Steps to a proper workout
1. Stretching - The simplest way to remember what form of stretching to use is to think dynamic before, static after. Use a dynamic warm-up before performing any resisted movements and follow this up with static stretching after your last rep. Shoot me a reply if you would like a sample dynamic warm-up to incorporate into your workouts.
2. Lifting - Use compound movements prior to isolation exercises, if at all. Compound movements include squats, deadlifts, pushes and pulls and involve a number of muscles over two or more joints. You will be able to handle greater loads, with better technique earlier in the workout than if saved for the end.
3. Speed of movement - Once you are good and warm we want to perform faster movements before slower movements. Plyometrics and Olympics lifts should be performed before a slow and steady exercise such as a chin up. Another point to remember here is to the faster you are hoping to go the more essential it is to do a thorough and proper warm-up.
4. Core training - Perform core exercises that stabilize before you mobilize. Think of how much you can move your extremities without moving the trunk. Once you are proficient at stabilizing the core then you can progress to mobilizing it. Core mobilizations involve activities that flex, extend, rotate and side bend the torso. In addition, with your core training start with drills in the sagittal plane (think front and back), progress to frontal plane drills (think side to side) and lastly incorporate drills that incorporate the transverse plane (think rotational) to develop an optimal core.
5. Energy system training - I don't call this cardio because I believe most people will do slow steady-state exercise if I label it as such. Save your energy system training for after you have performed the lifting portion of your workout. I see too many people do 30-60 minutes on the treadmill and then proceed to begin lifting. I wonder if I offered them $1000 if they could do a personal best squat, meaning lifting the most weight they have ever done, how many of these cardio kings and queens would say 'hold on, let me go warm-up on the treadmill for 60 minutes first'? Probably not very many. Our energy is a finite supply which we constantly have to replenish with our food intake. Lower energy levels and a fatigued nervous system do not translate to optimal lifting on the training room floor.
6. Nutrition - Make sure you eat before your workout and as soon after as possible. The timing before will vary based on the type and amount of what was consumed as well as due to personal variations. Post-workout eat right after your last rep. The formulation should be anywhere from 2:1 to a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Use the lower ratio if body shaping and weight loss is the goal and the second ratio if performance is your game.
Keep these tips in mind next time you step in the gym to ensure an efficient, effective and well ordered workout.
All the best.