8 Tips for Designing a Strength and Weight Loss Workout Plan

Designing strength and weight loss workout plans is both an art and a science.  One needs to consider intensity volume, frequency, exercise selection, and order.  A successful personal trainer also builds fun and engaging workouts.  Here are 8 expert tips for designing a better workout plan.  Plus, we include 8 workouts designed for beginners starting a weight loss and strength workout regimen.

Coach Kati

1. Know Your Time

Original

For Quality: Sumo Deadlift
4 Rounds for quality:
12 Light/Medium Sandbag Deadlift

EMOM for 15-minutes

  • 10 light Kettlebell High Pull
  • 15 Mini Hurdle Jumps
  • 20 Lateral Line Hops

(If form is good add 5 reps each round)

Revised

Workout:
For Quality: Sumo Deadlift
4 Rounds for quality:
12 Light/Medium Sandbag Deadlift

4 Rounds for Time

  • 10 Jump over Hurdle Burpees
  • 12 Kettlebell Deadlifts at 53/35
  • 20 Lateral Line Hops
  • 12 Kettlebell Deadlifts at 53/35

Always consider your time variable when building your workouts 

The original workout caused time to become a closed variable that did not allow a beginner client to focus on his/her form. This resulted in the client being rushed to perform a complex movement, kettlebell hip pull. Due to this, in the revised program time was changed to an open variable allowing the client to perform the best quality repetitions. This also facilitates the client to repeat the workout and track their improvement.

Kettlebell Deadlift

Kettlebell Deadlift for Strength Training

2. Strength Or Speed

Original

Buy-in: 50 Light Wall Balls

EMOM for 20 minutes:

  • 10 Bent Over Fly with Light Exercise Tubing
  • 12 Lateral Raises with Light Exercise Tubing
  • 20 Bicycle Crunches

Buy-out: 50 Light Wall Balls

Revised

5 Sets for Load

  • 10 Bent Over Fly with Light Exercise Tubing

5 Sets for Load

  • 12 Lateral Raises with Light Exercise Tubing

For Time

  • 100 Walls Balls 8/6
  • 100 Bicycle Crunches

When programming a training session, one of the main factors to consider must be the client’s goal. Do they want to get stronger, lose weight, a combination, or something else? Knowing this information allows you, the individual writing the program to determine how to program the sessions while keeping in mind the movement pattern, modalities of exercise along with other factors previously discussed. 

Going back to what I stated earlier regarding EMOMs. EMOMs are used as a test of endurance with the exercises performed at top speed for the individual. When designing a program, take into consideration whether you are programming for strength or speed. In the original program, two exercises should not be performed in a fast manner because of the nature of the exercises and the tool (i.e., exercise tubing) being used. This results in a need for a quick manipulation of the program to allow the exercises to be best utilized.

Wall Ball

Wall Balls

Weight Loss Programming

3. Driving the Intensity

Original

Workout:
Kettlebell Swing
15-15-20-20-30 (for Load)
Kettlebell Swing

Accessory Step-ups
4 Rounds (For Load)
10 L and R Step-ups

Revised

Workout:
Kettlebell Swing
2 Minutes Per Round
30 Swings (For Load)
Rest 1 Minute

Increase Weight every two rounds.

Accessory Step-ups
4 Rounds for time
10 Box Jumps at 18/12 inches
10L / 10R Step-ups at 25/15

The intensity of a training session can be judged by many variables. How heavy is the load? How fast one is moving the load? What is the amount of rest in between movements? The coach has the ability to set an intensity level, but it is best at times for a beginner to have the ability to drive the intensity of the session. Doing so, this principle allows for the client to take charge of their training intensity and allows them to better gauge their progress as training continues. 

In the original and revised program, the kettlebell swing is performed for load, but there is an important change in how the exercise will be completed. The revised version has no sets listed because the challenge is to increase the load until form can no longer be performed properly for the reps. This in turn allows the exercise of kettlebell swings to be performed for conditioning, as it should be, instead of strength. For the accessory work, there is a variable change focusing from load to time that is intended to keep the intensity of the session up.

Step-ups for Strength and Weight Loss Training

Step-ups for Weight Loss or Strength Workout Plans

4. Supersets

Original

EMOM for 15 minutes:
  • L and R Triceps Kickbacks 10
  • Sandbell or Medicine Push Ups on Knees 8

Revised

Time Cap 15 Minutes:
  • 5 Sets of Kickbacks for Load
  • 50 Sandbell Pushups for Time

Supersets are a common training set up for performing multiple movements in an efficient manner while working on similar or opposite muscle groups.

The original and the revised workouts use the same superset exercises and the same time cap, but the way they are performed has been changed. EMOMs are meant to be performed quickly with each exercise being done for speed within one minute followed by the next exercise. The original workout does not follow this style because it has the client perform the exercises for predetermined reps and the exercise “triceps kickbacks” should not be performed for speed, but for load. The revised program allows the client to perform the best quality of reps in the program design.

