5 Essential Variables For A Complete Workout Program

Program Variables

You need to address, use and include various essential variables to design an elaborative and useful workout program. These variables play a huge role in the outcome you get with a specific workout program. However, balance these variables as per your needs and what your major goal is. Whether you want to improve your health and fitness level, decrease fat or enhance athletic performance. It is so important to understand these concepts and their importance to get maximum results from your workout.

The 5 essential variables you need to keep in mind while creating a workout program:

  1. Intensity
  2. Volume
  3. Rest
  4. Recovery
  5. Muscle Balance

1. Intensity

Intensity means the quality as well as the difficulty of your exercise. There is an inverse relationship between the intensity and volume of an exercise. Intense exercise workout sessions are stressful and your muscles may experience extreme fatigue post this session. So, you must decrease the volume i.e. number of repetitions as fatigue doesn’t allow you to continue repetitions. Your body needs more rest and recovery time post intense workout sessions as compared to low intensity workout sessions. 

Talking about conventional strength-training workouts, intensity is described as a % of the maximum weight (1RM or a % of one-repetition maximum) or maximum repetitions you can do with a specific weight (known as RM repetition maximum). Let us take an example, if you’re able to squat with 136kg, then exercising at 70% IRM means exercising with 95kg. contrary to that, when you want to exercise at 10RM, you have to choose a weight that you can comfortably lift 10 times

You are usually told to do plyometric, agility and speedy drills with maximum intensity. In simpler words, in these exercises you have to perform at your maximum or near maximum power and speed. This teaches you how to be explosive and anything less than maximum will not let you teach this.

However, intensity is measured in a little different manner in maximum interval training. The focus of interval training is to aid you in defying fatigue. Such training isn’t beneficial for you if your goal is to improve power, speed and strength. Whatever intensity you choose, make sure it allows you to perform the exercises with proper form and technique.

2. Volume

Volume is how much work you do. In strength training, we calculate it by repetitions *sets. Suppose, you perform 3 sets having 10 repetitions in each set, the volume here is 30. On the other hand, in maximal interval training, you can express volume in a variety of ways such as distance, time, number of throws, jumps etc. suppose, when you do kettlebell swings for 30 seconds, you can calculate volume in time.  You can also calculate volume in distance while sprinting. Or you can depict volume in the number of repetitions as well, like in crunches.

More the volume, the lower the intensity should be. Volume is a very good stimulus for different types of adaptations from workout. For example, low volume suits exercises that need power speed, power and technique. Moderate volume is considered good for building hypertrophy. Higher volume enhances your resistance to the effects of fatigue.

3. Rest

Rest is the time you take between the sets. With longer rest periods, you can attain more workout intensity. Suppose, you are lifting a very heavy weight, you at least need 3-5 minutes of rest after every set. You also need rest for the transferability of the exercise.

When it comes to maximum interval-training workout, rest has a big impact on the training’s difficulty. 

4. Recovery

Recovery is the time you take between workout sessions. This time is more important than you can imagine as all the adaptations you learn from a workout happens here. No or inadequate recovery time results in injury and overtraining. You can workout every day but design it in such a way that the same qualities, muscles and physical abilities aren’t used on consecutive days.

Any workout should give your energy systems and muscles an opportunity to recover. The 48-hour rule is a good thing to follow. It says you should exercise a muscle after 48 hours. 

5. Muscle Balance

There are some important concepts associated with muscle balance. One, always trains the muscles near a joint, regardless of your purpose and training type. Ignoring this creates an imbalance of strength around your joint leading to an injury in the long run. So, whenever  you do a pushing exercise, don’t forget to do a suspension trainer row to maintain a balance.

Two, perform an equal amount of work on the contradictory movements like when you perform pushing movements and also perform the same amount of pulling movements. This prevents one side of your body from over-development.

Three, all these concepts are applicable to non-traditional exercises also. They are not only meant for weight room exercises.

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