By: Corbin Williams, NPTI-CPT
Personal Trainer/Nutrition Coach
Who would have thought there is actually an order or “rules” for your exercise program? There are reasons for the way workout programs are design. Some are for building muscle, or to lose weight, to gain strength/power, or to increase muscular endurance. But why does exercise order make much of a difference? Why can’t we just throw a bunch of cool exercises together and call it a work out? I hope this will help you understand that not every workout is the same and not every individual can do the same thing and get the same results. Not only does the program need to be tailored to each individual but each individual has to give their best effort to complete what is being asked of them.
First of all, let’s answer why we can’t just go throwing exercises together. Use this example: You are asked to pay for a product for a sum of $20.00. If you were to pull out a wad of cash and put it on the counter without counting it or sorting it and say it will do, would it be enough or too much or just a bunch of random bills? Therefore, you would take that wad and go thru it and only take out exactly what you needed to make the payment. Also if you were to take cash to a bank and handed it to them in a big random wad would they want to sort and count it or do you think they would make you do it before depositing it? This is kind of how it works with your exercise program. If I had a client and just put a bunch of exercises together, it might be a good workout for someone but it might not be the best for them. Is it what they actually need for their goal? These random un-thought-out programs are not fun or effective and may not even be safe. Therefore we need to use a few rules to design programs.
Being that most people who seek a professional for exercise help are looking for help with weight loss, toning, and muscle building, I will stick to the basics. There are nine basic rules to follow when making your program. This is referred to as the “exercise order”. These are only five of those nine basic rules.
1) Skilled exercises before unskilled: Skilled exercises are exercises that need to be taught or progressed
2) Multi joint exercises before single joint: Any exercise that has movement in more than one joint at the
same time is a multi joint exercise. Single joint exercise is movement at only one joint.
3) Unstable exercises before stable: If you tried to do a single leg exercise after doing a full set of heavy
squats, you might not have enough strength to do it and could injure yourself. Do the single leg or split stance
exercises before a non split stance or a seated exercise.
4) Big muscles before small: Large muscles burn more calories. If weight loss is your goal then working small
muscle groups just won’t cut it. Focus on the large muscles.
5) Resistance training before cardio training: Get your resistance training done first ( at least a half hour of
moderate to high intensity) followed by a cardio exercise for about a half hour.
Now when thinking of your programs, how many reps do you do? Well this is different for each individual as well. I don’t just tell someone to do 10 reps because it seems like a good number to count to. Actually, it is determined by the amount of weight being used and how hard I want the individual to work. If someone is to do 10 reps then I want them to have enough weight that they in no way can get 11 reps out of it. Even if I were to hold a 100 dollar bill in front of them and say they can have it if they get 11. So if the weight seems too easy then most likely it is. Challenge yourself and don’t skimp out on your workout. If you can’t push your limits, you won’t get past your hurdles. Treat your body like a machine and it will do what you tell it to. Remember that half the battle is won in the mind. Once you overcome your own mind telling you, “you CAN’T”, you can do anything you set out to. “CAN’T” is only an excuse. NO EXCUSES! Get training and push yourself to your limits, then push yourself farther.
Corbin Williams, NPTI-CPT
Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach
Certified Nutrition Coach
Graduated from the National Personal Training Institute
Owner and operator of GetReal Training, LLC