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Monday, May 23, 2016

12 Week Workout Program


- How many days per week should I workout?
- How many exercises should I do for each body part?
- How many sets and reps should I do?
- Should I lift heavy weights / low reps or light weights / high reps?
- How often should I train each body part?
- Etc. Etc. Etc...

In this article I will cover these questions and lay out a 12 week workout program that you can follow to make some good progress. And hopefully I will clear up some of the confusion about working out.

There is really no right or wrong way to workout. You could ask 10 different bodybuilders to explain their workout routine and most likely you would get 10 different answers.





"Everything works, but nothing works forever." That is probably the most important thing to remember for making consistent progress with your workouts. You can follow most any type of workout routine and you will make good progress for the first few weeks (provided that you are getting adequate nutrition, rest, etc.). But generally after a few weeks of following a set workout program your progress will slow down and eventually you will no longer make progress with that routine.

Our bodies are very smart and naturally accommodate to stress. Your body will add as little muscle as necessary to get the job done. This is why construction workers get only big enough to handle the exact amount of work they do during a days work and no bigger, even though they are doing physical work all day long.

Adding muscle is a very unnatural thing to your body. You must constantly throw "curve balls" at your muscles to get them to grow. Generally, you will make the best progress for the first 3 weeks of starting a new workout routine. After 3 weeks your body starts to adapt and your progress will slow down.

In the following workout routine I have placed 4 different, 3-week workout cycles back to back in order to make a 12 week workout program.

This program requires you to workout 4 days per week. Ideally you would workout on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. And rest on Wednesday's and weekends. But if this doesn't fit your schedule you can workout on other days of the week. Just make sure that you do not workout for more then 2 days in a row before taking a day off.

By doing this you will give your body plenty of time for recuperation and muscle growth. Muscles do not grow while you are working out; they grow while you are resting. Working out will stress and damage the muscles slightly. Then your body reacts by building up the muscles in order to handle the extra work and stress.

Note:
With each of the exercises do as many warm up sets as you need to get to your top working weight. Then perform the required sets and reps with the same weight.

For example:
So let’s just say your top weight for 5 sets of 5 reps is 100 lbs.

- Do one warm up set with 50 lbs.
- Do another warm up with 75 lbs.
- Then go to your top weight of 100 lbs. and perform 5 x 5 with 100 lbs.

If you get all 5 x 5 with good form, then up the weight to 105 lbs. for your next workout and repeat the process.

If you can't get all 5 x 5 or you found them extremely difficult, keep the same weight for your next workout.

The Workout Routine

Weeks 1, 2, and 3 do the following workout routine.

Monday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Squats:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 5 reps (train heavy, but don't train to failure)

Dead lifts:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 5 reps (train heavy, but don't train to failure)

Standing calf raise:
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Leg raises:
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Incline sit ups:
- 3 sets of 10-20 reps



Tuesday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Incline barbell bench press:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 5 reps (train heavy, but don't train to failure)

Seated dumbbell shoulder press:
- 5 sets of 8 reps

Bicep cable curls: (from low pulley)

- 5 sets of 10 reps

Tricep push downs: (using straight bar attachment)
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Bent over dumbbell lateral raises:
- 3 sets of 10-15 reps



Thursday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Leg press:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Leg curls:
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Wide grip pull downs:
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Hyper extensions:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Pull down ab crunches:
- 4 sets of 15 reps



Friday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)


Incline dumbbell bench press:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Dumbbell side lateral raises:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Bicep dumbbell curls:
- 4 sets of 12 reps

Tricep push downs: (with rope attachment)
- 4 sets of 12 reps

Barbell upright rows:
- 3 sets of 15 reps

Keep records of the exercises, weights, sets, and reps that you do. Each workout try to beat what you did for your previous workout. With the squat, dead lift, and incline barbell bench press try to add 5 lbs. to the bar each week and do the same number of sets and reps.



Weeks 4, 5, and 6 do the following workout routine.

