Exercising, working out, lifting weights, training, clanging and banging the iron or any other words you would like to use to describe what it is we do every day is in essence, all the same. The goal behind each session, regardless of what it looks like for you, is all about improvement and the positive compounding effects that our efforts will eventually produce. How you approach your time in the gym is where many of us will vary and depending upon whom you talk to, each will have their opinion on which approach is best. To discover the option best suited for you and your needs, you’re going to need some time to figure that out. While you’re doing so, here is what I would consider to be the top 3 approaches to training that you may want to use as a starting point for your own training.
There are many hard training athletes out there who love to be told what to do. There is no real thinking involved as someone in charge has removed that aspect for you and all you have to do is apply the program that has been given to you and respond accordingly. Whether you are being coached directly by someone who is calling the shots or you have gone out and found a program on your own to follow, this pre-planned type of training can be both very effective and efficient. The guesswork is gone, the time wasted figuring out what to do next is eliminated with this approach and tracking your progress from week to week becomes extremely easy to do. There is no doubt about the fact that there are some amazing training programs out there for you to follow; just be sure that the one you decide on is a good fit for you and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Walking into a gym with no real plan and simply reacting to how you’re feeling within the moment would be referred to as instinctive training. The beauty in this approach is that variety is always at the forefront of your training philosophy and getting bored with the same old exercises never occurs. You don’t have to feel trapped within a program and if something doesn’t feel right, you change it up on the fly. Alternatively, if, for example, you’ve done your standard four sets of lateral raises for your medial delts and you’ve gotten a mind-blowing pump from it and don’t want it to end, you can keep going and do as many sets as you want. Training splits don’t even need to be set up with instinctive training as I know many exceptional bodybuilders who simply stretch themselves out a little bit, see what’s sore and what’s not and then decide what they’ll train right there on the spot. I have seen this approach work plenty to know to give it some credence for sure.
Collecting as many exercises and variations of exercises in your muscle making arsenal is always a good thing. When your bank of knowledge continually grows, so too will you and your physique. The only way to accrue a solid collection of exercises is to explore and experiment while in the gym. Perhaps there are a few machines that you have never tried in your gym because at first, you didn’t see any use for them within your program but upon trying them, you realize you’ve been missing out this whole time. Or maybe the movements you have seen others try that you immediately dismissed as useless have proven to be very advantageous for you to use simply because you gave it a whirl and found out why you kept seeing people do it. You could also just be bored with everything you are doing and have done and just want to start playing around with stuff differently, exploring new angles, adding new twists to tried and true methods, changing up your set and rep schemes or attacking your body parts with a new frequency. However you go about it, exploratory training can be really fun to do which could lead to a whole new level in your development.
Your approach to training should bring you great joy to your life. That time of the day when you get to lace up your Super Shifts, strap on your belt and lose yourself in the iron needs to be constructive and rewarding. If you’re currently stuck in a training rut, there are options for you and never feel that what you’re doing is wrong. There is no “one size fits all” approach to training and only a couple of sizes left of the Olive Camo Mission Trainer, so get yours now!
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.