Box Dips for Strength Workout Plans

Box Dips

Strength and Weight Loss Programming

5. Specific Structure

Original

Workout:
Buy-in: 50 Air Squats

Fight Gone Bad
6 Rounds, 1 minute per exercise:

  • Bodyweight Hip Thrusters
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Bunny Hops

Cash-out: 50 Air Squats

Revised

Fight Gone Bad
3 Rounds for Reps

  • Bodyweight Hip Thrusters
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Air Squats
  • Bunny Hops
  • Situps

Rest 1 Minute

The purpose of this article is for the reader to see that there are multiple ways to structure a training session. With this in mind, when you are writing a program, you must be aware that some structures have a specific criteria. 

For example, Fight Gone Bad (FGB) is a specific style of programming within CrossFit that consists of 3 rounds with 5 exercises and 1 minute of rest between rounds, with no alternative. Therefore, to keep the FGB program within its parameters, the original needed to be revised to fit the appropriate qualifications. It is always important to know the program criteria when designing training sessions.

Jumping Jacks for Weight Loss

Jumping Jacks for Weight Loss Workout Plan

6. AMRAP Styles

Original

EMOM for 20 minutes

  • 10 Light/Medium Goblet Squats
  • 10 Light/Medium Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift
  • 10 Incline Push-ups

(Every Round Add 5 Reps)

Revised

3 Rounds of 5 Minutes AMRAP

  • 10 Goblet Squats 35/25
  • 10 Kb Sumo Deadlift
  • High Pull 35/25
  • 10 Pushups

Rest 2 Minutes Between Rounds.

I dare say that most individuals outside of the CrossFit Community think about AMRAPs as only being a list of movements that are performed in the fastest manner possible. That is not always the case. As you can see above, there are multiple approaches to program an AMRAP.

The reason this type of AMRAP is more useful than the previously programmed EMOM is because it makes the volume more attainable for a beginner. “How?” First, the time of the AMRAP is shorter by five-minutes. Second, there is a designated time to rest allowing for recovery. When you consider both factors, it allows the client to maintain good form and potentially perform more reps/rounds.

Goblet Squat for Strength

Strength Training Workout Plan

7. Interval Training

Original

Buy-in: Bike – 10 Rounds

  • 30-seconds work
  • 30-seconds rest

(Scoring Calories)

 

For Quality:
5 Rounds

  • 20 Light Kettlebell Swing
  • 10 TRX Y-Fly

(If form is good add 5 reps each round)


Buy-out: Bike – 5 Rounds

  • 30-seconds work
  • 30-seconds rest

(Scoring Calories)

Revised

Buy-in: Bike – Tabata 20:10
(Scoring Calories)


EMOM

  • 15 TRX Y-Fly
  • Kettlebell Swing 31/22

Do as many rounds as needed to complete 100 Swings. Time Cap is 10 Minutes

Buy-out: Bike as many minutes as it took you to complete the EMOM.
(Scoring Calories)

Interval training is a successful method of programming for weight loss as well as for speed-strength. There are multiple different work to rest ratios (W:R) that one can utilize. Additionally, for those that did not know W:R is where you have a specific time of work during which you perform the exercise immediately followed by a timed period of rest, and the cycle is repeated for a set number of times.  

“Tabata” is a scientifically proven interval of work to rest ratio (20:10) that is used during exercise. It was best to switch the original type of interval training (1:1) to tabata (2:1) because it is known to elicit positive results for training.

TRX-Y Pulls

TRX-Y Pulls for Strength and Weight Loss Training

8. Avoid the Monotonous

Original

Buy-in: Infinity Rope – 5 Rounds

  • 30 second Work
  • 30 second Rest

EMOM for 12 minutes alternating every minute:

  • 10 Step-ups (Box about knee height)
  • 10 Mini Broad Jumps

Buy-out: Infinity Rope – 5 Rounds

  • 30 second Work
  • 30 second Rest

Revised

EMOM

30-20-10

  • Step-ups (Box about knee height)
  • Infinity Rope Laps for time
  • Box Jumps

Do 5 Star Jumps every minute.

I am going to sound like a broken record here but there is a large variety of ways to write training programs. Knowing this can make it easy to get lost in the sauce or find yourself programing only one way. 

EMOMs may be structured in many ways and this may be done for the sake of diversity in training. When you become accustomed to training in a certain format, the client may become bored. Therefore, it is always a good idea to utilize multiple types of training formats to ensure the workouts are not monotonous. (Rarely does anyone enjoy a monotone teacher and it can be the exact same with training)

Step-ups for Strength and Weight Loss Training

Strength and Weight Loss Workout Plan

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