First Things First

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QUICKFIT PROGRAM

Here's a 55 minute "QuickFit" workout routine I put together mainly for our in-a-hurry lunch crowd at the gym. I usually suggest that a new member stay with this type of program for 4-6 weeks in order to practice the form of the exercises, feel the flow of the workout and begin to understand their fitness level. Many times members will stick to the program forever due to time constraints - occasionally changing the specific exercises to stave off boredom.

15- 20 minutes of aerobic work

5 minutes of torso work (Superset)

Crunches (2xMaximum)
Leg Raises (2xMaximum)

30 minutes of weight work

TriSet - 3 or 4x12 repetitions

Chest Press (dumbbell, bench, or machine)
Dumbbell Pullover
Row (any type of pull machine)

SuperSet - 3 or 4x12 repetitions

Fixed Bar Curl
Tricep Press (dips/dip machine)

SingleSet - 3 or 4x12 repetitions

Leg Press

Moving on, one of the things I notice most often at all levels of the weight training experience is confusion about splitting workout routines. Many people start with a beginning, all-bodypart workout program and never change, probably not knowing that you should change, and change fairly often in fact. Most people make exciting progress during the first few weeks of training - it's new to our system and our bodies respond quickly at the onset. Which is good... the enthusiasm keeps us going and keeps us wanting more.

Within the first couple of months most people hit their first plateau, the gains flatten out and the excitement wanes. This is time for the first of many workout routine shakeups, time to split the bodyparts into workable groups. The main benefit of this is to have more physical energy during the workout - you can do more sets per bodypart if you do less bodyparts per day.

The most commonly used split is chest and back on one day, legs and shoulders on the second day, biceps and triceps on the third day, with the fourth day off. If it's time for your first split routine, try this one. You'll want to add more sets per exercise (four is most common), and probably three exercises per bodypart, i.e. 12 sets of chest work and 12 sets of back. I recommend supersetting the exercises whenever possible, so this would mean one set of chest presses, followed immediately by one set of wide grip pulldowns, back and forth through the entire chest and back workout.

After a few weeks of this new workout, try a new switch. You'll know when to change because you'll feel bored and unchallenged at the gym. Another common routine is the "push/pull" workout - chest and triceps being the pushing movements and back and biceps the pull, although this is not a favorite of mine.

Mix it up, try something you've never heard of - the only way you can really go wrong is to work your smaller muscles before your larger ones, like doing your triceps before your chest presses for example. Sometimes you might feel like working a bodypart really hard and decide to do 16-20 sets of just that one area.

Talk to folks around your gym, get recommendations and feedback. The biggest mistake you can make is to not move off the all-body workout; anything else is gravy. Let's set some goals and see some progress!

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