This page is an overview of the multiple training guides listed on the site. If you would like a more in-depth look at how plans are actually structured and created, the ultimate strength and muscle guide goes in-depth into everything involved.
Beyond anything else, the main consideration is what you can fit into your personal schedule, along with what you have access to (a gym, just a pair of dumbbells, etc).
When it comes down to a training plan, there are three variables that you can change around:
Once you understand what each of those mean, you will be able to design your own workouts. But, if you are completely new to fitness, first I recommend you check out the beginner guide found above (and also the beginner diet guide). Once you get a grasp on those fundamental concepts, you can start to format your training by yourself.
There are a few different options when it comes to training schedules. Probably the most popular is the high volume and high intensity approach. This is where you would go to the gym 5-6 days a week and hit a specific body part or group of muscles each day. This is the traditional bodybuilding “bro split.” If you’re NOT taking steroids, it is highly recommend that you DON’T take this training approach.
As you progress along your fitness journey, you will quickly realize that it isn’t always about working out as hard as you can. Don’t get the wrong impression–that’s great and it’s totally encouraged. However, you can only work out so hard. At a certain point you will hit a wall and be forced to figure out what needs to change in order to keep making progress.
In other words, working smarter will always beat out just working harder. Working hard and smart is the way to truly elite strength levels and an incredible physique.
The main thing you can control? Your recovery. When most people first get started in the gym, they associate hard work with results. This is an awesome mental shift and shouldn’t be knocked. However, after a few months they quickly see their results stop. They hit a huge plateau.
This break in progress is completely due to recovery. When you train with a bodybuilding split, you aren’t maximizing your “recovery resources.”
The term “recovery resources” just refers to all of the hormones and nutrients your body can use to repair itself. When you are looking to build muscle and melt off fat, it’s quite obvious that these resources are very important.
Instead, what you should be doing, is focusing on frequency. That magical 9 letter word will completely revolutionize your results. There are a lot of complicated things that come into effect when dealing with frequency. However, I will just focus on the nuts and bolts and get you on your way.
Any given week, you can perform only a limited number of exercises. For the purpose of this example, let’s say you can only perform 100 sets of exercises for the entire week. Well, this obviously means you need to get the absolute most out of each and every set that you do.
In this example, you will represent the typical “bodybuilding approach” where you try to do as many exercises as possible for a given muscle group on each respective training day. It’s chest day so you decided to do the following exercises:
- Bench Press
- Incline Dumbbell Press
- Cable Flies
- Dumbbell Flies
- Hammer Strength Press
All in all, you did 15 sets (you did 3 sets for each exercise). Those 15 sets will be your entire “chest stimulation” for the week.
On the other hand, subscribing to a frequency-oriented training approach changes things dramatically.
What does this mean? It means I’m going to work my “chest” 3 times a week. The exception is that I won’t train it as hard each time, which will allow me to maximize my recovery.
You got your 15 sets in by doing them all on the same day. Here’s how I am going to work out my “chest:”
- Monday = Bench Press, Hammer Strength Press
- Wednesday = Bench Press, Incline Dumbbell Press
- Friday = Bench Press, Cable Flies
You should also notice another clear trend here. As you can tell, I’m focusing on the Bench Press. Why? Because it’s going to give me the most results for my effort. As you can see, I got to perform 18 sets over the course of the week. Furthermore, I Bench Pressed 3 times and you only got to once.
I’m literally going to progress three times faster than you if everything else is equal. That’s extremely powerful once you realize that you will be able to hit a specific muscle group literally 100-150 times over the course of a year. It’s those consistent, day-to-day workouts that are going to lead to your long-term success and the body that you want and deserve.
The awesome thing when you start this training program focused around compound movements is that you will be able to add weight to each lift every time you step in the gym. This is a very empowering thing as it directly correlates with how much your body is changing for the better. Take advantage of this by making sure to focus on the best exercises, which I’ve already nailed over and over again. If you want to see some more ideas, here is a list of the 10 best exercises.
Another concept that needs to be addressed is periodization. However, it is at the very least an intermediate technique and not necessary until you can no longer go up in weight every workout. For the full guide on it, go here.