Though men generally have greater muscle and bone mass compared to women, men also lose muscle around the age of 30 and bone around the age of 40. A full body routine helps maintain and slowly improve your fitness through the busy weeks of work and family life. By maintaining a weight training routine at the gym, even if it is only two days per week, you decrease your rate of tissue loss during the particularly challenging times of the year.
Intensity, Volume and Frequency
The weight you lift and the number of repetitions you do enable you to either maintain or enhance your muscular fitness. If you simply want to maintain your status, use moderate weight in which you can complete three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions per exercise. However, if you want to increase your muscle mass and strength, use primarily heavier weights in which you can complete four to six sets of six to 12 repetitions per exercise. You need only do one exercise per muscle group. Full body workouts must be done at least one day per week, but if you can manage a second workout two to three days later, you enhance your adaptations.
It is best to pair two opposing muscles together, maximizing your time and equipment availability. Pick an exercise for your chest and an exercise for your back that you can do in the same space. For example, do flat barbell bench presses for your chest and dumbbell pullovers for your back; simply bring one or two dumbbells to the bench press area, using the bench for pullovers as well. Once you have completed all sets for that exercise pair, do a pair of exercises for your legs and shoulders. This gives your biceps and triceps time to rest because they were also slightly engaged when you trained your chest and back. Then, do a pair of exercises for your biceps and triceps together, along with your abdominal muscles.
Chest and Back
Barbell bench presses are the ultimate exercises for your chest or pectoral muscles whether you use a flat bench press or the incline bench press because you can use a heavy weight. Dumbbell bench presses are also excellent because they enable you to move through a greater range of motion. One-arm dumbbell rows and pulldowns are fundamental back exercises. Dumbbell rows engage your latissimus dorsi and trapezius, while pulldowns activate primarily your lats. Consider pairing a barbell chest exercise with a dumbbell back exercise to easily transition from one exercise to the other, such as incline barbell presses with one-arm dumbbell rows. Or, if you want to do lateral pulldowns, roll a portable exercise bench to the pulldown machine and then retrieve a pair of dumbbells for flat dumbbell presses.
Legs, Shoulders and Abdominals
Include squats or lunges in your full body workout as both exercises engage your glutes, quadriceps, inner thigh muscles and the gluteal end of your hamstrings. To work the knee end of your hamstrings, do leg curls with your choice of an abdominal exercise. Perform dumbbell shoulder exercises as you can do them in the area where you are working your legs. You may incorporate dumbbell shoulder presses, upright dumbbell rows or dumbbell lateral raises. For instance, pair squats with lateral raises and one-leg dead lifts with hanging abdominal raises.
Biceps and Triceps
There are many biceps and triceps exercises you can do with dumbbells, barbells and cable pulleys. Consider pairing a barbell biceps exercise with a dumbbell triceps exercise, and then switch the following week’s workout to a dumbbell biceps exercise with a barbell triceps exercise. This enables you to balance your arm workouts compared to doing only dumbbell exercises or only barbell exercises. For instance, you may pair EZ barbell curls with one-arm dumbbell triceps extensions for your current routine. Then, change it to triceps barbell presses and alternating dumbbell curls the following week.
- Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise
- ACSM’s Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; American College of Sports Medicine