Goal Specific Workout Design is fundamental to success in the gym. One of the main reasons people don’t achieve their fitness and physique goals is because their workouts aren’t in line with their aims.
In other words, they don’t train with their goal in mind. If you have a goal, you need goal specific workout design.
If you want a different outcome, you have to do things differently. If you look at the training section of my website you’ll find training programmes and workouts I’ve used to gain strength, to improve my conditioning and to gain size. Check them out….
The workouts are all different, in terms of exercises used, rep ranges and weights. In lots of cases the same exercises are used, but the weights and reps can alter the effect of the exercise completely. These variables are important factors in goal specific workout design.
There was once a time when the thinking around training was that it stayed consistent, save for weights and reps and only your diet changed. We now know that rep ranges and weighs had to change as bodybuilders approached stage condition because they were weaker – as your body fat gets to low single digits, physically you just can’t perform anywhere near as well.
Bodybuilders had to reduce the weights they were lifting as they got towards stage condition because they were so much weaker, hence the confusion with high reps being linked to ‘toning’. The low weight, high reps approach was a case of necessity over desirability.
Nowadays with greater understanding of exercise science, it’s somewhat different.
Personal Trainers programme different style workouts for different goals.
The essential rules stay the same regardless of the workout – work hard, keep your form good, lift a weight you can cope with etc. The effort stays the same, just the workout design is different.
Goal Specific Workout Design
There are basic workout design elements you should follow with your goals in mind – I’ve outlined these below.
This is a very simplified version of what the template would really look like, but it’s comprehensive enough for you to be able to understand what your personal trainer is trying to achieve with your workout design, or help you put together your own workouts. Exercise selection and weight selection would depend purely on your individual circumstances and biomechanics.
Goal specific workout design…
Size: High volume, medium-heavy weight training. Compound movements with a lot of exercise variety, workouts stimulating a lot of muscle mass. Could include supersets, tri-sets or giant sets.
Strength: Heavier weights, focussed exercise selection around lifts or movements you want to be stronger in. Longer rest periods to allow full recovery between sets, allowing for all-out effort with each set. Added accessory work to help with specific lifts.
Prehab: Specific, targeted exercise selection, usually isolation exercises to help with a movement or correction. Execution of perfect technique at all times. Medium to high rep ranges, lighter weights. Extra stretching to improve range of movement.
Conditioning/Fat Loss: High volume and intensity, short rest periods. Sessions designed to stimulate lots of muscle mass and keep the heart rate high, burning more calories. Can be resistance or cardio-based and usually shorter in duration.
Just using these four basic workout overviews you can start to get an outline of what you should be doing in the gym. If you are programming your own workouts or are having them done for you, they should reflect the basic strategy shown here. If they don’t, they won’t be helping you much and need to be changed.
With improved programming you are far more likely to achieve your fitness and physique goals. You may need to redesign your workouts from the ground up – you may even discover a whole new way of training (that you lover OR hate), but at least when you training is aligned with your goals you are more likely to achieve your aims.
When it comes to training, the right kit is essential. Here are a couple of bits that I use to make sure I’m getting the best out of my workouts…