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On average, adults who do not perform regular strength training workouts lose 4 to 6 pounds of muscle tissue each decade just through the aging process, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. This leads to weight gain and decreased function. A muscle workout plan should suit your needs, goals and your schedule. Sitting down and creating a detailed plan before you exercise will yield better results.
Setting Your Goals
Before you go work out those muscles, you need to decide what it is you want to accomplish. You may want to lose weight, gain muscle, increase strength, perform better in athletic competition or maybe it's a combination of things. Write all of your goals down so that your muscle work out plan is designed to achieve these results. Be realistic, but don't be afraid to set big goals. If you want to run a marathon but need to lose 50 or more pounds, give yourself time to lose weight and train properly.
There are thousands of exercises to choose from when you work your muscles. If you are new to resistance training, start simple. Choose one to two exercises for each major muscle group: back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs, upper legs and lower legs. A sample beginner program with one exercise for each group may look like this: lat pulldown, chest press, shoulder press, dumbbell curls, dumbbell kickbacks, stability ball crunches, leg press and calf raises. Change your exercises every four to six weeks to prevent boredom and to see continual changes in your muscles.
Sets and Reps
One to two sets is adequate for muscle work plans, especially if you are a beginner. Perform one to two sets of eight to 12 repetitions two to three times per week on nonconsecutive days. This will allow adequate recovery between sessions, while also stimulating your muscles to change. You can increase up to three sets as you get stronger, but do it gradually over six to eight weeks.
Consistency and challenging your body is key to muscle workout plans. This means that you don't skip workouts unless you absolutely have to. Make your workouts part of your regular schedule and plan around them. Also, you must continually increase weight so that it is challenging to finish your sets and reps. If you can easily do more than 12 reps, the weight is too light. Increase the resistance by 5 to 10 percent so that you overload your muscles to see change.