Restrictions are lifting, summer is upon us, and you may feel ready to start a new exercise routine. With the worst of COVID-19 behind us, it’s time to start getting serious about training again. In today’s blog, we discuss the basics of a good exercise routine. Whether you’re back at the gym or still exercising from home, this post is for you.
Below we identify some of the basic principles to follow when you establish a new exercise routine.
Your exercise routine should be catered to what your goals are. A program for dedicated strength building will look different than a general fitness program. Every decision made about your exercise routine should be informed on what your goal is, and how to specifically target the relevant energy system. For example, if you want to run a half marathon, you need to do more than just sprints. If you want to PR your bench press, you need to do more than just burpees. These examples may seem obvious, but the principle of specificity cannot be overstated. In short, you only get good at what you train.
To increase your strength or endurance, you must increase effort over time. Our bodies adapt remarkably well to exercise. Unless you increase difficulty, you won’t improve. However, increase the same variable only, and you’ll start to plateau and your progress will stagnate.
In the example of weight training, consider the following 5 variables to overload:
- Increase the weight (hint: resistance bands can help!)
- Increase the volume (reps and sets)
- Swap in other exercises
- Switch up the order of exercises
- Adjust your rest periods
This principle builds off the previous one. Recall that our bodies adapt to the exercises we repeat. That means it’s important to add a variety of exercises for better fitness overall. To be clear, if your goal is to PR your back squat, you should incorporate lots of squats in your routine. However, adding strategic accessory movements can bring about massive gains for your squat—and better movement overall. Your squat will improve if you strategically incorporate compound movements* such as nordic hamstring curls, weighted hip thrusts and good mornings.
Proper recovery is all too often neglected. But without it, muscles can’t rebuild, and growth is inhibited. Sufficient sleep, proper nutrition, and mental health all impact physical recovery. If you consistently do intense workouts but don’t put the time and effort towards recovery, your efforts at the gym won’t show for much. Importantly, you’re also likely to suffer from overuse injuries. Though prioritizing recovery may seem less sexy than pumping iron at the gym, it’s an essential piece to an effective exercise routine.
Remember, if you jump into a new exercise routine at an intensity your body hasn’t experienced *that intensity* in a while, you risk injury. Be smart and ease into new exercise movements and loads, especially if you’re heading back to the gym after taking a few months off.
If you want guidance on how to set up an exercise routine specific to your goals, get in touch with us. Our team at VanCity Physio is ready to help you crush your fitness goals, whatever they may be.