One Lift a Day For Maximum Muscle
With the popularity of The Weekend Workout article I wrote a few years back I thought I would switch gears and fit our workouts into most of our work-weeks, so we could be more productive during the week and have the weekend to kickback with our family.
For a lot of us busy dads trying to stay fit it’s not that we can’t find time to squeeze in 3 or 4 workouts during the week but it’s trying to string together a consecutive hour or two during the work day to complete our workout.
Because let’s face it, most serious workouts usually take an hour to complete after you factor in a proper warmup, a few warmup sets for each exercise and then some cooldown stretching. Then if you prefer to train at a gym, you have to tack on time for commuting and hitting the showers.
But if you’re like me you love how better you feel on the days you DO workout; before, during and after, so recently I bumped my training up from 3 days a week to 4 but cut my workouts almost in half by hacking away the time wasters and focusing on just ONE lift a day during my workout. This took my workouts from 60 minutes to 30 minutes including warmup and cooldown; something you shouldn’t cut out of your workout.
By reducing the QUANTITY in your workouts you have to make up for it in QUALITY so the peck deck or bicep curl machine will not count as a lift in this program. You need to pick the big multi muscle movers, like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, standing overhead presses, chinups, pullups, and dips.
There is a reason why powerlifters and olympic lifters stick with these basic pushing and pulling exercises, because they make you bigger and stronger faster than “feeling the burn” on the leg curl machine.
Just knowing you have only ONE lift to do allows you to train more often, even up to 5 days a week if you prefer, and gives you laser like focus to get stronger and follow the proven muscle building method of progressive overload by gradually breaking personal lifting records each and every week and adding a fews extra pounds to the bar or pushing out an extra rep.
So here is the One Lift a Day Template to build maximum muscle in minimum time. By sticking to the “3-5” formula you get the results you want with the flexibility to fit any man’s schedule.
Choose one main lift 3-5 days during the work week, hit it hard for 3-5 reps of 3-5 sets and get on with your day knowing that no muscle will be left behind by the end of the week.
If you want to focus more on getting stronger in specific exercises stick with the same lift choices for 4 weeks. If strictly building bigger muscles is more your goal, choose a different exercise lift each week.
Monday- Standing Barbell or Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Tuesday- Barbell Deadlifts or Dumbbell Deadlifts, or *Chinups
*Wednesday OFF or – Chinups or Pullups
Thursday- Barbell Bench Press or Dumbbell Bench Press (flat, incline or decline) or Dips
Friday- Barbell Back Squat or Front Squat or Box Squat
*For a 4 day split you can choose chinups as a main lift on Day 2 or for a 5 day split choose only chinups or pullups on Day 5
But wait! No curls or crunches?
Don’t let the simplicity fool you, chinups and deadlifts will give you brawny biceps and forearms and standing overhead presses and squats will strengthen and stabilize your abs better than rolling around on the dirty gym floor.
So don’t worry about being a weekend warrior and keep your work and workouts for the workweek so you have the weekends to rest and recover with your family.
Because being a strong dad means more than just lifting weights…
Sean Barker is a busy dad who finds time for family, fitness and fun. He likes pumping iron as well as producing it, as a heavy equipment
operator in the iron ore mines. He is ALSO a nationally certified personal trainer who writes for Fit Parent and Inside Fitness magazines and is the author of The Dad Fitness System at www.DadFitness.com. Sean also has a Dad Fitness Blog with tips, thoughts, and humor on being a fit dad at DadFitnessBlog.com.