I think it is firstly important to understand that my goals are not based on what my body looks like. Simply put, I don’t train for form, I train for function. If my body responds by giving me a more athletic physique I am truly happy.
So the first thing I would like to attack is the heavy lifting. I will not go into the science, only the reasoning. But rest assured all of my knowledge is based on solid science and anecdotal proof.
As we get older (30+, an age bracket I am in) our bodies lose muscle and our bones decrease in bone density. Because of this we lose strength, muscular tone, balance and a whole myriad of other things. The only way to help slow this process is to fight it. Numerous studies prove that it is only necessary to overload a muscle to failure (the point where it cannot contract anymore) once a week to maintain or improve strength. Because of this I have chosen 4 exercises that will challenge all of my major muscles through the most basic of lifts. The deadlift. Standing barbell push press. The front squat and the power clean. Using these exercises, I lift progressively heavier every week until the 4th week where I lift as heavy as I can. I perform between 3 and 5 sets depending on my energy levels and take 3 minute breaks between sets (this rep range and break period are optimal for improving strength). I have found this to give me the most benefits with my strength training.
Workout 2 is geared towards calorie expenditure, mental toughness and cardio respiratory fitness. It is the complete opposite of what I have done the day before. The weights are usually much lighter and the movements tend to be performed much faster with the goal to be emptying my body of much needed oxygen as quickly as possible. Because I very rarely repeat an exercise during this type of workout it allows me to push 110% for 1 set. Sometimes the set it timed. Sometimes i just set a goal. For example, I may choose to do 30 pushups on one workout day and then choose to day the same exercise the following week for 3 minutes. It just depends on how I feel. But one thing is for sure – the reps will be high and my heart will be pumping out of my chest. In order to improve muscular and cardio endurance I have little if no break between sets.
My third workout of the week is my core workout. I believe the core is not just the abs you can see but everything from the sternum down to the pelvis. At times the core will recruit my delts, lats, hip flexors and gluteals just through the nature of the movement I may be doing. I will usually start very heavy with crunches on the ball for 6-10 reps and then as the workout progresses, up the reps depending on the complexity and functionality of the movement. Most rotational exercises will generally have slightly higher reps with a lower weight due to the stress on the spine during rotation. My rest periods vary depending on the exercise I have performed.
My 4th workout of the week is designed to help increase muscular size. My first two were for strength/power and endurance respectively. Workout 4 specifically trains between 8-12 reps (the reps needed for specific muscular growth) with 1-1.5 minute breaks (the optimal time for recovery when training for increased muscular growth). I will train all muscle groups from 3 different angles, just not the angles or exercises performed on previous workouts.
My 5th workout is movement for movement sake. I have no specific goals or reasoning on this day. It’s a day I may try some new things. Walking on my hands, standing on a ball, hitting the bag, perfecting deadliest techniques or anything else that may challenge me. I don’t have specific rest periods or reps. I do not train to failure. I perspire a little but I am not sweating buckets. I think you get the idea.
All in all I have created a program that will challenge all of the tenets of fitness – strength/power, endurance, balance and flexibility. It may not be the way that most people train but I am not most people. My program is designed for ME not them.
I hope this has given you a little insight into what I do during my workouts. If you have any questions or would like me to design a program for you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have an awesome day!