Create a Workout Plan in 6 easy steps

Creating a workout plan is an important life skill.  I have many clients who have said to me “I don’t know what to do when I go to the gym, so I don’t do anything but the cardio machines.” While cardio has an important role in an exercise plan, strength training is key to long term health.

I love teaching classes and training my clients, but my ultimate goal is to empower and educate my participants so they know what to do and how to perform a full body workout on their own. If you fall into the category of choosing cardio because you are unsure of what else to do then read on, print this out and take it to the gym with you.

I have compiled 6 steps to help you create your own total body workout.
1. Choose a glute or quadricep exercise.
The legs and butt are 2 of the biggest muscle groups of the body. It is important to include these muscle groups in your workout because of the functional purpose the glutes and quads perform on a daily basis. Sitting, standing, walking, and running are movements made easier with strong glutes and quads. Here are some great exercises to help strengthen the quads and glutes:
* Walking lunges
* Bridges
* Reverse lunges
* Bulgarian split Squats
* Sumo Squats
* Goblet Squats
* Steps ups
* Kettlebell Swings
* Leg Press
* Leg Extension machine
Lunges are a great exercise to strengthen the quads and glutes.

2. Choose a Back Exercise.
It is important to work the posterior chain of the body the glutes, hamstrings, calves, triceps and back muscles. Here are a few exercises to try:
* seated row
* 1 arm dumbell row
* pull ups
* Lat pulldowns (with tubing or machine)
* Plank Rows

-> I recommend that you choose 1 exercise from quad/glute group, perform 12-15 reps and then immediately perform 12-15 reps of a selected back exercise from the list above. Rest 1 minute then repeat 1-2 more times. Then continue with this pattern with exercises 3 & 4.

Kettlebell swings are a dynamic exercise that strengthen the hamstrings.

3. Choose a Hamstring Exercise.
Hamstrings are so important to focus on! Most of the time people work glutes and quads and ignore hamstrings which increases their risk for injury. Here are some exercises to choose from:
* Dumbell deadlifts
* Barbell deadlifts
* Single leg deadlifts
* Kettlebell swings
* Exercise ball ham curls
* Bridges.

4. Choose a Chest Exercise.
Every workout plan should have a pushing exercise and a pulling (back exercises listed above) exercise included. Here are some options for chest exercises:
* Dumbell bench press
* Incline bench press
* Dumbell flies
* Pushups
* Elevated feet or exercise ball pushups
* Bench press with a bar
* Decline Bench Press

5. Choose a shoulder exercise.
Focus on the front, middle or rear delts and scult your shoulders! If you are running out of time, skip over this one and move on to core exercises. While these exercises are very effective, the other upper body exercises you have already performed utilized the shoulder muscles, so this would be the step to cut if time is an issue.
Shoulder exercises include:
* Overhead press
* Dumbell Front Raise
* Dumbell Side Raise
* Reverse Delts
* Upright Rows with dumbells or tubing

Planking is a great exercise to strengthen core, back, shoulders, glutes and inner/outer thighs.

6. Core Exercises.
The core is the most important part of your workout. The core involves so many more muscles than the ‘abs.’ Select 2-4 exercises, perform each 30 – 60 seconds.
* Plank – any variation, planking is great!
* Flutter kicks
* Russian twists
* Bicycle crunches
* Bird Dog Exercise (on all 4’s lift & extend opposite arm & leg, hold then switch)
* Supermans
* Bridges
* Curl (crunch) + press dumbell to ceiling
* Reverse crunches

I have just touched the surface with options, there are many other exercises to choose from. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, it is recommended that adults train the major muscle groups with resistance training exercises such as those mentioned above, a minimum of 2 days per week.

Strength training helps to build muscle which provides support to our bones and decreases the risk for Osteoporosis. As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass. It is especially critical that women of pre and post menopausal include strength training in their regular workout regimen because during these changes there is a natural decrease in the amount of muscle strength and size. A decrease in muscle mass naturally decreases the body’s metabolism which attributes to weight gain.

While cardio is important, studies have shown that the benefits of resistance training surpass those who participate only in cardio programs.

I hope you have found this helpful! I know life can get so busy that you cant make it to the gym or to a class. With summer right around the corner I know many of my clients will be going on vacations too. These 6 tips can be applied nearly anywhere! You need minimal equipment and about 20 minutes to get in a good full body workout! Stay focused on your goals and good luck!