This article will share a few ideas on how to structure your home or gym workout.
Contents of a workout:
- Mental check-in.
- Dynamic warm-up.
- Gradual build up to higher intensity.
- Plyometric or power training.
- Strength in the 8-12 rep range.
- Burnout set on a target area.
- Isometric stretches.
- Optimization of the post-workout recovery.
Before I get started, just remember that the healthiest workout possible is the one that you can do safely.
1. Mental check-in:
In the 5-15 minutes leading up to the workout, ask yourself these questions.
What is one way that that I could get just a tiny bit stronger or faster today, or do something I’ve never done?
Has anything happened in the last 12 hours that could impact my workout?
What is realistic for me today and how can I organize my expectations so that I feel successful?
I still think that just showing up is a success in itself!
2. Dynamic warmup:
There are two primary purposes and functions of the dynamic warm-up.
a. Injury prevention
b. Performance enhancement
“The study has demonstrated that the use of an activity specific warm-up may be useful to enhance performance.”https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21881532/
With regard to injury prevention, a dynamic warm-up is beneficial for joint lubrication and it also acts as a safe physiological gateway from a low heart rate to an elevated heart rate. Additionally, you can use dynamic warm-up exercises to help prepare areas that currently aren’t feeling 100%.
For performance enhancement, the ideal dynamic warm-up is the one that uses similar movement patterns to the activity you’re about to do. This video should give you some ideas.
Also, you can use the dynamic warm-up to continue your mental preparation or hash out some thoughts that are going on in your head. Make sure you are still present though.
3. Gradually build up higher intensity in your main event.
Whether you are lifting or running, take another 5-10 minutes to gradually progress in your workout intensity so that you can safely make an attempt to approach your limits.
For a runner, this could mean jogging and focusing on form and muscle activation for half a mile. For a squatter, it could mean beginning with weights far below your working weights.
This is where the warm-up ends and the main workout begins.
4. Plyometric or power training.
This part of the workout is the best opportunity to do something skill intensive. Ideally, it is something that requires your full focus. It is something that involves speed or explosiveness. It may last 1-20 seconds.
You can do jumps, short sprint intervals, or dumbbell snatches to name a few.
The benefit is that it activates the high potential fast twitch Type II muscle fibers that are the muscle fibers related to longevity in humans.
“As little as a 10% reduction in the prevalence of sarcopenia has the potential to save $1.1 billion in US health care costs.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874224/
The second benefit is that you will become more athletic and resilient because your joints, connective tissue, and synapses learn how to deal with sudden occurrence of force.
Now that we’ve worked on some skill or power, we’re ready to move on to strength.
At this point in the workout, the muscle fibers and central nervous system are activated, and now it’s time to break it down a bit so that it can rebuild stronger.
Strength sets are most commonly somewhere around the 8-12 rep range and if you utilize time under tension, the set could last from 20 to 60 seconds.
6. High rep burnout on target areas.
This is a useful way to target a muscle group near the end of your workout. By now, you’re probably pretty tired, but you just have a couple more sets to go.
If you’re working on biceps, try a 30 rep controlled set of curls with light weight. If you’re working booty, maybe do some frog pumps.
The goal is to get a good burn and to get a good pump into the muscles.
7. Isometric stretching.
Congratulations, you finished the hardest part. Now is a good time to stretch the areas that you worked and to stretch other tight areas that you might also have.
The reasons I stretch are because it actually works to improve recovery and decrease injury. It’s about stretching tight muscles, while strengthening inhibited muscles.
For people wanting muscle growth, stretching can help with this as well because it can open up more space to grow. There is even a bodybuilding program that is incorporates brutal, extreme weighted stretches for the purpose of hypertrophy.
8. Hydration and the post-workout recovery.
Whatever your goal is, hydration helps.
I’ll say it again.
Whatever your goal is, hydration helps.
As for post-workout nutrition, you should always have a plan before you even started your workout. Far too often people have absolutely no idea what they will eat after a workout, which is one reason people go for something convenient instead of nourishing.
Stay connected to the big idea.
The big idea of the workout is that it’s necessary for your health and well-being.
Don’t get lost in the distractions.
As long as you are alive, there is hope for your fitness! Thank you for reading.