Core exercises- a good way to figure out the main lifts or movements to base your training around is to ask yourself one simple question, "If you could pick ONLY ONE lift to perform each day, what would it be?" If you say dumbbell chest press, bicep curls, crunches or anything like that, then you can fully expect to achieve nothing. These are usually the people who contact me about fat burners and testosterone boosters because they are getting neither from their exercise program. Some good exercises to base your training around could include the following: squats, dead-lift, Turkish get ups, overhead pressing, cleans and snatches, carries, and possibly advanced bodyweight training(pistol squats, front levers, planches, etc). This will vary slightly with most people, but, regardless if you are a man or woman, you should be focusing on your major muscle groups. This will help build a solid foundation of muscle which will increase your resting metabolic rate and boost healthy hormone production. Be sure to pick the ones you are experienced with or ones that someone can help you with.
Time- I have been in the business long enough to know that everyone has different schedules and can only commit certain time to the gym. This will greatly affect your schedule because if you only have 2 days to get to the gym, you better not be spending your time on the treadmill and doing "abs". If your time is limited then be sure to focus all your time on complex, multi-joint movements. If you have 7 days a week to workout then you can manipulate some days to work on feats of strength or some aesthetic work like your precious arms. Here are some examples of what I have going for some of my clients:
2 days- dead-lift/squat, Turkish get up and clean and press
3 days- dead-lift and snatches, squat and overhead press, Turkish get up and carries
4 days- dead-lift and rows, overhead and horizontal pressing, snatch/clean and carries, TGU
5 days- dead-lift, pressing, squats and core, snatch/clean and pulls, core and carries
This does not have to be exact, but the focus on full body strength has been working great with all of my clients. The repetitions will vary for each person depending on their goals. Most of my beginning clients will use a higher rep range to help build endurance and work on technique. My advanced clients work in lower repetitions with heavier weight.
Find your range- I am not one to write out one template for everyone to use because everyone has different goals. This does not mean you should skip dead-lift day and go for a run because you are trying to lean out more. This means the repetitions and style of lifting should be different. For example someone who is trying to build muscular size should focus more on building their 10 rep max and work in some high repetition training. Someone trying to be leaner and more athletic should work on heavier, lower rep training and focus on explosive lifting. This may sound backwards to most people, but heavy and explosive lifting burns more calories due to the recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibers which will result in burning excess fat. The group trying to bulk will work with higher repetitions because they want to focus on muscle breakdown and blood flow to the muscles. There is a reason most bodybuilders work in the 10 rep range. Figure out your rep ranges and apply them to the core lifts you have chosen and watch the results pour in.
I would also recommend tracking your results in the form of a training book or with quality body fat testing. You have to be conscious if your program is workout after a few months so you can make changes if needed. The rest of your training session after your main lifts should be mostly filled with accessory movements to improve your core lifts, not with pointless exercises. Your core lifts will give you the results so stay focused on improving them.
If you are having trouble figuring out your training schedule then feel free to reach out to one of us to help build your program.