A Short, 7-Day Workout Plan

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Training Programs

A short series of exercises in the morning can be very effective at changing body composition. This plan has two phases. It spans 7 days, which makes it easy to schedule the exercises around your other activities.

You” need to vary the program given here, to suit your needs. To do that, you need to understand its basic principles. Those principles include:

  • Scheduling Principles
  • Sequencing Principles
  • Equipment and Exercises

Scheduling Principles

The nice thing about this program is that it is fairly easy to avoid overtraining, by using it for 3 weeks in a row, and then taking an “end of month” vacation for a week or so. Another nice thing, is that you can vary the order to accommodate your weekly activities.

In my case, I’m currently in a pool league on Monday and Tuesday nights, and I’ve noticed that I need to be well rested to play well. (If I’m just a little my tired, the required precision goes right out the window!) So I’ve scheduled two of the easier days for those mornings.

Earlier in my athletic career, I had weekly volleyball practices. I’d be sure not to exercises the muscles I needed for that activity (legs primarily), either the day of or the day before. Ideally, I’d have at least two days between those exercises and my practices (or a scheduled match).

Sequencing Principles

Using the scheduling principles, you’ve selected some of the exercises for given days, so they won’t interfere with the activities you’re performing on those days. The next step is to use the sequencing principles to figure out when you’ll do the other exercises.

Here are some principles to keep in mind:

  • In general, try to keep major-muscle exercises involving the legs, back, and chest separated from one another.
    In other words, try to work smaller muscles in between the larger ones.
  • Try not work the same muscles on successive days. The Military Press (or overhead press), for example, uses the biceps to get the dumbbells up into position. From there the traps (shoulder muscles at the base of the neck) do most of the work, but the triceps (pushing muscles of the arm) and even the delts (sides of the arm) are involved. So any day you do the Military Press, you either want to work the additional muscles on the same day, or on a completely different day, with (ideally) a couple of days between them.
  • If you’re doing interval training with the legs, you don’t need leg-training days!
    The bursts of effort involved in interval training put the same kind of stress on the muscle as weight training. So if you do both, you’re hitting the muscle twice in the same series, which is a no-no. (You can, however, do as much low-intensity cardio as you like.)

Granted, it’s pretty darn hard to satisfy all the principles, all the time. That’s one reason I’ve come up with so many different programs, through the years. The best you can do is to experiment, and find something that works reasonably well, for you.

Equipment and Exercises

The exercises you can do depend on the equipment you have available. You don’t need a lot. A good set of dumbbells covers most of the bases. For lats work, you can do “assisted chinups”, by placing your feet on a chair — but I found it difficult to get consistent results that way, so I invested in a lat pull-down machine.

Phase 1 — Single Cardio, 3-5 min/day

This program

Day
Focus
Low Energy Day
High Energy Day
Mon
Traps & Tri
Mil Press*
+ Upright row, Dips
Tue
Low&Mid Back
GM, UpperGM, KB Snap
+ Roman Back
Wed
Delts
Delt Raise
Clubbell Series
Thu
Cardio+Yoga
Fri
Chest
Max. Pushups
Sat
Uppr Back
Lat Pull*
Sun
Core
KB Twist, Dbl Crunch
+ Dip-stand hip lifts,
   Roman Situps
* Romanian Sets

Phase II — Double Cardio, 7-8 min/day

This program does a little better job of weight loss, by increasing to two cardio sessions per week. To make room, some days double up on exercises, so there aren’t as many really easy days.

Day
Focus
Low Energy Day
High Energy Day
Mon
Uppr Back & Bi
Lat Pull*
+ Bicep curl
Tue
Delts
Delt Raise, Grip #1 or #2
Clubbell series
Wed
Low&Mid Back
GM, UpperGM, KB Snap
+ DeadLift & Shrug
Thu
Cardio + Yoga
Fri
Chest,Traps,Tri
Max. Pushups, Mil Press*
+ Upright Row, Dips
Sat
Core
KB Twist, Dbl Crunch
+ Dip-stand hip lifts,
   Roman Situps
Sun
Cardio+Yoga
* Romanian Sets
Grip #1: Forearm Twist, Hammers        Grip #2: Wrist Roller, Grip Squeeze

 

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