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Working out is no different than anything else in life - if you want to see results, you really do need to put in the effort. However, again like anything else, working smarter is just about always more productive than working harder. So all things being equal, by working smart you will get way more out of your workout than by simply working hard.

Following are 12 basic guidelines that will help you work smarter and thus get the most out of your training effort. (Click on each guideline for details.) For additional information on training principles and program design, please refer to the Program Design Fundamentals section of this site.

12 Basic Workout Guidelines
(Click on each Guideline to reveal/hide details.)


Always exercise in a safe and responsible manner. Please be aware that as with most physical activities, there is always a risk of injury associated with weight training and other exercise programs. While I have made every effort to describe how to perform the exercises outlined on this site in a safe manner, note that every body is different and so not all exercises can or should be peformed by all people. Therefore, if you feel pain or discomfort when attempting any of the exercises described on this site, please stop immediately.

It is always important to consult your physician before starting any exercise program, especially if you have been sedentary for an extended period of time. This is particularly true if any of the following apply to your current medical condition:
  • chest pain or pain in the neck and/or arm
  • shortness of breath
  • a diagnosed heart condition
  • joint and/or bone problems
  • currently taking cardiac and/or blood pressure medications
  • have not previously been physically active
  • dizziness
In addition, if you have any chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes or arthritis) or risk factors (such as smoking or being more than 20 pounds overweight), and have not discussed exercising with your doctor, you should do so before beginning. Exercise is often an important part of the treatment for such conditions, but you may have some limitations or special needs that your doctor can tell you about.

If none of these apply to you, start gradually and sensibly. However, if you feel any of the physical symptoms listed above when you start your exercise program, contact your physician right away.


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