A Crash Course on Weight Training; Part Four – Routines

In this fourth and final installment of our weight training crash course, we’ll talk about several different routine options.  Obviously, there is lots of room for variation and variety when designing your routine, and a surprisingly dense science to cycling your training and employing different intensity strategies.  In fact, I feature several very detailed chapters in my book about all of this stuff.  But, for our purposes here, we’ll talk about options in broad strokes.

The Full-Body Workout

At the early stages of your weight training, you’ll likely be doing an exercise or two for each of these body parts in a single session, two or three times a week. Emphasis should be on your primary, or building, movements.

If you decide to do this routine twice a week, you’ll want to hit it a little more intensely and make sure you wait at least 72 hours between workouts.  If you want to do this routine three times per week, then you’ll want to hit it a little lighter and take at least 48 hours between workouts.  (Reference Part Three – Movements and Exercises, for a list of potential Primary and Secondary options for each body part.)

Either way, here’s an example of what a full-body workout might look like at a glance:

1. Warm-up

Pushing Movements:

2. Chest

3. Shoulders

4. Triceps

Pulling movements:

5. Back

6. Biceps


7. Legs

The Extras:

8. Calves

9. Abs

Notice that, in this basic full-body workout regimen, we’re still grouping the body parts in accordance to the four types of movements.  But, it really doesn’t matter what order you do it in.  I would, however, suggest that you always do the largest muscle group of a category first (like chest before shoulders or tri’s).

For the first few weeks, you might only need a couple sets per body part, gradually increasing the amount of sets and exercises over time.  Eventually, your full-body workouts might unfold something like this:


1. Quick cardio: Five to ten minutes on a stationary bike, treadmill, etc.

2. Two sets of light dumbbell lateral raises (to warm up the shoulders).  Nice and easy, in the 10 to 12-rep range.


Primary Movement: Choose a basic, flat bench type of pressing movement to get started.  It could be flat bench barbell or a machine that emulates this pressing movement.  Do a few sets, gradually increasing the weight each time.

Secondary Movement: Choose either dumbbell flys, cable-crossovers or pec-deck and do two or three sets.


Primary Movement: Some kind of overhead press will be the staple movement for you.  And since your shoulders should be warmed up pretty good from training chest, you can jump right into it.  Start off with either barbell, dumbbell or machine military presses.  Do three sets.

(Opt.) Secondary Movement: Lateral Raises with dumbbells or machine are a good choice for a secondary shoulder movement when you’re ready for some extra shoulder work.  Do 2 or 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.


Primary Movement: Pick either tricep pushdowns, overhead tricep extensions or a triceps extension machine, then do three sets of 8 to 12 reps.


Primary Movement: Go for lat pull-downs.  Be sure to really isolate your back muscles on this one, thinking of your hands as hooks and pulling more from your back than your arms. Do three or four sets.

Secondary movement: Go for 2 or 3 sets of rows, selecting some kind of row-type apparatus, like a row machine, T-bar rows, seated cable rows, etc.:


Primary Movement: Pick a curl movement using either a barbell, dumbbells or some kind of curl machine, then do three sets of 8 to 12 reps.


Quick warm-up: Do two light and easy sets of leg extensions for 12 to 15 reps.

Primary Movement: Choose either squats or some kind of leg press machine and do at least three or four sets.

Additional Movements: There are two kinds of additional movements to think about here;  Leg Extensions (for quads) and Leg Curls (for hams). Do 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps each:


Primary Movement: Select either a standing, seated or donkey calf machine and do at least three or four sets.


Primary Movement: Choose some kind of ab crunch machine, start off with a comfortable weight and really focus on keeping the tension in your abs.  (You should not be feeling these very much at all in your lower back.) Do three or four sets in the 15 to 30 range.

