Strength training framework #1

Rather than stick to a certain workout or sets of workouts, I use the following principles as a framework and then mix the exercises up depending on how I feel and what equipment is available.

After a light warm up & some stretching (partly to focus the mind, but also to see what body parts are tight and what feels strong), I’ll start with large muscle groups, so either chest/back exercises or all-body moves such as deadlifts, and finish with the weaker links in the chain such as triceps/biceps. Legs and shoulders will be somewhere in the middle. The thinking behind this order is that you won’t be able to challenge large muscle groups such as your back or chest if your arms are fatigued, for example, which makes sense.

I’ll normally aim for a full-body workout, but with an emphasis, for example – shoulders one session – that changes workout-by-workout. To keep my body guessing, I’ll never use the same moves in consecutive workouts, and I try to alternate “push” exercises with “pull” exercises within the session to make sure that muscle pairs (agonists and antagonists) get equal attention.

Finally, to keep an eye on symmetry, I’ll include some unilateral exercises – for example, single arm tricep pushdowns, or hamstring curls performed one leg at a time – and aim for equal reps from both left and right sides.

As you’ll know from the about me bit, one of my big goals from strength training is to encourage/maintain good posture, but if I happen to develop superhuman strength and save the world from alien invaders in the process, then so be it : )

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First post: let’s keep it busy

Welcome to the blog, and a toast to post numero uno : ) Cheers!

I’ll start off by describing my workout basics as they stand today, and will revisit them a year from now. There’s no such thing as “the perfect workout” – your body gets used to stuff and progress can stall, so change is good.

Ok, here it is – I like a busy gym. Active people add to the atmosphere, which can be worth an extra rep, and with an “audience” you’ll want to show your best. In a quiet gym, it’s too easy to give up and go home. But how about the equipment…it’s all taken…that guy’s on my favourite machine? Not a problem. Pick something else. I’ve never been in a gym yet where EVERY piece of kit is taken. Even then you could do still do bodyweight exercises. You can see where I’m going with this: a busy gym forces you to break up your routine, ditch your usual moves and keeps your body guessing and adapting. All good things : )