Resistance Training is a vital part of getting in shape. It is the stimulus for building muscle, increasing strength and improving the structure of your body, among several other things.
So, it is vital that you have an effective resistance training plan that you can consistently follow long-term. However, you must have the right plan for you and what you are looking to achieve. There is no single, cookie-cutter programme that suits everyone.
So, what are the considerations you must make when designing your own training plan? How can you determine what exercises are right for you?
What you are looking to achieve will play a vital role in the type of training plan you will follow. If the goal is fat loss and/or weight loss, adding in compound exercises that burn plenty of calories is a great option. If the goal is muscle building, for example, involving plenty of isolation exercise that increase tension on the desired muscle group(s).
It is very important to understand how much training you have done, prior to the designing of your training plan. If you do not have much experience of lifting weights, it is unlikely that you will be able to do more complicated movements that require perfect execution and focus. So, you would be far better off focusing on simpler, isolation movements first to build up confidence, improve coordination and not overwhelm yourself.
Strength is another very important area to consider when designing a training plan, not just in terms of the weight you should be lifting and at what intensity. If you are strong in key areas of your body, you are in a better position to perform compound movements, which are more metabolically challenging. However, if you are weaker in certain areas, you will need to train muscles in isolation first to improve stability, balance and avoid potential injury.
The next area to focus on is your own biomechanics. The structure of your body will determine what exercises suit you best. When it comes to designing you own training plan, there is no ‘one sized fits all’ approach and just because one exercise works well for someone else, does not mean it will work well for you. So, if a movement does not feel right or is causing you discomfort, it could mean that it is not right for the structure of your body.
Flexibility and Mobility
When deciding what exercises should go into your plan, it is vital that you consider your flexibility and mobility. One of the most crucial part of any movement is ‘range of motion’, which is how far you can go through the extended and shortened part of an exercise. Without this, you will be unable to place full tension on the desired muscle group and therefore your ability to make progress will be limited. If your flexibility and mobility is limited, it is better to work on this through safe isolation movements before you move onto more demanding compound lifts.
Finally, you must closely look at any injuries or physical problems you currently have or had in the past when designing your training plan. Any exercise that is likely to aggravate the problem area could lead to another serious injury, which will reduce your training time and therefore your progress. So, be aware of this and, while you should be strengthening key areas of your body, avoid exercises that will increase risk of an injury setback.
So, when you are designing your own training plan, there are a number of things you must consider to ensure it is safe, effective and enjoyable. These include your goals, experience, strength, biomechanics, flexibility, mobility, and injury history. Once you do, you can then make more informed decisions and increase your chances of making great progress.
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