How To Structure Your Workouts for Best Results
Structuring your workout properly will allow for max performance, the best range of motion, and more results! Skipping any one of the below steps could lead to lactic acid buildup and muscle fatigue, lack of mobility, and injury.
It's important to listen to your body and take your time preparing for each movement. Do your body, joints, and muscles a favor and prep your body for those big lifts.
1. Light Aerobic
A warm-up helps increase your body temperature, warms up your muscles, and prepares your joints for physical activity. This will help reduce the risk of injury. Plus adding light aerobic activity signals to your brain it's time to work. Get that blood flowing and do some light cardio like walking, marching, arm circles, and jumping jacks.
2. Mobility Work
Not everyone needs to do this but we suggest mobility work to improve range of motion before working out. We suggest light, dynamic stretches rather than aggressive, static stretching.
3. Warm-Up Sets
To maximize your gym performance do a few warm-up sets to prepare your body for the heavy load and movement. Do at least 1-2 sets at 50-75% of your normal resistance to allow your body to safely acclimate.
4. Compound Exercises
Now that you are warmed up you should focus first on your heavy compound exercises (lifts that work multiple body parts). Examples are bench press, shoulder press, back rows, deadlift, and weighted squats. Assuming your form is proper, don't be afraid to go heavier on these lifts. Sets in the 6-10 rep range are great for improving strength.
5. Isolation Exercises
Isolation exercises should be done AFTER compound exercises. These movements are isolated to just one muscle group and add training volume to your routine. Examples of this are biceps curls, triceps presses, crunches, and booty band drills. Isolated exercises don't activate as many muscles, but you can use them to fine-tune areas you want to improve. You can work in a higher rep range for these, somewhere between 12-20 reps.
Cardio is always an option but it should be done after weight training if your goal is to build muscle and tone up. It's better to be fresh for your strength training, so save your cardio for after. Plus cardio burns a higher % of fat when done at the end of your workout rather than the beginning. Cardio will also increase your endurance which will make you stronger with your lifts and recovery time between sets. Do not neglect cardio!