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BUILD YOUR OWN WORKOUT PLAN

BUT WHAT IF I’M A BEGINNER?

Beginners may be more dependent on established routines, which would suggest the following:

  • Personal trainers would be helpful
  • Group programs at public gyms are good
  • A physical exam is a prerequisite

But it is still important to consider that:

  • Our bodies are unique and “cookie cutter” routines are not the best
  • We will have physical strengths and weaknesses
  • We will also favor certain modes of exercise over others

We will eventually build our own workout plans to suit our individual needs and preferences. But, even as beginners, we will be more successful if we contribute heavily to the routines suggested by others. We know best our motives to work out, which may be:

  • Greater strength
  • Improved endurance
  • Better symmetry
  • Improved sports performance

We need to build our routines with consideration of our time allotments, our equipment and our willingness to be consistent in our endeavors.

A very simple morning workout plan is shown below. My personal preference is to finish my workouts before breakfast. Others may favor other times of the day.

Absolute beginners will initially be sore and may want to start with 2-3 workouts per week. Then they will be able to evaluate their workout plans and proceed accordingly.

The key to success is consistency.

ADDING VARIETY

Bodyweight resistance (as shown above) is certainly productive. But we will soon see a need for more variety in our workouts. We will need to address these muscle groups:

  • Back
  • Chest
  • Arms (triceps and biceps)
  • Shoulders
  • Quadriceps
  • Calves
  • Abdominals

Each of those body parts may then be broken down further into component muscles. But, in a very general way, we will need to incorporate these exercise movements:

  • Rowing or pull ups
  • Chest presses or lying lateral raises
  • Curls, triceps kickbacks or triceps extensions
  • Standing lateral raises or presses
  • Squats
  • Heel raises
  • Crunches, V-ups or planks

Dumbbell triceps extensions are shown below:

And here are dumbbell bench presses for chest development:

DON’T FORGET CARDIO

I realize that anyone may go outside and take a walk or a run. We may do water aerobics, bicycling or aerobic dancing. But I have always enjoyed having a treadmill at home. It fits my needs, especially as I play music in the morning while raising the speed after every minute. Also, it comes in handy during wintry weather.

My Nordic Track is shown below and is available from Amazon. As an Amazon affiliate, I may recommend items and earn from qualifying purchases. This, to me, is the most important home workout piece that we can have! My Nordic Track was not expensive, yet has lasted well for years with daily use.

Another form of cardio that we may overlook is fast resistance exercise with high repetitions. As a senior, I do high reps with lighter weights. This routine gives me lean muscle mass growth and cardio at the same time.

Other seniors may want to consider this: resistance exercise may be a better solution for maintaining muscle mass while losing weight than cardio

Take a look at this study, by Wake Forest University. Note that resistance training with calorie cutting worked better for preserving muscle mass than cardio with calorie cutting. Not only that, but no exercise at all with calorie cutting worked better than cardio with calorie cutting.

So, by all means, include resistance training with cardio programs.

As we become intermediates and no longer beginners, we would do well to pick out 4-5 exercise movements for strength building and add at least 20 minutes of cardio 3 times per week. We could do one set per exercise movement and then build to two sets, then three.

Or we may choose to do resistance training one day, cardio the next. Or upper body one day, then legs and abdominals the next, then cardio the third day.

The best part about constructing our own workout plan is that we can tailor it to our specific needs and preferences. Then we can evaluate our progress and make changes as we see fit

EQUIPMENT CHOICES FROM AMAZON


Resistance bands. These are applicable to any bodybuilding movement and complete sets are priced very reasonably. See below.

Loop bands. These are also known as “booty bands”

 

 

Lighter dumbbells, including a stand.

Adjustable dumbbells.

Kettlebells, with wide grips.

Adjustable bench, for home workouts

EQUIPMENT FROM BULLWORKER.

Bullworker Fitness offers high quality resistance tools, with the capacity for both isotonic and isometric modes of exercise. See my recent post on isotonic/isometric exercise and Bullworker.

I have used the Bullworker Steel Bow and Bow Classic for several years. I like and recommend them because they are small and portable, yet challenging to anyone. I have the Bullworker Steel Bow and the Bow Classic.


Here is a video on Bullworkers, presented by an advanced bodybuilder.

The Steel Bow is shown below.

 


Learn more about Bullworkers from their website.


TRACKING DEVICES

A vital component to the success of any exercise plan is the ability to track our progress. We need a method by which we can be accountable to ourselves. We need to set goals and then be able to take note of our progress.

There are several items that will make this very easy and also quite enjoyable.

A fitness and nutrition journal (from Amazon) will keep us inspired and organized.

The FitBit Versa 3 health and fitness smartwatch is a great tracker. Also, check the other FitBit choices shown within this link.

The FitTrack Dara scale monitors 17 health metrics as we simply step on the scale. This may be the ultimate way to measure our fitness progress. The scale is shown below.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There is great satisfaction in building our own workout plans. We are able to begin with very basic routines, keeping it simple and easy to implement. One set per: back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, quadriceps, calves and abdominals.

Then we can go to two sets, then three, always setting aside time for cardio. With time, we will see the need to specialize on certain body parts and ease up on others. This is because we are unique.

We can enjoy using both different forms of exercise and different types of equipment.
As famous bodybuilder Frank Zane said, “It is like sculpture”.

If we value sports skills more than physique symmetry, we will see skill progress. We will see a difference. And that progress will not only provide satisfaction. It will also be an incentive for further progress.

We will reach plateaus as progress becomes more difficult. This will be a good time to take a week off and then revamp our routines.

As long as we remain consistent in our approach, we will show progress. Noticeable progress! It is not a difficult concept. We are simply overloading our muscles progressively. This allows them to break down, rebuild and become stronger.

There are no mysteries. Gains are inevitable if we keep at it!

Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, richard@myworkoutathome.com.

Be well!

Richard

2 Comments

  1. Hey there! I do my workouts before breakfast too!! At least, I know it’s done and it does bring momentum for the day. I always had trouble working out: fitness was NOT my passion. But i signed up for this app (sweat) and they had this 6-week challenge and that actually got me started CONSISTENTLY and I have been doing their programs for over two years. But, as you say, it is already-existing programs : do you think I should build my own programs now that I know the exercises? Or should I have a doctor’s point of view on these exercises?

    • Hi Diane! Thanks for your comment. It sounds like your app is giving you good guidance. The question becomes – do you still need it? Do you pay for it? If you are doing the same program as everyone else, you could benefit from a more specialized routine. By now, you will know what is working and what is not. A doctor’s viewpoint is always helpful, especially if you want to add more intensity. There is nothing wrong with an existing program as long as it allows you to adapt it to your individual needs. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.

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