Before we understand why we need a workout program, let’s understand WHAT is a workout program.

A workout program is a structured selection and assembly of load, exercise variations and intensity specific to the individual’s Health History and Goals keeping all the perceived roadblocks in mind.

Importance of a workout program

  • Is Set to achieve a specific goal :- With the help of a pre-defined workout program you can target a specific muscle group or a specific movement that may help you in getting better at some lift or getting a higher jump in your basketball dunk

  • Provides with insights on your progress with the help of variables :- Volume is one of the key drivers of muscle growth which has been stated in multiple studies(2). With the help of a structured program you can assess and manipulate this variable with much ease that by just winging it

  • Prevents the risk of injury by limiting EGO lifting :- If you know what you have to do today to achieve the set goal, you probably would go into your training  with a very calm and collected mindset. This reduces the EGO lifting where you do more than you can handle which usually causes more harm than good.

  • Makes it easy to manage fatigue that you continuously accumulate from training :- Going to gym and training hard everyday causes your body to fatigue(tiredness). Eventually this accumulated fatigue will cause you to loose focus on your workouts and if the effects are greater, probably skipping on training completely. In a well structured program you will have a given time period where you will reduce the intensity or the amount of work that you have been doing to regain the same levels of energy and stimulus. THis will in turn help you be consistent with your training sessions and would give you a better chance at achieving your goal.

  • Helps identify a fitness plateau (stop progressing) and with the insights taken from the current program a new program can be created to break that plateau

Data representing values generated after calculation of total workout volume and 1rep Max Weight

Now that we have stated the benefits of a Structured workout Program, you’d want to know what a structured program looks like. Well the program is very individual specific but an effective workout program should at the least follow these principles as mentioned in the book Foundations of Fitness Programing published by NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association):-

  1. Principle of individuality:- Every individual is unique and will respond differently to the same training stimulus. Some of these differences can be influenced by many characteristics; biological age, training age, gender, body size and shape, past injuries and many more.
  2. Principle of specificity:- Designing training programs/workouts with a specific goal in mind based on each client’s individual needs. Specificity in training can be accomplished by targeting muscle groups, energy systems, speed of movement, movement patterns, and/or muscle action types (Haff G. H., 2012)
  3. Principle of overload:- The training stress (based on frequency, intensity, and type of exercise as well as recovery processes) placed on a client should exceed the training stress experienced during the previous workout. This is accomplished by increasing the load, sets, reps, or by decreasing the rest periods.
  4. Principle of progression: – Similar to overload, progression (or progressive overload) refers to the systematic modification of a training program over time. In addition to exercise intensity, progression also refers to frequency and increasing the difficulty of exercise selection (advancement from low-skill to high-skill exercises). Exercises are progressed on an individual basis rather than a pre-determined schedule, based on a client’s ability and speed of adaptation.
  5. Principle of variation:- Variation is considered planned variety in exercise selection and training variables.
Sample Workout for Strength Gain

Structured workout program created for subjects in the research
Mann, S., Jimenez, A., Steele, J. et al. Programming and supervision of resistance training leads to positive effects on strength and body composition: results from two randomised trials of community fitness programmes. BMC Public Health 18, 420 (2018).

12 Week workout program importance


  2. Brad J. Schoenfeld, Dan Ogborn & James W. Krieger (2017) Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training volume and increases in muscle mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Journal of Sports Sciences, 35:11, 1073-1082, DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1210197
  3. Mann, S., Jimenez, A., Steele, J. et al.Programming and supervision of resistance training leads to positive effects on strength and body composition: results from two randomised trials of community fitness programmes. BMC Public Health 18, 420 (2018).