If you think you’re ready to step up and write your own workouts you better have your information right!
Having written tens of thousands of workouts over the years I’ve built up a list of dos a don’ts.
Here are 6 of the biggest mistakes I think you can make if you’re writing your own workouts…
1) Doing too much of what you like, not enough of what you need
A good training programme will be equally balanced between doing things you enjoy, and doing things you need to do.
For example, everyone loves to bench press. But, too much pushing will negatively affect your posture and possibly lead to shoulder/back pain – so make sure your pressing exercises are balanced out with your pulling exercises.
Also, a lot of people skip leg day…don’t do it! Your lower body should get as much attention as your upper body.
2) Trying to do too much…
If you’ve ever read a bodybuilding magazine or article on the internet you will have seen the workouts that involve 30 sets per muscle group with 4 variations of each exercise.
Thankfully it’s not that complicated.
For most beginners 10 – 12 sets per workout split over 3 – 4 exercises will be enough.
Keep it simple.
3) Not doing enough…
While it’s important to try not to do too much…you have to do enough!
If you think you’re going to get strong and lean doing three sets on the chest press and two sets of tricep pushdowns three times a week you’re wrong.
Accumulating volume on the big, compound movements will bring results.
4) Not tracking your workouts and progress
Keeping notes of weights, reps, sets, times, distances etc will mean you’ll actually have a record of what you’ve done.
Once you’ve got a record of your activity you can analyse what needs improving.
What weight did you press last week? Could you improve it?
How long did that run take last month? How much quicker are you?
5) Doing the same stuff, every week
Doing the same weight and reps on the same exercises month after month will get you nowhere.
Vary the sets and reps you use (3 sets of 3 reps one week, 5 sets of 5 reps the next, 3 sets of 10 reps the week after) to keep things interesting and change the stimulus.
Cycle your exercises regularly as well…have you been bench pressing with the bar every week for the last year? Try switching to dumbbells for a few weeks and then move back to the barbell.
6) Trying to ‘confuse your muscles’ and doing different stuff every time
While variation is important, there needs to be consistency!
Your muscles don’t need to be ‘confused’ every workout.
To see and feel progress you need some consistency. Changing every element of every workout will mean you’ll be going round in circles.
Make sure the variation in your programme is planned and not random.
Josh has an MSc in Sport Nutrition and a BSc in Sports Science and Physiology. This, along with his own body transformation, has given him an in depth understanding of human physiology and how it can be best manipulated for performance and physique goals.