In this article we will describe how to create a custom workout based on your fitness goals.
Most of us usually have one of the four goals when we start a strength-training program, these are
1. Gain Mass
2. Get Lean
3. Build Strength
4. Sports Performance
Lets get into the details on how we can design a workout optimal for each of these fitness goals
This type of workout is optimized for muscle growth. Compound movements provide better stimulus for muscle growth, although isolation exercises may also be used to target a specific muscle group for aesthetic purposes. Generally the goal here is to take the muscle to failure and not to lift maximal weight. This can be achieved by lifting moderate weights over moderate rep ranges. Ideal rep range is between 6-12 reps per set. Rest between sets should be 60s-120s for compound movements and 30-90s for isolation. Generally compound exercise must be performed at lower rep ranges (6-8) while isolation exercises should have higher reps (8-12). Compound exercises mostly should be performed before the isolation exercises.
This type of workout is optimized for fat loss while maintaining muscle mass. To lose fat we need to burn more calories, since compound movements engage more muscles they burn more calories and are preferred. An optimal fat loss program is the one with high reps ranges 10-30 reps/set. Generally the rest between sets must be minimized to provide best results. Also, the faster and more explosively the workout is performed, higher will be the calories burnt. Most often the strength training is performed in the form of HIIT or cardio strength training, where an exercise is performed fast and explosively for certain period of time followed by a short rest and then the cycle is repeated. Steady state cardio should also be incorporated on rest days to optimize the fat loss.
This type of workout is optimized to increase your ability to lift heavy weights. Compound movements are a must for this goal. The focus should be on the three big lifts bench press, squat and deadlift. The target should be to lift as heavy as you can near your 1 rep max. For such a goal ideal workout is the one with low reps (2-5 reps per set) and long breaks (2-5 minutes) in between the sets. Since the weights lifted a near maximum, the muscles must be give given atleast 72 hours of rest in between.
This type of workout is optimized for power production, that is, how quickly can we move the weight? Explosive movements such as Olympic lifts or plyometrics should be included in such a workout. Usually the athletes who do sports training are looking for a balance between strength and endurance hence the rep ranges generally are similar as that of building mass 6-12 per set. The approach followed is that of periodization where a certain period of time is dedicated for building base strength and power for the sport. As the athlete gets closer to the event the training is shifted more towards the sports performance while strength training decreased to sustaining levels. This way the athlete just maintains their strength gains, while honing their sports skills.
So there you have it, the difference in the workout program for different fitness goals.