Monday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Bent over barbell rows:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 8 reps

Barbell shoulder shrugs:
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Leg extensions:
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Leg curls:
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Seated calf raise:
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Incline sit ups:
- 3 sets of 10-20 reps



Tuesday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Decline barbell bench press:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 5 reps (train heavy, but don't train to failure)

Seated barbell shoulder press: (i.e. military press)
- 5 sets of 8 reps

Preacher barbell curls:
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Lying tricep extensions: (with the EZ bar)

- 5 sets of 10 reps

Cable upright rows: (from the low pulley)
- 3 sets of 15 reps



Thursday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Hack Squat:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Stiff leg dead lifts:
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Seated cable rows:
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Leg raises:
- 4 sets of 12 reps

Crunches:
- 4 sets of 25+ reps



Friday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Flat dumbbell bench press:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Dumbbell front lateral raises:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Bicep barbell curls:
- 4 sets of 12 reps

Tricep push downs: (with V bar attachment)
- 4 sets of 12 reps

Close grip pull downs:
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Keep records of the exercises, weights, sets, and reps that you do. Each workout try to beat what you did for your previous workout. With the decline bench press and the bent barbell row try to add 5 lbs. to the bar each week and do the same number of sets and reps.



Weeks 7, 8, and 9 do the following workout routine.

Monday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Squats:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 5 reps (train heavy, but don't train to failure)

Partial Dead lifts: (use a power rack and set the bar just below your knees)
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 5 reps (train heavy, but don't train to failure)

Chin ups:
- 4 sets of as many reps as you can do

Pull down ab crunches:
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Leg raises:
- 5 sets of 10 reps



Tuesday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Flat barbell bench press:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 5 reps (train heavy, but don't train to failure)

Bent over dumbbell lateral raises:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Dumbbell side lateral raises:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Dumbbell front lateral raises:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Bicep cable curls: (from low pulley)
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Tricep push downs: (using straight bar attachment)
- 5 sets of 10 reps



Thursday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Hack Squat:

- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 10 reps

Leg press:
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Chest supported row: (i.e. T-bar row, hammer strength seated row, etc.)
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Hyper extensions:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Pull down ab crunches:
- 4 sets of 15 reps



Friday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Dumbbell bench press on the stability ball:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Dumbbell shoulder press sitting on the stability ball:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

EZ bar bicep curls:
- 4 sets of 12 reps

One arm over head dumbbell extensions:

- 4 sets of 12 reps

One arm dumbbell rows:
- 3 sets of 15 reps

Keep records of the exercises, weights, sets, and reps that you do. Each workout try to beat what you did for your previous workout. With the squat, partial dead lift, and flat barbell bench press try to add 5 lbs. to the bar each week and do the same number of sets and reps.



Weeks 10, 11, and 12 do the following workout routine.

Monday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Leg press:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 5 reps (train heavy, but don't train to failure)

Stiff leg dead lifts:
- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 5 reps (train heavy, but don't train to failure)

Wide grip pull downs:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Incline sit ups:
- 5 sets of 15 reps

Leg raises:
- 5 sets of 15 reps



Tuesday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Dips: (add extra weight if needed)

- do a couple warm up sets first
- 5 sets of 5 reps (train heavy, but don't train to failure)

Chin ups:
- 4 sets of as many reps as you can do

Side lateral raises:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Seated barbell shoulder press: (i.e. military press)
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Bicep dumbbell preacher curls:

- 5 sets of 10 reps

Tricep push downs: (using rope attachment)
- 5 sets of 10 reps



Thursday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Squats:
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Leg curls:
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Leg extensions:
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Seated cable rows:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Standing calf raise:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Pull down ab crunches:
- 4 sets of 15 reps



Friday: (five minutes of light cardio to warm up)

Push ups with feet elevated on the stability ball:
- 4 sets of as many reps as you can do

Seated dumbbell shoulder press:
- 4 sets of 10 reps

Standing one arm dumbbell curls:
- 4 sets of 12 reps

(Super set the curls with the over head tricep extensions, you can use the same dumbbell for both exercises. For example, set of curls with one arm, set of curls with the other arm, set of extensions with one arm, set of extensions with the other arm, with no rest in between.)

One arm over head dumbbell extensions:
- 4 sets of 12 reps

Close grip pull downs:
- 4 sets of 15 reps

Keep records of the exercises, weights, sets, and reps that you do. Each workout try to beat what you did for your previous workout. With the weighted dips and leg press try to add 5 lbs. to the bar each week and do the same number of sets and reps.



Each 3 week cycle is different. You will focus on different exercises during each cycle. This will allow you to make consistent progress over the long term.

After you complete this 12 week workout program you can go through the program again and strive to beat your personal best lifts from the first time through. Or you can move on to something totally different.
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