Time isn’t easy to come by when trying to design a weekly workout program. A well-designed four day per week plan can help keep you in shape without consuming countless hours per week. The key is working both resistance and cardio exercise into the four-day regimen. This will help strengthen your muscles and bones, burn fat and improve your cardiovascular health.
Choose an aerobic exercise, such as cycling, jogging, walking briskly or elliptical training. Start by warming up for five minutes using stretches and a light pre-workout. Exercise for 30 to 45 minutes at a moderate pace, or try interval training by alternating short bouts of light exercise and vigorous exercise. Finish with a five-minute cool-down to wrap up Day 1.
Lift weights on Day 2 using dumbbells and barbell weights. The focus on this day is your upper-body muscles, including your chest, arms, back, shoulders and abs. The following exercises can hit each of these muscle groups: dumbbell bench press, crunches, biceps curls, deadlifts and overhead triceps extensions. Do three sets of each exercise with each set totaling 10 to 12 repetitions. Use enough weight so the movement gets difficult by rep number nine, but not so much weight you can’t finish a set.
Perform another cardio workout on Day 3. Choose something other than the exercise you chose on Day 1. Keeping the workouts fresh and new will keep you from getting bored with the same old routine. Exercise for 30 to 45 minutes once again, but do so at a moderate pace if you have minor muscle soreness from the previous days’ workouts.
Do a second resistance training workout for your fourth and final workout of the week. Target your lower-body muscles with this workout, including your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes. The following exercises would work: dumbbell or barbell squats, calf raises, leg extensions and reverse leg extensions. Use the same set/rep regimen as you did on Day 2.
Items you will need
- Free weights
- Workout shoes
- Change up the workout every couple of weeks to help avoid workout plateaus and to keep you from getting bored; just be sure to keep the aerobic/resistance alternating schedule. Try new exercises or increase the intensity.
- Rest a day if you feel muscle aches. That’s your body saying it needs a little more recovery time.
- If you’re a complete beginner, go through the first couple of weeks using light weights and light exercise to ease your way into more intense workouts.
- Check with your doctor before starting a workout program to make sure it’s right for you.
- Always wear proper workout gear when exercising, including comfortable, supportive shoes and weightlifting gloves.
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