I have recently created and started doing 4 full-body workouts that I alternate between. After a month and a half, it occurred to me that I could post them on a fitness forum and see if others more experienced than me at fitness noticed any bad choices I may have made, either with specific exercises or my workout plans in general, or any mistakes that I may be making that I don't know about. ExRx is the fitness site I've been frequenting the most, so I thought to try this forum, which I've seen that is also quite active.
I'll post below the details regarding my starting fitness level, goals, and the specific workouts. If anyone has any advice or suggestions to offer, they are more than welcome.
My fitness history:
I am 24 years old, and the most consistent form of exercise I've ever had was a year of semi-professional ballroom dancing I did in my last year of secondary school. Throughout high school and my university studies I've started workouts of simple full-body routines at least 3 times, done at home for the health benefit and a general starting goal of raising endurance and strength, and at most they lasted close to a month before dropping them because of varying circumstances. I have never been overweight and have never been in need to lose weight, nor have I ever had any serious medical conditions.
I am 5 feet 8 inches tall, and on 30/10/2013, when I took various measurements before starting my workout program, I weighed 127 pounds and had a morning heart rate of 76 beats per minute when waking up. I took the fitness test included in the P90X program, for reference, and I could do:
wall squat for 2:33
6 bicep curls with 10kg barbells
27 in & outs
and after maximum intensity cardio my heart rate reached 148
Currently, at the beginning, my goals are to get my strength and endurance off the floor. In the long term, my goals are to build functional strength. Once I've reached a level I deem acceptable, I will switch to building my running endurance, but that will be a separate issue.
I am not looking to lose fat mass or add muscle mass outside of what comes with strength gains.
I work out at home, and my equipment consists of a two adjustable dumbbells with 1kg, 2kg and 3kg disks, the bars weighing 2 kg each, a wall mounted pull-up bar, an exercise mat and my own body weight. I've found that one should increase weights gradually by 5-10% at a time, but increasing weight on my dumbbells is tricky, since I can only increase in 2 kg increments each dumbbell, or 4.4 pounds. I would normally set my goal for all exercises with weights for 12 reps, but to mediate the large increments I try to reach 15 before adding to the dumbbells' weight. I would gladly buy fixed weight dumbbells, but I currently don't have the means to.
I created 4 full-body workouts loosely based on the P90X program, taking from it the idea of changing workouts to maintain variety for my own enjoyment of the workouts, and not for the notion of "muscle confusion" which I haven't read anything on. I also followed various other resources on full-body workouts and creating your own workout. I work out Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, alternating between workouts in pairs every month, and within pairs with every workout: first month workout 1 - workout 2 - workout 1 etc., next month workout 3 - workout 4 - workout 3 and so on.
I chose the exercises from both P90X and the eXrX database. I do all weighted exercises for 12-15 reps with maximum weight, and all body-weight exercises for as many reps as I can, with a focus on maintaining proper form throughout all of them. Depending on the body-weight exercise, when I reach either 30 or 50 reps I will modify it to increase difficulty or change it with something else.
Having said that, because in the past I've had issues with too much muscle soreness all at once which then required long periods of rest, this time I took the precaution of beginning to work out slowly, increasing intensity steadily over the first two weeks. I was centered more on feeling the "heat" than the "burn".
Before a workout I did 10 minutes of warmup until recently, and now I do 5 minutes because I can warm up more easily. I took 2 minutes brakes between exercises, lowered to 1:30 and now 1:00, and looking to get to no breaks between exercises, apart from how long it takes me to change disks on the dumbbells. After a workout I do 2 minutes of cooldown followed by a full-body stretching routine, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds.
First, twice I've had slight to medium joints pain, particularly wrists and in the hips. As far as I've learned this indicates bad form, most probably at the last reps in my case, and I've been paying a lot more attention to this.
Second, I'm improving at a faster pace than I anticipated, and I am steadily increasing exercise intensity. I was planning on going through the workouts for 4 months before doing split workouts for muscle groups, but now I'll reevaluate if at the two month mark I should split my workouts in lower body and upper body to allow for more recovery time. Is there a standard way to evaluate this?
Lastly, today was the first time that I started feeling light-headed and slightly nauseous during a workout, and I stopped the workout completely after two thirds to recover. I'm going to look intro it to see what the most common causes are for this happening during a workout, but if anyone reading this has any thoughts you're welcome to share them.
I haven't mentioned anything about my diet because I've been cooking for myself for a long time, and I have more than enough experience to look after my diet properly. I have meals at set times 5 times a day and have never had trouble choosing what and how much to eat. No sugary drinks or chips or the like, rarely wanted such things growing up and even more rarely now. I don't smoke and I only drink alcohol in a few social situations, which even then amounts to a single beer mostly because my body isn't used to alcohol.
List of workouts:
BACK - Close grip overhand pull-ups
LEGS - Alternating side lunge (dumbbells)
SHOULDERS - In & out straight-arm shoulder flys
ABS - Wide leg sit-ups
CHEST - Standard push-ups
CALVES - Calf raises (dumbbells)
TRICEPS - Straight leg chair dips
HIPS - One leg lying hip extension (each rep timed)
BICEPS - Congdon curls
BACK - Wide front pull-ups
SHOULDERS - Alternating shoulder press
LEGS - Calf raise squat (dumbbells)
CHEST - Decline push-ups
ABS - Oblique v-ups
TRICEPS - Lying-down triceps extensions
WAIST - Superman (each rep timed)
HIPS - Hanging knee raise
BICEPS - Static arm curls
BACK - Reverse grip chin-ups
ABS - Seated bicycles
SHOULDERS - Deep swimmers presses (90 degrees)
THIGHS - Deadlift squat (raised knee)
CHEST - Wide fly push-ups
HIPS - Single leg stiff-leg deadlift (dumbbells)
TRICEPS - Side-tri-rises
CALVES - Calf raises (dumbbells)
BICEPS - Crouching Cohen curls
BACK - Heavy pants
THIGHS - Sneaky lunge
SHOULDERS - Seated two-angle shoulder flys
HIPS - Side bridge hip abduction
TRICEPS - Two-arm tricep kickbacks
BICEPS - In & out bicep curls
CHEST - Diamond push-ups
ABS - Mason twist
BACK - Switch grip pull-ups (hanging switch)