You’ve had a long day at work, but you’re a champ and you’re on your way to the gym. Your iPod is fully charged and you’re on top of your training enough to know that it’s a leg day. You’re doing really well so far. Good job! One quick question: Did you plan out your workout?
I hope you didn’t say no! The last thing you want to do is walk into that gym without a plan. Set yourself up for success (and a speedier workout) by showing up with a predetermined strength routine… like the one at the end of this post!
Plan + Track
Whether you carry a workout notebook like I do or you keep an exercise journal on your smart phone, I highly recommend planning and tracking your workouts. Having an exercise log makes each workout run more smoothly, and makes tracking your progress over time super easy.
Most of my workouts incorporate a mix of strength training (which part of the body depends on the day of the week) and cardio. The cardio part is easy, I just jump on a machine and tune out, but strength training requires more focus. I reference my notebook for order of exercises, number of repetitions, and weight as I go along.
Strength Exercise Number of Repetitions Weight Used
biceps curls 15 reps x 3 sets 10 lbs
triceps extensions 15 reps x 3 sets 15 lbs
squat jumps 10 reps x 3 sets n/a
A more efficient workout
When I show up to the gym with a plan, it’s easy to get into a groove and spend less time distractedly looking around in between exercises. If I need 10 lb dumbbells for my next exercise and they’re all in use, I can just move on to the next thing on my list and circle back when the weights are free.
Even Especially if I’m working out at home where it is so easy to get distracted, having a plan to follow along keeps a 20 minute workout from becoming an hour workout.
So hopefully by now, I’ve at least convinced you to consider keeping an exercise log, workout journal, or whatever else you want to call it. Let me take the pressure off planning tonight’s workout by doing it for you. Save this image or scribble it down onto a napkin so you can walk into the weight room like a boss tonight.
Parallel squats – Starting with feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and lower into a sitting position with your butt reaching back, and chest lifted. Your knees should be in line with your second and third toes, and not extend forward past the tips of your toes.
Alternating front lunges – Starting with the right leg, hands on hips, lunge forward (making sure your knee doesn’t go past your toes) and return to standing. Repeat on the left leg. That’s one repetition.
Deadlifts – Stand with feet shoulders-width apart and pointing straight ahead. Holding your weight of choice with straight arms, bend at the waist to lower to weight to the ground, maintaining a flat back the entire time. Squeeze your glutes (butt) to return to a standing position.
Alternating side lunges – Just like the front lunge, but to the side. With hands on hips and chest lifted, step out wide to the side, keeping the standing leg straight, and return to standing. Be sure to keep your bent knee in line with the second and third toes of that foot. Repeat on the other side to complete one repetition.
Russian twists – Sitting on the floor with legs lifted at a 90 degree angle and abs engaged, twist your arms and upper body from side to side. Your lower body should be tight and should not move.
In & outs – (Also called knee tuck crunches) Starting in a similar position to the russian twists, with legs lifted at a 90 degree angle and arms either on the floor beside you for support or holding a weight, extend the legs out to a straight position just a few inches from the floor and then bring them back in to a tucked position.
High & low scissors – Start by laying on your back with your arms tucked under your butt for support. Lift your legs to a 45 degree angle, simultaneously kick both legs out to the side and then bring them back together (sort of like a scissor motion), lower both legs to about 6 inches off of the floor and repeat the scissor motion. That’s one repetition.
Plank – Planks! You know these!
Let me know if you give this workout a try. I did this one at the gym on Monday and felt it in all the right places Tuesday. 🙂 I hope the rest of your day is fabulous.