Exercise Order

Every individual is different! Some prefer to do their CV exercise before their resistance exercises when doing a full body strength endurance programme and vice versa. There is no right or wrong way, personally I think it depends on your goals and what you see as your priority in your programme. If you are more interested in losing weight or training for a competition like a 10k, then you would probably want to do your CV component first whilst you are fresh, because doing it after your strength exercises might make you feel heavy and sluggish, but not everyone is so concerned about running a 10k race. Some want to build muscle and body mass and in this case the strength exercises would probably be more of an importance than the CV component, so you would probably do the strength exercises first. It is all down to the individuals preference!

One part of the programme that is important is the order of muscles worked during your strength exercises. Some would go to a gym and use whatever equipment is free without thinking about the effects of the order in which they are exercising their muscles. Think about this; when lifting weights, for example performing a basic bench press, the main muscle group you are working are the Pectorals but when you know how the body works in function, you will know you are also using your Triceps and Anterior Deltoids to straighten your arms and push the weight away from your chest. Many other exercises work in this way using more than one muscle group to perform an exercise, so with this in mind fatiguing smaller muscles before larger muscles means you will never get the best possible workout to the larger muscles.

Here are a few tips and things to think about when working out:

  • Make sure you warm up for a minimum of 5 minutes before exercising. Don’t stretch whilst cold, and always try to perform Dynamic stretches(stretches on the move) rather than static stretches. Dynamic stretches that replicate the kind of movements you will be performing in your workout are a good idea. Static stretches should only be performed at the end of your workout. 
  • What are your goals and what is more important to you? Strength or CV?…….when you know this you can decide on the order at which you perform the exercises.  
  • During the strength exercises think about how certain muscles make your body move in different ways. This will help you understand what muscles you are using during different exercises(for example, a seated row to work the muscles in the back. The movement of drawing the arms backwards towards the body makes the arms bend at the elbows. It takes the biceps to contract for the elbow to bend, therefore the biceps will be working during the exercise too.) and help you to choose the order of your exercises wisely. 
  • Start by performing exercises for larger muscles before smaller muscle groups to ensure all muscles are given the best possible workout.
  • Everyone wants a toned flat stomach but you should always perform your core exercises at the end of your workout. Your core links everything in the body and therefore helps stabilise during the exercises you perform for the rest of the body, especially when using free weights or standing exercises. Work the core last so the rest of your body gets the best possible workout first. 
  • If possible, try to use free weights rather than resistance machines. Free weights are better for training the body for function(this means everyday movements) and will also encourage the core to work too. Using free weights will help gain better definition and strength throughout the body.

After completing your workout…remember….you have a 15 minute window to stretch before your muscles start to tighten and you get that stiff feeling. Make sure you stretch thoroughly as it will help in the long run and flexibility is always key in exercising and staying fit.

Try putting these tips in to good use next time you workout and see if you notice any differences in your performance.

Here are a few tips and things to think about when working out:

  • Make sure you warm up for a minimum of 5 minutes before exercising. Don’t stretch whilst cold, and always try to perform Dynamic stretches(stretches on the move) rather than static stretches. Dynamic stretches that replicate the kind of movements you will be performing in your workout are a good idea. Static stretches should only be performed at the end of your workout. 
  • What are your goals and what is more important to you? Strength or CV?…….when you know this you can decide on the order at which you perform the exercises.  
  • During the strength exercises think about how certain muscles make your body move in different ways. This will help you understand what muscles you are using during different exercises(for example, a seated row to work the muscles in the back. The movement of drawing the arms backwards towards the body makes the arms bend at the elbows. It takes the biceps to contract for the elbow to bend, therefore the biceps will be working during the exercise too.) and help you to choose the order of your exercises wisely. 
  • Start by performing exercises for larger muscles before smaller muscle groups to ensure all muscles are given the best possible workout.
  • Everyone wants a toned flat stomach but you should always perform your core exercises at the end of your workout. Your core links everything in the body and therefore helps stabilise during the exercises you perform for the rest of the body, especially when using free weights or standing exercises. Work the core last so the rest of your body gets the best possible workout first. 
  • If possible, try to use free weights rather than resistance machines. Free weights are better for training the body for function(this means everyday movements) and will also encourage the core to work too. Using free weights will help gain better definition and strength throughout the body.

After completing your workout…remember….you have a 15 minute window to stretch before your muscles start to tighten and you get that stiff feeling. Make sure you stretch thoroughly as it will help in the long run and flexibility is always key in exercising and staying fit.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwqoA39RoNs]

Try putting these tips in to good use next time you workout and see if you notice any differences in your performance.

If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

(Originally posted on Wednesday, 6 October 2010)