READ THIS BEFORE STARTING YOUR NEW WORKOUT PROGRAM

 

Whether you're new to weightlifting or you have been training consistently for years, there are some steps worth considering before diving straight into a new workout program! 

The following categories are not permanently set. Your individual progress and consistency will determine which one will suit you best. 

Beginner 

You are new to the gym or working out in general, then the next steps will be suitable for you. 

Don't feel obliged to training everyday!

2-3 Days per week of training is enough for someone new to weightlifting. Creating a new stimulus is easier to achieve as a beginner, due to the fact a large variety of training methods will be new to the body. Training more days a week can be achieved but consider longevity and adherence before jumping the gun and taking on more than you can handle.  

 

Exercise choice 

Keep exercises simple and functional! Mastery of basic movement patterns and exercises such as; squats, bench press/ push ups, lunges, pull ups and anti rotational movements such as a pallof press. There's nothing wrong with performing other exercises in the gym, however, learning these types of exercises early will provide you with a solid foundation for lifting. 

 

Rep Range 

 

Any rep range can be beneficial within context but sticking to a rep range of 6 -12 will provide you with a weight that is challenging yet still achievable without too much technique breakdown. Consistency with the rep range and exercises you choose can help exercise execution because of neural (nervous system) learning in the initial few weeks potentially causing a higher rate of strength gains (1). Neural learning is the ability of the brain to recruit muscles for a specific movement, therefore if we were to change exercises all the time we would be wasting this adaptation. 

 

Respect the movement. Learn the skill. Excel at it. 

 

 

Intermediate 

You have now been training for a minimum of 1-2 years of quality work within the gym. Now, more variety can be introduced to your workouts. Your frequency of training can increase from 2-3 days per week to 4-5 days if one wishes, but it is not a compulsory change. 

 

Exercise Choice 

Now the foundational movement patterns have been learned, performing a variety of exercises can be more applicable to an individual with more experience. The foundation created will make the transition smoother when learning the new exercises, yet introducing them will make training potentially more enjoyable with further possibilities of progress. 

 

Load & Rep Ranges 

Heavier loads and different rep ranges should also now be incorporated, with an increased focus on utilising different rep ranges at different times. This could be performed in blocks of training (mesocycles) with a switch of focus after 6 weeks for example. A simple progression model could be, increase the load once you have hit the top end of a rep range or 1-2 reps beyond it (2). 

As your experience as a lifter continues to increase your strength and the amount of weight you can lift generally increases as well, therefore, the exercise becomes more demanding and fatiguing. Having set rest times for designated rep ranges can help improve performance and achieve the benefits of the training goal. 

 Click here to read about rest times for strength training and sign up to Jonple to have access to more.

 

Advanced 

Firstly, if you have been working out for multiple years but have not trained for a prolonged period, then you may need to put your ego aside and consider the steps in the previous beginner and intermediate categories. 

The foundation has been set in your previous years of quality training and the previous principles from intermediate and beginners should still apply. As an advanced individual training frequency can be higher at around 4-6 training sessions per week. Going above 5 sessions a week is not necessarily but consider that recovery should be a high priority if it wasn't already.

It's worth considering that as an advanced individual your strength and perceived effort will be higher than the previous 2 categories, therefore training fewer times per week may be more advantageous for some due to the increased demands of training. 

 

Due to many factors already being in place, some questions you may wanna ask as an advanced individual are: 

 

  • How much volume (sets/reps) am I performing per muscle group each week?
  • Am I getting the most out of the least, lifting without a purpose? 
  • Is my exercise selection suitable for my goals?
  • Is my exercise sequence during my workout flowing (does fatigue affect other lifts)?
  • Has my muscle group recovered before training them again?
  • Is the session specific to my goal?
  • Does my warm up translate into the session?
  • Am I getting progressively stronger?
  • Am I training hard enough?
  • Am I getting adequate sleep?

The above questions are not in order of importance and should be evaluated before the start of a program and also assessed during a program. 

 

Last But Not Least 

The above suggestions are just guidelines and mixing approaches such as training 3 days a week as an advanced individual, can be beneficial. Taking points from each phase of the training categories can be a sensible outlook, and regression or progressing when necessary should be applied. 

Resources

 

  1. Kim EH, Hassan AS, Heckman CJ. Changes in motor unit discharge patterns following strength training. J Physiol. 2019;597(14):3509-3510. doi:10.1113/JP278137
  2. American College of Sports Medicine. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Mar;41(3):687-708. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181915670. PMID: 19204579.

 

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