Hot Tip: If you want to save a little time, you can deal with your abs and calves sets one of two ways:

1. Do them between any of your other exercises while you’re waiting between sets.

2. Alternate your sets of calves and abs together. (These are called supersets.)

Pushing/Pulling Routine

Unless you’re looking to maintain a very basic level of resistance training conditioning, you will inevitably have to split the body into at least two different workouts.  Here’s why: As you continue to lift, your body will develop an “immunity” to your efforts and you’ll have to keep upping the intensity via more sets, more weight, more reps, etc.  Before long, that full-body workout will be taking two-plus hours!  And even then, there’s no way you’ll have the same amount of energy toward the end of the workout that you had at the beginning, so something will get slighted.  So the answer is, split it up.

This Pushing/Pulling regimen is built around a Two-Day Split routine, meaning that you will alternate two different kinds of workouts.  One will feature your Pushing Movements and the Extras; the other will feature Pulling Movements and Legs.  The beauty here is that there will be no conflicting exercises used or muscle groups trained, so you can do these workouts on back-to-back days if you want or need to.

Here are a couple ways to put it together:

Option One: “Weekdays Only”

Monday – Pushing Day: Chest, Shoulders, Tri’s, plus Abs and Calves

Tuesday – Pulling Day: Back, Bi’s, plus Legs

Wednesday – Day off

Thursday – Pushing Day: Chest, Shoulders, Tri’s, plus Abs and Calves

Friday – Pulling Day: Back, Bi’s, plus Legs

Weekend – Off

(You could add some cardio at the end of each workout and/or sneak a session in on the weekend.)

Option Two: Six-On/One-Off

This one alternates each week.  Check it out…

Week One (Start with Pushing)

Monday – Pushing Day: Chest, Shoulders, Tri’s, plus Abs and Calves

Tuesday – Cardio

Wednesday – Pulling Day: Back, Bi’s, plus Legs

Thursday – Cardio

Friday – Pushing Day: Chest, Shoulders, Tri’s, plus Abs and Calves

Saturday – Cardio

Sunday – Rest

Week Two (Start with Pulling)

Monday – Pulling Day: Back, Bi’s, plus Legs

Tuesday – Cardio

Wednesday – Pushing Day: Chest, Shoulders, Tri’s, plus Abs and Calves

Thursday – Cardio

Friday – Pulling Day: Back, Bi’s, plus Legs

Saturday – Cardio

Sunday – Rest

Week Three picks back up with Pushing, etc…

This is near-flawless regimen.  You have a solid three or four days of rest between body parts, and you’re getting some great cardio.  The only drag is that you’ve gotta add legs to back day, which could make for a long one. (If time is an issue, you can always superset legs with biceps, though.)


Once again, for as long-winded as these entries have been, this truly has been a crash course.  There are so many more options available…so many different approaches to structuring your routines.  And, in fact, “routine” isn’t even a great word as it applies to weight training because, by its very nature, you will constantly want to be varying your routine so the body will keep responding.

Anyway, I hope this four-part series has been of some help to those of you interested in resistance training.


About Bobby Rock

Bobby Rock is a world renown drummer, the author of nine books, and a recognized health and fitness specialist with certifications in exercise, nutrition and meditation. He has recorded and toured with a variety of artists, released three CDs as a solo performer and is recognized as a top drumming educator. He is currently touring with rock icon, Lita Ford. Through speaking, writing and activism, Bobby remains committed to a number of animal and environmental causes. Bobby lives in Los Angeles.
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5 Responses to A Crash Course on Weight Training; Part Four – Routines

  1. elsie pallanes says:

    thanks for the workout schedule and info..we need to workout together one of these days…
    elsie pallanes
    midland, tx

  2. bobby,

    could you give us a glimpse of what your typical eating habits are for a day? from your morning meal to before you go to bed meal? thanks
    trinity and elsie
    midland, tx

  3. Bobby Rock says:

    Yes, I’ve been meaning to get to the specifics of my eating regimen. Watch the main page over these next few days…


  4. Douglas says:

    Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very
    good success. If you know of any please share.
    Appreciate it!

  5. elsietrinity says:

    how can we share your post on facebook? thanks elsie

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