How to build the best workout program!

Many people believe that a key tag to the local gym automatically comes with results. Many assume that the mere access to the equipment is enough to see the progress they desire. Truth is, access to equipment is about as beneficial as giving me the worlds best trombone and telling me to have at it. I would probably toot that instrument a little until I realized that I couldn't make it sound worth a damn and that is when I would put it away and let it collect dust and that is exactly what most people do to potential results, let them collect dust!

Your gains don't need to be dusty, you just need to have the right plan of attack. Here are the steps that you need to consider to build the best workout program!

1) You need to remember that your body is very good at adapting. What happens when a fresh pair of hands do deadlift for the first time? Hands hurt after, maybe even blister. What happens after 5 weeks of doing deadlifts? Callouses form as an adaptation to the stress that is placed on the body. The same thing is happening to your muscles. Your muscles will adapt to the stress of a workout program and you will plateau after a certain period of time. All the steps that you read after this need to be manipulated ever 4-6 weeks.

2) Sets and reps. This is a pretty basic principle but one that doesn't receive the right attention at the right time. For example, if you were doing a program that involved 3 sets of 10 for 5 weeks, it would be wise to consider a change that took that to 6 sets of 5. The variations in reps and sets will mean targeting different parts of the muscle and developing a well rounded physique. What you will notice is a big shock to the body each time you switch your sets and reps due to your body not having adapted to the new program.

3) Tempo. How slowly you perform the movement is one of the most simple things you can manipulate to hit the muscle in a different way. In general, your tempo should slow down as your weight gets lighter. It would not be a good idea to try a 4 second negative with a 4 rep max squat however, a 4 second negative on a Bulgarian split squat would be great for 10 reps. For your heavy compound programs, I would recommend a controlled tempo of 1 second down and 1 second up. For a program involving light weights and more isolation movements, I would recommend a tempo of 4 seconds on the negative, 1 second isometric and 2 seconds on the concentric.

4) Rest between sets. How long you rest between your sets completely changes how well the muscle is able to recover and, consequently, what portion of the muscle is recruited for the next set. As a basic rule of thumb, your heavier movements with lower reps will require at least 2 minutes rest where a lighter movement may only require 45-60 seconds.

5) Frequency. How often you hit the muscle in a week really depends on the volume that you have during each workout (reps x sets x weight) and the overall goal. Unless you are planning to be a competitive powerlifter, you are going to want some quality rest in between specifically targeting the same muscle. When you are on a higher rep program that requires you to work to failure digging deep in the muscle you may want to rest 72 hours between muscle groups. On the other hand, if you are doing lower reps with higher weight and not workout to failure you may only need 48 hours rest and muscle damage is not typically as high.

There are many things to consider with a workout program. Above you have listed 5 important items to take into consideration when building your next program!