Some workouts to play with.
It doesn’t have to be this complicated. Honest.
Dave’s bodyweight: 17 stone 13lbs (251lbs or 114kg)
Weight lost since last weigh-in: 3lbs (1.4kg)
Having something to follow in the gym is great. Having something to follow that someone else has gone to the trouble to write for you is even better. Having something to follow that someone else has not only written but actually tried out on themselves is priceless. You would think that all programs written by coaches/instructors are methodically tried and tested in the leveling chamber of the gym. Unfortunately, the truth is that most of them are done to either impress other keyboard warriors, or in a blind panic as publishing deadlines scream towards them.
This is not the case with these little beauties. I did all of these last week and they ticked all the boxes required to make a workout effective. They are quick (about 45 mins). They are challenging – but not ridiculously brutal (you can train hard, you can train long but you can’t train hard and long). They have enough variety to ensure that your muscles are forced to adapt to the new stimulus but not so chaotic that it becomes the exercise equivalent of the Pick-n’-Mix sweet counter at the Cinema.
In essence gym training is not that complicated in itself. The complications arise when what you have been doing stops working. My current plan is to get “In Great Shape”. This, as goals go, is a little on the vague side of things. After All, what is Great Shape? For me it’s so my abs are on show but I still have most of my muscle. I don’t want to be a skinnier version of what I already am. To this end I’m currently following a Bodybuilding style of workout and a Bodybuilding style of diet. It seems to be working pretty well as I’ve dropped a pound or two already.
This is different to how I normally do things. My usual approach to cutting weight is to eat nothing but about 1kg of boiled chicken breast (yum . . . not), and do an extra 90 mins of cardio every day. When, in the past, I’ve done this I loose about 5kg per week but probably in equal parts fat and muscle – if I’m lucky. This time my main focus is to hold on to as much muscle as possible. Which means I’m going to have to do this diet long and slow.
Anyway, here are the workouts.
Chest and Triceps
Bench press – 4 sets of 10 reps but for each full rep do 3 mini pulse reps at the bottom. This will give you a monster pump.
Dips – 3-5 sets (I did 5 sets) of 10 reps. On the last set I went to failure and did a few partial, spasming reps. You don’t need to go to failure on every set – In fact it’s probably best if you don’t.
Cable Flyes – 3 sets of 15 reps. You need to do these slow and really work the ol’ stretch and squeeze.
Lying Tricep extensions – 3 sets 15 reps. Your number 1 mission with this exercise is to get the mother of all stretches when doing it.
Pushdowns – 3 sets of 15 reps. On the last set do a drop set and pump out about 50 reps.
Back and Biceps
Rack pull deadlifts – 5 sets of 5 reps. I love deadlifts but they don’t love me. I have a back injury that is aggravated by heavy deadlifts from the floor. As long as I slow things down a little, do a few more reps and set the safety bars in the rack so that my starting position is a couple of inches below my knee then I’m good to go. It’s impossible to understated the importance of including a deadlift variation in your training. Don’t worry if you can’t do full, max effort ones from the floor – find a work-around. Other possible types of deadlifts would be Hex-bar, Farmer’s walks or Yoke carries.
Lat Pulldowns – You have a choice here of doing wide grip pull-ups or wide grip lat pulldowns. Normally I would say that pull-ups are the superior exercise but I love how it’s possible to really focus on the lats when doing high rep pulldowns. It smashes mine in a way that pull-ups can’t quite manage to do. 4 sets 15-20 reps.
Rows – Any type of row here is good. Barbell, Dumbbell, T-bar, Machine, whatever. Just keep your lower back arched, your chest up nice and high and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of each rep. 4 sets 10 reps.
Barbell curls – 3 sets of 21’s. By this point your biceps have already done a ton of hard work. Now it’s time to fill ‘em full of blood and fry them with lactic acid.
Legs and Shoulders
Leg extension/Leg curl – 4 sets 15 reps. I don’t worry about the amount of weight or reps that I use on these exercises. They are essentially a second warm up for the main event – Squats. That said, however, I do like to punish myself on them. Invariably I superset them, go to failure, do drop sets and employ partials. Often in the same set. Weirdly the harder I push myself on them the better my squats feel.
Squats – 5 sets. 10 reps. 30 seconds rest. That is all.
Walking lunges – I don’t always bother with these. It depends how wretched I’m feeling after the squats. 3 sets 20 reps.
Seated Dumbbell shoulder press – 4 sets 10 reps.
Lateral raise – 4 sets 15 reps.
Thanks for reading,