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Gym Workout Routine

Weekly Gym Workout Routine To Hit Your Upper And Lower Body

Going to the gym is supposed to make it easier for people to get in or stay in shape. Let’s be honest though, the gym doesn’t always work as intended for everyone.

It’s not even because the gym has bad equipment or because it’s poorly designed. More often than not, people don’t get their money’s worth out of their gym memberships because they don’t have the right plan of attack.

They go in there just looking to lift weights and maybe use the treadmill for a few minutes. After that, they take a shower and leave.

C'mon, that is not a good gym workout routine.

Also, if you're looking for only an upper body gym routine go check that out. 

But in this article, you will learn more about how to properly spend your time at the gym by focusing on different muscle groups on different days.

Without further ado, let’s break down the workout routines you need to try the next time you have a week to spend at the gym. 

For all the upcoming exercises, the recommended amount of sets is four and you should do about eight to 12 reps per set. 

Day One: Chest Training

CHEST WORKOUT DETAILS

We draw a lot of our power from our chest, and that’s a big reason why you should work it out whenever you can. On top of that, you can look really impressive if your chest is in great shape, which is always a nice bonus.

For all the upcoming exercises, the recommended amount of sets is four and you should do about eight to 12 reps per set. 

LIST OF EXERCISES

  • Incline Barbell Bench Press
  • Flat Barbell Bench Press
  • Flat Dumbbell Chest Flys
  • Low to High Cable Flys

Incline Barbell Bench Press

The first chest workout you can try out at your local gym is the incline barbell bench press. Head over to the incline bench press and position yourself underneath the barbell.


Remember to position your shoulders back and down whenever you’re bringing the barbell down. Doing that will enable you to drive through the barbell better on the way up. It will also get your chest more involved in the exercise. 

Flat Barbell Bench Press


Next up is the flat barbell bench press and this is pretty similar to the exercise above.

The big difference of course is that you have to perform the workout on a flat surface now. The not quite as obvious bit of difference is that you’re targeting a different area of your chest. The flat press focuses more on the central portion of your chest while the incline presses target the upper portion of the chest.

The same principles still apply here. Keep your shoulders back and down so that you can generate more power through your chest. 

Flat Dumbbell Chest Flys


The flat dumbbell chest flys are quite different from the exercises we’ve already discussed.

For the dumbbell flys, you will be pulling the dumbbells  to your sides on the way down and then pushing them back together as you go up.  Bend your elbows ever so slightly during the dumbbell flys to make supporting the weight easier. 

Low to High Cable Flys


We’re finishing up the chest routine by reaching for the cables.

Take a cable in each hand and then assume the stagger stance. Make sure to bend your elbows a bit too so that your chest is benefiting the most from the workout.

Start pulling the cables up in a kind of sweeping motion and lift them up to chin level. Relax your hands on the way down, but don’t just release the cables completely. 

Day Two: Back Training

BACK WORKOUT DETAILS

Strong back muscles will help you maintain proper posture as well as good core strength. On top of that, your back muscles can keep your body better aligned and you want that as you grow older.

Once again, it’s four sets for each routine and eight to 12 reps per set. 

LIST OF EXERCISES

  • Barbell Rows
  • Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns
  • Close-Grip Lat Pulldowns
  • Seated Rows
  • Pull-Ups

Barbell Rows


To start, lay down the barbell on the mat. Place your hands on the portions of the barbell that are outside of your legs. Straighten your back and stick your posterior out while keeping your weight on your heels.

Lift the barbell up for the first time and keep it around the middle of your shins. From that position, pull the barbell up and into your waist.

You can do the same thing with dumbbells. Instead of just pulling the dumbbells into your waist though, you can twist them as you pull them up. 

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns


For this next exercise, you will need the help of the adjustable cable machine as well as the long bar that goes with it.

Once you’ve made the necessary adjustments to the machine, take your seat and reach for the long bar. Keep your hands to the outside of the bar. Lean back just a little while maintaining your grip and roll your shoulders back too in order to get them in proper position.

Pull down on the bar until it touches the upper portion of your chest. 

Close-Grip Lat Pulldowns


If you’re doing some wide-grip lat pulldowns, you might as well take on the close-grip lat pulldowns too. Swap out the long bar for the close-grip attachment on the cable machine so that you can get started.

From here, you basically just have to replicate the exercise listed above. You may instinctively want to pull the close-grip to the side or apart, but what you want here is to touch it to the upper portion of your chest. 

