What’s the easiest way to set up an effective training plan?
If you’re reading this, then you might be unsure of where to start or you want to make changes to your current training plan.
In this post I will go through the following key points for designing an effective training program:
- Current Goals
- Effective Exercises
- Training Volume
- Training Phases
- Training Frequency
- Advanced Training Techniques
What Are Your Current Goals?
Before even starting to design a training program you need to be very specific with outlining your goals. And, what you are trying to achieve in the long-term.
Your goals could be:
- Preparing For A Fitness Competition
- Dropping Stubborn Body Fat
- Getting Ready For Summer
- Changing Your Lifestyle
- Feeling Stronger & Healthier
Once you understand what your goals are, you can then move forward to identify the other areas for building your training plan.
Write down your goal and set a realistic time-frame, most of my clients who have completed the 28 Day Mind & Body Challenge found that this time-frame was enough to have great results.
This time-frame also allowed them to focus on different training phases with Hypertrophy, Strength, and Endurance.
Training Plan Phases & Volume
To have the most effective body composition results whether it be for focusing on dropping body fat or building strength and toning up, resistance based training phases.
The most effective resistance based training phases I utilize for my clients programs are:
- Hypertrophy (Building Muscle Focus)
- Strength (Building Strength Focus)
- Endurance (Increasing Endurance Capacity)
By focusing on these key phases you will be able to develop lean body mass, build strength with your CNS (Central Nervous System) and increase your cardiovascular / endurance capacity.
Each of these phases work side by side, you can’t have one without the other.
The strength (CNS) development will aid your hypertrophy phases and the hypertrophy phases will aid your strength phases.
And, building your endurance capacity will effectively aid all areas of your training program.
Training volume is utilized by identifying weaker areas and prioritizing more volume around those areas.
For example you may want to develop stronger legs and find your upper body is bigger than your lower body.
In this case, you would prioritize more exercises towards your lower body rather than your upper body.
Which Exercises Are Best For Your Training Plan?
The exercises you choose will revolve around prioritizing training volume and your goals.
With strength & hypertrophy phases you should be incorporating the same resistance-based exercises but changing the sets, reps, and resting time.
- Hypertrophy Phase (4-8 weeks) – Sets: 3 Reps: 8-12 Rest: 60 seconds
- Strength Phase (4-8 weeks) – Sets: 1-5 Reps: 3-6 Rest: 2-3 minutes
- Endurance Phase (4-8 weeks) – Sets: 3-5 Reps: 12-18 Rest: 30 seconds
In this example above you can see that depending on your phase you will be completing different amounts of sets/reps, as well as resting time changes.
Below is an example of exercises you can incorporate for each training day, this is based on a 6 day split with 1 rest day.
- Day 1 – Legs (Posterior): Barbell Squats, Stiff-Legged-Deadlifts, Barbell Deadlifts, Leg Press (high feet position), Lying Leg Curls (machine), Seated Calf Raise (machine)
- Day 2 – Shoulders / Arms: Standing Military Press, Dumbbell Lateral Raise, Triceps Pushdown, Rear Delt Raise, Bench Dips, Seated Dumbbell Curl, Barbell Curl
- Day 3 – Chest / Back: Bench Press, Incline Dumbbell Chest Flys, Wide Grip Lat Pulldown, Bent Over Barbell Row, Straight-Arm Pulldown
- Day 4 – Lower Body (Anterior): Barbell Front Squats, Walking Dumbbell Lunges, Leg Press (low feet position), Hack Squats, Leg Extensions
- Day 5 – Abs / Core: Russian Twist, Air Bike, Hanging Leg Raise, Plank, Cable Crunch, Toe Touchers, Swiss Ball Crunch
- Day 6 – HIIT: Hill Sprints (1 minute 100% Intensity, 30 seconds 30% intensity) 15-minute session
Long extended regular cardio sessions isn’t recommended.
Generally you will have effective body composition results focusing on a resistance-based training plan.
