A: Interesting question and one that should be asked or thought about more often. One thing I never do is head to the gym without a solid game plan in mind. In fact, I usually put together my workout in my head the night before, which enables me to embed it deep into my subconscious while I sleep. As a result, both my mind and body are well prepared for the impending battle in the gym the following day.
To answer your question in the most accurate way possible, I will break it down into two parts—the individual movements involved and the overall bodypart workout.
I ask myself the following questions:
• Which movements did I use in my last workout for the same bodypart?
• Which exercises got me amped up and psyched to perform that day?
• How is my body feeling overall? Any joint or lower-back pain that would compromise my performance on certain movements at the upcoming workout?
• Am I doing a Power/Rep Range/Shock or FD/FS workout that day?
• What movements will best address the weaknesses I see in that -bodypart?
• I want to make sure that each movement in the workout hits the muscle from a unique angle of push or pull to affect different pools of motor units.
• I generally use Steve Holman’s Positions of Flexion concept, meaning that I look for at least one exercise that emphasizes each of the positions of the range of motion—midrange, stretch and peak contraction.
• I like to include at least one unilateral movement per session for a given muscle group.
• I generally include one barbell and one dumbbell exercise per session for the target group.
• Each workout combines one or two free-weight movements plus one cable and one machine-based exercise.
So, as you can see, plenty of thought goes into the creation of each my workouts, but after 20 years in the gym, I believe that a very analytical approach to training is necessary if I want to continue to progress at this point in my career. I hope the above will help you make every one of your workouts more efficient and effective! —Eric Broser
Editor’s note: Eric Broser’s new DVD “Power/Rep Range/Shock Max-Mass Training System” is available at Home-Gym.com. His e-books, Power/Rep Range/Shock Workout and The FD/FS Mass-Shock Workout, which include complete printable workout templates and Q&A sections, are available at X-Workouts.com.