5 Things Every Workout Needs

It’s easy to put yourself through a workout that will leave you drenched in sweat. Done consistently those workouts may even help you lose weight and feel stronger, in the short term. Here’s the long-term problem, if you’re not training your body to move well, you’re going to prematurely degrade you joints, tendons, and ligaments.

Think of it like driving on a flat tire. Yes, it will get you from point A to B, but your gas mileage will get worse and you will jeopardize several other components to your wheels and suspension. So in the short term, your solution will be resolved, but if you don’t get it fixed, the long-term cost of your negligence will far exceed the cost of the original problem.

How do you create workouts designed to keep you safe, reach your goals, and allow you to repeat the process for the rest of your life, regardless of how many times your goals change? After 20 years of tinkering, experimenting, and honing my fitness, I’ve come up with five things every workout needs:

1. Warm Up

  • I’m not just talking about stretching, jogging for a few minutes, and doing some abs. Your warm up can be the difference between a good training session and a great training session. There are some things, however, you need to incorporate in order to get the most bang for your buck.

2. Movement screen

  • You could spend hours putting yourself through different movement screens, ain’t nobody got time for ‘dat. You need something that will give you a birds eye view of how you’re moving each day. This screen should be able to tell you what’s tight, what’s not, what needs more attention, etc.

  • Only after an overall view of your movement patterns can you begin to pinpoint and target the weak spots you’re about to transform into your strong spots.

  • There are several ways to accomplish this, but I like doing an underhanded overhead squat facing the wall. It provides me with copious amounts of information on how I’m moving, what’s not moving well, what is, and where my warm up needs to head. This leads me to my next point.

3. Corrective exercises

  • After your movement screen you need to fix the area(s) where you found issue.

  • This could be a tight shoulder, your glutes not firing, or a combination of things.

  • For example, let’s say you’re about to do a leg workout to end all leg workouts, but during your screen your hip started to feel tight. This is the opportune time to grab a foam roller, or a stretching mat, and go to town on your problem area(s)

  • The goal is to alleviate any tightness, loose joints, or any other malady that would prevent you from training at your best.

4. Challenging exercise(s)

  • Depending on your goals you may have one exercise you need to focus on or several during your main workout.

  • If your goal is to have better overall health, you’re likely going to be doing several exercises. If your goal is to run a marathon, you may spend most of your time running.

  • No matter your goal, the exercise should be challenging physically and/or mentally

  • Here are three ways to make an exercise more challenging (if you want a more in-depth explanation, read this article “3 ways to make any exercise more challenging”)

  • Increase the volume

  • Increase the intensity

  • Increase the complexity

5. Cool Down

  • Like slamming on the brakes while going 90mph down the interstate (your secret is safe with me), your body is not going to respond favorably to a quick cessation of movement.

  • Whether your cool down is a jog, biceps and triceps, or abs, the activity needs to be light in nature and provide you the opportunity to slow your body down.

The overall goal for any training session, whether you want to place in an iron man triathlon, powerlift, or just look better naked, is to progress your fitness and better your health.

Do these five things for every workout and you’ll be well on your way to crushing any and every fitness goal you write down.

Skip out on one or all of these five aspects and your likelihood for injury will increase, your fitness progression will flounder, and you will likely experience a lot of unnecessary and avoidable mental frustration.

If you want to know how to complete all of this within one hour, sign up for a complimentary class at Nikao (shameless plug).

Change your life through exercise, gang.

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