A health-oriented routine is more easily implemented and maintained compared to a complex, muscle-building program. Men can get in shape with as few as three workouts per week as long as each session has an aerobic warmup, a resistance workout and a cool-down stretch. Working out can result in tight muscles, so do not skip your cool down. Scheduling your routines first thing in the morning increases the likelihood you will complete your weekly workouts and improve your fitness.
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A no-nonsense approach to working out means you should be able to enhance your aerobic fitness, muscular capacity, flexibility and body composition in one session. The American College of Sports Medicine advises that you should do three days of intense aerobic exercise and two days of strength training to reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and abdominal obesity. The simplest way to get in shape -- and address the primary aspects of physical fitness -- is to exercise three days per week and incorporate cardio, resistance training and stretching exercises.
Completing a 20-minute aerobic routine when you first start working out, whether you are at home or at your local gym, increases blood flow to your muscles and raises your heart rate -- waking you up in a sense. Do a quick seven-minute warmup followed by a three-minute stretch before you begin your cardio session; ensure that the intensity of your aerobic exercise makes it possible to talk but too difficult to sing. Pair flat-dumbbell chest presses with one-arm dumbbell rows and incline-dumbbell chest presses with lateral pulldowns. Complete five sets of six to 12 repetitions per exercise; alternate sets in each exercise pair. Stretch for five to 10 minutes at the end of your workout.
Begin your session with a cardio activity, preferably using a different machine or running a different program compared to your Monday session. Follow the same time line of a 10-minute warmup and 20 minutes of an actual aerobic workout. Work your legs and shoulders, giving your biceps and triceps another day to recover from your Monday workout; biceps are engaged when you do back exercises and triceps are engaged when you do chest exercises. Then, pair barbell squats with lateral dumbbell raises, walking lunges with upright dumbbell rows and leg curls with bent-over dumbbell flies. Complete four sets of six to 12 repetitions per exercise, and then stretch for five to 10 minutes at the end of your workout.
Consider repeating your aerobic session from Monday, but increase the intensity slightly. Friday will finish your weekly workout routine with biceps, triceps and abdominals work. Pair alternating dumbbell curls with two-arm dumbbell triceps extensions and double crunches. Perform biceps cable curls with triceps pushups and hanging leg raises. Complete five sets of six to 12 repetitions per exercise, and then stretch for five to 10 minutes at the end of your workout.
- Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise
- ACSM.org: Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise