Build Your Own Workout

I hear all the time, “I do a little of this and a little of that in the weight room.  But I don’t know what else to do.”   Many people have the determination to workout.  They just need a direction.  


A good workout plan is going to keep your body balanced.  Your body needs to keep the strength of opposing muscle groups balanced, and the stability and mobility of each joint uncompromised.  A program does this by working all the major muscle groups equally.  

The major muscle groups include:


  • Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)

  • Trapezius (Traps)

  • Erector Spinae

  • Rhomboid


  • Pectoralis Major (Pecs)

  • Pectoralis Minor (Pecs)


  • Quadriceps (Quads) - four muscle group

  • Hamstrings - three muscle group

  • Glutes - three muscle group


  • Transversus abdominis

  • Obliques

  • Rectus Abdominis

  • Erector Spinae (in back)


  • Biceps

  • Triceps

  • Deltoids 

    • Anterior Delts

    • Lateral Delt

    • Posterior Delt

That is why a body part split program can be so effective.  You are able to cover a range of movements for each body part from week to week.  


A good starting place, but never an absolute, is picking seven exercises per workout: 5 major lifts and 2 accessory muscles.  These lifts should hit the large muscle groups from different angles and in different planes of motion.  This can be accomplished many different ways, including, performing an incline or decline exercise, changing the grip, or by adding a rotation to your movement.  

Example of an exercise for each muscle (not a comprehensive list):


  • Latissimus Dorsi (Lats) - Lat Pulldown

  • Trapezius (Traps) - Upright Row

  • Erector Spinae - Back extension

  • Rhomboid - Rows


  • Pectoralis Major (Pecs) - Chest Press

  • Pectoralis Minor (Pecs) - Chest Press


  • Quadriceps (Quads, four-muscle group) - Leg extension

  • Hamstrings (three muscle group) - Hamstring curl

  • Glutes (three muscle group) - Hip Thrust


  • Transversus abdominis - Bird dog with pelvic tilt

  • Obliques - Bicycles

  • Rectus Abdominis - Plank

  • Erector Spinae (in back) - Superwoman


  • Biceps - Bicep curl

  • Triceps - Tricep extension

  • Deltoids 

    • Anterior Delts - Front raise

    • Lateral Delt - Lateral Raise

    • Posterior Delt - Bent-over fly

Once you have chosen your exercises for the day, think about your grip and planes of motion.  Do you usually perform hammer curls?  Switch to a supinated curl.  Do you usually perform wide-grip pulldowns?  Try a neutral-grip pulldown.  Do you like lunges?  Add a core rotation to each rep to add a different plane of motion.


You may start to think, “This is pretty simple!  Why does anyone need a trainer?”  Trainers take this foundation and apply it to a comprehensive assessment.  Trainers assess their clients strengths and weakness to develop a more advanced program.  Trainers use movement patterns, gait, posture, flexibility, and strength tests to identify unbalanced areas.  A trainer’s main job is to help their client develop a balanced physique, because a balanced physique is able to withstand more strenuous activity, can reduce the possibility of injury, and be pain-free.  

I always recommend seeing a trainer to understand what specific exercises your body may benefit from, but I understand money and time can be a major obstacle for most people.  That is why this basic outline can be very helpful.  The most important aspect of designing a workout is balance.  If you train each body part weekly, you will be more likely to develop a balanced, healthy figure.   All STF programs are designed with balance in mind. As you use Spring’s programs think about the movement patterns — what grips are you using? What angle am I hitting the muscle at? These tools will help you be a more educated lifter. And knowing how to take care of your body is a great skill to have.

For more great exercises, organized by body part, visit the STF exercise library.