Good workout routine?

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    someguy1984's Avatar
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    Good workout routine?


    I'm trying to figure out the most effective workout routine for me. I workout at home and have a good amount of equipment. Barbell, bench setup, pullup bar, dumbells, etc...Enough to get the job done.

    I understand the body needs time to rest and recover, so i shouldn't workout everyday. Currently, i'm trying to bulk and get up to about 165 or so. I would like to gain as much muscle and less fat of course. (although, i know i will gain a little fat) I've been gaining weight eating about 3000 calories a day. If i stop gaining weight, i'll just add 250 more calories to my diet...So, i think i have the food part down.

    Now, i've been working out 3 days a week. I do my upper body on mondays, legs wednesday, upper body friday. Then the next monday i'll do legs and on wednesday i'll do my upper body and on friday legs again. I just swap week after week to keep my body guessing. I also change rep ranges a bit.

    Here is my problem...I find myself a little tired doing my upper body all in one day. So, when i get to military press for example, i feel a little too tired to complete the exercise with full potential. Although, i'm not educated enough to figure out how to split my days up. For instance, when should i do my chest, biceps, triceps? Or, back and shoulders? I think i can keep the leg routine all in one day. Maybe legs mon and friday? Tuesday biceps and triceps? Wednesday chest, back, shoulders? Thursday, saturday and sunday rest?

    Also, with the equipment i have, how much of a workout should i be doing? How many different total sets? For instance biceps and triceps...Barbell curls, dumbbell curls, tricep extentions, overhead extensions...What else? Or, would that be efficent?

    Thanks everyone.

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    Joshua86's Avatar
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    I'll post my current workout. This workout works well for me, if I'm dieting accordingly, and I have a hard time gaining mass.

    The workouts always start with compound lifts, and comprise most of the workouts, but I like to do isolation work as well. You're going to gain most of your mass by performing heavy, compound movements. This is mainly because you're able to use more weight, therefore increasing intensity and muscle overload, and you're recruiting more muscle fibers to do work, again, increasing total muscle overload. And there's a positive trend between total muscle fiber stimulus and amount of growth hormones released (i.e., the more muscle fiber you recruit (squats and deadlifts for example), the more testosterone is released).

    I like to include isolation work as well, as it allows you to directly target the muscle as independently as possible. I think if you want to develop a quality physique, you have to be concerned with more than just sheer mass (unless that is your goal). I'm not necessarily saying I think you can change the shape of a muscle to a great degree, as this is mainly already predetermined by your genetics. I do think you can develop muscles at different rates, and that by isolating your muscle groups, you can accelerate their development. This way you can, in a sense, mold your physique as you grow. Now some people get great results without using much isolation work at all; this is just my opinion and practice. It works well for me, so I like to propone it.

    Since you don't have access to certain equipment, you'll have to plug in another, preferably similar exercise. For instance, instead of barbell lunges, you could do dumbbell lunges. Or you might have to employ more barbell and dumbbell specific exercises. Although it's useful to have access to multiple types of equipment, you can still get the job done with barbells and dumbbells; you just have to get more creative.

    There are a few little things I like to practice with my training, so I figure I'm going to post my workout, I might as well post these. First of all, as far as time spent between sets, I take about 1-2 minutes for any set, pushing 2 minutes after really heavy lifts, such as squats, deadlifts, or standing presses. I've been performing dynamic stretches before my workouts, followed by a warmup routine involving my first exercise. Here's my warmup routine with any beginning exercise. I've experimented with various ways over the years, but this one works best for me:

    1st warmup: 50% of working set weight x 12 reps
    2nd warmup: 50% of working set weight x 10 reps
    3rd warmup: 70% of working set weight x 6 reps
    4th warmup: 80% of working set weight x 3 reps
    5th warmup: 90% of working set weight x 1 rep

    This is the same warmup routine mentioned in the Max-OT program. Working set weight refers to the amount of weight you're going to use on your first working set. I prefer this warmup routine because it effectively primes my muscles for maximum exertion.

