Workout Routine Fundamentals

Resistance training is essential to getting in shape. Any serious strategy to prolong your life will include lifting weights that feel heavy for longer than feels comfortable. Any plan to revitalize your body from a stagnant, dull, overweight, unhealthy state will include pushing your muscles with heavy weight. 

But weight training can feel intimidating. It can feel like too much. Instead of giving into that intimidation, use the information below to simplify your strategy to begin lifting weights. If you don’t regularly practice resistance training, today is the day you need to begin. 

Possible Schedules for Weight Lifting

Common reasons people cite for failing to perform resistance training regularly are: time, energy, and know-how. With the lifting schedules below, you can choose a program that is most time-efficient, optimizes your energy, and is sufficiently instructive.

Warmup

Begin each workout with a 5-minute brisk walk on a treadmill.

Perform 30 seconds of dynamic movement, without resistance, with the limbs you will be using.

Perform a set of each exercise with a light weight, with which you can perform 15 repetitions or higher. 

Substitutions

If you are for some reason unable to perform any of the exercises or rep ranges below, you can substitute the movement for a similar one. If you are unfamiliar with an exercise, you can simply google “how to perform _____.” If an exercise is too easy to perform, either add resistance or increase the rep range.

Cardiovascular Exercise

If your goal is fat loss, you should add 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at the end of each resistance training session. The length of your cardiovascular exercise will depend on your free time, and desired pace of fat loss.

Two-Day Split

If you are only able to exercise twice per week, you can split your workouts between the upper body and lower body. Here are the exercises that you ought to perform:

Upper Body:

Deadlift — 5 sets of 3

Flat Barbell Bench Press — 5 sets of 6

Pull-Ups — 4 sets to failure

Dumbbell Military Press — 3 sets of 10

Sit-Ups — 3 sets of 15

 

Lower Body:

Squat (or Leg Press) — 5 sets of 5

Dumbbell Lunge — 3 sets of 10 (each leg)

Quad Extension — 4 sets of 10

Hamstring Curl — 4 sets of 10

Sit-Ups — 3 sets of 15

 

Three-Day Split

If you are only able to exercise three times per week, you can split your workouts between chest, back, and legs. Here are the exercises that you ought to perform:

Chest

Flat Barbell Bench Press — 5 sets of 5

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press — 4 sets of 10

Cable Fly — 3 sets of 15

Machine Press — 3 sets of 15

Sit-Ups — 3 sets of 15

 

 

Back 

Deadlift — 5 sets of 5

Bent-Over Dumbbell Row — 3 sets of 10 (per arm)

Pull-Up — 3 sets to failure

Shrug — 3 sets of 15

Sit-Ups — 3 sets to 15

 

Legs

Squat (or Leg Press) — 5 sets of 5

Dumbbell Lunge — 3 sets of 10 (each leg)

Quad Extension — 4 sets of 10

Hamstring Curl — 4 sets of 10

Sit-Ups — 3 sets of 15

 

Four-Day Split 

If you are only able to exercise four times per week, you can split your workouts between chest, back, and shoulders/arms. Here are the exercises that you ought to perform:

 

Chest 

Flat Barbell Bench Press — 5 sets of 5

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press — 4 sets of 10

Cable Fly — 3 sets of 15

Machine Press — 3 sets of 15

Sit-Ups — 3 sets of 15

 

Back

Deadlift — 5 sets of 5

Bent-Over Dumbbell Row — 3 sets of 10 (per arm)

Pull-Up — 3 sets to failure

Shrug — 3 sets of 15

Sit-Ups — 3 sets to 15

 

Legs

Squat (or Leg Press) — 5 sets of 5

Dumbbell Lunge — 3 sets of 10 (each leg)

Quad Extension — 4 sets of 10

Hamstring Curl — 4 sets of 10

Sit-Ups — 3 sets of 15

 

Shoulders/Arms 

Dumbbell Military Press — 4 sets of 8

Dumbbell Lateral Fly — 4 sets of 10

Dumbbell Front Raise — 3 sets of 15

Dumbbell Rear Fly — 3 sets of 15

Sit-Ups — 3 sets of 15

 

Methods of Achieving Intensity

If your workouts don’t push your psychological and physical limits in some way, they’re likely not doing much for you. There are two basic measurements that you can use to measure the intensity of your workout: mechanical tension and mitochondrial exhaustion. 

In order to increase mechanical tension during resistance training, you need to add resistance to your exercise by adding weight. For example, if you can perform 5 reps in every set of 5 on leg day, then you can increase the weight you’re using so that you are unable to complete all 5 reps for every set.

In order to increase mitochondrial exhaustion, during which you will feel more of a burning sensation in the belly of your muscle, then rather than increasing the weight you’re using, you can increase the rep range. For example, if you can perform all 5 sets of all of sets, then you can make your goal to be able to perform 5 sets of 8 reps with the same weight. This will increase the total volume of your workout.

Conclusion

A man who never knows where he’s going will never arrive. Be sure to have a clear articulation of your goals. When you are aware of your desired goal, your desired pace of improvement, and the time you have available to devote to the achievement of these realities, then this knowledge will dictate which workout schedule you choose, how much cardiovascular exercise you perform, and the method by which you implement this practice.