If you are serious about your exercise program and routine, you are not going to walk into the gym without a plan. A man who wants to see real results in the gym needs an effective routine that is easy to follow. Every routine can be tweaked to your liking, but it is important to work every major muscle as part of your routine.
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Total Body Routine
Total body workouts work every major muscle group all in one workout. The same or a similar routine is done each workout, making it simple to follow. Workouts should be performed three to five times a week. The total body workout is great for beginners or if you are trying to get back into shape. It ensures that every body part is brought up to speed.
A common total body workout would include a shoulder exercise like the military press, chest exercises like the dumbbell fly and bench press, back exercises like the lat pull-down and barbell row, arm exercises like the triceps extension and bicep curl and leg exercises, like the squat and deadlift. Each exercise should be performed eight to 12 times for two to four sets each.
5 x 5
The 5x5 workout routine is popular among powerlifters and others who are looking to break weightlifting plateaus. Although the 5x5 workout is considered an advanced workout, it is simple to follow because it focuses on compound lifts executed five times each for five sets. The 5x5 is most effective when enough weight is used that five reps is the absolute most you can lift each set. If you can go for more than five reps on the bodyweight exercises, it is time to add some weight.
An example of a four-day 5x5 routine would be:
Day 1: Chin up for the back and arms; calf raise and reverse Smith Machine raise for the calves; shoulder press and lateral dumbbell raise for the shoulders; and close grip bench press for the triceps.
Day 2: Pull-up for the back; chest dip for the chest; hamstring curl and squat for the legs; and barbell shrug for the shoulders.
Day 3: Preacher curl for the arms; barbell and seated calf raise for the calf muscles; front delt raises, lateral dumbbell raise and rear deltoid row for the shoulders; and barbell triceps extension for the triceps.
Day 4: Bent-over row for the back; incline bench press for the chest; stiff-leg deadlift and barbell lunge for the legs; barbell shrug for the traps.
A strength-building routine uses two workouts--one for the upper body and one for the lower body, alternating twice throughout the week. It also employs super sets, where exercises are performed back-to-back before resting, which increases efficiency and trains for muscle endurance.
An example of a strength-building workout would be:
Day 1 (upper body): Bench press for the chest (five sets, five reps); bent-over row (five sets, five reps) and pull-up for the back; machine crunch (three sets, eight reps) and reverse crunch for abs (three sets, eight reps).
Day 2 (lower body): Squat (six sets, five reps); deadlift (six sets, five reps); Swiss ball leg curl (four sets, six reps); hamstring curl (three sets, eight reps).
Bodybuilders know that the key to improving a particular body part, like the arms, is not to specialize on arm routines, but to get bigger and stronger all over through basic compound movements. According to bodybuilder Lee Hayward, these stimulate the central nervous system and have a progressing muscle building effect on the entire body. This routine, done three times per week, hits all major muscle groups.
Day 1: Flat and incline bench press for the chest (three sets, ten reps); shoulder press and side lateral raise for shoulders (three sets, 15 reps); lying French press and triceps cable push down for triceps (three sets, 15 reps); push up for chest (three sets, max).
Day 2: Deadlift for the legs (three sets, 10 reps); lat pull-down and dumbbell row for the back (three sets, 10 reps); face pull for shoulders (three sets, 10 reps); barbell and dumbbell curl (three sets, 10 reps).
Day 3: Squats. leg extension and hamstring curl (three sets, 10 reps); calf raise (three sets, 15 reps); decline bench sit up, leg raise (three sets, max).