I wrote this for an FAQ on a forum but thought it would be useful here. Other members of that forum did provide feedback and suggestion on my draft so I can’t take sole credit. I will be posting it as a series of bite sized chunks.
What is a routine and why does it matter?
A routine is a plan for what you do in the gym, also referred to interchangeably as a programme. It includes which exercises you will do each day, for how many reps and sets you will do of each exercise and how you will make progress.
A routine is important because you need consistency to make progress and you need to be doing the right exercises, reps and sets to achieve your goals. Without a routine you are exercising for the sake of it, that’s fine if it’s what you want but if you have a specific goal (in this case getting stronger and/or gaining muscle) then you need a routine. As a newer lifter you don’t have the knowledge or experience to create your own routine (there’s more to it than you think) so it is only sensible to use one written by someone more experienced and that is well proven to work- all of the ones listed here are.
This is some 101 info that you may already know but will help you make sense of the programmes linked to and to explain yourself well if you have further questions
When we talk about a bar we mean a 20kg bar that is 2.2m/7ft2 long. There are loads of other types of bars but this is what you want to be using and if a different bar is meant then the bar type will be specified- though you won’t need other bars for the routines listed here.
When discussing the weight lifted you say the full weight lifted. If you have a 20kg bar with 10kg on each side then it’s 40kg, not 10kg or 20kg.
The big round weights you put on the bar are called plates.
The thing that holds the bar up for you to lift it out of is a rack.
1×5 means 1 set of 5 repetitions (reps). 5×5 means 5 sets of 5 reps. A set is a group of lifts done one after the other with no rest, reps is the number done within the set.
Image taken from Strength Shop
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