Do you ever wonder if your workout for the day is a good one? Here are 8 signs that you are using your time wisely.

  1. Specific, Dynamic Warm-up
  2. It is based off of one, two, or three core lifts. These are the compound, multi-joint lifts that should be the basis of your training. (i.e., squat, deadlift, press, clean, etc..)
  3. Some assistance work targeted towards your weaknesses. Assistance work is the ‘smaller’ lifts designed to help you increase your core lifts.  This could include flexibility work to allow for you to get into proper squat, deadlift, etc…positions.
  4. Targeted core training – do some targeted ab, low back, glute work. Planks, palloff presses, ghd situps, windmills, ghd hip extenions, glute-ham raises, ab rollouts are all excellent choices.
  5. You’re workout doesn’t read like a laundry list – if I ask what is (are) the major lift(s) of the day, you should be able to tell me immediately. A good answer would be “Squat” or “I’m squatting then pressing”. A bad answer would sound like a laundry list of assistance exercises but no core exercises. A bad answer “I’ve got bicep curls, barbell bicep curls, rope pulldowns, wrist curls, lateral raises, seated lateral raises, incline dumbbell bench presses.” An even worse answer would sound like a body part – “I’m working my chest today.”
  6. You know exactly what you are going to do when you get to the gym (or at least 85% of it). If you amlessly walk around the gym without any real focus, you won’t accomplish anything. The 15% cushion allows for you to make some minor adjustments depending on how well you are feeling that day.
  7. Your resistance training is (relatively) heavy. Regardless of whether you are doing heavy singles or working the higher rep ranges, the weight you pick needs to challenge you. If the set calls for 12 reps but you pick a weight you can do 30 times, you performed a warm-up, not a work out.
  8. It takes under an hour. If you are at the gym for 90+ minutes, you aren’t working hard enough. An hour should provide you plenty of time to warm-up, work-out, and cool-down.  If you find that it routinely takes you longer than an hour, maybe its time to examine your exercise selection and get rid of any dead wood.