By Marina Aagaard, MFE
How to Design A Better Workout? Of course you can design your workout of the day without prior planning or periodization. However, if you really want to progress and make the most of your workout time, then it makes more sense to create a goal-oriented plan in which your daily workout is based on a week program, which is based on a long-term plan (year and quarterly or monthly plans).
The program for the individual daily workout(s) is the ‘core’ of periodization, planning your exercise periods. In CrossFit a.o. this is called Workout of the Day, WOD.
It is essential, that your program is designed in the proper way, based on knowledge of anatomy, physiology and sports science, so it is healthy and effective as well as motivating and challenging – for you.
An allround fitness program could have this structure:
- Warm-up – general and specific
- Coordination and balance and/or
- Cardiovascular training and/or
- Resistance training
Note: Your written workout program should include all parts of the workout, e.g. not just the strength training part of it.
The duration, content and sequence of each part of the workout depends on
1) workout goal
2) primary capacity/area in focus
3) total workout duration
Workout duration maximum is 45-90 minutes. 30-60 minutes is the norm.
High-intensity workouts, anaerobic energy systems training and explosive strength training, should not exceed 20-25 minutes (ex. warm-up).
Traditional fitness warm-up (60 minute workouts): 5-15 minutes.
Cardiovascular training: 20-60 minutes.
Moderate intensity resistance training, 8-10 exercises, 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions:
Approximately 30-60 min., maximal strength training 30-90 min. and bodybuilding (hypertrophy) 1-1½ hours (maximum).
Cool-down, easy walking or cycling, following intense cardiovascular or resistance training: 3-10 minutes.
Stretching for the major muscles with a focus on tight muscles: 5-10+ minutes.
Program content can be based on one, eg. strength, or more areas of fitness.
All-round fitness workouts may focus on:
- Posture, static and dynamic
- Aerobic and anaerobic capacity
- Coordination, general and specific (balance, static and dynamic)
- Strength/endurance, concentric/eccentric and isometric
- Flexibility, static and dynamic, passive and active
- Mental capacity (and social aspect)
The program should have a suitable level; exercises, which motivates and improves performance.
Exercise selection should be based on the primary movements of the everyday, leisure time activities and sports:
- Flexion (bending)
- Extension (straightening)
The base movements of (initial) fitness programs should be the same for ‘every body’; the above base movements are equally important for men, women, children, juniors, grown-ups and seniors.
Fitness programs differ in respect to volume, based on frequency, number of times per week, intensity and duration, and specific exercise selection.
Specific exercise selection is based on the health and fitness status of the exerciser; this status determines the appropriate level of difficulty, including speed, for the exercises.
Here is a short list of key areas to consider, when you want to design a super workout program:
- Program – content, structure, volume, total duration
- Training parts (sections) – goal, content, structure, duration
- Exercise selection – level, simple or complex
- Exercise sequence
- Load – set, repetitions, intensity, type
- Muscle contraction focus – concentric, eccentric, isometric
- Tempo – slow, moderate, fast, explosive
- Rest-pauses – between exercises and sets (and repetitions)
- Method variation – variations, combinations
- Recovery – rest between workouts
You can find more information about each area in articles (on the internet) and books on the subject of periodization.
Enjoy preparing your new and improved workout program.
Plan your optimal Workout of the Day,
so everything is set and you’re on your way
to a personal workout, which is fun to ‘play’,
with better results, so top form you display.