Working out and staying in shape takes a serious time commitment. In general, if you work out three to four times a week, you're well on your way to achieving your personal fitness goals. Your results will of course depend on the actual effort you put forth during your workouts and the type of diet you maintain. For many people, working out Monday through Friday is convenient, as this leaves the weekend open for rest and relaxation.
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4-Day Muscle-Building Split
This four-day muscle-building routine works the chest and shoulders on Monday, the back and abdominals on Tuesday, the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves on Thursday and the triceps, biceps and abdominals on Friday. Wednesday is a rest day. Each workout focuses on two to three specific muscle groups. Choose exercises that are muscle-specific to the muscle group you are working on a particular day. Examples include bench presses, wide-grip lateral pulldowns, standing calf raises, triceps dips and concentration curls. The more isolation exercises you incorporate into your workouts, the more effective this split becomes. Try to do at least three exercises for each body part in a workout and aim to complete three regressive sets of 10, eight and six repetitions for each exercise, increasing the weight after each set.
Aerobic and Anaerobic Program
Mixing aerobic and anaerobic activities during the week creates a good balance if you are trying to develop not only your physique, but are also concerned about your cardiovascular health. This program can be tailored to your specific goals. If your primary goal is to build size and strength, dedicate Monday, Wednesday and Friday to strength training and Tuesday and Thursday to cardio. If you're aiming to improve your aerobic fitness and are looking to slim down, do cardio exercises on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and strength training on Tuesday and Thursday. Your strength-training sessions should be full-body workouts. This way you avoid becoming too sore in any one muscle group for your cardio activity the following day.
This program is designed to encourage quick growth by increasing the intensity of every exercise. Your muscles are taxed to exhaustion after each workout -- the reason why you work out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only and rest on Tuesday and Thursday. The same full-body workout is performed on every training day. Cardio either before or after this intense workout is discouraged simply because all your energy is needed for the workout. Each exercise is performed only once and completed to failure. The exercises are weighted-belt deep squat, hack squat, seated cable row, lying T-bar row, incline dumbbell press, Arnold dumbbell press, front plate raise, decline EZ bar triceps extension, concentration curl, dumbbell shrug, standing calf raise and cable crunch. Rest only one minute between exercises.
If you can make time in your schedule, try going to the gym twice every day Monday through Friday. Going to the gym twice every day maintains your fitness level more effectively by cutting down the time between physical activity. Dedicate the morning session to strength training and the evening session to cardiovascular conditioning. Limit each session to about 30 minutes and focus on intensity. If your cardio activity is running, try taking off 15 to 20 seconds from your average mile pace. Lift heavy during your strength-training exercises and limit rest between sets and exercises to make the most of your time at the gym.