Is Your Programming Where it Should Be? Part 3

In my first 2 posts about programming (Part 1) and (Part 2), I discussed not only some of the details about why programming your exercises is so important and not just doing them “on the fly”, but as to why the order of exercises are just as important as the exercises themselves.

Now I would like to talk about some of the actual exercises themselves and how you pick and choose which parts to do on which days.

For starters most people when they exercise will break up their days usually as follows:

  1. Chest and Triceps (99.9% of the time is Monday)
  2. Back and Biceps
  3. Shoulders and Legs
  4. Biceps and Triceps
  5. Talking on their cell phone while taking up a bench

This may not be a bad thing.  But if you pay attention these are the kinds of people who will do the exact same workouts day in and day out, week after week, year after year and they will look exactly the same on day one as they do years from now.  Basically they are just going through the motions and not really gaining anything.

Instead of training specific muscle groups, try to imagine training Movement Patterns.  (ding, lightbulb).  Not only did we just go from being specific to a little more general, we will now train multiple muscle groups at the same time, therefore instantly becoming more efficient with our workouts and delivering faster and better results.

So What are the these Movement Patterns and how do I train them?

84kb cropped version

Before you end up at the Crossroads and don’t know which way to turn, think about the exercises you currently do during your workouts, and describe what you are doing.

I will start with the Bench Press.  What exercises are similar to the bench?  Okay you have your dumbell bench, pushups, incline bench…you get the idea.  Now what exactly are you doing?  You are Pushing away from your body Horizontally relative to your position.  So for all intensive purposes lets call this “category” Horizontal Press exercises.

Next up is Bent-Over Row.  Okay so your similar exercises are your Seated Row, your T-Bar Row, Barbell Row, etc.  Think about it again.  Now you are Pulling towards your body Horizontally relative to your body.  This category is the Horizontal Pull exercises.

So all of your exercises can in one way or another fall into one of these “categories” of exercises.  If you base your programs around these categories it makes for a simpler program, which can lead to a simpler workout, but still delivering better results.

The Main exercise Categories are as follows:

Upper Body:

  • Horizontal Press – (Bench, Push-Ups)
  • Horizontal Pull – (Bent Over Rows, Seated Rows)
  • Vertical Press – (Military Press, KB Overhead Press)
  • Vertical Pull – (Pull Ups, Lat Pull Downs)

Lower Body:

  • Quad Dominant – (Squats)
  • Hip Dominant – (Deadlifts)
  • Posterior Chain (Straight Leg) – (RDL’s, Back Extensions)
  • Posterior Chain (Bent Leg) – (Bridges, GHR)

This is just the basics for general exercises.  The category of Single Leg exercises has a few “sub” categories within itself that I will go over more later, but you get the general idea.

By Putting your exercises into these “Categories” Instead of picking and choosing which exercises to do based on what Muscles they work, it takes a lot of the confusion out of exercise selection.

I hope this has given you all a little insight on some better programming choices.  If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.

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