To maximize the benefits of your valuable gym time it is imperative that you have a customized training plan prior to entering the gym. By knowing what you working on can have positive effects on the mind-muscle connection. Moreover, you can capitalize on your efforts in the gym by employing some well thought out workout strategies. Below are just a few strategies that you can utilize to help keep your training regime alive and well.
Use compound exercises for size:
Try incorporating squats, bench presses and deadlifts the core of your mass/bulk building program. You can also add other compound movements into your arsenal such as shoulder presses, incline presses, dips, pull-ups, barbell rowing, barbell curls and lying triceps extensions to round out training routine.
Train with a partner:
A reliable gym partner can provide the necessary motivation to follow a disciplined diet and train smart to make substantive progress in your program. A positive and knowledgeable partner can make your training sessions very effective and rewarding while accelerating your progress. The relationship should be symbiotic, with each of you emphasizing other’s strengths and working on improving upon one another’s weaknesses.
Change Your Program Often:
If you stay with the same training program month after month, your body will adapt to and anticipate that workout, no matter how intense it may be. Unfortunately, the end result will be that you will see very limited growth. To avoid this issue you should look at modifying your training program every 4 – 8 weeks. On the contrary be cautious not to change your program too soon or your body can respond to the quick changes you are making and adapt accordingly.
Vary Your Exercise Order:
Humans are naturally creatures of habit. Many bodybuilders start every workout for a particular body part with the same exercise. This, however, teaches your muscles to adapt and subsequently plateau, instead of continued growth. You should look to change your exercise order every second or third training session, adding and substituting exercises liberally so that your muscles don’t know what to expect. This is what helps make your muscles grow.
Warm Up Appropriately:
Start each workout with five minutes of light cardio. Which can be performed on a treadmill, elliptical or similar cardio option. For each body part perform two light sets of 10 – 20 reps of an appropriate exercise before working your working sets of your program.
Keep Ab, Forearm and Calf Work At The End:
Always do your ab, forearm and calf routines at the end of your workouts. Because you rely on these muscles for most exercises – forearms for grip strength, abs for core strength and calves for a solid stance – they’ll compromise your strength if they’re fatigued early in your workout. Always train them after major body parts.
Duane De Jager, M.Ed., B.Ed., BPE