, bodybuilding style training, or a conditioning program. These will have you covered.
You should push something. Even better, you should press vertically (overhead press) and horizontally (bench press). Of course you don’t need to be limited to those movements. There are tons of options for every occasion from dumbbell presses and push ups to band presses and overhead dumbbell press. The point is to choose some multi-joint pressing moves that your comfortable with and not being afraid to include some variety too.
Pull something too. Here again we can divide it up to horizontal pulling (think: bent over row or machine rows) and vertical pulling (pull ups and lat pull-downs). This is also vital to those who’ve spent their lives bench pressing and need to balance out their shoulders. Barbell, dumbbell, band and machine rows as well as cable pull-downs, band pulls, and chin ups fit the bill.
Squat somehow. Here you need to utilize the entire musculature of your lower body. It’s not enough to perform machine leg extensions. You need to activate your hips, glutes, and other supportive muscles not stimulated by isolation machines. Barbell, dumbbell, and body weight squats are great starters as well as any and all types of lunges.
As we get a bit older we tend to lose a lot of strength and stability throughout our core area – namely our abdominal wall and lumbar. Crunches, leg lifts, and twisted sit ups are great ab developers, but don’t forget about planks and hyper-extensions for complete development. Always include some sort of core work in every workout.
Many will read this as stretching, but I like to think of it more as mobility. That is not only lengthening the muscle bellies, but also increasing the range of motion around specific joints especially shoulders and hips. Those two areas seem to be the bane of many functional problems. Tight shoulders and hips from sitting, bad posture, and poor form during exercises need to be addressed. Not to mention problems from a weak core.
Be sure to cover all the bases above and you’ll have a complete workout program no matter if you want to lose weight, get stronger, or build muscle. Push, pull, squat, core, and mobility aren’t all that complicated.