top of page

8 Steps to Crushing Your First Gym Session

Subscribe to Gympulsive and get updates on all the latest blog articles, updates and industry news.

Free eBook Guide

The Simple 7-Step Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Ideal Workout Plan

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Whether you're just starting out with your fitness journey, or are a seasoned lifter looking to boost gains with something new, you'll likely find yourself in need of a new workout plan every once in a while.

Heading into a new week with no clue what you're going to be doing, and simply winging your workouts is a surefire way to waste your precious time.

Instead, it's well and fully worth it to take the time to sit down, learn a little, and create your very own workout plan. Having a plan will not only stop you from wasting your time, you'll have something to look forward to, know exactly what it is that you'll be doing, and enjoy the process more.

If this is something you've chosen to do, and you feel that you need a bit of assistance with it, you're in the right place. In this post, we'll give you a step-by-step guide on how you can cerate your own, ideal and effective workout plan for the week, and look into some of the science behind why we're making certain choices when it comes to creating these programs!

Disclaimer: This guide is for general lifters looking to build strength and muscle. If you are training for a specific sport such as powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting, it may not be the most optimal approach. We would recommend consulting an expert in your field, such as a trained coach in your chosen sport.

Otherwise, if this sounds good to you, keep on reading!

Slim and athletic woman creating her own workout plan on her laptop

NOTE: A workout plan/program differs from that of a workout routine. A routine is the set of exercises that you do on a given day. So for example, your routine might tell you to start the session with squats, then go onto a deadlift, etc. A routine is the schedule that you have for a specific training session.

However, a workout plan/program maps out everything that you'll be doing in terms of your training for the week. A workout plan tells you what you'll be training on a given day, how you'll go about that training, and sometimes other things as well such as your nutrition, your recovery, and more.

A training routine is only part of a training plan/program.

With that being said, we'll get right into the 7 steps to creating your ideal workout plan.

These Steps Are...

Choosing Your Goals

Before we begin designing or creating anything, we need to determine what your goals are. Do you want to focus on getting stronger? Do you want to build as much muscle as possible? Are you looking to improve your endurance?

Strong man doing heavy barbell bench press and building lots of strength

Once you figure out what these goals of yours are, you can begin to create your workout plan around that. This is important as all your workouts, chosen exercises, and nutrition will differ based on your goals.

For example, if you're primarily looking to get stronger, much of your workouts will be done with heavier weights. You'll also likely pick specific exercises, and maybe even eat a little differently.

And don't worry if you've got more than one goal. Most people do have more than one goal. However it's important that you find a way to prioritize your primary goal (whatever that might be), to keep yourself as satisfied, motivated and engaged as possible with your training program.

Because even if you have the most effective, well-researched program designed for you, it's no use if you don't enjoy the process and find it tough to stay committed to it.

There are many ways you can approach your new workout plan to make it revolve around your goals, but the best way to do it would be in a way that you enjoy, can stay committed to, and is effective.

So pick your primary and secondary goals! Do you want to look and be stronger? Are you wanting to be more explosive? More agile? Whatever your goal is, keep it in mind for later!

Picking a Workout Split

Next up, we'll be picking a workout split that aligns with your goals, and your availability.

If you're not familiar with what workout slits are, you can click here to read our guide on picking the best one for you!

Basically, a workout split is the rough plan and schedule for your training week, that determines the muscles you'll be hitting on a given day, and often the kind of movements/exercises that you'll be performing on a specific day as well.

A popular example of a workout split would be the Push, Pull, Legs split, which generally has you training 6 days a week, working your upper body pushing muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps) on day two, your upper body pulling muscles (back, biceps, rear delts) on day two, and your lower body (quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves) on day three.

Most people then go on to repeat this cycle after a rest day to complete the training week.

Other popular workout splits include the Upper/lower split, and the full body split.

It's important that you factor in your availability and preferences when picking a workout split, as these things will affect your ability to stay committed to and enjoy your training, which is absolutely vital to seeing progress. Ultimately, the best workout split for you will be the one that you enjoy and can stick to easily.

To help you pick a split that suits your availability, we've created a little guide below.

  • 2-3 days a week: Full Body or Push, Pull, Legs (3x a week)

  • 3-4 days a week: Full Body or Upper/Lower

  • 4-5 Days a week: Upper/Lower or Full Body or Push, Pull, Legs, Upper/Lower

  • 5-6 Days a week: Push, Pull, Legs, Upper/Lower or Push, Pull, Legs (6x a week)

Once you've picked a split, you'll need to ensure that you can stick to it and actually enjoy the work that you're doing.

You'll then want to find a way to schedule your training days, in a way that works around your schedule.

For example, if you have work or school on Monday, you won't want to schedule a training session too close to that. Not only would it put you in a rush to get through your workout, you'd have less time to do everything, and your time wouldn't be spent as productively as possible.

Creating Your Routines

Next up, you'll want to create your own workout routines, or find some online. If you would like a detailed guide on how to create a workout routine, you can click here to read our article on that.

Otherwise, you can simply search up: 'best push workout', or 'total body workout' and instantly find some great ones. However, for this guide, we will be focusing on helping you create your own.

So when you do come to create your routines, you want to pick the best exercises possible. That means hitting your compound exercises, for 60-80% of your routine. So if your routine consists of 4 exercises, 3 of them should be compound lifts.

If your routine consist of 5 or 6 exercises, 3-5 of them should be compound exercises, with the rest of your workout done utilizing isolation exercises.

You should pick the exercises that allow for you to place the largest overload onto your muscles, as these will result in the most growth, and give you the most bang for your buck. This will usually mean your barbell and free weight compound exercises such as the squat, bench press and deadlift.

To help you out with choosing your exercises, we've provided a list below with some great choices for your entire body.

  • Best Push Exercises (Chest, delts, triceps)

  • Barbell Bench Press

  • Dips

  • Overhead Press

  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

  • Cable Lateral Raises

  • Cable Pushdowns

  • Arnold Press

  • Cable Flyes

  • Pec Deck

  • Skullcrushers

  • Best Pull Exercises (Back, biceps, rear delts)

  • Deadlifts

  • Pendlay Rows

  • Bent Over Barbell Rows

  • Pull Ups

  • Chin Ups

  • Inverted Rows

  • EZ Bar Curls

  • Spider Curls

  • Single Arm Dumbbell Rows

  • Rear Delt Rows

  • Best Lower Body Exercises (Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves)

  • Back Squats

  • Hip Thrusts

  • Deadlifts

  • Leg Press

  • Romanian Deadlifts