    Another thing I like to do during my workouts is flex the muscle group I'm working between sets. I find that this helps to constantly keep blood pumping into my muscles, which allows me to bring full intensity to my next set. Also, I believe that even over the relatively short time I've been practicing this, my muscles have gained more definition (slight, yet noticeable), even though I haven't gained much overall mass. I attribute this to flexing between sets, on a regular basis, even flexing later on in the day; to focusing more on form and range of motion, trying to stimulate and recruit as many muscle fibers as possible; and by doing 30-60 second long static stretches for 5-10 minutes after my workouts.

    Remember to use full intensity on every rep of every set! You have to make your body work for it. If you've completed a set and you feel like you could have done more, then you should add more weight! Anyway, here's my current workout

    Monday - Chest
    Flat Barbell Bench Press 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6
    Incline DB Press 3 x 10, 8, 6
    Decline Barbell Press 3 x 10, 8, 6
    Superset: Incline DB Flyes 3 x 6-10
    Standing Cable Crossovers 3 x 6-10
    ** At the peak of each movement, momentarily contract the pectoral muscles. Chest is a weak point for me, and even though I'm not benching as much weight as I was last summer, my chest looks better than ever. Also, from flexing so often, my muscle control has improved as well.

    Tuesday - Back/Biceps
    Pullups x 5 sets to failure
    ** Write down how many reps you get on each set. Each consecutive workout, try to get more reps per set than you previously did. It's motivating, as you get stronger, to see your total number of reps done per week improve.
    Bent Barbell Rows 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6
    Superset: Seated Cable Crossovers 3 x 6-10
    Close-grip Pulldowns 3 x 6-10
    Deadlifts 3 x 10, 6, 4
    Alternating DB Preacher Curls 4 x 6-8
    ** On this exercise, and any chest, triceps, biceps, forearms, and abs exercise, I like to hold the contraction at the peak of the movement for a moment, squeezing the muscle as hard as I can, briefly. I like to think of it as making sure no muscle fiber goes unnoticed. You gain a stronger sense of muscle control too, in my opinion.

    Wednesday - Thighs/Calves/Forearms
    Squats 5 x 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
    Leg Press 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6
    Lying Leg Curls 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6
    Barbell Lunges 4 x 12, 10, 10, 10
    Seated or Standing Calve Raises 5 x 12-15
    ** Hold the contraction at the top for a moment, then lower the weight to get a full stretch. Use full intensity on every set. Try switching up your foot angles to hit the muscles from slightly different angles.
    Barbell Wrist Curls 4 x 12-15
    ** Really concentrate on form and contraction, and don't be afraid to make them burn!

    Thursday - Shoulders
    Standing Presses 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6
    Seated Lateral Raises 3 x 10, 8, 6
    Heavy Upright Rows 3 x 8, 6, 4
    Superset: Seated Arnold Presses 3 x 6-10
    Standing Rear Lateral Raises 3 x 6-10
    ** At the end of my shoulder workout I like to take hold of a couple 20-25lbs dumbbells and hold them out to my sides, about 7 inches or so from my thighs, and do static holds for about 20-30 seconds. This forces my deltoids to have to contract further, even after I've already pounded them, and gives me a great pump. Afterwards, I stretch like crazy!

    Friday - Arms
    Close-grip Bench Press 4 x 10, 8, 6, 4
    Standing Barbell Curl 4 x 10, 8, 6, 4
    Superset: DB Kickbacks 4 x 8-12
    Standing Cable Curls 4 x 8-12
    or
    Incline DB Curls 4 x 8-12
    Reverse Pushups (Bench Dips) 3 x 21s (Variations)
    ** I like to end my upper arm routine with variations of 21s on reverse pushups. I'll usually train them until failure, almost using my instinct to determine how I work the angles and hold the contractions. A great way to end a triceps workout! You could switch it up with parallel bar dips.
    Superset: Barbell Wrist Curls 4 x 12-15
    Reverse DB Wrist Curls 4 x 12-15
    ** Like before, really concentrate on form, range of motion, and holding the contraction at the peak of the movement.


    Well, that's what I'm doing at the moment. I'll swap out some exercises for others from time to time, just to keep my muscles guessing. And you could change the set and rep ranges around as you saw fit. Give it a try, you might like it!

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