I have a short attention span when it comes to fitness. It’s not that I don’t like exercising, it’s that there are just so many fun options out there to choose from!
As much as I understand the benefits of sticking with a specific training program for long enough to see results, I find it hard to resist adding extra exercises to my program and always find myself longing for whatever it is I’m not currently doing.
For the past few years I’ve been combining metabolic workouts with body part training. Two to three days a week, while teaching group fitness classes, I do full body, heart-rate elevating, bootcamp style workouts with plyometrics, body weight exercises and speed and agility training.
The other three days I head to the gym for body part splits; chest and back, shoulders and biceps, triceps and core.
While I’ve managed to get reasonably good results with this approach, for my current muscle-building goals, I know that I really need to be hitting each body part a second time every week AND that I’m missing ’leg day’ in my routine…
But how to fit it all in AND avoid overuse injuries?
My solution? Add a ‘big’, compound lift to the beginning of each body part split workout, while I still have lots of energy to lift heavy and with proper form.
I aim for 5 sets of 5-6 reps of my compound lift (with 60 s rest between sets) before I move into 3-4 supersets of 8-10 reps of 3 difference exercises for each body part. Confused? Sounds more complicated than it is! (And takes significantly less time than it appears!)
This is the schedule that I’ve been following for the past six weeks;
And is it working????
You bet! I’ve been able to consistently increase the load I’m lifting each and every week; not on every single exercise of every single workout, but on all of my compound lifts as well as my chest, shoulder and tricep exercises during the body part splits. The body part exercises seem to be supporting the strength gains required to keep improving my compound lifts.
If I had just one more day to train I’d start with pull ups (assisted, that is) and finish with legs and glutes.
Unconventional? Perhaps! But sometimes unconventional is what’s needed to remain excited and enthusiastic about exercise!
Do you include compound lifts in your strength training program?
Which of the compound lifts is your favourite?