You may remember from 2 weeks ago that I’ve been emphasizing strength training in the last little while. The workout I’ve been using is based on the Muscle Primer workout from Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle by Tom Venuto.
- Stick generally to the same strength exercises of the Muscle Primer workout; build the same whole-body strength
- Pair exercises in such a way that they can be done back to back; with little overlap between muscle groups, one muscle group rests while the other is working.
- Pair exercises in such a way that the same dumbbells can be used for both exercises without having to go back to the rack and seek out different ones.
- Use as little extra equipment as possible.
- Deadlift/Romanian Deadlift – These are great for posterior chain (used for going up hills). I do Romanian Deadlifts when I’m not confident about the weight I’m lifting, and I think they’re beginner-friendly for starting to lift.
- Bench Press – OK, you need a piece of equipment here, but luckily between flat benches and adjustable benches, you can usually find something in a gym.
- Split Squats – These are like lunges without stepping forward (or back). I’m not comfortable elevating my rear foot very much, but sometimes I’ll place it on a step or even the foot rest of a piece of equipment (bench, rack).
- Bent-over Rows – These can be done single arm with a bench, but I prefer to stand bent over with weights in both hands (see pic). They take the place of the lat-pulldown which I’ve been using for back strength when I have time for longer workouts.
- Shoulder Press – I confess, I like doing this one on a bench with a backrest to support me and heavier weight, but when I’m doing the dumbbell doubles, I go a little lighter, more reps, and stand to engage my core for good form
- Bicep Curls – I generally alternate arms.
|Two-handed Tricep Extension|
- Two-handed Tricep Extensions – Dumbbell tricep extensions come in a dozen different flavours, but this is the one they use in the book, so I had no reason to change it. Using both hands means I can grab a heavier weight, which can come in handy for doing the other exercise in this pair (see pic)
- Calf Extensions with a Dumbell – I’m not in love with this one as I find most calf-exercises a little awkward. On days where I have time, I break my own rules and use a machine (leg press). Still, you can mount a weight on your shoulder and put your foot on any raised surface (provided you feel good about your balance). I’m using a spin bike in the pic, but the foot of a bench or a step would be fine too. Notice I put the weight on the opposite shoulder to the leg I’m doing the calf raise with.
Now, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, so using the same dumbbells for each exercise might not make sense for everyone, however, I think I have a fairly typical build/strength profile (especially for a runner/triathlete) with more lower body strength than upper body strength, so I don’t think these pairings are too “out-there.” Moreover, you can vary the reps you do as long as they stay between 6 and 15 (8 to 12 being even more ideal).
- Deadlifts/Bench Press (two 45 lb dumbbells, 12 reps)
- Split Squats/Bent Over Rows (two 35 lb dumbbells, 10 reps)
- Shoulder Press/Bicep Curls (two 20 lb dumbbells, 15 and 12 reps respectively)
- Overhead Tricep Extension/Calf Raises (one 30 lb dumbbell, 15 and 12 reps respectively)