Since the time we spend in the gym is so limited, it’s very precious and we’re all basically looking for a way to make every minute worth the effort put into it. One logical assumption would be that the greater the number of sets and reps you perform is, the better your results will be. But is this really true?
A closer look at the issues most bodybuilders face would easily convince us in the opposite. Simply put, an endless series of any movement lacking proper form and focus won’t get you anywhere in the same way that a lack of volume or intensity will yield weak results even in terms of the most powerful exercises. The real solution lies in the way you arrange your routine and the amount of attention you pay to form and proper execution. Let’s explain this further with the help of a few golden rules you should always abide by for the purpose of creating an optimally effective routine structure.
1. The specific order in which you perform your exercises directly affects the order of muscles you fatigue, which greatly influences your gains from the whole ordeal. And if you want your overall size and power to grow, you’ll need to emphasize the big muscle groups. A good rule of thumb is to hit the smaller muscles only after you’ve finished with the heavy lifting and drained all energy from the big ones, so never place isolation movements which tire out the small muscles before compound exercises.
2. Always place weightlifting before cardio. If not, long cardio sessions will use up most of your strength and fatigue your muscles before you even touch a bar. Keep in mind that this rule also applies for the day before having a heavy lifting session. On the other hand, if you do cardio the next day after a lifting session, the fresh muscle gains can improve your performance.
3. Finally, try to put free weights before exercise machines. Free weights allow you to train functional movements with full range of natural motion, protect the health of your joints and increase muscle coordination, but most importantly, they work almost all muscles in your body. On the other hand, machines are great for isolating smaller muscle groups and we’ve already discussed their place in an efficient muscle-building routine. In general, free weight exercises are more difficult and place a lot more stress on the body, which is essentially the key to a ripped physique.
Got it? Good, because it’s really as simple as that. Now go and make every one of your iron-pumping sessions count!