Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2-Day Strength Training Routine

Previously I featured a sample beginner's strength training routine and left you with the promise of a follow up.  Well here it is, for empty promises I do not make.  This time we're going to move to a 2-day split routine.  You'll hit the muscles in the front of the body on one day and the muscles out of your viewfinder the next. 

This can be done two or three days a week.  If you commit to two days, you'll do each routine once a week.  If your schedule allows for three days, alternate them.  One week, you'll do Workout A twice.  The next week will begin with Workout B.  Check out the sample schedule:

Don't forget to leave at least one rest day between sessions.  And to be active on the non-strength training days.  Throw in a metabolic session or two, go for a jog, play a game of softball.  Your body was built to move.  Let it.

You'll do 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.  Since we lowered the reps compared to the last program, increase the weight or pick a more challenging version of the exercise.  Like the last, this program includes alternating sets.  Do one set of goblet squats, rest, do one set of push-ups, rest, and repeat for three total rounds before moving on to the second pair.

Workout A

1a.  Goblet Squat

  • Focus on form:   Keep chest lifted and back flat, hips move down and back, weight is in your heels
  • Make it easier:   Ditch the dumbbell and use only body weight
  • Make it harder:   Steadily increase the dumbbell weight
1b.  Push-up

  • Focus on form:   Brace the entire core so the hips don't drop, body should be in one straight line, only the elbows bend
  • Make it easier:   Elevate your hands, gradually lower them to the ground as strength increases
  • Make is harder:   Elevate your feet on a small bench
2a.  Forward Lunge

  • Focus on form:   Keep the torso tall; take a big enough step forward so the knee doesn't pass the toes when bending
  • Make it easier:  Go shallow instead of bending knees to full depth
  • Make is harder:   Hold a set of weights at your side
2b.  Overhead Press

  • Focus on form:   Brace the entire core, press the shoulder blades down and back to relieve any neck tension throughout the movement
  • Make it easier:   Lighten up on the weight
  • Make is harder:   Grab a heavier set of dumbbells 

Workout B

1a.  Romanian Deadlift

  • Focus on form:   Movement starts with the hips pushing backward, hamstrings and glutes engage to pull the hips forward and lift the torso upright, back should remain flat AT ALL TIMES 
  • Make it easier:  Lighten up on the weight
  • Make is harder:   Grab a heavier set of dumbbells or barbell
1b.  Bent Row

  • Focus on form:   Maintain a straight back, push the hips back so the spine doesn't round
  • Make it easier:  Lighten up on the weight
  • Make is harder:   Grab a heavier set of dumbbells
2a.  Glute Bridge

  • Focus on form:   Engage the hamstrings and the glutes for the movement instead of the lower back
  • Make it easier:  Work your way up to the recommended amount of repetitions
  • Make is harder:  Elevate feet on a small bench, do a single-leg version, or a combination of the two
2b.  Pull-ups
  • Great video with a variety of options on how to perform pull-ups.  Using an assisted pull-up/dip station at your gym works also.

It looks simple on paper but if you're really challenging yourself you should be pretty spent afterwards.  Be sure to warm up properly by doing an easier set or two before your working sets.  Push yourself to make each session better than the last by either using a heavier weight, getting all 10 repetitions, taking a shorter rest in between, or doing better quality repetitions.

P.S.  I'm sure you noticed there no "abs" exercises listed.  You can do planks like in the last routine.  All the exercises engage your core in one way or another so it's not like they're chillin' in a lounge chair while your extremities do all the work.  Since I ended the beginner program with a promise, I suppose I will do it again.  I promise to do a blog post dedicated to my favorite and most effective core exercises.....before I die.

*Always consult your physician before starting an exercise program.  Additionally, it is highly recommended to consult a reputable fitness professional to learn proper form.  Any exercise can result in injury if done incorrectly.  Taking part in this and any program is done so at your own risk.  Amanda Kopeski will not be held liable for anything other than awesome results.  Listen to your body and don't do anything stupid.

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