How to Structure Your Workouts

Hi friends! Today I’m taking you through exactly how to structure your workouts from your warmup to cooldown. Planning your workout ahead of time has an impact on your performance and really helps to make sure you are getting the most out of your workout. If you want to know what to do first and which order to do your exercises in, keep reading!

Don’t Skip the Warmup!

Before you start your workout, you want to make sure to warmup your muscles and increase your body temperature. Performing a proper warmup decreases the risk of injury and increases performance. Spending 10 minutes warming up before a workout is far better than dealing with a pulled muscle!

Part 1: Low intensity cardio

The purpose of starting with low intensity cardio is to get your heartrate up and get blood flowing to muscles with 5-10 min of low intensity cardio such as biking, walking, jump rope, or jogging.

Part 2: Dynamic Stretching

What is dynamic stretching? It is an active and controlled movement which takes your body through a range of motion that better prepares your body to workout. It is important to do this to direct blood flow to the muscles and tendons.

Examples of dynamic stretching are:

  • Leg swings
  • Arm circles
  • Chest openers
  • Walking quad stretch

Part 3: Movement Specific Warmup

This is where you perform the first exercise at 50% weight you’re planning on lifting while decreasing the reps as you increase the weight.

Which Order Should the Exercises Be In?

Once your muscles are warmed up, it’s time to crush your workout! Complete the exercises in this order to get your best workout in:

  1. Compound Exercises– Start off with compound exercises which engage multiple muscles and are performed with a heavier weight. You should generally include 1-3 compound exercises per workout. If you are at a gym doing free weights or machines, do exercises with free weight before machines as there is extra resistance in free weight movements.

Examples of Compound Exercises:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Benchpress
  • Barbell Row
  • Overhead Press

2. Isolation/Accessory Exercises– Follow compound exercises with 5-6 isolating movements targeted towards the muscles you are working! Large muscles exercises should be done before small muscle exercises.

Examples of large muscles in the body are:

  • Pectoralis major
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Deltoids
  • Quadriceps
  • Gluteus

An example of large muscle isolation exercises would be quad extensions, hamstring curls, or glute kickbacks.

Examples of smaller muscles in the body are:

  • Triceps brachii
  • Biceps brachii
  • Calves

An example of small muscle isolation exercises would be tricep extensions or bicep curls.

3. Core– Core work should be done last in your lineup of exercises. This is because core work consists of isolating movments. The core is also needed to stablize your muscles in compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts. By completing core work at the end, you are exhausting the muscles after they play a role in other compound exercises.

Finish with Cardio and Static Stretching

When doing a workout that involves resistance training, it is best to do cardio afterwards if you are planning on doing lifting and cardio within the same workout. After you’ve completed your workout, finish with static stretching.

What is static stretching? It is stretching a specific muscle without moving in order to elongate the muscle. The stretch should be held for 15-60 seconds. This should generally be done at the end of a workout once the muscles are warmed up.

If you would like a personalized workout plan that gets you results, click here!

Hope this helps!

xoxo Jess

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