“Which exercises should I be doing: compound exercises, HIIT, split set training, what reps, sets, tempo, how many times per week?
Our answer to everyone with this question is – what is your exercise experience and what is your goal?
How we design programmes specific to individuals is different for someone with 10 years weight training experience compared to somebody who is just starting out who hasn’t exercised in a long time.
How we design a programme for a man who wants toned arms and a flatter stomach, will differ completely to someone who Is looking to start a 4-5 stone weight loss transformation.
There will be many variables to consider, which makes it so difficult to give a clear answer to a wide audience.
However, here are some fundamentals everyone should think about.
If you’re looking for general fat loss and you’re quite new to training, you want to pick exercises that utilise as wider range of muscle groups as possible. You also want to endure a whole body approach, where you are moving from upper to lower body exercises throughout the workout.
You want to be trying to include as many compound exercises as possible – especially in the first month of training. These are the ones where you will be using as much muscles as possible. Examples of these are, pull downs/ pull ups, bent-over-rows, squats, lunges, big pressing movements, deadlifts and lower body hinge movements.
As a beginner, your body will respond so well to multi- joint exercises, you wont have to worry about individual, small muscles. As you get more experienced and as your body becomes more conditioned, then you can start to split body parts up.
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If your goal is building muscle or fat loss, you would have a specific shape in mind you would like to have at the end of it. You would then need to incorporate specific isolated muscle exercises to grow and shape different parts of the body. You will get your overall growth from the big lifting such as squats, deadlifts, bench pressing, rows etc. but to work on smaller, weaker areas you would have to work on them in isolation. If you are weak at pull ups, for example, I would suggest working on seated-pull-downs for a period of time first and build up to it. Also, by simply getting stronger in your arms, chin ups or any other pulling movement will help your back exercises and shape your back.
Too many people copy workouts from magazines that are purely focused around isolated exercises when they really need to be putting meat on their frame and increase their overall strength. On the other hand, people who lack shape but have size, need to look at refining their physique with more isolation work.
Think about your goal, think about your training experience and work from there.