Because it should go without saying that you want to be the best human being you can possibly be, you may have decided to start to head over to the gym to see what you can do or maybe you are just looking for more information on the topic to have better results.
Either way, starting from the very beginning with the proper understanding and knowledge needed is the best course to take.
Before I start, let me make this absolutely clear: I will assume that you go to the gym to focus on anaerobic exercises, weightlifting in other words, rather than aerobic, the reason being that I believe that going to a gym for aerobic exercise is a waste of time and money.
So, in order to start putting together a workout routine, it is imperative that you know what you are going to focus on: strength or muscle size. You might want both but it is more efficient to focus on one and alternate routines every 3 or 4 months. So depending on what you choose, we can start putting a routine together based on your choice.
If you chose strength: (so you want to get brutally strong…)
Lifting weights while focusing on strength means that you will have to work at a high intensity with weights that are close to your 1 rep maximum. Because you are working close to your 1RM, this means that you can’t be pulling off too many repetitions in a set.
In general, the rule is between 1 and 5 reps with about a 2 to 4 minute break in between each set. If you don’t need at least 2 minutes between each set, you’re not lifting enough weight.
As for the number of sets, that depends on the exercise and the level you are at. If you are just starting out, I would recommend a program of 3 sets of 5 reps or even 5 sets of 5 if you are somewhat conditioned from playing sports or something similar beforehand.
If you chose muscle size: (so you want to impress the chicks…)
Your routine would be a bit different if your focus is on gaining muscle. This means you will be lifting weights at a lower intensity than strength training (but still at least 60%) which implies that you will be able to do more reps in a set.
The number of repetitions for building muscle are located between 8 and 15 reps with a 30 second to 1 minute break in between.
As for the number of sets, again, it depends on the exercise and your fitness level but the minimum should be at least 3 sets. Doing 3 sets of 10 reps is a fairly well-known workout routine but it can be tweaked depending on your abilities to include more sets and possibly even more reps.
Differing from strength training, you will most likely be working till muscle failure a lot more often, especially on your last set, but don’t worry, this is supposed to happen as long as you are able to complete all your sets with the correct number of reps.
After the choice is made:
Remember, choosing one doesn’t mean that you will be neglecting the other. Focusing on strength training will increase your muscle size and vice-versa, however, the gains made in the opposite of your choice will always be slower than if you focus on it.
To be continued….