When formulating a workout plan, it can often be tricky how to get optimum results. The one question I get asked more than anything else is how to formulate a workout where all muscles get an equal and balanced yet effective workout. So I’m here to answer that question, and give you some guidelines on which muscles to group together and then how to work with them effectively.
Choose Muscle Groups Based On Common Exercise
The mistake I find most beginners making is grouping together the wrong muscles. For example, they will pick a day to work on their leg and shoulder muscles, but a closer look can explain why this is a bad idea. First of all, there aren’t many exercises that work on both these parts together. So if your workout is going to target both the legs and shoulders, you will probably be performing a different exercise for both parts, thereby making your workout longer, and doubling the effort you will have to put in.
Know which exercises target common body parts, and try to group those parts together. For example, you can group together your triceps and chest muscles, because pushups target both those parts. Or you can group the abs and thigh muscles, because squats and lunges group those parts.
Group ‘Bigger’ Muscles With ‘Smaller’ Ones
This is a very popular technique employed by most predefined muscle workouts. The concept behind it is simple. You can really only focus on one major muscle per exercise. The others will just be supplementary benefit. If you group together two major areas, such as your shoulders and your chest, you will find one lacking behind in the development that you would ideally want for it.
If you decide to put in enough work to balance both, you will likely get exhausted from the effort, and in the long term, this will also strain your muscles, making them weaker and more susceptible to wear and tear. Therefore, make sure you group large muscles with one or two smaller ones. You can pick one day to do your chest muscles, biceps and triceps. Another day can be set away for your abs and your thighs. The shoulder muscles can be grouped together with the back muscles, and so on and so forth.
Muscle workouts can be greatly customized, because there are an infinite number of exercises you can use to work on a specific muscle. Therefore, don’t be afraid of customizing your own workout, so long as you follow the guidelines listed above. An easy example can be a three day workout consisting of your upper body (the chest, the upper arms and the shoulders), the middle body (your abs and back) and then the lower body (legs and thigh muscles). These days can be alternated with days of rest, or other workouts such as cardio workouts or circuit training.
With muscle workouts, do what feels comfortable. You should be feeling a workout, but not strain and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Kelvin wears many hats in the fitness and health industry. He believes in a practical, flexible and sustainable approach to bodybuilding. Initially Kelvin had started bodybuilding as a hobby which turned into passion and later, a successful career. He shares his expertise on strength training and body building to help the GFY community.
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