Building an Exercise Menu

It’s easy to get lost with exercise programs.

A search brings back 189,000,000 results. That’s quite a lot of choice!

Paralysis analysis is a real problem here. So an idea I’ve been throwing around my head is a sort of, exercise menu.

What is an exercise menu?

Basically, it’s a list of exercises that you know get results. The menu stops you planning elaborate workouts you’ll never do or creating complicated tracking spreadsheets.

It makes sure you spend more time exercising than reading about exercising.

I thought this was an interesting concept to explore. And then, as if by magic, this popped up on my timeline:

How to Build an Exercise Menu

Before you can get started building your exercise menu, there’s a few questions you should answer:

  • What are you goals? Do you want to get strong and smash some bench press PBs? Or do you want to get more flexible and do some fancy handstands? It doesn’t matter which, as long as you know what you want.
  • What equipment do you have? It’s kinda obvious, but don’t plan routines based around equipment you don’t have. I like rowing machines, but I don’t have one (yet) so I tend to avoid programs that involve them. Equipment doesn’t matter a lot really. You can get a good workout done with just your bodyweight, kettlebells and a pull up bar.
  • How much time do you have? This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks I’ve had. Often I really underestimate how much time I have to workout. It come to this conclusion: it’s a lot better in the long run to consistently stick to 20-40 mins x 3-5 times per week than 1.5 hour + long sessions twice per week.

Stacking the deck.

What’s the point with all this?

It all comes down to stacking the deck in your favour. For me, I know that once I get home after work, I’m not going to want to go to the gym.

So I’ve got some kettlebells and a pull up bar at home. I’ve brought the gym to me.

I also know I can’t each eat the same meal day in, day out. An infinite loop of chicken, rice and veg (or fish and a rice cake) everyday is not for me. For me I need some flexibility in my nutrition and that MUST include pizza.

Here’s my exercise menu:

Disclaimer: I am not qualified to offer advice about fitness and lifting heavy things to anyone.

I have an interest in the topic but that’s all. There are loads of place to go to for top quality fitness advice for free on the internet. Seek them out. It’s part of the journey.

The Exercises

I’ve broken this list into movement categories: push, pull, hinge and squat. All these movement categories emphasise different muscle groups. A well-rounded routine incorporates all movements.

PUSH

  • Push ups
  • Dips
  • OH Press

PULL

  • Pull ups/Chin ups
  • Inverted Rows
  • Row

SQUAT

  • BW/KB/Bar/DB/ OH Squat
  • BW/DB Lunge
  • Pistol Squat

HINGE (& SKILLS)

  • Deadlift
  • Handstand
  • L-Sit

I don’t know enough about exercise, I just know that doing the above movements feels good.