People who make muscle-building and strength improvement the primary goals of their fitness regimen need careful planning to achieve their full potential.
This is because the same workout routines grow less effective over time; change and growth is required to reach the most ambitious goals. Heres a basic overview of the long-term planning required for good strength training workouts.
The Exercise / Rest Cycle
Obviously, muscles need exercise to grow and gain strength. However, this process subjects the muscles to considerable strain when its done with any real intensity. Muscles need extended recovery periods in between individual workout sessions. The rest time allows muscles to repair the minor damage caused by exercising and rebuild themselves larger and stronger than before. A good plan for strength changes to ensure that the muscles get the rest they need even as the exercise applied to them becomes more aggressive.
Starting Out With Full-Body Strength Training Workouts
For most individuals, the best place to start on strength training is with full-body workouts. By performing individual lifts and exercises in short repetitions, a single session in the gym can provide a challenge to every major muscle group in the body. The best way to schedule these sessions is to intersperse regular rest days into the overall exercise schedule. Performing a full-body exercise routine should be followed by a day without strength training to give the muscles the rest they need. Loading three good workouts into a week is relatively easy on this schedule.
Splitting Into Concentrated Workouts
As the muscles grow stronger, they require more intensive effort to achieve further growth. This means that a basic full-body workout is going to deliver diminishing returns as the body grows accustomed to it. In order to continue challenging themselves, smart individuals will eventually shift to a more advanced, targeted schedule. Moving from three weekly workouts to four is common. In order to avoid subjecting the muscles to undue strain, though, individual workout days are shifted to concentrate on first the upper body and then the lower body. This allows the exerciser to perform two workouts consecutively while still allowing all of their muscles ample time to recover.
Advanced Workouts For Individual Muscle Groups
While many people are satisfied with the results they can achieve by using workouts concentrating on either the upper or the lower body, some individuals want to push themselves to their limits. This requires further specialization. Workouts at this level are frequently scheduled five or six times a week. In order to avoid over-straining any individual muscle groups, an advanced rotating focus is used. A day concentrating on the arms would be followed by one working on the legs, with subsequent days devoted to the chest, back, shoulders, and core. This delivers an aggressive challenge to each muscle group while also giving them the maximum possible recovery period.
This general overview hopefully makes it clear that proper strength training calls for long-term planning as well as short-term dedication and commitment. A plan thats created to reflect the changing needs of the bodys muscles will produce much better results than a plan that remains constant.