Lots of people (okay, a small handful) ask what my current training plan looks like. Now, I'm not being lazy, but I'm not posting my whole plan below for a handful of reasons. My training plan may not suit you, it has been designed for me and my goals. My PT works hard to come up with plans for me, and I work damn hard executing them and sticking to them. You really need to talk to a fitness professional to get the right advice for you and what you're trying to achieve. Nevertheless, I'm a week into mine and I wanted to share a little about what i've been getting up to:
My current priority is strength so some of the things I'm focusing on in order to achieve optimal strength are:
Posterior chain work
I absolutely love my compound movements - deadlifts, squats, pull-ups. To keep progressing, I'm working on strengthening up and improving the range of motion in my posterior chain; that's basically all the muscles down the back of the body. This is more than aesthetics, this is about improving the quality of lifting in order to improve the weight I can life effectively. Anyone who is just mindlessly squatting, stop. Think about how you're going through the motion. De-load your weights and focus on the muscles you're activating at all times of the lift. Seriously, stop just bashing out the reps without really thinking about what you're doing. You'll feel the benefit so much more.
This kinda goes hand in hand with the above, but I won't ever do a single lower body exercise now without doing this first. Grab resistance bands and fire your glutes up. You want them to start to burn a little - this means they're active, awake and listening and you're much more likely to engage them in the exercise you're doing. Frogs legs, penguin walks, toe taps, adductor pulses - back away from the machines for the first 10-15 minutes of your leg day and wake up your body parts that are going to be doing the work.
Time under high tension (TUHT)
Most of my current programme starts with heavy weight (about 80% of my max), 6-8 reps, medium volume and no supersets until about 3 exercises in. This means I can really focus on each movement and take time to execute them in the best way possible. There's no room for sloppy reps here. This is all about really feeling it at the bottom of the range of a squat. Focusing on pausing, focusing on the eccentric phase (e.g. coming back up). It's psychologically challenging as well as physically. Your instinct is to get the rep done, TUHT laughs right in the face of that instinct. This means you can't just tune out in your training, you have to be present both physically and mentally for every single rep. Trust me, it's tiring.
I'm actually feeling SO over back squats* for legs and glutes at the moment - it's true that there is so much more to building legs and a booty than squats. I'm loving deadlifts (conventional, sumo, romanian, straight leg - I want ALL the deadlifts) more and more these days and can switch these up to feel it in different areas. I get way more satisfaction from these than any squat ever gave me. The challenge to really lift through your feet and not your back is one I'm happy to accept. Supplemented with front and hack squats, pull ups, a tonne of lat pulldown variations, the first week on this new programme has been HARD, but I absolutely love it. Bring on week 2.
*Jokes, I'll never stop doing back squats altogether, I'm just trying to prove a point ;)