“Is this training okay?”
Such, or at least a very similar question appears very often on the Ronnie.cz discussion forum, one could say almost daily. Usually (but not always) a training schedule follows in the form of a chaotic jumble of a large number of exercises, which are broken down into several training units without continuity. Training of so-called “own production”. Quite often, one of the readers also asks me to compile a training plan, and I must say quite honestly that I now often apologize and I cannot comply with these requests. Not perhaps because I didn’t want to, I couldn’t find some time, or because I couldn’t advise in this way, but rather because it’s very difficult to optimally compile a training plan without personal contact directly in the gym. I can hardly put together a tailor-made training plan at someone’s request, if I do not have the opportunity to check the person’s posture, technique of individual exercises and analyze in detail his previous experience with training. The exceptions are those about which I know that their exercise technique and training methodology is very good, but in this case they are able to compile the training themselves and our discussion develops more in a dialogue of exchange of experiences and opinions.
Nevertheless, I would like to advise all those who are no longer complete beginners who rely on the help of a personal trainer, but also do not yet have enough knowledge and experience to flawlessly compile their own training plan and do not want to copy any of those found on the Internet. I will try to explain a few simple principles to you and help you avoid the usual mistakes and mistakes that often occur when planning your own training program. Take a series of articles on this topic as a small “guide” that will make it easier for beginners and intermediate students to start their journey at least a little.
I would first like to mention the reason why it is at all appropriate to have a training plan that you follow and that you try to follow. Above all, you will have much better feedback on how you reacted to a specific training scheme. Subsequent planning then results in further planning and, of course, ideally, overall long-term performance growth. In connection with the determined training plan, I would also like to mention another important thing, namely the training diary. Believe me, nothing else will give you as much information during the next planning as just reading back your own training diary. You will find out when, under what conditions and in what time horizon you have improved (or worsened, which unfortunately sometimes happens). When checking trainings day after day over a period of several weeks and months, you will discover with gradually growing knowledge and experience the interconnectedness of the composition of exercises, their distribution on individual days, number of sets and number of repetitions and their impact on your strength performance and volume growth. You will reveal when and for what reason you got to the edge of overtraining, or you will find out the cause of your injury (of course I do not wish anything like that to any of you, I speak from my own experience, lower back and neglected regeneration, resulting in an injury that excluded me from training for more than a year).
I don’t think there are any more reasons to keep training records in any way. It’s up to you whether you write everything down on paper, in a text file on your computer or, for example, here in the training logs section on the Ronnie.cz discussion forum.
Let’s get back to how to put together your own training plan. The first schedule most beginners usually follow comes from a coach or a more experienced friend. Ideally, it is a balanced training, which serves primarily as an overall physical preparation, strengthens the center of the body, teaches you the right movement stereotypes, prevents uneven muscle development and strengthens the correct posture. Usually, after two to three months of regular training 2-3 times a week, adaptation will take place, training is no longer so demanding, the technical execution of exercises will improve and there will be an increase in strength and muscle mass. It’s time for a change. You may need to change the order and layout of the exercises a bit, include some new ones, or change the technique of the original ones. We will try to change the number of sets and repetitions, adjust the pace of training… There are unlimited possibilities, but only by that you try to eliminate the least suitable ones, you move a big bit forward. Before we embark on the analysis of individual training schemes, selection of exercises and other technical details, I will not forgive myself talking around. Those who are not interested in the philosophical side of things will have to wait a while for the second part. 🙂
Categorize the information
It may be just my appearance, but especially beginners and intermediates usually tend to literally “stuff” into the training schedule every conceivable exercise and training process they have ever seen or heard about. After all, each of them occupies absolutely extraordinarily! In a bodybuilding magazine, they wrote that biceps lifts with support on Scott’s bench engaged the “lower biceps.” In the gym, someone said that hammer strokes are good for “deep biceps” and concentrated strokes with knee support are said to make “the top of the biceps.” Crashed series are said to be good for “quality”, forced repetitions for “volume” and it doesn’t hurt to have a few more super-series “for drawing” … So for sure we will include all of the above, preferably in various combinations? And how it turned out with the bad hafan, which ate the very good cake for the dog and the cat, you probably all know …
Be completely calm. I can assure you that once upon a time, when I had had about half a year to a year of serious training, I was also completely overwhelmed with the information “what, how, when and why” to train. I studied books, the internet, asked anyone in the gym who was bigger than me (yes, of course they were all at the time, and that’s why everyone loved my inquisitive questions), and the overall impression of all the information was one – complete chaos . Opinions and recommendations differ on individual points or are completely contradictory. In one issue of a bodybuilding magazine, you will find two or three training systems, which, although completely dissimilar, are all described as “revolutionary” and “extremely effective.” In the gym, you will usually receive ten conflicting pieces of advice from the ten “biggest people”, and in the finals you will visit the Ronnie.cz discussion forum, where a fratricidal war between supporters of the so-called “split” and supporters of “fullbody” training has been raging for several years. 🙂
I will advise you one thing. It is not a good idea to always choose from ten different information sources only the part that you think is the best, and then combine everything. Choose only one source of information that has a credible effect on you at a time and try to follow it long enough to be able to assess the results. There is no other way to move forward than to have years of trial-and-error training evaluate the effectiveness of various training procedures and methods. I did not avoid this during more than eight years of training and it is almost certain that you will not avoid what is described either. The only things that can make your selection easier are references. If a large number of people praise a certain training system or training method, it is worth trying. Of course, there is always the possibility that it will not be the optimal choice for you and the results will not be great as with others. Just as it is possible (though less likely) that training that has given most people nothing will work perfectly for you. It is always necessary to see for yourself, so to speak, “on your own skin” and even here it is true that a negative experience is also valuable. Over time, you will stop thinking so much about all the possible procedures and combinations, and you will find a certain scheme that works for you. Of course, you will continue to experiment, but you will choose more carefully and, based on the rich previous experience, you will be able to estimate much better what it makes sense to try and what you prefer to avoid with a big arc. It is always necessary to see for yourself, so to speak, “on your own skin” and even here it is true that a negative experience is also valuable. Over time, you will stop thinking so much about all the possible procedures and combinations, and you will find a certain scheme that works for you. Of course, you will continue to experiment, but you will choose more carefully and, based on the rich previous experience, you will be able to estimate much better what it makes sense to try and what you prefer to avoid with a big arc. It is always necessary to see for yourself, so to speak, “on your own skin” and even here it is true that a negative experience is also valuable. Over time, you will stop thinking so much about all the possible procedures and combinations, and you will find a certain scheme that works for you. Of course, you will continue to experiment, but you will choose more carefully and, based on the rich previous experience, you will be able to estimate much better what it makes sense to try and what you prefer to avoid with a big arc.