Many people get frustrated when they go to the gym and are not sure how to program a workout routine for themselves that maximizes results while minimizing time. Most of us are busy these days and do not have hours to spend at the gym.

When I am at the gym looking around I still see a lot of people on selectorized machines and many people still doing only single joint exercises. Although there is a place in a workout program for both types of training the general rule is that you will get better results training multi joint systems in a multi planar movement pattern incorporating exercises that utilize stabilizing muscles, balance and agility techniques, loaded movement training, neuromuscular training, and training to correct muscular imbalances.

Types of Training

So if you are looking for a killer workout routine let’s talk about some of those types of training. A single joint exercise for example would be a straight bar bicep curl. Although you can overload that particular muscle in this exercise by loading the bar heavier, it is still only working one joint and the muscles that cross and support that joint.

To progress this particular exercise to a multi- joint exercise for even better over all body results you could switch to dumbbells and do an alternate lunge with a bicep curl to engage upper and lower body muscle systems.

To progress the exercise one step further you could take the alternating lunges into reverse lunges to give the body a little bit of a balance challenge since it is more difficult for the body to find balance when going reverse in a sagittal plane. If balance and strengthening stabilizers is a focus for you you could stand on a BOSU and do the straight bar bicep curls.

Planes of motion

We tend to always move in the same plane of motion which is the sagittal plane. We walk in this plane of motion, sit at work and home in it, and drive our cars while in this plane of motion. If you really want to start building killer workout routines, you need to start incorporating multi planar exercises.

Moving in a lateral movement pattern to take the body in a frontal plane, and using rotation to bring the body into a transverse plane will not only challenge the body further but also help to restore balance through your muscle systems.

Humans are created to be three dimensional creatures that are able to move as such and because of today’s society, working environment, and modern technologies, we all tend to move less in all three planes of motion and instead remain moving in the sagittal plane creating muscular imbalances.

Multi planar concept

To give some examples on how to progress some exercises using a multi planar concept, think about the lunge. Doing alternating lunges in the sagittal plane is a great exercise but start incorporating lateral alternating lunges into your routine to hit the abductors, adductors, and hip flexors along with your glutes and quads and hamstrings.

To take that same sagittal plane lunge into a transverse exercise do an alternating lunge in a reverse movement and instead of planting the toe behind you, snake it around the front leg in the rear and plant it at about the 4 o’clock position. that will give a bit of rotation and hit some different muscles in different ways helping to open up the entire hip complex.

There are many tools out in the fitness arena these days to help you plan out a killer workout routine using some agility and balance techniques. If you are used to only working out with weights and not moving around a lot then you are missing a huge part of training the body.

killer workout routine_02

Being able to train the body’s reaction time and direction changes using bursts of speed and quick stops and deceleration is part of agility training. Not only is agility and balance training great for athletics and sport specific training but it translates to life as well.

 Add a cardio component

We want to keep the body agile and train it to respond quickly to changes in direction and level changes. This type of training usually incorporates a cardiovascular component as well. You could do some agility ladder drills, BOSU drills to incorporate balance, cone drills and shuttle runs, even some jump rope drills will help with agility. To use this method to make your workout a killer workout incorporate it in a workout program using multi joint and planar strength training.

Perhaps your first set of the workout looks something like this:

-Alternating Dummbell Reverse Transverse Lunge with a Bicep Curl.

-Stationary BOSU Squats with a Unilateral Medicine Ball Shoulder Press.

-Agility Ladder Drills (In-Out Drill) 10 times through the Ladder.

Follow this set with a rest then repeat and modify as needed.

That set is surely going to give you better overall results then a set like this:

-Standing Straight Bar Bicep Curl.

-Body Squats

-5 Jumping Jacks.

Although the second set can be the regression for the first set, you want to try and start progressing your workouts incorporating the before mentioned training techniques.

Progressing can look like:

Once you are able to start moving the body around in multiple planes using multiple joint actions and have trained the body using agility and balance techniques, you can progress once again by starting to introduce some loaded movement training. By loading and unloading the muscle system using powerful bounding or high velocity exercise that entails eccentric and rapid concentric exercises such as jumping or weighted throwing is called plyometrics.

I recommend to first establish a good base level of balance and strength before diving into a high intensity killer plyometric routine but a great example of a progressed set incorporating this would look something like this:

-Alternating Split Squat Jumps.

-Full Body Burpees.

-Lateral BOSU jumps pausing at the bottom of the jump (Stick the Squat).

Progression techniques to make your workout more challenging:

So as you can see there are a many different ways that you can take your current exercise program and progress to a killer workout routine guaranteed to give you breathtaking results. When thinking about progressing an exercise try not to change more than any two components at a time to ensure a safe workout, but you can always use any of the following:

1. Add more reps or sets.

2. Add more weight.

3. Take the exercise into a different plane of motion. (Lateral and Transverse vs. Sagittal)

4. Add a balance variable. (Use a BOSU)

5. Manipulate the rest times between sets. (Shorter rest periods vs. longer ones)

6. Change your stance in the exercise. (Athletic Stance vs. Split Stance)

7. Change the lever length. (Push up with plank position vs. being on knees)

8. Changing the lifting tempos. (Time under tension)

9. Use a different exercise tool. (Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells for example)

10. Change the Grip. (Close Grip vs. Wide Grip)

11. Vary the speed of the exercise.

12.  Add explosive movement to the exercise. (Jumps, Leaps, Bounds, Hops)

Have fun during your workouts, practice progressing the exercises you choose, workout out three dimensionally, and challenge yourself. Using these techniques will give you a killer workout you can be proud of accomplishing that will give you some breathtaking results!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


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Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans