By WIN Contributor: Scott Paul, BSM, MSc (Candidate), Personal Trainer
I titled this “Anatomy of a Workout”, but it should be titled “Anatomy of YOUR Workout”. I get asked certain questions about my approach quite a bit…even as early as just last week. The question is: how do you think of all the exercises and do you have a plan or program to follow?
First, every client is different, has different needs and is capable of different things. I can’t follow the same approach for a 65 year old person suffering chronic shoulder pain as I do for a 19 year old hockey player looking for foot speed and core strength. And second, there are many things that contribute to what you can do (or can’t do) that day. That is why, yes, I do have certain guidelines that I follow, but no, I don’t’ have specific exercises to do that day. My work with each client is truly individualized.
The Bones Of A Workout
Here is the usual order I go by, whether it is a stability day, a strength/endurance day or a power day. Sets and reps can change and the exercises can be interchanged. This is the general guideline:
- Warm-up (general/dynamic)
- Core (anterior, posterior, transverse)
- Lower body
- Upper body
The Arms, Legs & Heart Of The Workout
My clients at WIN often see me bring out the agility ladder to start. It’s one of my favourite exercises to bring into a workout. It gets their co-ordination going and their heart rate up. Then, we shift to dynamic stretching. Walking lunges, twisting lunges, side lunges, Frankenstein walks, etc. These are great exercises to prepare the body for what’s in store.
The Core Of The Workout
Next, we move onto the core. I find this, sometimes, to be an extension of the warm-up. I try to hit the three main areas: the anterior (front), the posterior (back) and the transverse (rotational). Some clients need more attention and focus toward one area more than others, but in general, hitting all three planes is a great way to improve core strength.
The Muscle of the Workout
And lastly I hit them with the upper and lower body exercises. This is where they can see push-ups, squats, rows or any variation of them…plus a multitude of other exercises. I often like to work unilateral (one side at a time) to alleviate single side dominance, but that is another topic of discussion.
Workout Anatomy Leads To Fun Always
See, there is a method to my madness. Exercises change, intensity can change, weight can change and the rest period can also change. This provides a dynamic and effective whole body approach to fitness. No matter what your fitness background, when I use this format, and draw from my exercise knowledge base, I provide guidance that is effective and increases the fun factor.