Updated: Apr 6
Recently, I’ve gotten the question a lot more from office working friends, weekend warriors, retirees, and other common health seeking individuals. Their question is asking me about how to develop their training routine each week. Shockingly, they don’t have the time or resources to see me, or anyone, for an assessment. They don’t have any specific goals except for “stay healthy”, “get stronger”, “feel better”, and other vague aspirations that are totally fine if you really aren’t concerned with any specific outcomes from your training (boring). Well here is a quick blog for this amazing, and rather large percentage, of the population in America.
It seems with this group of people the first two considerations that should be handled are time each week dedicated to training and resources/equipment to train with. I love trying to help the person who slides in my DM asking for ideas about a routine with only 1-2 days a week to train and two pieces of equipment in their studio apartment…..classic. To make this post easier we are going to stick to the people who have enough equipment, or an appropriate space to train. This could be a space at home or an actual gym location. With that said here are my recommendations, as of today, for how to outline a training routine depending on how many days/hours a general person has available.
But first a quick reminder! Regardless of how many days/hours someone has available I believe that the foundation underneath any human’s training should revolve around a practice that gets an individual moving better. That means that as I outline programming ideas I am intending that every individual incorporates a movement practice into their daily lives, their warm-ups, their cool-down, or anywhere else they can squeeze in the time. With that being said if you are the person who only has 1 day, or about 1 hour, to train each week then strength training/development should be your biggest priority. Some kind of full body routine using any kind of load (bodyweight, bands, weights, etc.) to develop strength and maybe some power/speed. It would probably make sense to use super sets, circuits, and density circuits to make the most of your time.
For those who have about 2 days, or 2 hours, a week to train I recommend still prioritizing strength training. You can always squeeze in some intervals or conditioning work into the strength training days if needed. Upper body/lower body splits, push/pull splits, and even two full body routines a week work here. If you did use the two full body routines make sure enough rest is taken in between training days.
When someone has 3 days, or about 3 hours, a week to train things can really open up. At this point one of the training days can go from a strength focus to an aerobic, anaerobic, or sport activity focus. However if someone wanted to strength train on all three training days then one option could be a classic bodybuilding split of chest/tri, back/bi, and legs/abs. You could also do a full body routine and wave the loads from heavy, medium, and light each training session. Powerlifting splits and gymnastic style training are also doable with three days a week of training available.
With 4+ days of training available each week I think someone should probably have some goals in mind. If someone has that much time to train then it only makes sense to work towards something important to you. However, if you still have no clue what your goal looks like I still recommend at least 2 days of strength training, 1 day of anaerobic training, and the rest of the time each week dedicated to aerobic training or sport activities. If someone wants to work strength training 4+ days a week look at routines from bodybuilding, power lifting, cross-fitting, etc. people out there who train that much. Find a routine that works with your schedule, feels appropriate to your body, and make sure you are tracking your recovery like a hawk.
There is no best training routine out there or we would all follow it. We are all living through different seasons of our lives and depending on our priorities, our schedules, and countless other factors things will inevitably change. With success being a moving target for everyone I hope that this blog helps people find consistency with a healthy active lifestyle. Regardless of whether you have one day to each week or many. Kinect with a routine that works for you and let me know if you need any help along the way!