I’ve been really fortunate in my life, starting from a young age I was interested in strength & conditioning and through college learned from some of the greatest strength & conditioning minds of all time. Over the last 20+ years, I’ve tested more routines than I can count, ranging from athletic performance to health & fitness.
It can be difficult to wade through all the information that’s out there and choosing a lifting routine that is any good. Below, I’ll share the most important things I’ve learned over the last 20 years to help you find the perfect routine for you!
When looking for a lifting routine, ask yourself the following questions:
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
To know if the routine is any good for you, you need to establish your goals.
If your goal is to burn fat and lose weight, you want a routine that is using two to three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions for each exercise performed at moderate weights. The routine should be utilizing super sets and interval training performed at high intensity. This type of routine promotes building lean muscle and a higher metabolism.
If you’re lifting for health and longevity, look for a routine that includes slower tempo lifts, incorporates core stability exercises and promotes joint health.
For the athlete looking to build muscle, look for a hypertrophy routine. A hypertrophy routine utilizes three to five sets of 6 to 12 repetitions for each exercise at moderate to heavy weights. This type of routine should also be utilizing maximal repetition sets on a frequent basis. Maximal repetition sets stimulate muscle growth and is where you’ll see the most gains.
For maximal strength building, your routine should include five to seven sets of one to five repetitions while lifting maximum weights on a frequent basis. Lifting heavy frequently promotes gaining strength.
HOW LONG IS THE ROUTINE?
Scrap anything that is less than four weeks. Physiological adaptations generally take longer than six weeks and often up to ten or twelve weeks.
HOW MANY DAYS PER WEEK ARE YOU PERFORMING THE ROUTINE?
A routine that is three days per week or more is ideal, however, four to five days per week is optimal. Adaption rarely occurs within a routine that consists of less than three days per week.
WHAT ARE THE EXERCISES BEING PERFORMED?
Any routine for any goal should include a minimum of four basic lifts within the week; the squat, deadlift, press and pull. These lifts ensure the entire body is being worked.
IS THERE BALANCE?
Are the exercises being performed in a balanced manner, for example, are there a similar number of sets and reps for squats as for deadlifts? This will ensure both the front and back of your lower body are being strengthened equally.
Through the entirety of the routine are there more pulling reps than pressing reps? Generally, for shoulder health more pulling reps are ideal. Count the number of sets and reps to find it out.
DOES THE ROUTINE USE FREE WEIGHTS OR MACHINES?
Joints are meant to stabilize and machines remove this essential part of human movement. Any good lifting routine will always include free weights that will allow your joints to move through a healthy range of motion.
DOES THE ROUTINE UTILIZE A COACH OR IS IT CUSTOMIZED FOR YOU?
A coach helps teach safe and efficient movement. Safe and efficient movement helps reduce the chance of injury and increases the effectiveness of the routine. A mediocre routine that utilizes a coach will produce faster, better results than a great routine without a coach.
At Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness, the goal of our programming is to produce a healthy, well rounded human being by delivering all these aspects of a good lifting routine within different phases of our program.
We also prioritize coaching. No matter what your level of fitness, sit down with one of our coaches to set goals and find how we can help you! SCHEDULE A FREE GOAL SETTING SESSION!