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Select the right exercises

By Lori Incledon

Selecting your exercises depends greatly on how many days a week you are training and how long your sessions will take. In general, aim to complete the entire workout in 1 hour, from warm-up to training to cool-down. One hour is a manageable block of time to take out of your day, and you can get a lot accomplished in an hour if you are motivated and efficient. How many exercises you can attempt in that hour (which will probably be just 45 minutes after a 10-minute warm-up and a 5-minute cool-down) depends on your intensity and goals and varies by individual. You might find the best approach to be trial and error--seeing what is too little or what is too much. First decide how you are going to arrange your exercise program within the number of days that you can train. In other words, how are you going to train your entire body? Will you train upper body one day, lower body the next day, and do a metabolic circuit on the third?

Guidelines to arranging the individual exercises during the training session are summarized as follows:

Work from power to strength--Start with power movements like the snatch and clean and then do strength movements like the bench press and squat.

Work from multijoint exercises to single-joint--Start with multijoint movements like the squat and deadlift and progress to single-joint movements like the leg extension and leg curl.

Work from large muscle groups to smaller muscle groups--Start with large muscle groups like the leg muscles and progress to small muscle groups like the arm muscles.

Alternate pushing and pulling movements--Alternate pushing moves like the bench press with pulling moves like the barbell row.

Alternate upper- and lower-body work--Bench press, then squat, then overhead press, then step-up.

This is an excerpt from Strength Training for Women.

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