Always being told what to do in order to live a healthy life gets overwhelming sometimes; it's easier to preach than it is to practice.
When it comes to working out, there are many different exercises that can be done, but not everyone has the ability to perform every exercise, or know when to do them.
There isn't one formula to decide which muscles to workout everyday. I have my own routine after much trial and error, and because of my lifestyle. If I know I'll be driving several hours to another state for a vacation, I'm not going to work my back the day before. I know this because I have done that several times and boy does it make you sore.
The key to deciding what to work out and when is to listen to your body and experiment. Some pair biceps and shoulders together, chest and triceps, abdominal and back, quadriceps and calves, glutes and hamstrings. Others pair these groups every other way. Certain workout plans may have two days for upper body and two days for lower body and other days for cardio and abs. It just depends on what you like. Sometimes it also depends on what days certain equipment is free at the gym, because it seems all guys do chest all the time.
However you want to rationalize it, the negative side of pairing muscle groups is that by working too muscles, you may not be able to lift one as intensely as the other. This is because some exercises work two muscle groups, and maybe not the ones you chose. A chest press targets the pectorals, but also your shoulders and triceps, making it harder to work those muscles after a chest press.
Mens Health has an article that talks about this, and suggests pairing large muscles and small muscles; chest, legs and back as one group and biceps, triceps, hamstrings, calves, abs and shoulders as the other. In my opinion, legs should have their own day, and so should chest and back, mostly because there's so many angles to target with a wide range of exercises.
I think this is important to explain because many people dislike at least one aspect of their body and work hard on that one thing to change it. This is called spot-targeting fat deposits and it doesn't work. By collectively working out your entire body, with a combination of cardio and strength training, you will lose fat, and not just in one spot. It all balances out.
Instead of wanting a bigger butt or a wider back, try increasing your sets and incorporating more versatile exercises. Instead of doing 100 squats per week, do legs two times per week with four sets instead of three. Also, do isolated exercises such as pistol squats or one-legged burpees. This allows each leg to get stronger instead of supporting each other in one exercise. The same goes for chest with a regular chest press and then isolated, alternating chest presses.
Try, try, and try again. By researching different free workout plans, you'll eventually adapt your own and even create your own depending on what you want to improve on.
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.