Exercise Program Design Tips

Read these 25 Exercise Program Design Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Muscle Building tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How many repitions should I do if I want to build strength and mass?

Number of Reps for Strength and Mass

Lower repetitions and more weight (i.e. 4-10 reps) help to build strength and mass, with the real low reps more for strength, and slightly higher reps for muscle mass.

   
How often should I change my routine?

When to Change routine's for Beginners

Changing your workout routine every 4 weeks is a great way to keep exercise interesting and stay motivated. By adding different exercises to your routine, you will be forced to concentrate harder and thereby see more results. Additionally, as a beginner after about 4 weeks your body has adapted to your initial routine, therefore in order to continue to see gains your workouts must be changed

   
What´s a good way to fatigue my muscles?

Descending-sets

After completing as many reps as possible for any exercise, reduce the weight and do a few more reps, drop the weight again for the last few agonizing reps.
This will enable a person to completly fatigue the muscle.

   
How do I use periodization?

What is periodization?

Alternate intensity for days,weeks,or months. Change the number of reps,sets,exercises to surprise the muscle into growing.

   
I go to the gym 5 times a week and run 30 min(8 min/mile)3 days a week. Is that too much? I'm taking lots of protein and calories. I want to know if I am exercising too much even though I rest 2 days a week.

How Much Is Too Much Exercise?

How much exercise is right varies by individual fitness level. For weight training, the important thing is to not work the same muscle group two days in a row. If you work out with high numbers of sets or heavy weights, you may need to take longer between workouts for a particular muscle. Workouts of 45 minutes or less are best. Growth hormone peaks around that time, and doing more may lead to overtraining. Three days of running is a good program, especially if you are doing a lot of weight training. Individuals can vary their workouts and still get good results, but it's important to cut back if you seem to be too fatigued or stop making progress.

   
Does cardio decrease strength?

Cardio,before or after weights??

According to the International Journal of Sports Medicine, strength is decreased when doing cardiovascular exercise before strength training. Therefore, if you want to focus on building strength hit the weights first. On the other hand, if cardiovascular fitness is more your focus, do cardiovascular training first. The more advanced you are the more significant the order of your strength and cardiovascular training will be.

   
What are negative reps?

Negative-reps

Negatives are done by lowering a weight that is heavier than you can lift. Negatives should be done in a power rack for bench press, squats, overhead press, and lying tri-extensions. All other exercises can be done on a bench. Negatives should be done on the last set of an exercise, when you are completly warmed up.
If you can bench press 250 lbs., on your last set put 300 lbs. on the bar and just slowly lower the bar to your chest and have a spotter lift it off.

   
How often should I train?

Frequency

Never train a large muscle group more than 3 times a week. Calves and abs can be trained every other day.

   
How many reps do I do for definition and endurance?

Repetitions for Definition and Endurance

Higher repetitions contribute more to muscle definition and endurance, (i.e. 12-15 reps).

   
I walk briskly to work 20 minutes, 5 days a week, and usually walk home. I have been doing light weight training at home. I dramatically changed my eating habits and raised my protein intake. Where can I get get guidance on healthful eating?

Eating and Exercise Planning

You can find a lot of good information and advice on healthful eating at a site set up by the U.S. Government to explain and support the latest USDA Food Guide Pyramid. Go to www.mypyramid.gov. Spend some time to get the most out of it. After all, if you're a taxpayer, you paid for it! The site also recommends exercise, but is less specific. The general recommendation is to do at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise five days a week. You should also do some weight training two or three times a week, and stretching a few times a week. You might like yoga or tai chi, or want to do some sports. Young people can start with more than the minimum, and make sure you find activities that are fun for you.

   
As an intermediate or advanced how oftern should I train each muscle?

Training as Intermediate or Advanced

As an intermediate or advanced musclebuilder work each muscle group no more than twice per week, as a general rule. If you work them more than that it will be difficult for them to recover, hence leading to overtraining.

   
Should I stick with the same routine?

Make a change

Variety is the spice of life and of training. Try making small changes in grip,angle,reps,weight,machine or free weights. Making small changes forces the body to adapt by increasing in strength and size, not to mention keeping your mind interested in what you're doing.

