Structuring a Training Plan

I’ve spoken to a lot of people about diet plans and how one size does not fit all, cookie cutter online plans generally don’t get you where you want to be as everyone is different, the same goes for training, while a quick online workout can really help you get started, it’s great to know how to structure your own plan to see results.

  1. Goals!

Having a goal in mind is vital, you need to set yourself a goal. Whether it be a strength orientated goal a fitness orientated goal or just simply a goal of yours may be to start the gym. But the first step is noting down what you want to achieve 🙂

  1. Time! How many days have you got?

Having set your goal, you need to decide how many times per week you can commit to the gym or some form of training.

For example, there is no point structuring a plan of 6 sessions a week if you can only do 3.

Depending on your goal you will have certain criteria you need to hit. If your goal was, say building muscle, then you need to make sure you hit every-body part. If you can only train twice a week then an upper/Lower split can work, as could a full body routine. 3x a week and you could do a push/pull/legs routine. Note down how many days a week you can train and then structure your plan from there!

  1. Training experience

Before structuring your plan, you need to know your training experience i.e. a beginner will not be doing the same kind of training as someone who has trained for 10 years plus.

If you are a beginner, I would recommend learning and basing your training around compound lifts. For example, squat, deadlift, bench press, to build a base and foundation for the rest of your workouts. Remember, form is more important than weight so take your time especially when learning new movements.

  1. Training frequency

How often should I train each body part?

Trainnng frequency will all depend on what your goal is – as I said before training isn’t a one size fits all. I would advise everyone to hit each body part at least once a week, but if you can try hitting each body part twice, if you don’t have the time but can fit in an extra session then use this to work on a lagging body part.

  1. Training volume

How many sets and reps should I do?

How many reps you should do will generally be determined by the goal. A lower rep range is beneficial to build strength and power, whereas a higher rep range can lead to enhanced muscular endurance.

In terms of sets and reps for the whole workout there is no ideal specific number, what you need to do is work out what you can recover from effectively for the next workout. For example, if you end up setting out a routine where train your chest twice a week, and on the first session you spend hours working on it, you may be so fatigued that by the time the second session comes you may still not be able to move, then this second session would be counter productive. When structuring your own plan, you need to work out how many sets and reps are enough for you to A) recover and B) progress.

  1. Progressive Overload

A big builder of muscle is what we call mechanical tension. For example, the more load a muscle has to deal with, the more growth. So, while structuring your plan you will want to slowly over time increase the weight you’re lifting, while adding an extra 1.25kg plate a side to your exercise every couple of weeks won’t feel like much, after a few months you will notice the difference.

  1. Track your Progress

You will want to keep track of every single workout! Note down what felt easy, what felt hard, your weights and rep ranges, keep slowly progressing over time and you will see results! Whether this be a simple notepad, gym log book or a gym logging app on your phone, try to keep track of everything you do in the gym.

  1. Recovery

I always advise people to warm up thoroughly and use mobility exercises before an exercise routine, afterwards to stretch and foam roll. Also, try and get enough sleep, you need to make sure you’re recovering for your next session.

  1. Rest

I advise people to rest at least 1-2 days a week, giving your body enough time to recuperate ready for your next sessions will lead to much better results. In short you need to rest long enough so you can train again for your next session, each individual will have different recovery rates.

  1. Enjoyment!

Lastly and maybe most importantly, whilst writing a routine, pick exercises you enjoy. The best training routine is a realistic one you can stick to.

If you are interested in speaking to one of our coaches about a plan or personal training the please come see us in the gym. you can also take a look at our peronal traing page or our services for more details.