Planning a weekly workout schedule is hands down the best way to build the muscular body you imagined when you first took up bodybuilding or lifted weights for the very first time. Without planning (which applies to everything about life), you’re probably going to follow a broken up road top disappointment.
However, when you do plan your weekly workout schedule and you follow it to a ‘tee’, and with consistency over a long period of time, you are guaranteed to get results, bang on or near to the goals which you set yourself at the beginning.
So first let me congratulate you on achieving your goals, because I know that you will easily achieve them.
How Do You Plan a Weekly Workout Schedule?Firstly you need to figure how many days a week you are going to train. How many days of that are going to be lifting weights and how many are going to be cardio?
Ah, but what ARE your goals? Do you want to add muscle mass or are you looking to shed a few pounds and maybe shape up?
We have to use an example here, so let’s say you want add muscle, but keep it lean. And you’re already in pretty good condition, so you’re not really concerned with losing body fat right now.
Planning a seven day schedule makes perfect sense as there is seven days in a week. I’ve searched for a weekly workout schedule on the web and people have put together some pretty strange combinations, split into five day schedules and three days workout schedules.
But the funny thing is, they all have to fit the five day schedule into seven anyway, so why not just plan it properly in the first place and not confuse you guys?
Out of the seven days of the week, you want to hit every muscle group once (apart from abs), so if you have five days free to get into the gym split it to four days for weights and one day for cardio.
It is a common misconception that you have to train a body part more than once per week. Your muscles need at least four days to recuperate (without going into the science of bodybuilding) – which means that after you have broken them down in your workout, they need rest and for you to eat the right nutritional diet to repair them and make them grow!
Working the entire body once per week is all you need, ok? Any more can lead to over training and injuries.
If you only have four days spare to workout (which is what I generally have these days), I’ll set out a different ‘weekly workout schedule’ after the five day split, so keep reading if that applies to you.
But for the five day split (if you are beginner), don’t lift weights on more than two consecutive days at a time unless you have to and then slot the cardio workout at the end, before your rest days.
A good workout schedule should last no more than sixty minutes and you should rest no longer than 45 – 60 seconds between sets.
NB: As always, what you see written here is based on how I workout, or have worked out in the past. As my lifestyle changed over the years, I had to adapt my weekly and daily workout schedule to suit the time I have available.
Weekly Workout Schedule – Preparing and Lifting WeightsAlways stretch before lifting weights, particularly the muscle group and associated muscles which you are hitting that day. And do one or two warm up sets before lifting heavier weights.
NEVER lift a weight which is too heavy for your joints to handle or if this is a new arena for you, give your joints a few weeks to get used to your grueling new schedule, because THEY DESERVE IT.
One thing I am hot on is protecting joints and connective tissue, simply because I’ve suffered a few related injuries in the past. So right from the very beginning I suggest you supplement your diet with glucosamine.
I believe in keeping the blood in one area for any given workout, which is why I’ve always used this routine or the one to follow.
It makes perfect sense, and IT WORKS.
Day 1 – Chest and BackIncline bench press – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Flat dumbbell flyes – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Pec-deck – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Do this for the first six weeks.
Then add at the end – 2 sets of dips.
T-bar row – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Lat pull downs – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Seated or lying down seated row – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Do this for the first six weeks.
Then add at the end – 2 sets of chins (pull-ups).
Day 2 – LegsSquat/machine squat – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Leg press – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Leg extensions – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Do this for the first six weeks.
Then swap the leg extensions for weighted walking lunges and alternate on different leg days. Just use a set of light dumbbells and perform about 10 steps per leg.
Leg curls – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Standing single leg curls – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Straight leg deadlifts – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
This or a variation of this has been my leg bicep workout for over twenty years. Why change something when IT WORKS, I say?
Day 3 – Shoulders & CalvesSeated shoulder press (smith machine or dumbbells) – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Seated lateral raises – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Front raises – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Barbell/Dumbbell shrugs – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Upright row – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Bent over lateral raises (for rear deltoid) – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
This shoulder workout hits every head of the deltoid and also works your traps.
If you are not comfortable with performing the upright row, change it for barbell shrugs with the bar behind your back. This exercise really does allow you to squeeze your traps upwards. The weight you use will be half (or probably less than you use for front barbell shrugs).
Standing calf raises – 4 sets x 10/12 reps
Seated calf raises – 4 sets x 10/12 reps
** You’ll notice that I’ve on set three sets for each exercise, apart from calves. This is because these are the only two fundamental calf exercises which have worked for me and other guys I’ve known over many years.
But after six weeks, add in 2 sets (for 10/12 reps) of toe press which you can perform on a leg press machine.
Day 4 – ArmsStanding barbell curls – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Seated dumbbell hammer curls – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Concentration curls – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
I prefer to do concentration curls in a bent over position (from a standing position) and resting the opposite arm on the weight rack. This does allow for more ‘cheating’, however it does give your bicep a great workout and a massive huge pump!
To perform this exercise correctly, start with your arm straight down, start raising the dumbbell upwards towards your chest. As the weight nears your chest, squeeze hard and drop your elbow slightly to the floor, before lowering it again to start position.
After six weeks include 2 or 3 sets of rope curls. This hits the long head of the bicep and gives the forearm a good pump too!
Reverse tricep push-downs – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Lying French press (lying barbell extensions) – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
Single arm lying extensions – 3 sets x 10/12 reps
After six weeks add in 2 or 3 sets of kickbacks or raised tricep extensions.