Hello again, as a followup to my previous article on proper sports
nutrition, I'm writing again to provide a simple, yet effective workout
routine for anybody seeking to improve their fitness. The goal of this
workout is to complete it within an hour, except for particular days
which I will make note of in the following sections.
To preface, this workout is intended to be completed in four days again,
in the time span of an hour. The workout is designed to allow for three
days of rest and recovery, a crucial factor in any and all exercise.
Day 1: Legs; abs
Day 2: Chest, triceps; cardio
Day 3: Lower back, biceps; cardio
Day 4: Shoulders, lats, trapezius; abs
Day 1: Day one consists of working out your legs and abs.
Being your largest muscle group, the legs deserve a day dedicated almost
exclusively to themselves. The leg portion of this day consists of
seven (7) exercises, most of which being compound (more than one joint)
Start off by doing your basic squat, four sets of ten, or, 4x10. It's
highly recommended to perform squats on a proper squat rack, and with a
partner. Using a smith (guided bar) machine should never be used for a
squat for two reasons: The forced line of motion adds pressure to your
joints, increasing the probability you can be injured and the second
reason being that the muscles that would normally be used to stabilize
the weight on your back, the core muscles, are not being properly
utilized. A major reason for using free weights is to stimulate muscles
other than the primary targeted ones, improving muscle coordination and
After squats, perform another compound exercise that forces you to use
one leg at a time. Lunges and one-legged leg presses (machine) are
ideal. The goal of this is to help you recognize any imbalances of
strength and form, and to correct them.
At this point it would be a good idea to perform light isolation exercises on the following muscles:
Perform two isolation (machine) exercises for two of these muscles,
changing your targeted muscles every week. This will ensure variety and
proper stimulation for growth.
The second part of the first day is the abs, everybody's favorite
muscle. It's important to note that the group referred to as abs refers
to both the abdominals and the obliques. The abdominals are the front
stomach and the obliques are the muscles on either side, starting
outside the abdominals and stretching around to your back. Working both
of these groups is crucial to upper body stability and proper posture.
On day 1, I prefer to work the abdominals with exercises like angled
situps, balance ball crunches, and hanging front raises. Do your
research to learn as many exercises as you can, variety is what
stimulates proper muscle development
Day 2 will have you working out both your chest and triceps. The chest
will receive four exercises, while your triceps will receive three.
Start off with a basic bench press, 4x10 (four sets of ten) will do.
From here do workouts that target the three heads of the chest, the
upper, middle, and lower. Bench pressing targets the middle chest.
Incline benching, for example, works the upper chest, and pullovers
target the lower chest. A tip to keep in mind is to alternate between
dumbells (single weights), and barbells (bar weights) for maximum
variety in workout and making sure each side is equal with the other.
A good exercise to consider for the fourth in this group is dips, since
they target both the chest and triceps, making it an ideal transition
For the triceps, do three workouts, keep isolations to a minimum; a single set of isolations should be allowed every two weeks.
Now that weight training has concluded, it's time for twenty to thirty
minutes of cardio exercise. Always save cardio for the end since it has
the tendency to sap your energy away from weight training. Any number of
exercises can be done for your cardio session including:
-Stationary bicycle or regular bicycle
-Using a non-weighted row machine
Any of these can be used, although for the superheroes in the audience, I
would recommend practice sprinting and swimming to be a part of your
regular routine. Again, consistently change up what you do for this
On day 3 you'll be working out your lower back and biceps. Start with a
deadlift, and do a set of 4x10. A video of proper form can be found here.
There are not many exercises that come to mind for working out the
lower back. I recommend flies with an extended back leg, back extension
machine isolations, and using those machines that let your upper body
fall forward; simply let your body fall forward then lift yourself up
with only your back.
Biceps training should follow along the same lines as triceps training,
in that isolations should be used sparingly as well as alternating
between barbell and dumbell weights.
Your cardio session should be different from your previous day. You
should also find new ways to diversify your cardio workout, such as
carrying light barbells (1-3 lbs) while you run, or use different
seating positions if using a stationary bike.
Day 4 is the grand finale of your workout week, but it shouldn't be your
weakest. Keeping the same momentum during this day as you brought to
the others is not only important for properly exercising your entire
body, it will train you to keep a strong mindset.
This last day will have you working out your lats (upper back),
shoulders (self-explanitory), trapezius (center back), and abs (again!).
The pacing of this day is different from the rest, as you will perform
three exercises for each body part, with exception to the trapezius
which only gets two exercises (or three)
I always start out by working my shoulders. There are three heads to
your shoulders and all must be exercised properly. The front part of
your shoulder is worked out by pressing weights upwards over your head. A
set of 4x10 will work well here. Both barbell and dumbell shoulder
presses work well here. For the side shoulder head, side raises work
well. Using either dumbells or cable raises will suffice. Finally, the
back shoulder head is stimulated through lifting weight in front of you
from your side to the font in an upwards motion. Again, barbells,
dumbells, and even cables can accomplish this for you.
Your lats, or latissimus dorsi, is the upper part of your back that
supports weight for various other exercises. Ensuring your upper back is
adequately strong is key to working out other parts of your body. Lat
exercises include weighted rows, pulldowns, T-bar rows, and pullups. All
should be utilized to strengthen these muscles.
Your trapezius is somewhat hard to explain. It's the muscle that lies in
the center in your back and allows you to raise your shoulders. This is
another muscle I have a hard time finding a variety of exercises for,
but the ones I fall back on are shoulder raises. Simply hold a dumbell
in each hand and raise your shoulders towards your back and move them
forward. A simple 4x10 set will adequately exercise this muscle. For the
second set I do the opposite; I raise towards my chest, then pull my
shoulders back. It's simple and it seems to do the trick.
Working out your abs for the second time in a week leads me into
concentrating on my obliques. One exercise is to hold a weighted plate
in one hand, lean to the side, and pick your self back up. A piece of
advice is to use only one plate for this. I often see others using a
plate in each hand, but this is ineffective in my opinion; the imbalance
of weight is what causes us to work our muscles. Other exercises
include laying on your back with your knees bent and lifting your body
and touching your elbow to the knee on the opposite side and individual
bent left lifts from a hanging position (a la ab straps).
At this point you can go home, relax for three days, and have a nice,
big meal. You've earned it. Once your "weekend" is over be prepared to
hit the gym for another four days because consistency is the key to any