How to put together the perfect workout plan

How to put together the perfect workout plan

19th December, 2016

Everyone’s exercise needs are different and, therefore, knowing how to put the perfect workout plan together is not always easy. The last thing you want to do is waste 30 minutes per day on a routine that is not effective for achieving your goals. But, without spending a fortune on a personal trainer, how are you supposed to know what to incorporate into your routine? Below, we have put together some top tips to help you get started.

Define your goal

Before you can put together the perfect workout plan, you need to define your goal. What do you hope to achieve from this plan? Do you want to lose weight? Are you looking to gain size? Perhaps you want to boost your strength? You can set a primary goal and secondary goals if you wish, but make sure all secondary goals support the main objective. Once you have goals in mind, you then have the basis for which you can choose different exercises and reps. This will ensure you are focused and on the right path.

Keep your program balanced

All great workout plans are balanced. They focus on symmetry, ensuring nothing is too weak or too strong, and that all areas of the body are getting a workout. You should not neglect anything otherwise problems can arise. For example, if your hamstrings are a lot weaker than your quads, you could experience pain at the knee joint due to an uneven pull. If your chest is a lot stronger than your back, for instance, your shoulders will pull forward, resulting in a bad posture and causing injury. So, make sure that there is a back exercise for every chest exercise, and so on. Also, ensure there is balance between the right and left sides of your body by targeting each arm or leg separately.

Determine your format

How long will you have to dedicate to working out each day? Let’s say you have an hour. You then need to break this up. For example, you could do five minutes of warming up, 40 minutes of working out, ten minutes of specialised training for a specific goal, and five minutes of cooling down.

What exercises to include

The best thing to do if you are just starting off with working out is a full body routine. This means you should ensure there is at least one exercise for your core, your pull muscles, your push muscles, your hamstrings and butt, and your quads. Exercises for your core include jumping knee tucks, exercise ball crunches, and planks. For your pull muscles, dumbbell rows, pull ups, and chin ups are good. For your push muscles, push ups, bench press, and overhead press are effective. For your butt and hamstring, try step-ups, deadlifts, and hip raises. Finally, for your quads, box jumps, lunges, and squats are a great place to start. It is important to add some variety to your workout to keep it interesting. You will soon get bored if you do the same thing every day.

Change the number of reps you do every few weeks

One of the most important parts of your workout program is your repetitions. This is, of course, the number of times you do a certain stretch or exercise. Your repetitions control everything from how your muscles look and develop, to your size gains, to your strength. Let’s take a look at what each range of rep does:


1 – 3 reps is for maximal strength

4 – 6 reps is for strength

8 – 12 reps is for size gains

Over 15 reps is for endurance


If you always do more than 15 reps per session, for example, you will have thin muscles with improved endurance. However, you will miss out on explosive power and maximum strength. This is why it is important to change reps every month. For example, you could do six reps of one exercise for the first month, 15 reps for the second month, and then eight reps for the third month.


The right order of exercises

When putting together a workout plan, you will need to decide what exercises you are going to do first, what you are going to finish off with, and so on. You should always do the most important exercises first. What we mean by this is the exercises that are going to hit the most muscles – the ones that demand a lot of focus and strength. This includes the likes of deadlifts and heavy squats. They use a lot of muscle mass and energy. You will compromise your technique and rob yourself of muscle growth and strength if you put these exercises towards the end of the plan. The last exercises on your workout plan should be those that only focus on individual muscles.


Choose the right exercise combinations

This is one of the more difficult aspects of putting your own workout together. Nevertheless, it is something that will come together over time. It is all about monitoring interactions between exercises and appropriate workloads, and following safe techniques. Exercises that you should never combine include those that can cause cramping in another area that you have worked on, two exercises that heavily tax the same joint, and exercises working similar muscle groups when a high-technique or heavy lift is used. Also, do not combine exercises that will both dramatically elevate blood pressure. Instead, combine exercises with different force vectors, as well as combining low-technique and high-technique lifts, exercises targeting similar muscle groups for hypertrophy goals, and exercises targeting dissimilar muscle groups.


So there you have it; some top tips to help you get started with putting the perfect workout plan together. If you follow the advice mentioned above, you should have no trouble putting together an exercise program that is effective and delivers real results. It is all about focusing on your goals, keeping things interesting, maintaining symmetry, and targeting all areas of your body. Good luck with your new routine!

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Alison Massey

Group Marketing Director

Now Health International

Alison Massey is a 15-year digital marketing veteran, who has spent the last seven years using social media to help expats and soon to be expats find out what to expect from a life overseas. An expat living in Hong Kong herself, Alison is the Group Marketing Director of Now Health, the award-winning international health insurance provider.

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