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Working out how to structure your training can be confusing, especially if you're new to it. This article will give you the low-down on how to do it and help you understand it better.

So here you are, you've just started working out, you've been following some form of program and you're enjoying it. However you want to start planning out your own training and start asking yourself "how many sets should I do?" "How much rest should I take?" "What exercises should I pick?". This is where things can become a little complicated if you're new to it, so in this article I'll be laying out some of the fundamentals to training so that you'll have a much easier time in structuring your own training regime to help maximise your potential and reach your goals.

Exercise selection

When in the process of choosing your exercises there is no need to overdo it. You don't need to throw in every single exercise under the sun just because you heard you should target all muscles from all different angles with every piece of equipment you can find. Simply choosing 3 or 4 different exercises per body part per week is all you need to provide enough stress and stimulus to help strengthen and grow your muscles. Make sure that these exercises target all different angles of the muscles you are working, for example; if you're training chest try to make sure you have exercises that hit the pecs from a flat position, an incline position, a decline position and also a fly variation. Making sure you have a variety of training equipment in your workouts such as dumbbells, barbells, machines etc. Is also important as it will allow you to a. Find out which exercises you most enjoy and feel help you the most and b. Allow you to stimulate your muscles in a variety of ways which keeps them on their toes and leads to greater improvements.

Sets and Reps

The amount of volume in your training is very important. Many people may think that the more you do the better your results will be which just isn't true. Your muscles get broken down and torn whilst you're training, it's only whilst you rest that they repair themselves and grow. As a natural lifter aiming for anywhere between 10-15 sets per body part per week is more than enough to ensure you're getting enough stimulation as well as not venturing into overtraining. As far as reps go it all depends on what your goals are, the general ruling is if you are training for speed you want to train in the 1-3 rep range, for strength you want to train in the 3-6 rep range, hypertrophy works best in the 6-12 rep range and anything above that will work on muscular endurance. Combining these rep ranges during your workouts is perfectly fine and can help you really progress in a number of ways.

Rest and Recovery

Like I've already said, doing more isn't always better. Including a some rest days during the week will help you progress and perform to a much higher standard. The amount of rest days you will need really depends on a number of factors, firstly the intensity of your training. If you are following a high intensity training style then it's likely that you're going to want more rest days due to the high demand of stress you're putting your body through. On top of this if you're someone that has an active lifestyle and or job outside of the gym then again this has to be taken into account and more rest time may be necessary. Studies have shown that muscles need at least 48 hours to rest and recover after direct resistance training. What this means is that say you've just hit a tough leg session at the gym with heavy weights etc, you will need to refrain from training your legs for at least 2 days afterwards. This doesn't necessarily apply for such training as cycling as that would be focusing more on cardiovascular fitness than hypertrophy and this could actually aid in helping your muscles recover just so long as you listen to your body and if your legs are sore I probably wouldn't recommend doing any form of sprints, be it on a bike or running.

Making sure your sleep schedule is perfected by going to bed at a regular time and waking at a regular time, as well as getting between 7-8 hours sleep each night, is by far the best thing you can do for your body. It will allow you to maximise your muscle growth and recovery due to your muscles repairing themselves whilst your body is at rest and on top of this it will help keep your energy levels high allowing for better training sessions during the day. Pairing this with things such as stretching and self massage techniques will allow for your body to be prepared for regular and intense training sessions and faster recovery between them.

Check out my other articles for free workouts and more health and fitness based topics. Follow my social media for more of me, my training and guidance to aid you in your fitness journey!

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