As I wrote about in the previous installment, most of the training programs I write for clients are function-based, as opposed to bodypart/muscle group based. I outlined the reasons in my previous post, but for your reference, they are:
1. Form follows function, so train the function to improve form.
2. Peformance is easier to track than aesthetics (which are primarily decided by eating habits).
3. There’s no downside to training functions vs. muscle groups.
The 8 major joint functions I include in a program are:
Lower body Push
Lower body Pull
Upper body Push (vertical)
Upper body Pull (vertical)
Upper body Push (horizontal)
Upper body Pull (horizontal)
Sounds nice - if you’re an anatomist, that is. The rest of us need actual exercises. From the above template, I draw upon the following lists of exercises that correspond to the muscle/joint function:
Lower Body Pushes:
Lower Body Pull:
Upper Body Horizontal Push:
Upper Body Horizontal Pull:
One Armed Row
Upper Body Vertical Push:
Upper Body Vertical Pull:
Note that these lists aren’t all-inclusive or comprehensive (I could have included cable flyes or dips in the horizontal pushes, for example), but represent my primary choices. Note that in general, I choose multi-joint exercises over single-joint exercises. Multi-joint exercises give you more bang for the buck because they involve more overall muscle in a single exercise than do single joint movements.
Example: Chinups (multi-joint) vs. Biceps Curls (single-joint). Which would you say works more muscle and is more results-producing? Hint: It’s not the biceps curls.
So, what would a sample workout look like? Well, if you did all 8 movements in a single workout, then it could look like this:
You could also opt to break it up into a two day routine, like this:
How do you know what combinations to use? And what about sets and reps? Easy, easy; coming up next…