• Maeve Kavangh, PT

How to structure a workout?

Updated: Feb 11, 2019


Are you someone who goes into a gym and doesn’t know where to begin in terms of structuring your workout? Do you go from machine to machine and feel like you have no plan or idea as to what you are doing? I will outline five major areas that you should try to incorporate into a structured weights programme. Please note this is not a specific exercise programme, as I haven’t outlined sets, reps or a list of exercises to follow. Warm Up: There are so many ways to structure a warm up and a lot will depend on what main activity you are planning to do. Generally, I like to start each warmup with some activation exercises (glute bridges, band walks etc..) and then some movements to open up the hips, shoulders, chest and back (Approx 10-15 mins).


Main Phase: This is your main "strength move" of the day and is going to be your heaviest lift. Depending on your goals you can do one or two big lifts and ideally choose a compound exercise (where you work more than one muscle group) e.g. squats, deadlifts, bench press, chin-ups. Accessory Work: These are your lighter exercises that aren't as taxing as the main the main phase and 3-5 exercises are plenty, just make sure the exercises you choose are balanced. This stage will contribute to muscle growth and definition. You can choose from many exercises such as RDL’s, Shoulder Press, Hip Thrusters, Bicep Curl, Tricep Extension, Planks. Keep the weights lighter than the main phase and focus on feeling the muscles work with good technique and form 💪🏼.


Finisher: A finisher is an intense exercise or series of exercises performed at the end of the workout. It’s designed to ensure that you’ve burnt every last drop of gas from the tank. I won’t lie – it’s very tough, but it will help you drop those extra pounds and cut body fat 🔥💪🏼 There are many formats to the finisher stage e.g. Tabatha finisher = 4 minutes with 20 seconds per exercise and 10 seconds rest in between each exercise e.g. Jump lunges, Jump squats, Burpees, Push-ups

Repeat this set one more time ensuring that you only rest for 10 seconds between exercise 4 and exercise 1 😲


Cooldown: I like all clients to finish their workout feeling relaxed and revived. Your HR will be high after the finisher session so to lower it, try to incorporate some mat work with gently breathing exercises and perform stretches to target all of the major muscles.

For those new to exercise make sure to ask for advice from a qualified fitness professional before you begin structuring your workouts!


Best of luck Maeve


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© 2019 by Maeve Kavanagh, Personal Training

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