October 31, 2017


How to design a smart and effective workout

Over the last number of weeks I have given you plenty of information with regard to the different stages of your training.Every detail was covered starting off with a movement mobility test ,simple basic movements that people need help on, tips to help you keep consistent along with a sample of challenging high intensity workouts.

Its all well and good now knowing a lot of this information but how do you mash all this information into an effective 60 minute session?Working with clients on a daily basis a big focus from me is not only to train the client but more importantly educate them on the whats and whys of their training session.The goal of any trainer should be to guide their client the right way and a really good sign of a top class trainer is to see a trainer educate their client with regards to their training plan so that they are well equipped and a lot more knowledgeable when their trainer is not around them any more.

Can they now train and design a correct training structure themselves?

Does the client know how to warm up correctly?

Can they structure a session that really is focused on how they are feeling on that particular day?

Are they continuing to make progress when that trainer isn’t around?

Is there training structure a smart and effective longevity plan?

A lot of the time when I get a new client in on their assessment session I listen to the goals they have,their typical weekly lifestyle along with their current training regimes or programs they have been working under.Most are coming from a commercial gym background and a lot are coming in looking for very similar goals.

The most common goal I hear from people want they want is to feel fitter,healthier and stronger and that the current training regime they have been doing just hasn’t been working for them.This can come down to a lot of reasons and is something I will write about in a future article but for today the goal is to give you a layout that you can carry over onto the gym floor.Ideally this will be a 45-60 minute session where I am going to layout the order of a  session I do with clients that just want to get a good smart and effective workout in.

Lets start with the warm up

This is an important part of your workout.You should set aside 10-15 minutes and have a certain layout that is going to increase your temperature and blood flow around the body.The goal here really should be to move,stretch and activate different muscles,joints and bodyparts along with working on areas of your mobility that might need some attention.

Ideally speaking I will break my warm session up like this.

Raise temperature/Get the body moving first.This could be anything from jumping on a bike,doing some easy skipping or even getting warm on the rowing machine.All of this should be easy intensity and nothing too taxing.From there I focus on movements and this can vary from basic leg and arm swings or perhaps bringing in a little power movement like swings or broad jumps to get that central nervous system a little more alert before we move on further into the session.While doing this I will go back and forth with some activation and stretching drills that my body needs on that particular day.This could be anything from working with the lacrosse ball,doing some x band walks or even just spending some time hanging out on a bar.

Here is yesterdays structure and I chipped through 2 full rounds of this which took a total of 15 minutes.It was nothing too taxing and was perfect for what I needed on that particular day going forward into my next portion of the session.


Strength work

No matter what age,gender,goal,fitness level and so on I have always said that everybody some have some emphasis on strength work in their training plan.Generally speaking I suggest you set aside at least 20 minutes for this portion of your workout and you pick exercises that generally are the so called bigger movements.I am a big fan of seeing compound movements in peoples programs and this a part of the session I suggest you pick out movements such as squats,deadlifts,big pressing or pulling movements along with 1 or 2 mobility or core drills in this phase.

This could look like this

6 sets (2 warm up deadlift and pressing sets at 50-60% load and 4 full work sets).Ideally get through these 4 drills in 1 whole circuit and take your time chipping through this 20-25 minute routine.In each full circuit give yourself 4-5 minutes to complete and start again at the top of each 5th minute.I always recommend using a clock in your strength workouts as this will train you to control your training time and  tempo.A lot of the time I see people rushing through this part of the workout when there really is no need.

Trap bar deadlift

4 work sets 75-85% load and went with 3-5 reps each set

Half kneeling single arm landmine press

4 work sets 70%-75% load and went with 8 reps each arm each set

Banded pass through

4 work sets using a PVC or band and went with 12 reps

Hollow rocks

4 work sets and went with 15 reps

Extra/Accessory/Conditioning work

This can vary from client to client on what is needed on that particular day.In this portion I am going to bring in a EMOM which means every minute on the minute.The goal here is to work on some other lighter smaller movements while spiking the heart rate a little. Today we will focus on 4 exercises and in each exercise, I will give you 60 seconds to perform the movement.

It is 16 minutes in length so that means it is 4 rounds long. Here we have some extra lower body and upper body work along with some conditioning and core work. The goal is not to go heavy and focus on getting some higher reps in so the load should be 50-70% of your strength level

At the top of every minute, perform one exercise and ideally you should get 20 seconds rest or so before you move onto the next exercise.

So there it is a fully equipped training session to keep you going.I hope this information has helped you out and all the video detail has come in handy for you.I have compiled an exercise directory which is filled with plenty of upper and lower body workout ideas along with mobility,power and core drills that might just come in handy for your program.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.