In this week’s roundup I’m answering a reader question that relates to last week’s article, Exercising vs. Training Programs.
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Now on to the insightful question asked by Kathleen:
I’m glad Kathleen brought this up. I get that everyone’s searching for the perfect workout (or program). Is one better than another? Can you hurt yourself using a self-created training program?
Realistically, I don’t think most people ever create a structured training program for themselves. And if they do, they’re probably doing better than those who fly by the seat of their pants.
People hurt themselves all the time by overtraining and using bad form, but if they know enough to create a training program for themselves, they are least thinking through their training.
If you’re thinking about designing a program you can follow for at least 6 to 12 weeks, then you’re on the right track. If you’re wondering if you should randomly stop lifting weights for two weeks because you “haven’t had a break in a year,” you need to stop and think (you know who you are).
For my new online clients who start with six-week training programs, we use the first two weeks to test and integrate prescriptions for muscle imbalances. So you can see that six weeks is the absolute minimum – it’s really just the beginning of a long-term program.
When I say be mindful of your training, I’m not talking about meditating. I mean thinking about your training as a larger process instead of workout-by-workout. It’s when you do this that you prevent harm.
What should you ask when creating training programs?
- How do I adjust strength-training variables to get to my goals?
- What’s the ideal workout frequency for me?
- How do I effectively incorporate rest so I can avoid injury and overtraining?
- How does my age affect my workouts?
- Which exercises should I do?
- How do I fix a plateau?
These are just a few of the elements that go into program design. If it seems complicated, that’s because program design is a skill personal trainers are educated and paid to do.
If you are truly interested in forwarding your own training without the help of a trainer, you should become educated in at least a few of the above questions. (And I do recommend personal training, of course; my online clients are on a path they can trust.)
Are you following a program? How long is it? What will you do when it ends?
See you in nirvana~
This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.