Anyone who has ever done Ramadan before and tried to partake in a thorough exercise regime will know that it is extremely difficult to maintain your performance throughout this period as you are limited on energy intake and severely dehydrated most of the time. This will cause you to feel lethargic and, if you are not used to training at night, could put you at a disadvantage when it comes to maximising your performance.

For most trained individuals with some lifting experience the best possible realistic result would be to maintain your performance and load on the bar throughout Ramadan, so that when it is over, you can go back to normal and reach new heights in the gym very quickly. The last thing you want is to lose 20+kg on the bar on your major lifts. This is not only bad for maintaining muscle mass and strength it’s also not good physiologically. Who gets motivated when things aren’t going in the right direction at all?

Here, we detail our method for preserving strength and volume, and in turn protecting muscle mass throughout Ramadan.

First you want to analyse your training and count up how much total work and sets you do every single week. You then need to divide this by however many workouts you could fit in per week. You can opt for very short workouts with more frequent workouts up to 5 or above workouts per week, or break things down enough so you can train a muscle 3-4 times per week. This will be dependent on what time commitments you have. Whichever approach you opt for, set yourself a realistic target that you know you can stick to.

To put this into practice, let’s say you do 16 sets of chest/back/legs and 8 sets of arms and delts. Then, let’s assume you normally do this in a typical weights routine of chest, back and leg days followed by shoulders and arms– which you rotate through three times a week.

Divide these 16 sets by 4 and you will only have to train each of those muscle groups with just 4 sets 4 times per week to get the same total amount of work done per week.

Now, anyone who has done a big high volume chest workout will know that the more lifting you do on that muscle the less load you are able to lift and the more you get fatigued. With our method, however, you will be able to have much higher performance because you are only doing 4 sets per muscle and then taking a day’s rest, so your output will be higher. That way you will have recovered more between each workout, giving more chance that you will be able to lift the loads you are used to.

Therefore, across the week the total tonnage and volume will be equated with much easier efforts than doing it all in one go. You may even find that if you have not used this method before you could make some progress.

With the numbers above, this is how your workout schedule could look:

MONDAY SESSION 1
TUESDAY  
WEDNESDAY SESSION 2
THURSDAY  
FRIDAY SESSION 1
SATURDAY SESSION 2
SUNDAY  
ORDER EXERCISE SETS/REPS REST
A DEADLIFT VARIANT 4 X 5-10 1-3 MINS
B FLAT PRESS VARIANT 4 X 5-10 1-3 MINS
C MACHINE QUAD PRESS VARIANT 4 X 5-10 1-3 MINS
D SEATED ROW VARIANT 4 X 5-10 1-3 MINS
E LATERAL RAISE VARIANT 2 X 10-15 1-2 MINS
F BICEP CURL VARIANT 2 X 10-15 1-2 MINS
G TRICEP EXTENSION VARIANT 2 X 10-15 1-2 MINS
ORDER EXERCISE SETS/REPS REST
A SQUAT VARIATION 4 X 5-10 1-3 MINS
B PULL UP VARIATION 4 X 5-10 1-3 MINS
C LEG CURL VARIATION 4 X 5-10 1-3 MINS
D INCLINE PRESS VARIATION 4 X 5-10 1-3 MINS
E LATERAL RAISE VARIANT 2 X 10-15 1-2 MINS
F BICEP CURL VARIANT 2 X 10-15 1-2 MINS
G TRICEP EXTENSION VARIANT 2 X 10-15 1-2 MINS

The sets and reps are optional, but what I would recommend is to do as much of the work as possible in the sets and reps that you have been doing prior to Ramadan.

If you wish to have more frequent workouts then you could go for the below schedule instead:

MONDAY UPPER
TUESDAY LOWER
WEDNESDAY UPPER
THURSDAY LOWER
FRIDAY UPPER
SATURDAY LOWER
SUNDAY REST

The choice is yours. Also please remember these golden rules to follow with any workout regime:

  • Log all of your lifts and set goals
  • Work as hard as possible
  • Make sure your diet is as healthy as possible

Be consistent with everything!