Lots of people work very hard at the gym. Lots of people have no idea what they’re doing while they’re working hard. They put tons of effort into exercises that don’t matter, aren’t good for them, or even worse, may be harmful. This article will explain the basics behind creating a balanced, efficient workout so you can stop wasting time in the gym and get on with your life.
First, a few thoughts on the word “balanced.” In this case, when I say balanced, I mean equal work will be done amongst the muscle groups of the body. This may not be appropriate if you have pre-existing muscle imbalances, since you’ll just be making imbalances stronger by doing equal work. This is exactly why you should seek the help of a professional when you begin. Look for a Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM) in your area for a good start.
Ok, now on to building a balanced workout. First, you will divide exercises into three categories; upper body, lower body and total body. Let’s discuss upper body first.
You’re going to break up the upper body into two movements; push and pull. Examples of push exercises are push-ups, dips, chest press, bench press, over-head press. Examples of pull exercises are pull-ups, pull-downs, rows, inverted rows, face-pulls.
You’re going to generalize lower body and consider it all one movement system. Examples of lower body exercises are squats, lunges, step-ups, dead lifts and any variation of these.
Total body movements involve the entire body, or are aimed at integrating the whole body. There is some cross-over between exercise selections since most exercises actually challenge the whole body, but we make divisions to organize our workouts more efficiently. Examples of total body movements are planks, cable twists, wood chops, and Turkish get-ups.
Pick one upper body push, one upper body pull, one lower body, and one total body exercise. Arrange them in this fashion:
Upper body pull
Upper body push
Perform in a circuit fashion for 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps and you’ve got yourself a great basic workout. An example would look like this:
Pull-ups (assisted if necessary)
Squats (bodyweight or with weight)
Plank Hold (20-60 second holds)
A workout like this should take no more than 30 minutes and you’ll hit every major muscle group. This is a great, and very easy to assemble, weight loss workout just like we recommend in S.P.E.E.D. – The Only Weight Loss Book Worth Reading!