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Choosing Your Right Routine

Working out in a gym can be an intimidating experience. There are so many choices of workout programs and routines. People that have been going for a long time talk about "cross-training" or "pyramiding." If a friend is helping you, they may try and convince you to participate in the same program they've seen results with.

Resist the urge to do what everyone else is doing.

I'm going to tell you about some of the more popular programs, and who should be using them. Choose the program that will best offer you the results you're looking for. Keep in mind; a certified personal trainer will use pieces of many program techniques to give you the best results possible.

Pyramiding - is a technique where you begin with high reps and light weights and gradually progress to lower reps and heavier weights. For example, on your first set, you might do 15 reps, then you would move down to 12, 10, 8, 6 and finally 4 reps. After each set, you gradually increase the weights and take a slight break.

This program is amazing for people who've been working out for years. It can help break through training plateaus and re-energize stale or boring workouts. Unfortunately it's not a good idea for beginners. If you're new to working out, your muscles will be so exhausted after the first couple sets; you won't have anything left for the heavy sets at the end.

If you're an experienced weight lifter and want to shake up your workouts, pyramiding might be the routine you're looking for. If you're a beginner, skip it.

Drop Sets - are the opposite of pyramiding. You start with a heavy set and do the reps to failure. When you reach failure, a spotter takes off just enough weight so you can do a few more reps, then when you reach failure again, the spotter removes more weights. You've finished the set when you can't do one more rep using the lightest weight.

Just like pyramiding, drop sets should be saved for intermediate and advanced bodybuilders looking to shake up their routine.

Supersetting - is a technique where you perform two different exercises in a row with almost no rest in between. For example, a chest exercise, immediately followed by an arm exercise.

Supersets aren't a good choice for beginners either. You can't use very heavy weights, so they're not ideal for building strength. Supersets are better for people who want to tone or cut up. Supersets are also beneficial if you want to save time. Doing two exercises back to back can significantly reduce the total amount of time it takes to get through a complete workout.

For more info on supersets, click here.

Negative Reps - are what you do at the end of a set once you reach failure. You have someone help you push the weight up, and you concentrate on the resistance and slowing the weight on the way down. Your set is complete when you can no longer even lower the weight in a controlled manner.

Doing negative reps would be a good choice if you're intermediate or advanced and have access to someone strong enough to spot you. Beginners should avoid them because of the difficulty in maintaining proper form.

Cross Training - is, training in different sports by using alternating regimens. One example is by combining running, bicycling and swimming. Three different sports, three different types of exercise programs. Combine them and, you're cross training.

A cross training program benefits both the beginner and advanced athlete alike. If you've been working out for a while, cross training can help you recover from over-training injuries by targeting lesser-used muscles. Beginning athletes benefit because it helps with overall fitness. Cross training is also a good way to push past plateaus.

If you're a beginner, concentrate on the basics. A solid weight training routine and some cardio to help burn fat. Leave the more complex stuff until you get some experience. For you intermediate or advanced people, consider these routines to help you breakthrough training plateau's or to re-energize a workout.

Want a custom workout built just for you? Check out our online training programs here.

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beginning any diet or exercise program.

Updated 12/21/2012