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General Characteristics of a Good Routine

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:15 pm
by Jungledoc
What is the difference between a good and a bad routine? There will be differences between a good BB routine and a good strength routine. There will be differences between a good beginning routine and an intermediate or advanced routine. But what are the characteristics of good routines in general?

Here's where I'd start.

1. Of reasonable length. The basic routine should be brief enough to complete within an hour or so.

2. Should be built on a foundation of big compound exercises.

3. Should not use unnecessary redundancy or overlap, for the most part.

4. Should primarily utilize free-weight and body-weight exercises.

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:34 pm
by toby123
Please explain point 3.

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:04 pm
by Jungledoc
Don't do 3 different kinds of curls in the same routine.

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:06 pm
by nygmen
As far as #3, while I agree, I notice certain muscles respond better to frequency and volume. My Traps grow more when I hit them with two exercises a workout at least twice a week. (Shrugs & DL's). My Lats somewhat also, but I think the heavy DB rows have done more for size, and the plate loaded pull downs for strength. (but I have seen growth from doing both.)

I would also add:

5) It challenges you. Progress is hard most times. Hard is fun.

(EDIT: Good thread idea Doc.)

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:18 pm
by pdellorto
How about these, Doc?

6) Includes adequate stimulation - enough to result in improvement.

7) Includes adequate rest - enough to recovery from your training.

8) Is specific the qualities you're trying to improve.

So #8, if you want muscular strength at the same bodyweight, you aren't doing a routine aimed at hypertrophy. You aren't doing a powerlifting workout for your bodybuilding goals, or vice-versa.

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:02 am
by caangelxox
Use a dynamic warm-up before performing any resisted movements and follow this up with static stretching after your last rep.

Lifting - Use compound movements prior to isolation exercises
faster movements performed before slower movements. Plyometrics and

Olympics lifts should be performed before a slow and steady exercise such as a chin up.

Core training - Perform core exercises that stabilize before you mobilize.
core training start with drills in the sagittal plane (think front and back), progress to frontal plane drills (think side to side) and lastly incorporate

drills that incorporate the transverse plane (think rotational) to develop an optimal core.

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:24 am
by Kenny Croxdale
Jungledoc wrote:Don't do 3 different kinds of curls in the same routine.
This is one of the major problems that I see, esepcially with shoulder work.

Someone does does a bench press, incline press, and shoulder press...THREE shoulder exercises. Then perform "Shoulder Work"...front raises, laterals and maybe something for the posterior chain.

They end up overtraining their shoulders.

It the same thing with bicep training.

Kenny Croxdale

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:41 am
by Jungledoc
Kenny--that's what I meant by #3.

Another way of putting my basic question is, "what does a good body building routine have with a good strength routine, or with a good weight loss routine?"

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:03 am
by hoosegow
9. Don't have a routine.

Basically, change things up constantly. Have a plan or a philosophy, but don't have a routine that you do. I think we can all agree that a big problem is that people fall into a routine and stop making progress. THat might be what Pete was referring to in #6.

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:11 am
by Kenny Croxdale
Jungledoc wrote:Kenny--that's what I meant by #3.

I was agreeing with you in the other post.


Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:48 pm
by Jungledoc
Ah... Sorry. I was sleepy.

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:48 pm
by quadfrog
hoosegow wrote:9. Don't have a routine.
Damn, Hoosegow, I love how you can make complete sense with just a few, simple words. Reminds me of a saying: Experts take something simple and make it complex and confusing.

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:41 am
by KPj
I think a good routine will work around your posture. I bet that answer surprised loads of people??

Seriously, though. People think when I talk about correcting posture and working on imbalances, that i'm saying "stop working towards your goals and do all this activation and stretching stuff instead". Actually, Strength training and 'fixing your imbalances", "posture correction", or whatever you want to call it are very closely related.

How do you fix an imbalance? You find what's weak, and you strengthen it. how do you get stronger? you get the point. So called "posture correction" is actually what got me obsessed with strength training.

Posture, to me, just means "alignment". And alignment is crucial in everything - anything with 'joints' like cars, bikes etc need good alignment or things start wearing down unevenly or excessively or both. It's common sense. When tyres in your car wear down more on one side, what's the problem? It's most likely not your tyres, more likely to be your steering alignment. You can change tyres till your hearts content but if you don't fix the steering the problem will always come back. That is a perfect analogy for knee pain and hip dysfunction. Knees are the tyres, hips are the steering...

So, a good routine for me will first find your weaknesses and limitations. Then exercise selection will be chosen based on that. In my opinion, this is the foundation you should create before you get to all the other points mentioned already.

Nice topic, btw.


Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:01 am
by KPj
After my last point, the next thing is balance.

One mistake loads of people make is thinking that their body is a blank canvas. It's just not. Maybe decades ago when people moved around more and got told to stand up straight, but not anymore. Alwyn Cosgrove has mentioned this on his blog a few times - how the average client that walks through his door now is in far worse shape than they were even 10 years ago.

Anyway, balance on a blank canvas would be, in the simplest of cases, 1:1 ratio of pulling to pressing. Now, with your average untrained person, they're already out way out of balance. In order to achieve balance, you need to write the routine out of balance. In basic terms, you're talking about 2-3 times the amount of pulling than pressing, just to get 'in balance'.

So, first you need to find the weaknesses and limitations, from there you have a big list of exercises you can do, and also from there you can determine what they need more of, and what they need to stay away from - balance.

I agreed with Jungledocs point 3 about reduncy and overlap. The keyword in that point, for me, was "unnecessary". Most of the overlap we see is completely pointless and even detrimental, but some overlap is very necessary.

To explain that futher, say you have a muscle that's became 'innactive'. Common one's are the middle and lower traps, or glutes. Think of it in terms of, needing, say, 1000 reps on those muscles before the're on par with your other more dominant muscles. That'll happen much quicker if you have some 'overlap' in your routine.

It should be clear that I was agreeing with the original overlap point, btw. I'm just giving some food for thought.