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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Designing An Effective Training Program - By Jim Duggan

One of the most important things for anybody who trains with weights is to gear his/her training toward his own particular needs and requirements. Naturally, needs, requirements, and desires will vary from individual to individual, but there are some general patterns all trainees can utilize regardless of age or goals.

For those who are younger, and just starting out, the main desire is usually to build muscle mass. Think about how you felt when you first wrapped your fingers around a barbell. If you're like most people, you wanted to get big and strong. Perhaps your desire for size and strength was tied to playing football, or wrestling, or some other sport. Maybe you were exposed to a major strength athlete via a magazine, or other form of media, and you wanted to emulate him. Whatever the reason, most young trainees will lift weights frequently, intensely, and religiously. Further, since they are young, they will usually succeed on an accelerated program due their bodies' ability to recuperate quickly.

On the other hand, someone who is out of school and has entered the workforce may become aware that he is not in the shape he was in during his school days. This person is not considered old ( or even middle-aged) but due to career and/or family responsibilities, he might have fallen out of shape. It's easy to gain weight and become careless insofar as it relates to maintaining healthy habits. Lack of exercise combined with a poor diet will cause bodily changes which will inspire many people to attain and maintain a better degree of fitness. The desire for muscular size might be gone ( then again, maybe not!), but an increased awareness of strength and health will often provide the impetus to "get back in shape." 

Older trainees, those over the age fifty, are another group with unique goals. As we get older, we become increasingly aware of our health and any physical shortcomings. Years of overeating, lack of exercise, and excessive drinking are the causes of many of the problems associated with getting older. Some people will embark on a training program as a remedy for years of bad habits. After all, we have been told for years that it is never too late to begin working out to improve yourself. And I believe that to be true.
Persons over the age of seventy, while considered to be older in the general sense of the word, can still exercise. Naturally, the desire for increased muscle mass will be replaced with a realistic expectation that a sensible weight-training program, combined with a moderate program of walking and/or stretching will bring about gains in fitness, flexibility, and balance. Stronger bones, flexible muscles, and a general sense of physical well-being will offset many of the infirmities of the older years.

When it comes to older trainees, those over the age of fifty or those who have not exercised in a long time, one of the biggest mistakes one can make is attempting to do too much, too soon. The idea that you can handle the same sort of workload that you did when you were younger can be dangerous. Not only can you become discouraged and lose interest, you can actually cause injury to yourself. Extreme ambition and enthusiasm can cause put a sudden halt to an older trainee's progress. 

Another potential pitfall is that, many times, enthusiasm and desire begin to wane. The trainee begins to lose interest. They may train less frequently, or might even stop completely. This phenomenon is usually associated with New Year's resolutions and the countless number of people who set out to work out, diet, and dedicate themselves to a program of healthy living. Regardless of the fact that they might have spent the previous eleven months being sedentary and lifting nothing heavier than a fork. With most trainees, the desire to get back in shape is all the incentive one needs. However, after a few days, or weeks, the trainee will become discouraged. This is especially true if progress is not immediately forthcoming. 

When designing your program, you should select exercises that will develop the major muscle groups. One should strive to create a common-sense program consisting of exercises to develop the musculature of the legs, back, shoulders, arms, and abdomen. Choose movements that you can perform safely, and effectively. Do not blindly follow someone else's routine. Nobody knows your body like you. Educate yourself and learn what works for you. More importantly, learn what doesn't work for you. Everybody is different. By all means, do NOT try to copy the routine followed by some steroid bloated so-called champion. You see these all the time in the muscle comics. Also, do not fall into the silly trap of "body part" training. That's when you train one bodypart for a god-awful number of sets in a workout. The following day, you would do the same thing only this time a different is trained. What nonsense! Anybody could plainly see that you are not allowing your body sufficient time to recover if you are lifting every day. Use a sensible program of moderation. Train two to three times per week. Allow yourself adequate rest and recuperation. Follow a healthy diet. And, of course, train consistently. And progressively. It's actually quite simple for anyone who has been following this website to develop an effective program. There are many routines to evaluate and try. Train intelligently, progressively, and safely.
BODY • MIND • SPIRIT