I’ve had extraordinary success with my current weight lifting routine because it is one I can maintain with regularity. There is no substitute for consistency as it relates to workouts. A few sit-ups, pushups and pull-ups done several times a week invariably beat the most intricate, elaborate exercise program done on and off. A slow and steady climb like the one you take to the top of a roller coaster is the aim. If you start and stop with your programs, the big scary drop is inevitable.

I’ve always loved the feeling of having weights in my hands. Something about the way the metal starts cold and warms up as you train just does it for me. From my teenage years on, more days of lifting was merrier.  I split up my routines and broke them into muscle groups in an effort to spend more days in the gym.

During this time, my routine would be broken down to one muscle group a day. Chest on Mondays, back on Tuesdays, legs on Wednesdays, etc.; you feel me, the classic bodybuilder workout. The theory here is that you break each muscle down individually through isolation.

I certainly had my share of success with this routine, but it was due to my consistency, not my efficiency. I was spending 11 hours in the gym a week, but I was working harder, not necessarily smarter.

Now, I spend 4 hours a week getting after it (a little over an hour, three times a week.) Instead of isolating specific muscle groups, I focus on compound lifts that work several muscle groups at a time. I fill those extra hours reading a good book or sharing a meal with my loved ones instead.

Here’s my routine. The moves are completed with as much weight as I can handle safely. Each exercise is linked to a video to help you learn proper form. If you’re just starting, try these with just the weight of the bar and slowly increase the weight over time.

Monday

Wednesday

Friday

  • Warm up
  • Squats
  • Overhead presses
  • Deadlifts

I love weighted pull-ups as an alternative to the bent over rows. They give me a nice change of pace from time to time while still involving multiple muscle groups with one exercise.

I alternate from week to week performing these lifts, so the following week will see me doing one day of deadlifts and two days of bench presses and bent over rows.

Research has suggested that 4-6 repetitions of 4-6 sets, increasing weight on each successive set, resulted in the largest gains as the weeks and months pass. I do five sets of five repetitions each, building up to my working weight.

Here’s a great link to discover more detail about the virtues of implementing the 5×5 workout.

Strength often, though not always, correlates with muscle. In order to handle a larger, heavier load, our bodies develop more solid mass.

For me, a side benefit was getting leaner as I executed this training regimen. Whether or not this will be your end result will be highly dependent on the work you put into your nutrition program. I’m a big believer that changing body composition is more dependent on the food we ingest than our workouts.

I’ll hold back from guarantees but dare you to try this workout for a month and not come out on the other side stronger and with a significantly higher level of confidence. You know where to find me – let me know how you’re progressing.