The majority of exercises in your routine are compound, which means they work more than one muscle group at a time. Pepper some isolation exercises into your routine but do not make them the only focus of your workouts.
Each weighted exercise includes five sets, in a descending to ascending flow. Start with low-weight and build toward high-weight. For example: using 30 lbs., pump 10 repetitions; increase weight to 40 lbs. and pump 8 reps; increase weight to 50 lbs. and pump 6 reps; increase weight to 60 lbs. and pump 4 reps; increase weight to 70 lbs. and pump 2 reps. Take a break and then go in reverse, starting with 70 lbs. at 2 reps until you end with 40 lbs. at 10 reps. This is one set of five. You can rest at the end of each set for 30 to 60 seconds.
Ascending to descending sets causes progressive overload of the muscles, which forces the muscle to grow but at the same time adapt to the stress so you also gain strength.
Day 1: Upper Body
Incline bench press: Works the chest, triceps and shoulders.
Military Press: Works the shoulders, deltoids, trapezius and rotator cuff.
Bent-over Row: Works the back, biceps, forearms and latissimus dorsi.
Add a pull-up set of 15 repetitions, which is non-weighted but a compound exercise that targets your back, lats, shoulders, biceps and forearms.
Day 2: Lower Body
Wide leg squat: Works the entire leg region, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and thighs.
Walking dumbbell Lunges: Like the squat, the lunge works your entire lower body. Maintain momentum when walking but keep true to form.
Calf raise squat: Targets the calves, quadriceps and hamstrings. Use a secured bar or Smith machine because for this calf raise you will remain on tip-toes during reps. Use the same form as a squat but the power in your lift comes from the balls of the feet instead of the heel. After each set rest with the heel flat on the ground.
Add weighted abdominals: Perform cable crunches and barbell side bends.
Day 3: Upper Body Transitions
Dips: Works the pectorals, triceps and shoulders. Use parallel bars or the weighted dip machine at the gym. Body positioning can alter the muscle groups worked. For instance, incline your body to the front to work your chest harder or keep your posture straight to work the triceps harder.
Shrugs: Works the shoulders and trapezius muscles. Use dumbbells, Smith machine or kettlebell weights.
Three-way bicep curls: Targets the bicep muscle group. Partake in traditional curls with elbows close to your body. Rotate your hands slightly outward, creating an angle but keeping the elbows close to the body. The third transition involves pushing your elbows away from the body but still keeping your arms at an angle.
Day 4 and 6: Recovery
Perform 30 minutes of non-weighted cardiovascular activity. This keeps your heart muscle strong and allows your intensely worked muscle groups a recovery day before the next workout.
|Bodybuilder resting for recovery|
Day 5: Upper and Lower Body Mix
Deadlifts: Works your lower and middle back, trapezius, hips, glutes, hamstrings and forearms. Use a straight bar or dumbbells. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. For an added challenge, perform the deadlift with one foot lifted slightly off the ground and then do the same for the other side.
Wide grip flat bench press: Works the pectorals, chest, triceps and deltoids.
Reverse grip pull up: Works the biceps, forearms, back and shoulders.
Add weighted abdominals: Perform kettlebell windmills and gorilla chin crunches using the pull up bar.
Day 7: Rest or Recovery
Take day 7 off or perform light cardiovascular activity and then start all over again at Day 1.