Does this sound like you? “I’ll do a few reps here and there, maybe tackle the cardio machines for a bit, and that should be good for today.”
While getting a sweat going during your workout is certainly better than doing nothing at all, there’s a good chance that your “routine” is holding you back. In fact, if you are stepping foot into the gym without a plan already in hand, you’re likely not making the most of your time and effort. As a result, your progress will suffer.
Walk into any large, commercial gym and you’ll see many a person on a quest to get fitter, stronger and healthier. This is great, and something that society as a whole should be looking to do more of. Especially when it comes to weight training!
A lot of the time however, the problem can be that people are ‘blindly’ going through the motions while engaging in strength training. Sitting on the machines for 2,3,4,5 or more sets. Lifting the weight with no number of reps in mind or having a preconceived number in mind (usually 10), and stopping there regardless of wether any sufficient overload was achieved. And while it’s great that people are having a go, it is crucial that you have a plan!
The human body is truly remarkable. It’s ability to adapt to a stimulus, or lack thereof, is incredible. Doing the same thing for extended periods of time leads to stagnation. Conversely, changing things too often won’t give your body a chance to adapt and improve (gain muscle, get stronger, get fitter). Here’s the thing… your body, your actual PHYSICAL body, doesn’t know your goal. Sure you can say it to yourself or out loud but your muscles, bones, fat and everything else, won’t have a clue what your goal is. You can’t just lift weights in any old fashion and expect to have your body shape change to meet your desired shape. You MUST train specifically for your goal. That is why a good quality, structured weight training plan is vital! Want to get stronger? Train heavier with lower reps. Want to get fitter? Hold your heart rate at 75-80% your max for a period of time. Want to pack on muscle? Lift moderate weights for 8-12 reps. These guides are very basic and even then, the human body will adapt to them at some point. This is especially the case the more advanced a trainee you are.
Your resistance training program should be ever-evolving. If it’s not, you’re not! A structured exercise program helps you save time, allows you to try new exercises, creates more balanced results and, most importantly, supports noticeable progress in strength, muscle size, movement, posture and cardiovascular capacity.