In the pursuit of a great body we run to the newest, best, all-in-one workout routine to burn body fat and increase lean muscle. It’s safe to assume that’s about 90% of everyone’s goal in a gym. But what is the ‘perfect’ workout?

This is a very debated topic among fitness professionals. Many factors come into play to design a ‘perfect’ workout: fitness goals, strengths, weaknesses, current fitness level, etc. The good news is there are some very simple guidelines to create YOUR perfect workout. These guidelines hold true no matter your sport (basketball, wrestling), age (young, old), or goals (weight loss, strength building). These SIX guidelines are as follows:

• Knee Dominant movement
• Hip Dominant movement
• Upper Body Push
• Upper Body Pull
• Core Control
• Cardio

Knee Dominant Movement (any knee flexion/extension movement)
Exercises: Lunges, Front Squat, Box Step Up, Bulgarian Split Squat. Pistol Squat
Benefits: Knee health and support, strengthening of anterior leg muscles (e.g. quads), faster sprints, and stronger squats.

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Hip Dominant Movement (any hip hinge movement)
Exercises: Deadlift, RDL, Kettlebell Swing
Benefits: Hip health and support, strong posterior muscles (glutes, hamstrings, lower back), and explosive power (e.g. vertical jump)

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Upper Body Push (any horizontal and vertical movement)
Exercises: Pushup (horizontal), KB Press (vertical), Bench Press (horizontal), Handstand Pushup (vertical)
Benefits: Strong delts, traps, triceps, and chest

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Upper Body Pull (any horizontal and vertical movement)
Exercises: Pull-Up (vertical), Bent Over Row (horizontal), Lat Pull Down (vertical), Ring Row (horizontal)
Benefits: Strong back, biceps, and forearms

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Core Control (any movement engaging your core)
Exercises: Turkish Get Up, Russian Twists, High-to-Low Plank, OHS, Farmer’s Walk, Planks
Benefits: Strong abs, obliques, erectors, and protected spine

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Cardio (any movement increasing heart rate and VO2 max)
Exercise: Jump Rope, Running/Jogging, Mt. Climbers
Benefits: Fat loss, weight loss, stronger heart, calves, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and increased VO2 max.

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There are endless combinations and programs to create with these 6 exercise categories. My suggestion is to pick one exercise from each category to start. Here’s an example:

Deadlift (hip dominant)
KB Press (upper body push)
Lunges (knee dominant)
Pull-Ups (upper body pull)
Russian Twist (core control)
Jump Rope (cardio)

Next, it’s time to pick your programming method:

Power: 1-3 reps
Strength: 1-5 reps
Hypertrophy (this includes ‘toning’ ladies): 6-12 reps
Endurance: 15+ reps

For power and strength you’ll want to perform 1 exercise at a time. So if you’re going to perform 3 sets of 5 deadlifts you’ll perform all 3 sets before moving onto your next exercise. Use a 3-5 min. break between sets for all power and strength workouts.  For hypertrophy and endurance workouts you may perform 1 exercise at a time or in a circuit fashion (one right after the other). Breaks are meant to be shorter (1-2 min. between exercises).

Stay Fit!

– Joshua Jarmin

About Josh Jarmin

Originally from Washington, D.C. (NOVA) Josh moved to Atlanta to be a Middle School history teacher after graduating from James Madison University. He joined the Marine Corps infantry as a reservist and served in Iraq honorably. Josh then turned his attention to personal training after his tour in order to help others reach their health/fitness goals. At one point he was 275lbs and 28% body fat. Now he's 195lbs and 13.5% body fat. Josh worked for several fitness facilities in Atlanta and developed a loyal following of trainees. He's created a training program of his own personal design and has established himself as one of the top kettlebell and body movement experts in the Atlanta area. Josh is currently the Co-Owner and Director of Fitness at Blueprint Fitness.

4 Responses to The Perfect Workout
  1. mailbvk@gmail.com'

    Loved this post! Great info.

  2. Asb421@gmail.com'

    I just took some serious notes so when I travel I can still get in a good workout! This is super helpful. Quick question – for the cardio portion, how long should you run/jump rope/etc? Id assume maybe one minute? Thanks!

    • Hey April,

      Use a 1:2 ratio of Work to Rest. For example, jump rope for 30 sec. rest for 1 min. The intensity must be very high for it to be effective so I’d recommend double unders for jump roping, 40m/100m/400m sprints, knee tucks, etc.


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