I recommend four different workouts done on alternate days. Start with just three routines for the first six weeks. Once you have improved your general strength, add the shoulder routine as the forth workout. Starting the shoulder routine too soon creates a real risk of shoulder injury.
Using free weight you will have much faster results than the machines. However, the risk of injury with free weights is also much greater. Again, I recommend using the machines for the first six weeks, and then gradually phase in some free weights.
In general, start with a weight (or setting) that you can lift a minimum of 8 repetitions (reps). Gradually increase the reps as you are able. When you can do 2 sets of 12 reps, increase to the next weight level. Again, you must be able to do at least 8 reps at the new weight.
Work the abdominal muscles every session. They are much slower to respond and require almost daily attention to respond favorably. Mix the abdominal exercises up to engage the upper, middle, and lower abdominal muscle groups. Although the various machines are effective, an incline board creates the variation that you are looking for. In addition, hooking the legs over the calf pad helps protect the low back. I start at the highest incline and drop the setting between each set. You can also lie backward on the board and do leg lifts, again at various heights to stimulate all the abdominal muscle. Finally, as you improve, try holding a weight against your chest for more resistance or work with a partner, tossing and receiving a medicine ball at the peak of each rep.
1. Chest and Triceps
- Flat Bench
- Incline Bench
- Decline Bench
- Triceps (sitting or standing)
- Triceps – lying down
- Triceps – ropes (declining weight)*
2. Back and Biceps
- Reverse Flys
- Pull Downs
- Bicep Curls (seated)
- Bicep Curls (declining weight)*
- Leg Press
- Inner Thigh
- Outer Thigh
- Knee Extension
- Military Press
- Lats (supine)
- Posterior Deltoids
- Internal & External Rotation
*These are done as the last exercise. Do as many sets as possible, decreasing the weight each set with as little rest as possible. This fatigues the muscles and stimulates faster growth.
The Bottom Line:
Try adding weight lifting to your exercise formula. You will be amazed at how quickly you see and feel the benefits. One last tip – find a partner to workout with you. It is a safety factor for many of the free weights and partners encourage each other to stick to the routine.