When your Gym Routine Becomes Guesswork

You know the days.

You turn up to the gym. You haven’t got a plan or any clear goals. But you still want to train.

These sessions tend to involve wandering through the gym looking for an available machine that you know how to use. You put your towel down, knock out 3 sets of 10 and then move onto the next available machine until you hit the hour mark and decide to spend some time on a treadmill.

Sessions like these get us nowhere. And link together too many of them and our motivation to keep turning up starts to suffer.

Let’s break the cycle.

Our team believes the winning factor when training becomes guesswork is to keep a simple structure and focus your intensity on just a few things, rather than trying to get a few sets on every piece of equipment.

Session intensity drops off pretty quickly after the 45 minute mark and by that stage, most gym-goers without a clear plan are simply spinning their wheels. Capping your session at an hour, including a warm up and some mobility work, means that you really only have time for a handful of quality movements – and that’s the way it ought to be.

Gym Routine Essentials

  1. No more than 1 hour in the gym
  2. After a warm up, aim to complete just 4-6 key movements
  3. Key moves include variations on these fundamental patterns: Squat, Lunge, Hinge, Push, Pull, Twist
  4. There should be no pain and you should aim to move through a full range of motion on each movement
  5. Keep 2-3 reps in the tank each set, so you’re never hitting complete fatigue or failure
  6. If you’re monitoring you heart rate, once your heart rate drops back to 120 BPM it’s time for your next set

With a structure like this, you can then start to add your own flavour by picking a series of movements in each pattern and focusing on them over a 4-6 week period. Or if you prefer the idea of never doing the same session twice, you can pick an entirely different set of movements each time you lace up your gym shoes.

At least now you have a plan.

Need more direction and focus? We offer online gym programs designed by Strength & Conditioning coaches in collaboration with our Physio team. It’s the most cost-effective way to refocus your build in the gym without getting injured.

Written by

Travis Waite

Trav is a Physiotherapist with an Exercise Science background who specialises in shoulder injuries and gym-based rehab. He believes that injury rehab is an opportunity to work on performance and to emerge better than before you were injured.

Travis Waite