Developing an Exercise Routine (Part 2)
Faith persists: “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him” (Colossians 2:6).
Christian faith has a “starting point” along with the admonition to “continue in the faith.” Applying this spiritual principle to our physical lives, let us be faithful to continue to exercise and care for our bodies as stewards of the temples he has entrusted to us.
Developing an exercise routine is not a “one-size fits all” proposition. There are many options to choose from. Professor Dave Lewis from Houghton College presents five possibilities that utilize resistance exercises, but the same principles would apply for other forms of exercise.
- Total Body Routines:
This routine typically exercises all major muscle groups during the same single workout session. Frequently, exercises are arranged in a sequential order alternating between an upper body exercise and a lower body exercise. For example:
- Bench press (upper body) followed by leg press (lower body)
The rationale for this sequence is to allow the upper body to have a recovery period while the lower body is working and vice versa. The two exercises can be performed back and forth for several sets, or additional sequential exercises can be added with the same upper body/lower body rotation. Another option would be to combine opposite motion exercises in sequential order. For example:
- Shoulder press (pushing motion) followed by lat pull downs (pulling motion)
Again, the option remains to alternate these two exercises back and forth for several sets or add other opposite motion exercises sequentially. Generally, a total body routine takes a day off between workouts and may follow a three-day per week schedule:
- Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday
The duration and complexity of each training session depends on objectives and experience. A beginner may aim for a 30-minute workout; a more advanced workout might range between 1-2 hours.
- Split Routines
There are multiple ways to split a routine. A common method is to work the upper body one day and the lower body the next day. Here is a 6-Day Workout pattern:
- Monday = upper body
- Tuesday = lower body
- Wednesday = core
- Thursday = upper body
- Friday = lower body
- Saturday = core
- Sunday = rest
Again, there are multiple Split Routine Methods, i.e. splitting between Strength Training Exercises (Weight Resistance) and Cardio Training (Bikes/Treadmills) on alternating days.
- Super Set System
A super set is performed when two exercises are performed in immediate succession followed by a rest interval. Typically, a program is constructed with a series of super sets. Here is an example of a four-part super set system:
- Leg extension … leg curl … rest
- Shoulder press … lat pull down … rest
- Chest press … dumbbell flies … rest
- Bicep curl … rriceps extension … rest
Once this four-part series is completed, repeat for a second or third set, depending on your objectives.
- Giant Sets
This program involves several exercises that work the same muscle group in succession. Each exercise is performed with little or no rest between them. An example of a 4-part upper body Giant Set for the Shoulders and Back:
- Shoulder press … lat pull down … upright row … dumbbell rows … rest
Once completed, options could include a second set going through the same exercises again or setting up another giant set focusing on another muscle group, e.g. a four-part giant set for the chest.
- Continuous Set Routines
This method often employs a partner (though not required). This practice is typically temporary and performed on a limited basis, often with only one or two exercises at the conclusion of a workout. Utilize a weight which can be performed with maximum effort at a prescribed number of repetitions, e.g. 10 reps. The first set is performed reaching 10 or as close to 10 reps as possible. Upon completion, immediately remove a small amount of weight and repeat the exercise again attempting to reach as many reps as possible up to 10 maximum. Then repeat the process again. The total sets performed can either be pre-determined or continue until no more repetitions can be made, even with the lightest weight.
Any of the above routines can be modified to best fulfill the desired outcomes. Be creative and explore a variety of options. The bottom line: be active and develop an exercise routine that best fits your objective and circumstances. Like our faith in Jesus. Get started and keep going!