Last week, I talked about how to achieve massive results training at home (In case you're new here or didn't have a chance to read it, here's the article). As a refresher, we went through roughly what you need to be both physically and mentally ready because it is much more difficult to start doing things like exercise when you're in the comfort of your own home.
I did mention making a list of exercises but I didn't go into much detail about how to do so. So, that is exactly what we're going to do today. I'm going to show you how to effectively make a list of exercises that will help you achieve your ideal body.
1. First you need to know what you need to work on. The body anatomy is divided into 3 main parts, upper body, core, and lower body, each further divided into smaller muscle groups. Upper body includes arms, chest, shoulder, and upper back or traps. Core includes abdominal, oblique, and lats. Lower body includes legs and buttocks. This is just a big, vague picture.
You need to make sure all of these parts are worked on and maintain the balance. That means not too much on one part and not too little on the part you don't like working on.
The way I like to look at it is I divide the body differently. I put arms, shoulders, and chest together as a whole. I put the whole back separately; same for core or abs. Then I divide the legs and buttocks into quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
2. Next, further break down each body part into main muscle groups. For example, this is my list of muscle groups in each body part that I noted down.
- Arms: forearm, biceps, triceps, brachialis (lies underneath biceps)
- Shoulders (3 heads of deltoid): anterior (front), lateral (mid), and posterior (back)
- Chest (pecs): upper chest, middle chest, lower chest, and chest midline
- Back: traps, lats, and rhomboids.
- Core: abs and obliques.
- Legs: quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves (gastrocnemius)
3. Now, at this point, you're not looking up for exercises just yet. You're going to learn how to group them together to work on them effectively. At this stage, most people would choose to work on arms, shoulders, chest, etc. separately on separate workout days and call it arms day, chest day, leg day. You name it.
There's nothing wrong with this, though. It's just not as effective as the tip I'm about to show you. Ever since I learned this tip, I was able to bring myself to a new level of fitness. Everyone notices the difference in me after just several months of "disappearing".
So here's the tip.
You don't want to work on those groups separately like that. Instead, you're going to group the parts that can be involved in a single exercise, and work on all of those groups on the same workout day.
For example, let's say you want to work on the biceps. Don't just work on it separately. You will want to group it with the back muscles and work on both of them at the same time. You want an exercise that involves both of them, which I call compound exercise. Any exercise that involves pulling can work on both biceps and the back muscles very well. My personal favorite are cable row, dumbbell/barbell row, and lats pull-down.
The reason why this type of exercise is so effective is because it allows many muscle groups to be engaged at the same time, aka. compound lifting, which is better for general health than working on just one muscle group at a time. It is a more effective way of bodybuilding because you can bulk up easier and faster with this method.
You can apply the same principle and group triceps and chest together. And any exercise that involves pushing can work on both of them very effectively. Push up, bench press, and triceps dips are some great examples.
Likewise, you can group legs and core together. Barbell squats and deadlift are extremely effective for working on legs and core. Both of them engage the quadriceps as the primary muscle group and the abdominal muscles as the secondary muscle group.
Another example that I use is shoulder and back. Cable row exercises are a great for targeting biceps, deltoid (especially posterior deltoid), and lats.
Shoulder and core is also a good way to group. As far as I know, for shoulder and core, I haven't found any exercise more effective than military shoulder press and plank. For military shoulder press, not only are your shoulders engaged, but your core is also working hard to maintain the balance of the whole body. For plank, your core is working just as hard as the shoulder as they both are the muscles under the most stress during plank.
4. Now, it's time to look up for exercises for the muscle groups you have already planned out. You should be able to do this by yourself so I'm not going to go into this part.
Just a note: When choosing exercises, you don't have to choose only compound exercises. You can choose ones that work on either of them separately. You just need 2-3 three compound exercises on a list of 10 exercises in total. But make sure you work on those single exercises on the same workout day, too.
5. Finally, put them all together, separate them by day, and make a list. For each workout day, you want to have about 5-10 exercises and spare at least 30-60 minutes of continuous exercising. By organizing them, it helps keep you on track. Let me share my personal example.
I like organizing in a Words document what exercise I'm going to do, how much volume (reps x weight), and an illustration that reminds me of what a correct posture looks like. The picture is day 1. There are 6 days in total in the cycle and I work on all muscle groups in those 6 days using the 2-days-on-1-day-off pattern. After the 6th day, the cycle repeats and I restart at day 1.
To recap, to build an effective exercise list, you must know the main muscle groups you want to work on and group them up in such a way they can be worked on together in one single exercise which I call compound exercise. Then, pick exercises to work on those muscle groups and organize a list to help keep you on track. You also want to have a workout cycle. Otherwise, you will just work on random muscle groups on each workout day and this isn't going to help you build a nice body.
Hopefully you all are finding the information and tips I have shared with you today including my personal example helpful.
Feel free to comment down below what you think and whether or not you enjoyed the content. Let me know so I will prepare better next time what you're looking for.
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