Seated Rows


You’ll need to have access to a seated row machine to perform this next routine which, appropriately enough, is known as the seated row.

Start by pushing your chest and abdomen up against the cushion on the machine. From there, you just have to make your adjustment to the machine and begin pulling on the grips. Bend your elbows as you pull back on the grips and remember to roll your shoulders as well to get your back more into the workout. 

Pull-Ups


We’re finishing back day by going for the pull-ups. Hopefully, there’s a pull-up station in your gym so that this exercise can be marginally easier.

Go for the overhand grip on the station and proceed to execute the pull-ups. Roll your shoulders with each pull-up you complete. You don’t have to hit eight reps anymore with the pull-ups. Chances are that you’re pretty tired already and it’s best to go for as many pull-ups you can without straining your body. 

Day Three: Leg Training

LEG WORKOUT DETAILS

You can’t forget about leg day and to start it off, I recommend doing some glute activation exercises. These are crucial not just for “waking up” the muscles in your legs, but also for avoiding injuries.

The exercise involves spreading your arms out across the bench while also resting your upper back on it. Keep one foot down on the floor and raise the other in a bent position.

Move your hips up and down now while making sure the plant leg remains in position. Do this for both legs 15 times.

For the other exercises, you are again advised to complete around four sets that contain eight to 12 reps each. 

LIST OF EXERCISES

  • Barbell Squats
  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Front Squats
  • Leg Curls and Leg Extensions

Barbell Squats


Squats are great for your legs. Barbell squats can be even more beneficial.

Begin by creating a “shelf” for the barbell to rest on by pushing your shoulder blades together and raising your elbows. Dip all the way down with the barbell on your shoulders.

Stick your behind out as you’re going down to ease the pressure on your body. Don’t forget to really bend those knees as well as that will make repeating the squats easier. 

Dumbbell Lunges


Before you proceed with the dumbbell lunges, make sure you won’t be getting in anyone’s way.

Once you’ve found a good spot in the gym, take a dumbbell in each hand and then stride forward with one leg. Bend the front knee properly and keep your back knee parallel to the ground. While doing this, you should still have the dumbbells hanging at your sides.

Alternate the legs during your lunges to prevent the onset of early fatigue. 

Front Squats


The front squat is a bit more complicated to pull off because you can’t rely on your shoulder blades to serve as the “shelves” for the barbell any longer.

Instead, you will have to rely on the proper positioning of your arms to create a stable base for the barbell. Cross your wrists together and then use your thumbs and index fingers to grab hold off the barbell. Lift it up from the Smith machine and let your elbows go up along with it.

You just have to replicate the squatting motion from earlier after all of that. 

Leg Curls and Leg Extensions


For the leg day finale, machines will lead the way. Hopefully, your gym has leg curl and leg extension machines available so you can finish up your routine.

The instructions here are simple as you just have to use the machines as intended. Try to get as many reps in as you can and do them carefully to prevent injury. 

Day Four: Shoulder Training

SHOULDER WORKOUT DETAILS

Your shoulders are actually very important to staying in great shape. They are essential to helping you lift and strengthening them protects you from a wide array of potential injuries.

Basically, if you’re planning on becoming a gym rat, you need to consistently work on your shoulders.

It’s four sets again per routine and you can complete about eight to 12 reps for each set. 

LIST OF EXERCISES

  • Barbell Shoulder Presses
  • Arnold Presses
  • Front and Lateral Raises
  • Rear Delt Cable Flys

Barbell Shoulder Presses


Approach the shoulder press in your gym and position yourself behind the barbell to get things started.

The grip is very important here. Firmly grab hold of the barbell with both hands and make sure that your hold is secure. Don’t lift the barbell just yet and instead, move your chest underneath it.

With your hands in proper position, go ahead and take the barbell off the press. Lift the barbell over your head and really extend your arms and shoulders while doing so. When bringing the barbell down, do so slowly to avoid any injuries.

You don’t need to bend your knees or hips here. Your shoulders and arms should be doing the work. 

Arnold Presses


Named after the famed actor, politician, and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Arnold Press is actually a variant of the overhead press.

Start out by taking two dumbbells and place them in front of you. Keep your palms facing inward. Your elbows should also be tucked in.

You can then push the dumbbells up simultaneously, twisting your arms, shoulders, and wrists along the way. At the top, the dumbbells should now be facing away from you.

