When shopping for a workout routine for the day, it is easy to get caught up in the sheer volume of options available. You can do a full-body circuit, a PT pyramid, leg day, a powerlifting routine, a bodybuilding routine, cardio, stretch and mobility, and truly an unlimited supply of workouts of the day. It also depends on what you did yesterday and what you are doing tomorrow. The main question is, "Is that workout preparing you for anything?"
There are workouts and there are plans with respect to training for a specific goal. For instance, when seeking a workout that can help you prepare to master the calisthenics of a PT test, a go-to workout is the PT Pyramid. But the questions then start flowing, such as: - Do I do this every day? - How many days a week? - Do I add cardio to it? - Should I still lift weights? - How long do I do this until I advance and do another workout?
As you can see, a WORKOUT is not a PLAN or PROGRAM, as a plan will answer these questions for you. A workout will help you for a day, but a variety of training regimen are highly recommended to fully prepare yourself for any goal. You need a plan, especially if your goal is a challenging race, special ops selection, or just basic training, and if you are a beginner trying to start a fitness regimen to lose weight and get fit to endure and prevent injury.
Planning and programming is for tomorrow as the workout is for today. A program may have 50-100 workouts in it -- all progressively geared toward building a more fit person to achieve a specific goal. Often the workouts in the plan are the exact same exercises, just choreographed differently to yield a different effect. Or they could be varied so much that you do something different every workout. Plans and programs are typically books or well developed personalized workout plans created by a trainer who is aware of your limits, weaknesses, and future goals.
For instance, in the PT Progression Series articles, they have a variety of methods to achieve maximum scores on a PT Test. The PT Pyramid as mentioned above is a classic, and if done every other day for several weeks, you will see results. The results may be good enough for passing or exceptional for maxing the test. However, to avoid staleness and potential overuse injuries, it is good to have a variety of workouts together in a system or plan to perhaps help you achieve optimal scores. A method to do that is the PT Pyramid, Super Set, and Max Rep Set per week.
In this plan, you do the PT Pyramid on Monday, the Super – Set Workout on Wednesday, and the Max Reps Set workout on Friday or Saturday. As you advance, you will see that the next progressions will add running and other important movement training exercises that you may see in a career that requires PT tests regularly. One of the reasons the pyramid workout works well for progressing logically, is that you only do what you can -- max out -- repeat in reverse order. It is the perfect warmup, max out, and cooldown workout. Though you do need to change it up a bit and add a variety of exercises, set rep schemes, and even cardio events.
Of course, a PLAN or PROGRAM will also have you doing other exercises on the days in between like leg days and a variety of cardio (both running and non-impact options). You may even be required to top off the PT Preparedness workouts with some form of cardio exercises that same day. Running is the typical addition, but depending on your abilities, prior injuries, that should also be progressed logically.
Typical Issues When Training And Building Running Workouts
When people start running because they are preparing for SEAL Training in their future, they may hear that you should be running 30-40 miles a week. Starting off your first day of running at 5-6 miles with the intention of keeping that distance the same for the rest of the week is not how you start running. Running 30 miles a week simply because that is what people recommend you do is something that takes time to progress up to. If you only run 10 miles a week today, progressing to 11-12 miles a week next week is a logical progression. Typically, 10-15 percent increase each week is a standard rule for running / rucking progressions in a PLAN. A 30-40 mile running week can take a few months to build up to. Doing a 5-10 mile running workout out of the blue is not going to help you if you are not prepared for such distance.
A Plan Prepares. Preparedness Builds Confidence. Confidence Brings Success.
One of my favorite quotes is: "One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation." - Arthur Ashe
It pays to have a plan. You get better prepared with a plan. You gain more confidence in your abilities with a plan. It is fine to do butt-kicking workouts, they just have to be part of the plan and in this case a plan that also actively pursues recovery, mobility days, and more.
Related Link: Specifically Designed Plans and Programs