Finding the right weight lifting routine can be difficult and complicated. There are many types of routines; each with it’s own advantages and disadvantages. What works for one person may not work for another and different people may have different goals. The following is a generalized guide to designing workouts. It is not intended to be an end all guide to working out with weights. There are many different methods of weight lifting; too many to mention in such a short article.
I highly recommend Bodybuilding.com’s workout database. It gives a much wider variety of ideas on how to workout than are presented here. Once again, these are just some generalized ideas on how to workout.
I won’t be covering warm up methods. I’m also not going to give my opinion on the use of different rep speeds in this article. Just so you know, I use a rep speed of 1-2 seconds concentric, a 0-1 sec pause in between, and 1-3 second’s eccentric phase of exercise movement. I perform all work sets to positive failure. Also, remember that no work out routine will work very well when combined with poor diet and nutrition.
Step One: Choose a rep scheme that works for your goals.
3-6 reps (Strength), 6-8 (Mass and Strength), 8-12 (Mass and Endurance), 12-15 (Endurance)
Step Two: Choose the amount of time you’ll be resting between sets
a. 30 seconds (not really long enough for muscle to recover) (good for getting pumped feeling)
b. 1 minute (moderately good recovery)(works well for many)
c. 2 minutes (almost complete recovery of ATP levels)
d. 3 minutes or longer (100% ATP recovery in muscles)(works well for power lifters)
Step Three: Choose the number of days a week you want to workout. (I recommend working out 3 days or more a week)
Step Four: Choose the training frequency and number of sets for each body part.
a. 3-4 days a week full body workouts. (Works well especially well for beginners) 1-3 sets per body part.
b. (4-6 days a week) twice a week split. (Works well for many) 5-9 sets per body part.
c. Once a week 3-5 days a week. (Works well for hard gainers and those who require extra recovery time) 5-12 sets per body part.
Step Five: Choose what body parts to work on different days of the week. (Those interested in full body workouts can skip this section)
a. (A classic idea) Do pushing exercises one day, pulling exercises another day, and legs/calves another day. Example: Monday: Back/Biceps/Forearms, Tuesday: Chest/ Shoulders/ Triceps/ Traps, Wednesday: Legs/Calves/Abs.
b. Many other combinations will work well. Combinations of (not necessarily in this order) Chest, Back, Biceps, Triceps, Legs, Calves, Traps, Shoulders, and if you want to forearms and Abs.
Step Five: Choose what specific exercises you’ll be doing.
a. List of some of the Foundation Exercises.
Chest: Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Decline Bench Press, Flat Dumbbell Press, Incline Dumbbell Press, Decline Dumbbell Press, Parallel bar Dips.
Back: Dead Lifts, Bent over rowing (Dumbbell or Barbell), Pull Ups (weighted or no weights), Lat Pull Downs (can be done with varied grips and types of bars), Bent over cable rowing, T-Bar rowing
Legs: Barbell Squats, Straight Leg Dead lifts, Barbell or Dumbbell Lunges, Leg Press.
Calves: Standing Calf Raise, Donkey Calf Raise, Seated Calf Raise, and Calf Raises (using Leg Press)
Shoulders: Overhead Press (Standing or Sitting)(Dumbbell or Barbell), Upright Rowing, Side Dumbbell Lateral Raises, Bent Over Lateral Raises (Dumbbell or Barbell)
Biceps: Standing (Dumbbell or Barbell) Curls, Standing EZ-Bar Curls.
Triceps: Close Grip Bench Press, Lying Triceps Extensions (Dumbbell or Barbell)(a.k.a. Skull Crunchers), Overhead Dumbbell Extension, Cable Press Downs (can be done with a rope or different types of bars)
Abs: Cable Crunches, Bicycle Crunches, Lying Crunches, Incline Crunches, Stability Ball Crunches, Hanging Leg Raises, Stability Ball Leg Raises.
b. Many Other Exercises Not Listed (good to add variety and as additions to workout)
Step Six: Decide in what order to do the exercises on specific days. In general multi-joint exercises should be performed first. I personally don’t perform shoulder exercises immediately after chest exercises, as I can’t lift as much weight for shoulders if they’re already tired from doing chest exercises. Other than that it’s up to you.
Putting It All Together: I personally feel that multi-joint compound movement exercises should be the foundation of a good weight lifting program (for healthy individuals who do not have major postural abnormalities, limited range of motion, or who are undergoing rehabilitation). Remember that it’s good to change your workout variables periodically.(Every four to six weeks) This keeps your workouts fresh and stimulates your muscles in a new way.
I hope this article was helpful in providing some ideas for a weight lifting routine. Good luck in all your training endeavors!
Similar Bodybuilding Threads: