March is almost here, and if you haven’t given up on your New Year’s resolution to work out – good for you. If you have, it’s not too late to get into shape by spring. I remember starting a program in March of 2008 that had me in GREAT shape by May, so you definitely have time. You have to put in serious work, though.
First off, you’re going to need to put in 5 days a week. Nothing more, nothing less. If you’re not challenging yourself daily it’s going to take months to achieve the gains you could make up in a matter of a couple of weeks. For this intensity, you’re going to have to blast similar muscle groups on the same days.
Chest & Triceps(M&Th)
Your biggest gains are going to come in the form of banging out your chest and triceps on the same day. I like to hammer out 3 different presses with 4 sets a pieces followed by dumbbell flies or cable crossovers. You exhaust your triceps for substantial gains.
- 4 sets of dumbbell flat bench press
- 4 sets of incline bar press
- 4 sets of decline dumbbell press
- 4 sets of dumbbell flies
Immediately following your flies go directly into dips. If you can’t perform a dip, use a weight-assisted machine until you can. Dips are a great way to build your triceps, shoulders and chest. Follow that with triceps extensions on a raised pulley.
- 4 sets of dips
- 4 sets of pulley extensions
- 4 sets of overhead dumbbell extensions
Back and Biceps(T&F)
Your back is probably the easiest, but trickiest muscle group to define. If I could pinpoint the the one thing that most people screw up when working out their back it’s this: form. Form is important in all aspects of weightlifting, but in terms of your back it is CRUCIAL. For one, the angle for which you work your back out will define what parts of it are built. Exhausting your back with 5 good sets of pulls, rows and raises will also leave you ready to give yourself a really nice workout on your biceps.
- 4 sets of lat pull downs(wide grip)
- 4 sets of lat pull downs(closed grip)
- 4 sets of seated rows(wide grip)
- 4 sets of seated rows(closed grip)
Your biceps. The softballs you want to explode out of your tee shirt for everybody to see. Biceps are easy – if you exercise them right. If you’ve ever seen somebody in the gym swaying their back from front to back in an effort to put up more weight, you know they’re doing it wrong. The key to effective bicep exercises is slow, controlled movements. When you’ve exhausted your last rep, be sure to focus on the negative.
- 4 sets standing barbell curls
- 4 sets seated preacher curls
- 4 sets seated incline dumb bell curls
- 4 sets pulley curls
Legs and Shoulders(W)
I hate working out my legs, but if you’re ever going to hope for a built upper body you’re going to have to build your legs. Any seasoned weightlifter will tell you that the legs promote upper body strength. I hammer my legs once a week(Wednesday). I’ve never been a fan of squats. I know they work a ton of muscle groups and what not, but I’m just not a fan. You can get a power gut doing squats, anyway. I prefer to do leg presses. Leg presses are just as effective in working your hamstrings, glutes and quads. I guess you could equate lunges to squats, which I like doing. I guess it’s a matter of preference. Either way, be sure to give yourself an explosive leg workout as you’ll only be working them out once a week.
- 4 sets leg press
- 4 sets lunges
- 4 sets seated hamstring extensions
- 4 sets seated quadriceps extensions
- 4 sets seated calf raises
- 4 sets standing calf raises
Shoulders and traps are great. Nothing makes your build stand out like a set of softballs on the ends of your arms. I enjoy the hell out of working out my shoulders and traps. I only hit them once a week because you already hit parts of them during your back and chest workouts, but it’s still a good idea to spend time building on top of those workouts. I start off with the military press, then follow with a series of pulley and dumb bell workouts.
- 4 sets military barbell press
- 4 sets reverse fly cable extensions
- 4 sets dumb bell lateral raises
- 4 sets dumb bell shoulder shrugs
- 4 sets dumb bell bar bell shrugs.
I was fortunate enough to find guys that had been working out a long time, and I piggybacked off of their knowledge and what they did. If you can find that guy, latch on to him. Most people would prefer to work out with someone else, but conflicting schedules don’t always allow for it. Work your schedule around that guy, and build an awesome summer body.