When a company or trainer puts out a system (collection of workouts), they always include a rotation calendar telling you how to do their program. The rotation makes sure you give your muscles time to recover and that you are also working out enough to see results. I’ve followed a lot of rotations over the years. But what about when you have so many @#%&* workouts that you want to create your own rotations? And you are like me and have exercise ADHD—so you don’t like program rotations that give you little variety. I have well over 300 workouts—and I want to do all of them, every day! Obviously that is not possible, so I create rotations to help me work through them.
The point of my rotations is to make sure each muscle group is hit every week 2-3 times and that they are hit in a well-rounded fashion (different exercises and modes of training) and that I get sufficient cardio. I also want to make sure I am giving my muscles time to recover between strength workouts and that I am not overdoing it w/ HIIT level workouts.
I do this all of the time but most of my rotations are routine and not worthy of returning to. But sometimes I do create ones I want to return to for various reasons (or reference and tweak). That is why I created this page. The links below lead to blog posts that have rotations in them. The first one is a review of a fitness program that I included my rotation in the review but the rest I decided to make the post devoted to the rotation. I will also include my own thoughts and notes about what worked best and how I can improve upon it when I return to it in the future.
I did list my rotations in the review posts for STS and Xtrain the first time I did them, but I don’t find either of those rotations so impressive I need to refer to them again, so they are not included below.
I also wanted to include on this page some general information for people that have a large collection of workout DVDs and want to create their own rotations but are uncertain how. So I thought I’d give some general “plug and play” rotation info right here. Before we get to my little essay below, I found an excellent little article on Video Fitness page. “Create a Rotation” is step 6 in their 10 step article about using workout DVDs. It has a lot of good information so check it out, too.
First, it all depends on your goals.
Let’s say you want to focus on total body workouts; do one on Monday, one on Wed. and one on Friday or Saturday. So 3 times a week—and you can shift your days around anyway you wish as long as you place a day between them. And on those off days? Do a HIIT workout 1-2 times, some more steady state cardio (step or kickboxing) and some yoga. If you are doing cardio + total body strength workouts (like High Step Training), then you are getting your cardio in and can afford more variability on those non-strength days.
What if you want to do split series workouts so you can get more focused work on your muscle groups? Monday work 2-3 upper body muscle groups, Tuesday is lower body, Wed. 2-3 upper body muscle groups (the ones not worked on Monday), Thursday is lower body, Friday is cardio, Saturday is total body strength and Sunday is flexibility. As mentioned above some of the strength workouts (usually lower body and total body workouts) can be strength + cardio workouts, and therefore covering more bases. You can also tack short HIIT (or cardio or flexibility) workouts onto the end of shorter strength workouts to help round out your fitness needs. Just make sure that if you are adding on a HIIT workout, you don’t do HIIT level work the following day.
Finally, what if the type of split series you want to do is all upper body one day and all lower body another? Set it up like this: Monday is upper body, Tuesday is lower body, Wednesday is cardio, Thursday is upper body, Friday is lower body and Saturday is cardio. Sunday is rest or flexibility/yoga. You could also do a nice mix like this: Total body on Monday, cardio on Tuesday, lower body on Wednesday, upper body on Thursday, cardio on Friday and total body on Saturday. That way you are hitting each muscle group 3x but also getting some more focused strength work in there.
There are a lot of ways to structure a rotation but that gives you some ideas. Also, you can tell from above, that I am usually working to hit each muscle group 3 times, but if you are more inclined to 2 times then you can remove some of the strength work and substitute with more cardio, more yoga, some bodyweight strength training, some metabolic strength work–whatever your interest is.
The final thing I will add is seriously consider your goals. If your goal is to lose weight, then you will want to focus on the total body strength workouts 2-3 times a week and include HIIT workouts for cardio. If you are looking for muscle definition/strength then the split series rotations should be your focus.
Body Beast/PiYo/Weider Ruthless hybrid rotation (scroll to the bottom of this review for the rotation)