   
Do I need to do cardio if I just want to build muscle mass?

Cardio Important

In order to see your newly found muscles, cardiovascular training is extremely important, as it burns fat and increases your cardiorespiratory capacity, which will allow you to train harder and build muscle more efficiently. Keep in mind however, that too much cardio will have a negative effect on your attempts to gain muscle.

   
What is circuit training?

Rest periods between sets

Rest time between sets can be between 0 sec. - 2 min.
depending on your goals. No rest is called circuit training and is used to work your heart and muscles in a short period of time. Usually heavy weights and low reps require more rest(90-120 sec.). Lighter weights and higher reps with less intensity work well with 30-60 sec. rest.

   
Which muscle groups should I work together?

Opposing Muscle Groups

Work opposing muscle groups together, chest and back, biceps and triceps, quads and hamstrings. This will help to provide balance in terms of opposing muscle groups and lead to better posture and body mechanics.

   
How do I get through a sticking point?

Muscle confusion

One of the best ways to break through a sticking point is to use muscle confusion. Change something about your workout;sets,reps,rest time,frequency,exercises,diet and so on. Crank up your intensity level and be creative; find a new workout partner if needed. The human body will adapt fairly quickly so variety is important.

   
When I am weight training when should I stretch?

Stretching and Weight Training

Stretching muscles in between sets, and especially after workouts promotes better blood flow to the muscles which supplies nutrients and removes waste. As a result, your soreness should not be as significant and you should be able to lift more intensely.

   
I am already skinny and I want to build muscle, but I don't want to stop jogging. If I continue to jog will I be able to build muscle?

Muscle Building and Jogging

You can't build maximum muscle if you do a lot of jogging, but you can build some. If your jogging is fairly moderate, there is less problem. Make sure you eat enough to offset the extra exercise.

   
I go to the gym 5 times a week and run 30 min(8 min/mile)3 days a week. Is that too much? I'm taking lots of protein and calories. I want to know if I am exercising too much even though I rest 2 days a week.

How Much Is Too Much Exercise?

How much exercise is right varies by individual fitness level. For weight training, the important thing is to not work the same muscle group two days in a row. If you work out with high numbers of sets or heavy weights, you may need to take longer between workouts for a particular muscle. Workouts of 45 minutes or less are best. Growth hormone peaks around that time, and doing more may lead to overtraining. Three days of running is a good program, especially if you are doing a lot of weight training. Individuals can vary their workouts and still get good results, but it's important to cut back if you seem to be too fatigued or stop making progress.

   
Should I just do the same workout day in and day out?

Avoid Identical Workouts

Avoid doing the exact same workout each time you train. You can prevent this from happening by altering the order of the exercises you perform, the number of reps, number of sets, rest between sets, weight used and any number of other variables. This will keep you moving towards your training goals.

   
As a hardgainer what exercises should I focus on?

Hardgainers

If you are a hardgainer focus on exercises that work multiple muscle groups, and don't worry so much about doing isolation movements. Before you shape and isolate you need to have some mass, and the best way to build mass is using multi-joint, compound movements like the bench press, squat, shoulder press etc.

   
What are forced reps?

Forced Reps

Forced reps require a spotter for most exercises. At the end of a set on any exercise, have the spotter help you with 2-3 extra reps(forced-reps) until you are completly fatigued. This technique should only be used on the last set of an exercise, as it may lead to overtraining if overused.

   
What are super sets?

Super-sets

Super-sets are performed by doing two different exercises with no rest between them. Example:
Tricep pushdowns- 10 repetitions
Bicep curls- 10 repetitions
Do 3 supersets. This is an excellent way to save time and get a great pump.

   
How many reps should I do to build muscle?

How many reps to build muscle?

8-12 reps have been shown to build muscle faster than other rep schemes.

   
What is different about dumbell movements vs other movements?

Dumbbell Movements

Dumbbell movements activate more stabilizing muscles and therefore will be more difficult to perform. In addition they isolate each side of the body, not allowing one side to take over for weakness in the other. They are especially good for beginners to help them develop muscle control.

   
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