However, 1-2 quick 15 minute HIIT sessions per week can help accelerate fat loss.
And, boost your metabolism allowing your body to burn calories for hours after each session.
Training Frequency & Recovery
At the beginning stage of a training program, you may want to have 1-day rest between each workout.
Then slowly build up to having only 1-2 rest days per week.
It’s also important to note that a deload week should be implemented every 8 weeks of training.
This is a time when your body’s CNS (central nervous system) can have a well-earned break and allow time to rest and recover.
A deload week will also ensure you aren’t hitting any training plateaus, as you progress.
You will notice at times your progress with your training my stall.
And, you may also notice your body is more tired than usual. This is a sign you need to implement a deload week to allow time for effective recovery.
Advanced Training Techniques
As you progress and adapt to your training plan, it’s important to implement some Advanced Training Techniques.
These techniques will allow you to continue getting maximum performance, output, and results along your journey.
Below outlined are some important training techniques which you can incorporate into your training program:
Drop sets are an essential training technique to push through plateau’s and continue forcing growth and progress.
Essentially you will finish a set and then immediately lower your weight and continue for more reps until failure.
When implemented correctly into a training program, drop sets will increase blood flow into your muscles and further fatigue your muscles, forcing extra growth and results.
Normally when you complete a set in the gym you will be recruiting a certain number of muscle fibers.
Once you lower the weight down and continue for more reps, your muscles will further recruit different muscle fibers.
This will help develop the muscle better than training with normal sets.
Super-setting can be a great way to utilize time in the gym and allows you to target more areas in a shorter amount of time.
Essentially a super-set is when you complete two set’s for different muscle groups without a rest break.
For example a super-set could include bench press and lat pull-down. Once the bench press set is complete you will go over and do your lat-pull down set without rest.
Strength training is a great time to implement super-sets.
You will have longer rest periods in-between sets which you can utilize for training other body parts in the same training session.
There are two parts of a contraction when performing an exercise:
- Concentric Contraction: Shortening your muscle as it acts against resisting force, for example, a bicep curl you will be lifting the weight concentrically upwards towards your chest.
- Eccentric Contraction: Lengthening your muscle after the shortening (concentric) movement. Using the bicep curl example above, you would be lowering the weight down towards your waist.
By slowing the eccentric contraction down to around 3 seconds during your hypertrophy phase 1, you will essentially build greater body composition results.
This is typically why lighter weights are used with hypertrophy than strength phase training which focuses on faster concentric/eccentric contractions.
Rest-Pause’s are excellent for forcing more reps out in the same sets.
Especially when training with high rep ranges in your endurance phase.
Once you’ve reached your reps in a set, take a quick break for 10-15 seconds and continue with a few more reps until you’re out of energy.
Remember to keep Rest-Pause’s for the last sets of your workouts when you’re aiming for complete muscle failure.
One of my personal favorites is negatives.
Very similar to eccentric training which involves slowing down the eccentric (lowering) contraction targeting hypertrophy.
When lifting much heavier weights, find a spotter to assist you with the concentric contraction. Then have them force the weight down (eccentric contraction).
It’s best to perform these types of negatives at the beginning of your session when you have more energy to perform them.
Giant-Sets are great for mixing things up with your workouts.
You can essentially stimulate and force more growth.
To perform a giant set you will add up to 7 exercises within the same muscle group.
- Assisted chin up’s.
- Seated row
- Wide grip lat pulldown
- Straight arm lat push down.
Putting Everything Together
Well I hope you now have a better understanding of the more complex areas, for a training plan.
Any training program should be implemented as a lifestyle change.
In conclusion, an effective training plan should allow you to live a healthier and happier life.
If you’re looking to get started and wanting a program with advanced level training plans already set up, & a mindset focus, check out the 28 Day Mind & Body Challenge.
You can join today with an 80% discount, if you don’t receive incredible results, you get your money back.