Avoid completely stretching your arms out when the dumbbells reach the top. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows to prevent that. 

Front and Lateral Raises


Dumbbells are needed again for this next routine.

Stand up, but don’t stiffen your knees up. Get a dumbbell for each hand and place them in front of your legs.

To complete the front raises, simply hoist he dumbbells straight up. Your arms, shoulders, and the dumbbells themselves should be parallel to the ground.

As you bring the dumbbells down, twist your wrists to the side and lift your arms up sideways.

Repeat the front and lateral raises without pausing in between. 

Rear Delt Cable Flys


The cable machine comes into play here. While you have control of the cable machine, take off the grips to expose the knobs underneath.

Grab the cable to your left with your right hand and grab the cable to your right with your right hand. Stack your hands on top of one another and start pulling back. Be careful not to get the cables tangled while doing so. 

Day Five: Arms Training

ARMS WORKOUT DETAILS

No week at the gym is complete without working on your arms.

Strong arms are useful for improving your carrying power and, let’s be honest, it’s great to have them because it’s so easy to show them off.

Just as with the previous routines, it’s four sets per workout and eight to 12 reps per set. 

LIST OF EXERCISES

  • EZ Curl Bar Curls
  • Rope Tricep Extensions
  • Alternating Dumbbell Curls
  • Reverse Grip Tricep Pressdowns
  • Rope Hammer Curls
  • Bench Tricep Dips

EZ Curl Bar Curls


For this particular exercise, you will want to use an EZ curl bar. If you don’t have one in your gym, that’s not a big issue, the routine can still be effective with a straight bar.

Once you’ve found the bar you’ll be using, use the neutral grip on it. That means securing an underhand grip on the bar while your hands are positioned to the outside of your thighs.

After making sure that you have a good grip on the EZ curl bar, you can now proceed with the curls. Lift the bar to just underneath your chin with each rep. 

Rope Tricep Extensions


The next set of arm exercises you’ll be performing will focus on toning your triceps. You will need more specialized equipment for the rope tricep extensions.

Specifically, you must have a cable machine available and the rope attachments connected to it.

Stand to one side of the cable machine now and grab the rope attachment so that it’s positioned over your head. Tuck your elbows in close to your head and then, assume the stagger stance with your lower body.

After getting in the right position, start pulling on the rope. Make sure to extend your arms out all the way when completing each rep. 

Alternating Dumbbell Curls


Alternating dumbbell curls are exercises you can try whenever you’re in the gym.

Pick up a dumbbell in each hand and then position them in such a way that the weighted ends are pointing to the north and south directions. Next, curl up one dumbbell and rotate your wrist as you’re doing so.

Alternate the dumbbells you’re curling up to get an even workout. 

Reverse Grip Tricep Pressdowns


Head back to the cable machine, and this time, try to find the EZ curl bar attachment for it. If no, EZ curl bar is available, you can use the straight bar, but be careful not to put too much strain on your wrists.

Grab hold of the bar with an underhand grip and then bend your waist slightly so that you are leaning forward. Pull down on the bar and get as much extension on your arms as you can to maximize this workout. 

Rope Hammer Curls


Stay at the cable machine and swap out whichever bar you were using with the rope attachment.

The rope attachment should be located close to the ground so that you can pull up on it. Don’t forget to roll your shoulders as you’re pulling up on the rope up and spread the attachment out at the top as well to get better extension. 

Bench Tricep Dips


To wrap things up, you can perform some bench tricep dips.

Move over to the nearest bench and place your hands on it while also positioning the rest of your body in front of it. Lift one leg off the ground and then proceed to dip your torso.

The key here is to not dip too far down or else you may injure yourself. The bench should line up with the middle of your back at the lowest point of the dip.

Once you’re done with one leg, remember to continue the bench tricep dips with the other leg in the air. 

Conclusion

If you’ve been going to the gym regularly but have noticed that the results of your workouts aren’t showing up too well on your body, chances are that you’ve just been utilizing a flawed plan of attack for your gym sessions.

Even if you work out on a fairly regular basis, you’re not going to see any notable results if you’re randomly exercising different muscle groups.

I've provided you with a comprehensive strategy that you can use for your next week at the gym. By trying out the exercises featured above, you should be able to build a balanced body and improve your health significantly in the process.

Let us know if this workout was helpful to you, and please share this article if you're not too sore!  😉

Talk soon,
CC Matthews
Transformation Coach/ Pizza Lover

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