I go to the gym six times a week, an hour a day on weekdays and two hours on weekends. I would like a fitness schedule that includes cardio, weights and yoga with special focus on legs, back and abs. Also, how often should steam room and sauna be used after the workout? - Anurag Kashyap
I am impressed that you are going to the gym six days a week. I have tried to outline a schedule that covers all aspects of a complete training programme.
Monday should be your rest day. This is because you have done a large amount of your weekly training load over the weekend and your body needs to recover. If that means you need a full day of complete rest, then please take it! You could do a light 15-minute bike ride and a solid 20-minute static stretch session purely for recovery. Drink lots of water to flush out toxins and rehydrate the body.
Tuesday is your lower body strength day. After a good warm up, include exercises like back squats, dead lifts, lunges and calf raises. Do 15 - 20 minutes of high intensity interval training on the bicycle or treadmill after your weights session and finish off with 10 minutes of good lower body static stretching.
Wednesday is for upper body strength and core. Squeeze a 10-15 minute yoga session in at the start to warm up, stretch and activate your postural muscles. Follow this with bench press, pull-ups, military press, inverted rows, seated cable pulls and finish with some core and abdominal work. Don’t forget 10 minutes of upper body static stretching after your session to stretch your muscles again.
Thursday is your cardio day. Your workout should include a long but less intense cardio training session. Cycling, swimming or a run are perfect for this day. Aim to do about 45 minutes followed by a static stretch and steam session. Drink at least 1 litre of water after this session as you will have sweated a lot and will need to rehydrate.
Friday is a repeat of the lower body strength from Tuesday. You can do front squats, step-ups, good mornings, hamstring curls on a Swiss ball and toe raises to strengthen tibialis anterior muscle.
Saturday is your second upper body strength session for the week. Start with another yoga session followed by push ups, bent over row, lat pull downs, Arnold press and bicep curls along with core, abdominals and stretching exercises to finish.
Sunday is the day when your body tells you that it’s a little tired and starting to feel the effects of a solid training load. Do a good cardio day with a long sustained session on the bike, treadmill or rowing machine. I would suggest 20 minutes on each machine to ensure you get the most out of your cardio session without overloading a particular set of muscles and joints at the end of a long week. A solid 20-minute stretch from toes to neck is very important.
Some general training tips:
Weight training sessions should last maximum 40 minutes.
Don’t take more than a minute’s rest in between sets; this will encourage high intensity work throughout the session.
Do 3-4 sets and 10-15 reps as your strength increases, then gradually increase weight and decrease reps.
A programme based on this example will cover all essential areas in your training. I’ll elaborate on sauna and steam bath benefits next week. Warm up before training and cool down afterwards. Drink lots of water and electrolyte replacement drinks and use a good protein supplement after training sessions.
Remember to ask trainers in your gym for advice as they are experts in strength and conditioning and will be able to tailormake a programme that works for your individual needs.
Matthews is a physiotherapist with the Mittal Champions Trust.