10 Ways to Ensure Your Workouts Will Get Results
By Alex Perello
In a world that is flooded with information regarding physical fitness, it is quite easy to get lost in different programs, gadgets, and movements that either cost too much or don’t necessarily work. But in order to live a healthy lifestyle, you don’t need any of this! All you need is the knowledge to create your own workout and the persistence to stick with it consistently.
The following ten workout designs will ensure that you can create hundreds of your own workouts, all while ensuring the proper intensity so that you can see the results I know YOU want. These are the same designs I use personally and for my clients in order to ensure body changing results. Without further ado, here are ten workout designs that will give you the power to CHANGE your own LIFE!
Easily the most prevalent and basic workout style is a circuit. A circuit is when you perform a group of exercises (typically 3 or more) in back-to-back sets with little to no rest in between. Performing a circuit adds an intense cardio component to your workout, and it is extremely beneficial to weight loss in addition to making your workouts more time efficient.
Let’s say that we were performing a chest, shoulder, and triceps workout. A sample circuit for this workout would be to perform a bench press (chest exercise), a shoulder press (shoulder exercise), and a triceps extension (triceps exercise) without any rest in between. You could perform this circuit several times until the total amount of sets adds up to 16-24 or change the exercises in the circuit and do different circuits. You could also make the circuits longer by adding more exercises. An example of a circuit is below:
Circuit 1 (repeat 2 times)
Push-Ups, Shoulder Press, Triceps Dips
Circuit 2 (repeat 2 times)
Bench Press, Upright Row, Triceps Push-downs
Circuit 3 (repeat 2 times)
Chest Fly, Shoulder Fly, Triceps Extensions
Total Sets: 18
Another prevalent workout style is a pyramid. Pyramids are a challenging and efficient way to get a lot of repetitions into a workout. Let’s use push-ups as an example to demonstrate the concept of a pyramid. You would perform one push-up, and then stand up. You would then go back down into push-up position, but this time, perform two push-ups. Repeat this until you reach your total goal, perhaps 8. After you reach 8, come back down the pyramid. You would then do 7 push-ups, 6, 5, 4, continuing down to 1. Below is the step-by-step format:
1 push-up, stand up, 2 push-ups, stand up, 3 push-ups, stand up, 4 push-ups, stand up,
5 push-ups, stand up...8 push-ups, stand up.
8 push-ups, stand up, 7 push-ups, stand up, 6 push-ups, stand up, 5 push-ups, stand up,
4 push-ups, stand up...1 push-up, stand up.
3. Drop Set
The third workout style is a drop set. Drop sets are also very challenging, and really get the burn going in your muscles. Let’s say we are doing a biceps workout. First, curl a weight until you physically cannot lift it anymore (failure). After you reach this point, you are going to get a lighter weight (usually 5 pounds less), and curl that weight until you physically cannot anymore. Continue this for two more weight ranges, and I PROMISE your muscles will be burning like never before! If you are a beginner and five pound increments is too much don’t worry! As long as you decrease the weight after each set, and perform at least 4 sets total, the burn will be present. Below is another example of drop sets:
Set 1: 20 lbs. shoulder press until failure
Set 2 (after first set’s failure): 15 lbs. shoulder press until failure
Set 3 (after second set’s failure): 10 lbs. shoulder press until failure
Set 4 (after third set’s failure): 5 lbs. shoulder press until failure
The fourth workout style is a superset. A superset is very similar to a circuit, except the exercises work the same muscle group, and is only a group of 2 sets. First, complete one exercise that works a specific muscle group, and immediately after reaching failure on the first set, you would perform another exercise that targets that same muscle group. An example is listed below:
Exercise 1: Biceps Curls (perform until failure)
Exercise 2 (performed immediately after first set’s failure): Hammer Curls
5. Group Set
A group set involves doing several sets of the same exercise with a rest period in between each set. In addition, you would not move on until you complete ALL sets for the specific muscle group. For example, a workout that uses this multiple set style would look like this:
4 sets of bench presses (break in between each set)
Don’t move on until all 4 sets are done.
3 sets of shoulder presses (break between each set)
Don’t move on until all 3 sets are done.
3 sets of triceps extensions (break in between each set)
6. Heartbreaker Sets
Heartbreaker sets are another way to intensify weightlifting and bring the burn to your muscles even quicker. First, perform 2 high intensity cardio exercises for 30 seconds each, then jump into your normal set. The combination of your heart pounding while lifting weights will bring the burn to your muscles quicker. An example is as follows:
Jumping Jacks (as fast as possible)
Line Jumps (as fast as possible)
7. Goal Sets
Goal sets consist of setting an unusually high number of repetitions and trying to perform these sets in as little time as possible. You can break the sets up however you want to make it easier. An example of a goal set would be as follows:
An example of how you would perform this goal set would be 10 sets
of 10 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 sit-ups, and 10 lunges.
8. Compound Circuit
A compound circuit is a challenging combination of a circuit and pyramid. Start with one compound movement (i.e. a bicep curl into a shoulder press). Continue into a different compound exercise that works one of the muscle groups worked in the first exercise (shoulders) and add a different muscle group (triceps). The next compound movement would include the muscle that wasn’t chosen from the first compound movement (biceps), and the added muscle group from the second compound movement (triceps). The example below will illustrate this compound circuit more clearly:
Bicep curl into shoulder press
Shoulder press into triceps extension
Triceps extension into bicep curl
9. Station Workout
A station workout is a large circuit that is generally completed for time. You must establish five or more “stations,” and at each station you perform an exercise for a certain amount of time. Once this time is up, you will move onto another station and repeat this process. You can go around the stations several times. These workouts are excellent for total body and cardio work. An example is listed below:
Station 1 (1 min): Calf Raises
Station 2 (1 min): Squats
Station 3 (1 min): Bridges
Station 4 (1 min): Lunges
Station 5 (1 min): Fast Feet
Repeat 3 times.
10. Progression Set
A progression set is an interesting twist to a circuit. You will perform a circuit once, and the second time that you perform the circuit each exercise will be slightly intensified or complicated. An example is below:
Circuit 1: 15 push-ups, 15 squats, 15 sec plank
Circuit 2: 15 push-ups with shoulder taps, 15 squat jumps, 30 sec plank
Circuit 3: plyometric push-ups, 15 squat jump thrusts, 60 sec plank
That’s all ten!
I want to stress that these are by no means the only ways to create your own workouts. I encourage you to further your research online and adopt the ideas of other people in the fitness industry as well so that you can continue to challenge your body in different and creative ways!
If you use and combine these ten designs there is no doubt in my mind that you will be able to create a personalized workout that will get you the results you desire!