Train 2 Xcel's 5 Essential Components of a Great Workout

Many people go to the gym just to break a sweat and don’t really have much structure to their workouts. And that’s ok, but it’s not the best way to get results.

Our mission at Train 2 Xcel is to provide the best tools, facility and knowledge to our members so that they can “Xcel” at anything they want to do.

We understand that there are many contradictory workout philosophies all over the internet. This means it can be very frustrating to figure out what you should do when you go to the gym. Today we decided to help clear up some of the confusion.

We are going to share with you how we structure our programs to get the most out of your workouts.

Let’s break it down into 5 parts.

Part 1 – The Warm-Up

Warming up is important, especially as we get older, so we need to spend some dedicated time on it.

Performing a proper warm-up will create an optimal environment for training.

The Goal of the warm-up is to:

• Increase Body Temperature

• Prime the mobility of your joints such as hips, shoulders, ankles and thoracic spine.

• Ramp Up the Central Nervous System

• Rehearse the movements and patterns for the upcoming workout.

Other activities may be needed such as foam rolling, breathing exercises and specific exercises to target areas that need more attention. These areas are detected during our movement screen.

In other words, a good warm-up helps improve the quality of your workout and bolsters your body’s durability over the long haul.

Part 2 – Core Training

The scientific literature supports the need for direct core training. You need to develop core stability that has a direct transfer to all other movements and activities you do.

We do not spend time doing crunches. You need to focus on training the core as it is meant to function in real life.

This means primarily doing exercises that resist motion at the spine and pelvis which is the main job of the core muscles.

• Anti-Extension (not allowing your spine/pelvis to hyperextend)

• Anti-Rotation (not allowing your spine/pelvis to rotate)

• Anti-Lateral Flexion (not allowing your spine/pelvis to bend to the side)

• Dynamic Stabilization (moving your limbs while maintaining a stable ribcage/spine/pelvis position)

Once you have a solid foundation of the basic movements, you can incorporate more complex exercises that challenge the core muscles in tandem with the movement of the arms and legs.

Remember, the most important part of this is choosing the appropriate exercise.

Core training is motor control work. If you do an exercise that is too hard, you will develop a compensatory strategy that will work against you in the long run.

You must choose exercises that are right at the edge of your ability level but that you can still do successfully.

That is the essence of proper core training.

Part 3 – Power Training

Fact: We all lose power as we age.

Thus, power training is an important component of our training system.

Having said that, we need to proceed with caution.

Power training can bring a higher risk of injury. The exercise selection and progression are crucial to avoid any injuries.

It’s why we use Medicine Ball throws so frequently.  They are easy to learn, have a low injury risk, can be scaled to the person, and are fun!

The intent of this part of the workout is to do something powerful. It’s why we favor lighter medicine balls thrown harder rather than trying to heave around the heaviest medicine ball you can pick up.

As someone progresses, we may be able to incorporate Kettlebell Swings. But you need to have a solid hinge pattern (strong deadlift), and solid core stability (swings put large shear forces on the spine).

Low-level jumping exercises are also an option as someone progresses in strength, but we must make sure they are progressing properly.

Olympic lifts like Power Cleans and Snatches are great exercises for developing power, but we rarely use them. They are a poor choice for adults as the injury risk is way too high.

As you can see, our training system allows anyone to be able to work on power with the proper exercise selection and progression.

Part 4 – Strength Training

This is the main course of the workout, the meat and potatoes.

We break the body down into 4 basic movement patterns:

• Lower Body Hip Dominant

• Lower Body Quad/Knee Dominant

• Upper Body Pushing

• Upper Body Pulling

You should be strength training 2-3 times per week which means you will be training your full body each workout to make sure that each movement pattern is trained 2-3 times per week.

Everybody trains the same patterns, male, female, young and older.  It’s how the human body works. Our job as personal trainers is to find each person’s “Trainable Menu” and choose exercises appropriate for them.

If someone has a physical limitation that does not allow them to do a pattern, we will substitute another pattern in its place.

People with injuries, limited mobility, limited stability, or who are just beginning training, have a smaller “Trainable Menu” than someone who has a high fitness training age and no restrictions.

That said, because you have a smaller “Trainable Menu” does not mean you can’t get great results.

Progressive overload leads to improvements. This means that you should make your strength training program more difficult as you progress to create a positive adaptation and get results.

There are other ways to make your program more difficult than just doing a large variety of exercises.

Part 5 – Conditioning (aka “Energy System Training”)

Outside of conditioning for a specific event like a marathon, conditioning is a supplement to our strength training program for our members who have goals to look better, feel better and move better.

It is by no means the main course and we do not use high-intensity classes just to beat people into the ground.

That isn’t to say it can’t be challenging but there must be a rationale for its use and the intensity level chosen.

Doing too much high-intensity interval training can have negative adaptations in the body and cause way too much systemic fatigue.

This can be a problem during times when people are in a dieting phase and eating in a caloric deficit.

There are many ways to train the various energy systems in the body. Both aerobic work (steady-state cardio) and anaerobic work (high-intensity interval training) can be an effective supplement to a strength training program whether someone is trying to lose weight or improve their heart health.

However, it should be dosed only as needed. You should do the minimum effective dose for your body and for what you’re trying to accomplish.

We also want to do a conditioning activity that has a low orthopedic cost since most of these activities are of a cyclic/repetitive nature.

If you need to lose body fat and are constantly unable to train due to injuries from running, then running is not a very effective modality for you to accomplish your goal of losing body fat.

Riding the bike or using an elliptical might be a better choice.

Obviously from a pure health standpoint, we should all be doing some type of conditioning for heart health. Therefore, individualizing your conditioning is important.  It must be chosen wisely, dosed correctly and have a low orthopedic cost.

We can easily program and track your conditioning workouts with our MyZone system. This allows us to program workouts based on each person’s heart rate.

Whenever you’re ready, here are a few ways to work with us:

1. Talk to us on the phone.

Want to see if we’re the right fit for you? Want to talk to someone that cares about your success and can point you in the right direction toward it? We can help.

Just email us at with “CALL” in the subject line, leave us your contact information and one of our personal trainers will get back to you.

2. Book a free strategy session.

We are not just a gym. We care about our members. We’ll sit with you and talk about your goals, experience with exercise, current nutrition program and any things that may be preventing you from getting in the best shape of your life. From there, you’ll get our expert advice on how to achieve your goals and leave the meeting with a clear plan for success.

Just email us at with “STRATEGY SESSION” in the subject and we’ll get right back to you.

3. Risk-free 14-Day Jumpstart.

If you’ve simply seen enough of our members experience incredible results and you’re ready to get started with us, the 14-Day Jumpstart is the perfect fit.  You’ll get the full T2X Experience that’s designed to get you on the path to a longer, healthier and happier life. We’re ready to help you!

Just fill out this FORM to get started.

Mark and Loic

Train 2 Xcel: Ridgefield’s best personal training gym.

Submitted by Ridgefield, CT

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