- When doing a workout of say 5 different exercises, each having 3 sets. Is it better to knock out all 3 sets of the 1st exercise, then all 3 sets of the next and so on, or is it better better to do one exercise after another and do the full order 3 times over?[/quote]
It depends, a lot on what the exercises are and what the whole program looks like. If you go through five exercises one set at a time, then rest, and then run through the whole series again, that’s circuit training and not the best plan for muscle growth.
You can usually alternate (sometimes called “superset”) two, sometimes three, exercises if they’re for opposing muscle groups (chest/back, biceps/triceps, quads/hamstrings, etc.) without any problems. This is a way to save time in the gym without sacrificing effort.
Doing all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next exercise is probably the most basic way to get a workout done, and it allows you to focus and go balls out on that exercise, and then be done with it and move to the next.
Aw geez… nice work. This topic is probably the single biggest cause of 97% of the arguments on this forum. You’ll get people from both sides saying each is “best” for a beginner, and they’ll all have examples, reasons, and “proof.”
I think Alwyn Cosgrove might’ve said it best:
“90-95% of the population, 90-95% of the time, will respond best to either total body or an upper and lower split.”
I find this is especially the case with beginners, because they get more “practice” each week with the basic exercises, rather than only getting one chance to squat like you might find in a bodypart-split with one leg day per week.
Full body workouts are also a nice balance of frequent training and full recovery while the beginner gets accustomed to consistent weight training. After an initial introductory period (could be a month, could be four months depending on how progress is going), you can “graduate” to a slightly more advanced program related to your goals. That could be a bodypart split, or it might not be.
Nope. Free weights are preferred because is teaches you to use good form and the proper muscles. If anything, start by learning basic bodyweight exercises (squat, lunge, push-up, pull-up) to build strength in connective tissues and supporting structures, which machines are terrible at doing, before moving to free weights.
It’s not like machines are evil or anything. They’re essential for some exercises. It’s just that, given the choice between a barbell military press or a machine shoulder press, the barbell will get the same job done and then some.
Nope again. If anything, machines are less effective at training for symmetry. Again, think of a shoulder press machine. If I’m sitting there and my left arm is struggling, the machine will still lock out and look like a solid rep as long as my right arm does the work.
Now think of a barbell, or dumbbell, shoulder press. If one arm is struggling and not up to the task, it’s going to be very obvious and I might not get the rep finished at all. On a related note, it’s very common to have one arm and/or one leg that’s stronger or bigger than the other. The best way is address this is not with machines, but with targeted free weight exercises.