How To Build Your Own Workout Routines: An Analysis
Nick Catlin has written an article here on how to build your own workout routines. He’s a two time Olympian and has almost a decade of experience as an elite athlete.
It is a long article, but it’s packed with solid info, and he approaches the construction of any given workout with a chronological perspective. Namely, he starts off talking about warm-ups, then goes into the logical ordering of exercises, depending on what you want to get out of it. Also there is an easy to navigate contents list at the start which makes life easier for you.
Building Your Own Workout Routines
Okay, so how does he recommend you build your own workout routines? Beginning with the warm-up, he talks about:
- Getting the blood flowing, which is obviously something that will improve performance. This can be done on either the bike, treadmill or cross-trainer.
- He recommends that you spend 20-30 minutes foam-rolling and stretching before he even touches weights. As injury prevention is a HUGE long-term goal we should all have, this is important.
I am guilty of not warming up properly in the past. I’ve found stretching to be particularly important for exercises such as the deadlift, and also for pressing movements like the bench and overhead press once volume starts to edge closer to my MRV, and the risk of overuse injuries increases.
Then Nick talks about power building exercises. This may or may not be a goal for you. Some people prefer aesthetics, some prefer absolute strength, some power. Those who prioritise power usually do so for sports purposes.
I always remember talking to a local coach I know, who coached elite level Rugby players. He commented that they weren’t necessarily as strong as you would expect. These guys were often 6’4 240 pounds, but they were nowhere near as strong as elite powerlifters. But they were powerful as hell. Their throwing, sprinting and jumping abilties were absolutely outrageous.
So it depends on what you want. If power is important to you, Nick recommends doing these exercises first whilst your CNS (Central Nervous System is relatively fresh), and his favourite movement is the power clean. This is a technical movement, and I would advise you to research on YouTube and practise very light weight religiously before progressing onto heavier weights.
Box jumps are also excellent for power training.
He moves onto talking about the main compound movements for strength (and size) that I so often talk about on here. He talks about the lower body first, giving an impressively broad list of exercises and details not only the technique, but also benefits of each and which muscle groups receive the most stimulation. He progresses to do the same for the upper body afterwards.
He addresses the common complaint about time management and the gym, which is key for you Men Over 40. This is the questions “how am I supposed to hit solid sessions in under an hour with all of this volume I need to do?”
His answer: supersets.
Supersets can be a massive time-saver for busy Men Over 40. They’re great. I would also add: cut as much fluff out as possible, and ruthlessly focus on the biggest exercises that will give you the most bang for your buck.
And you know what will save you even more time than all of this?
If you have adequate equipment, look at doing home workouts. Particularly if they’re predominantly cardio sessions, or bodyweight. I know that in the past when I was trying to lose weight, I was training about 5 times per week. But not all of them were heavy squat, bench and deadlift sessions, hence I did the lighter sessions in my garage (as I had enough equipment for them).
Anyway, it’s a great article, and I highly encourage you to check it out if you want to get a better idea of:
- how to structure a workout
- how to select exercises by order
- how to select appropriate exercises for your goals
- how each one benefits you
- how to actually perform them
- other training tips and tricks