Ok, you have been working out and probably have been doing mostly the same routine week after week. Not seeing much results and more than likely not getting any stronger. I want to discuss on ways to partner exercises together, create circuits and really drive up your caloric expenditure. In the world of exercise, there are only several movements that are done. Let me take the time to break them down for you.
- Horizontal Push- Push ups, bench press, dumbbell press
- Horizontal Pull – Rows, dumbbell row, band rows
- Vertical Push – Shoulder press, handstand push ups
- Vertical Pull – Pull ups, lat pull down
- Knee Dominant – Squats, lunges, drop lunges, Split Squats, Step Ups
- Hip Dominant – Kettlebell Swings, deadlifts, 1 leg reaches, SLDL
- Twist- Horizontal, high to low, low to high
These movements should be the staple of every exercise program. There is no way of getting around any of these movements. These exercises work all the major muscle groups. Sure you can do bicep curls, tricep press downs and crunches all day long but you will never get the physique you are after without doing the above exercises.
Now that we have our major movements listed lets look into setting up circuits. Depending on where you work out at, you may be a little short on space and machinery. No one likes a guy who is doing a mega circuit hogging all the machines. We are going to break it down into 2 and 4 exercise circuits. You see it all the time in fitness magazine where they want you to do exercise 1A and then go directly into exercise 1B. These are 2 exercise circuits and they are great if you do them right into each other. Make sure you time your rest too. You want to keep your rest period short and keep your intensity high. Try doing some of these:
Push ups to Squats
Pull ups or Lat pulldown to Lunges
Overhead press to 1 leg step ups
Horizontal rows to Kettlebell swings or Deadlift
If you were to do each set of exercises 3 times for 10 reps you already would have a great program. Doing it this way keeps you moving, makes your workouts shorter, makes the time go by faster, keeps your heart rate up so you are burning more calories and also alternates the blood flow from upper to lower body, which in turn makes the heart work harder burning more calories.
To make the formula even simpler, I like to break it down to: Squat, Lunge, Push and Pull. Group all 4 exercises together to form a 4 exercise circuit. Remember to alternate between upper and lower body exercises so you it could look like this:
Dumbbell Chest Press to
Weighted Squat to
Pull Up or lat pull down to
Alternating weighted back lunges
Overhead Dumbbell Press
Deadlift or Kettlebell Swings
Side Lunges or Drop Lunges
Remember to always challenge yourself, push yourself and try to lift as heavy as you can without hurting yourself. Your goal is to shoot for 10 reps on each exercise and that 9th and 10th rep better be extremely tough. If it is still too easy at 10, you need to up the weight. You can still do whatever exercises you like to do whether it be bicep curls, leg lifts or crunches but make sure you do all that AFTER you have done your big lifting circuits. Use all of your fresh energy for you big lifts and movements while you still have it. Trust me, you will need it.
So next time you are at the gym and you are walking around aimlessly wondering what to do and where to go, remember to keep it simple.
Squat, lunge, push, pull.