Efficient Muscle Building Workout in 45 Minutes – Not for Newbies

Yesterday you read about the four big muscle groups you should exercise.  Today I’m writing about my current routine that follows the same principle.  By doing exercises that target those four muscles, I work practically every muscle in my body.  Now, I’ll work all four muscle groups three times a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – but I’ll do different exercises for each muscle group to keep things fresh and not over-exhaust myself.  I’ll go very heavy on Mondays, light on Wednesdays, and medium on Fridays.

If you’re looking to build size, you really want to keep the number of reps between 12 and 6, and the number of sets between 3 and 6. Any less than 6 will build power and strength (not as much size) while more than 12 will develop muscular endurance and not size.  I’m also not a fan of doing cardio, so I like to build my cardio into my workouts by having short rests in between sets.  I walk out of the gym in 45 minutes sweating like a pig and exhausted.

After a quick 5-10 minute warm-up on the treadmill – necessary to warm-up your muscles and stretch out – I’ll start with the weights.

Here is a sample chest exercise (incline dumbbell press):

  • 55lb dumbells for 12 reps
  • wait 1 minute
  • 60lb dumbbells for 10 reps
  • wait 1 minute
  • 65lb dumbbells for 8 reps
  • wait 1 minute
  • 70lb dumbbells for 6 reps – you should be close to failing at the end of this set.
  • wait 1 miute
  • 55lb dumbells for 12 reps – expect to struggle with this set – that’s the plan!
  • Immediately do a set of another chest exercise for 12 reps (lighter weight) like dumbbell flys – PERFECT FORM!

If you’re used to waiting 3 minutes in between sets, you might get discouraged because you’ll be able to lift left weight than normal.  However, I guarantee by the time you’re doing the last set of 12 reps your muscles will burn and you’ll feel like you want to hurl.  IMPORTANT:  The amount of weight you’re doing isn’t important: make sure you keep proper form for EACH rep, don’t use momentum to lift the weights, and use a spotter at all times!

After this I’d move into a back exercise like wide grip pull ups:

  • 12 pull ups with just body weight
  • wait one minute
  • 10 pull ups with 5lbs in a backpack
  • wait one minute
  • 8 pull ups with 10lbs in a backpack
  • wait one minute
  • 6 pull ups with 15lbs in a backpack
  • wait one minute
  • 12 pull ups with just body weight
  • Immediately do one set of 12 of another back exercise, like cable rows.

If you can’t do pull ups yet, do lateral pull downs instead, or assisted pull ups like shown in this Evolution of Pull Ups Video.

After this, I’ll follow the same number of sets and reps for Squats, and then the same number of sets and reps for Straight Leg Dead lifts.  If you’re a newbie, you can stop after the 3rd set.  After a few weeks, add the fourth set.  A few weeks after that, add the 5th set.  Don’t try to do too much too soon if you’re just starting out or you could seriously hurt yourself.  Baby steps!

When I finish with these four exercises (which generally takes about 40 minutes), I’ll do some floor swipes or ball crunches to work my abs.  By the time I finish this workout, I pretty much want to die. It’s over in a matter of 45 minutes, and I feel freaking amazing afterward.  Think of the last crappy television show you watched.  There’s 45 minutes right there.

Another important thing to note is that you should stretch out AFTER you workout. Think about it, you just destroyed all of your muscles, so they’re all tight and contracted.  When you stretch them out, you’ll regain flexibility, and open them up so when you eat protein more of it will be spread out throughout the muscle and you’ll grow bigger quicker.

Now, because I’m absolutely destroying myself with these exercises on Mondays, I want to give my muscles a few days to recover.  On Wednesday, I might do lighter weights for different exercises (example: chest: dips, back: seated cable row, quads: lunges, hamstrings: leg curls).  Every other day I’ll do an exercise for each muscle group, but I’ll mix up the exercise so I’m hitting the muscles from different angles and keeping them guessing, which will promote more growth and less “plateauing” (when your body gets stuck on a certain weight because it’s bored).  If I work out really hard Monday, I might spend Wednesday with really light weights just stretching out each of the muscles.

This is the routine I’ll be following for the next 4 weeks, then I’ll reevaluate and see where I’m at and what I want to mix up.

-Steve

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