Workin’ out (Day 1 of 4)

Last summer, I got myself into awesome shape by competing in a transformation challenge that had the unfortunate side effect of making me want to pull my hair out and/or throw things. It was too much, for too long.

Anyhoo, one of the cornerstones of my efforts was the weight training program I devised for myself. It involved working out legs, back and biceps two days a week, and chest, abs, shoulders and triceps on two other days. It’s not a hard-core bodybuilding program (many bodybuilders and fitness models break up their body parts even more…doing only one or two per workout), but it is different than what is “popular” right now.

What’s popular in the fitness world is full-body workouts, two or three days a week. There are any number of successful e-books and printed books promoting programs that include this type of workout. I had pretty good luck with one of them, The New Rules of Lifting For Women, a few years ago.

So in September, I started a similar program, from an e-book. I had a little unexpected surgical hiatus, and then I got right back to it. Yeah…this program doesn’t work for me. Three workouts a week, with 30 minutes of exercise on the other days? Doesn’t cut it. I won’t name the e-book, because I think that program is great for many people. Just not for everyone.

So I’m going back to the basics. I pulled out one of my plans from the summer, and if the soreness of my muscles is any indication, it’s working (it also tells me that the program I had been really was not giving me what I needed. Since my cold doesn’t seem to be grabbing hold (I threw chicken soup, vitamins, and five million cups of hot water with lemon at it yesterday), I’ll be enjoying the following workout as soon as I publish this post.

First, I do a warm up of whatever the heck I feel like. I’ll step in place (with knees high), I’ll step back and forth over one of my weight benches, I’ll do some bodyweight lunges or squats, I’ll do a few push ups, etc. I make sure that I’m getting warmed up while actually working the muscles I’ll be using. I don’t consider walking on a treadmill or riding a bike to be a sufficient warm-up for weight lifting. Then I do a short warm-up set of my first big exercise, using approximately 2/3 to 3/4 of the amount of weight I’ll be using “for real.” I’ll do 5-8 repetitions, depending on how many I plan to do in my real sets.

I rest for 1 minute after my warm up, then I get to it! I do three sets of the first exercise back to back (with 1 minute of rest in between). For each of the alternating sets, I do one set of each exercise with out resting, then rest for one minute before repeating. So…shoulder shrugs, decline DB bench press, rest, shoulder shrugs, decline DB bench press, rest, shoulder shrugs, decline DB bench press, rest, begin next alternating set.

Day 1 (Wednesday): Chest, shoulders, abs, triceps
Barbell bench press (3 sets)
Alternating sets of:
– Dumbbell shoulder shrugs*(3 total)
– Decline dumbbell bench press [link shows this exercise on a flat bench] (3 total)
Alternating sets of:
– Front plank (3 total)
– Dumbbell lateral raises (3 total)
Alternating sets of:
– Tricep kickbacks (3 total)
– Bicycle crunches (3 total)

* Hmmmm…ACE lists this as an upper back exercise (something that’s hard to come by when you are using only free-weight or body-weight exercises) I may shift this to one of my leg-back-bicep days.