Another day in the gym, another round of “crazy things people do when they workout”.
Did I ever tell you about the one time I watched a trainer instruct his client to stand on a Bosu ball, wearing boxing gloves, and then do some type of whacky reverse punch/backhand slap while the trainer stood BEHIND him holding the pads?
I was speechless…until – at the same gym – I watched a different trainer instruct his client to put his back foot on a Bosu ball and his front foot on an upended dumbbell (!!!) and do split squats.
Seriously, the trainer had his client stand on a dumbbell.
What’s wrong with these guys?
Anyways, I didn’t see anything that silly this weekend, but I did watch a guy do arms, chest presses, and then clean & presses supersetted with squats.
Probably one of the worst workout orders I’d ever witnessed.
So today, we’re going to cover the Best Exercise Order for maximum results in minimum workout time. Here’s how it goes.
The best workout exercise order is:
Stage 1: Warm-up
Stage 2 (optional): Skill/Power Training
Stage 3: Major Movement Resistance Training Straight Set or Superset
Stage 4 (optional): Minor Movements Superset or Circuits
Stage 5: Torso Training
Stage 6: Interval training
Let`s look at each stage in more detail.
Stage 1 – Warm-up
This is not the time to jump on the treadmill. That does not prepare you for stages 2-5. So we skip that and focus on a general bodyweight exercise warm-up that covers all of your major muscle groups & joints.
I filmed a warm-up video for you here:
It covers everything far better than I could by email.
Stage 2 – Skill/Power Training (Optional)
Skill and power training should be done at the start of a workout while your neuromuscular system is fresh, not fatigued. That`s why you should not do power cleans at the end of a workout or supersetted with squats. Unless you like injury and dislike results.
Skill and power training are also optional for fat loss, but if you have any athletic or maximal strength goals, this is the time for most effective training.
Plus, this type of training is not bad for fat loss, but it just must be done appropriately for all levels.
Even beginners can do power training, such as doing very low (4-6 inch) box jumps – i.e. jumping from the floor onto a sturdy surface, such as an elevated aerobic step.
Anyways, this is a complex topic and we can revisit it another day.
Stage 3 – Major Movement Resistance Training (Straight Set or Superset)
If you are training for fat loss and to get the most amount of work done in the least amount of time, you`ll stick to supersets as outlined in the Turbulence Training workout. Simple, but effective.
However, if you want to dramatically increase your strength in the bench press, deadlift, squat, power clean, chin-up, or 1-leg squat, you can also do straight sets before you get into your supersets.
With the straight sets for strength approach, you`ll take more rest (2-3 minutes) between sets.
Alternatively, you could superset one of those strength exercises with a non-competing minor movement or stretch.
For example, if I`m focusing on bench press strength, I might stretch my psoas (hip flexor) area between sets, or superset dumbbell rear deltoid raises – something that uses the time between sets but does not impair my strength performance.
Again, another long topic for another day…and a future Meathead workout.
Stage 4 – Minor Movements (Supersets or Circuits)
I believe you`ll get more muscle building and strength gains when you choose supersets over circuits. That said, if you only want to lose fat and maintain lean muscle, you can finish your workouts faster by arranging your workouts in metabolic resistance circuits.
Two TT workouts that do that are TT 2K10 and TT Hard-Core 2K10.
Stage 5 – Torso Training
I prefer this term over `core training`, but essentially we are discussing the same thing. Working your abs, obliques, low back muscles, etc., using stability exercises – as is done in ALL of the
Turbulence Training workouts. No crunches, no sit-ups.
Sometimes old-school is good, but not when it comes to ab training. To learn more, I recommend the TT for Abs manual, and for beginners, please start with the January 2010 Total Torso Training workout.
Stage 6 – Interval Training
I`m getting a little long-winded today, so we will cover intervals on Wednesday.
For now, at least you have the perfect template for the best workouts.
But an even better resource would be to have all of the TT workouts at your finger tips…and you can get full Platinum Member access for the shockingly low investment of only $95 this week only here:
I`ve extended the January New Year`s special for three days, because of a funny thing that happened to me on Friday.
You see, I was driving from Toronto to my parent`s house in the country, and ol` Maxima broke down along the way. Now I have a big repair bill to pay off.
I`ll try to send you the full funny story about ol` Maxima`s problems tomorrow.
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training