Exercise Selection and Routine

As I mentioned yesterday exercise selection is the most important component of exercise prescription.  I published two studies one in 2016 and one in 2019 and both of those studies demonstrated improvements in lean tissue mass (muscle mass) and strength from a handful of basic exercises (Thomas & Burns, 2016; Thomas et al., 2019).  These exercises were chosen because they are exercises I had implemented in my practice of fitness consulting, safe for most trainees, recruit a lot of muscle mass, and the learning curve is low.  


Flat Chest Press (machine, dumbbell, or barbell)

Pulldowns, Pullups, or Rows

Walking Lunges or Leg Press

Standing Calf Raises

Bicep Curl

Tricep Extension, Parallel Bar Dips, or Close Grip Presses

Set up your exercise program by completing 1-5 sets of 8-15 repetitions per exercise 1-5 days per week. I realize this exercise prescription provides a large range of possibilities.  Perhaps the best approach to perform this program 1-2 days per week and after a few months, reassess if or when training frequency/volume should be increased.  


Record all training data including weight and repetitions completed per set.  

Record data in a notebook or software such as google sheets that you can access from anywhere.

Over time your training should be progressive.

Stay Strong,



Thomas, M.H., Burns, S.P., Ferguson, R.H., & Allen, N.B. (2018).  Early timeline of lean tissue mass and strength improvements in trained men following a high volume/frequency resistance training program. International Journal of Exercise Science, 12(4), 1094-1109. 

Thomas, M. H., & Burns, S. P. (2016). Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A comparison of high-frequency strength training to lower frequency strength training. International Journal of Exercise Science, 9(2), 159-167.

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