In Part 2, I shared with you the best circuit based gym workout. Now let’s step it up a gear with No. 2 of my best gym workouts:
Strength Based Workout
45 seconds rest between exercisesRELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Perform 2-3 warm up sets for each exercise
DB Bench Press 3 x 8-12
Works the pectoral muscles directly whilst also working the deltoids and triceps. Completely the same as the barbell version. You can lower the weights slightly lower than you can with the barbell so there is more chest activation, when pushing the weights up bring the two dumbbells together above the centre of your chest and squeeze the muscles together.
Use a lower combined weight than you would with the barbell as this is a harder exercise.
Lat Pulldown 3 x 8-12
Works the Latissimus Dorsi and the Biceps. On the surface this looks like the most straight-forward exercise imaginable yet it is one of the most poorly performed exercise in the gym.
Sit down with your thighs underneath the knee pads (right up to the hip if possible). Grab the bar with a nice wide grip, palms facing away from you.
Stick your chest out and lean back slightly, pull the bar down towards your collar-bone, pause, and then raise the bar up until your elbows are almost locked.
When you are pulling the bar down you should be trying to pull your shoulder blades together, create this action by trying to pull your elbows from out wide towards your sides in an arc.
Seated Cable Row 3 x 8-12
A well executed Seated Row works all of the muscles of the back (Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi) the back of the shoulders (Posterior Deltoid) and the forearms (Brachioradialis).
Place your feet on the footpad, knees bent, and grab the handle. Pull the weight back and straighten up so that your chest is out, shoulders back, and your back is nice and straight with knees bent.
Pull the handle towards the upper part of your abdomen with your elbows pulled right back (brushing your sides along the way). Hold it there for a moment and then slowly return the weight back until your arms are straight.
Kettlebell Deadlift 3 x 8
Kettlebell deadlifts are a great introduction to deadlifts but are also a fantastic exercise in their own right. Due to the shape and size of a kettlebell it is easier than a barbell to get yourself into the correct position.
Just place the kettlebell between your legs, grab the handle in both hands, then deadlift it up just like you would in a conventional lift.
Use at least a 16kg bell though otherwise there really is no point. Once you have mastered this lift you can try the same exercise with two kettlebells.
DB Goblet Squat 3 x 8-12
Stand in the squat position with a fairly heavy dumbbell held in between your two hands, the dumbbell should be sideways with your hands grabbing one end as if you would hold the rounded part of a goblet (hence the name).
Then you squat down until your quads are past parallel, pause, and raise yourself back up. Due to where you are holding the dumbbell you will have to keep your chest up and shoulders back or the weight will fall forward, this will prevent you from squatting with poor posture.
Continue using this version until you have successfully corrected your technique, then you can progress to barbell back squats. Goblet squats are also a great warm up for squats or an awesome leg exercise in their own right.
Leg Extensions 3 x 8-12
Exclusively works the quadriceps. Sit on the seat with your lower back right up against the pad.
Perform the exercise slowly, raise your legs up until straight, squeeze your quadriceps, pause, and then slowly lower the weight back again. A lot of trainers dismiss this exercise asking “what use is it in real life?” My answer … To create amazing quadriceps!
DB Romanian Deadlifts 3 x 8-12
Start with dumbbells at hip height whilst standing upright, your feet should be in a narrow stance with toes facing forward (unlike a normal deadlift stance where toes are facing slightly out).
Push your hips back (like you would when reversing a normal deadlift) and bring your chest forward towards the floor as if you were about to perform a bent-over row. Keep your back as straight as possible and make sure you don’t round your shoulders.
Continue to lower the bar until your hamstrings start screaming, this probably won’t be too far, don’t worry this is natural. Begin to raise yourself back up through thrusting your hips forward, breathing out as you do so.
When lowering the bar you can have your legs very slightly bent, but keep your shins vertical. The Romanian Deadlift places more emphasis on hamstrings and Gluteals, less emphasis (none) on quadriceps
Plank Get Ups 3 x 30-45 seconds
Start in the plank position, then one arm at a time raise yourself into the press up position (both hands flat on the ground rather than your forearms), once you are in the press up position return to the plank position one arm at a time. That is one rep. Good cardio exercise as well as a quality ab exercise.
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