Sure, there are days when we wonder how kickass it would be to be build like vintage Arnold Schwarzenegger. But most of the time, we're perfectly content to leave bodybuilding to the bodybuilders.
Because here's the reality: While very few of us will get paid to be a musclebound barbarian on camera, almost everyone will face the daily battles against heavy objects—toting carry-on luggage into the overhead bin, hefting a bag of dog food into the truck, or helping your buddy carry that overstuffed recliner up three flights of stairs to his new apartment.
And for that, we like to focus on the one thing every guy needs: practical, all-around strength.
This three-day workout program is designed to build exactly that. Make sure to rest one day between workouts. Do three sets of each exercise. Use a weight that makes it challenging, but not impossible, to do about 10 reps of each move. Focus on maintaining good form above all else. Rest about a minute between sets, and about two to three minutes between each exercise.
Exercise 1: Squat to Dumbbell Press
Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, holding the weights at chest level. Squat as low as you can. Come up and press the weights overhead.
Exercise 2: Plank With Dumbbell Row
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and get into pushup position. Keeping your body straight, shift your weight to one side and row the opposite arm’s dumbbell to your side. Repeat on the other arm.
Exercise 3: T-Pushup
Perform a pushup and then, on the way up, rotate your body to the left, raising your left arm high in the air so that your body forms a “T” shape as you balance on your right arm and foot. Repeat and rotate to the other side.
Exercise 4: Dumbbell Reverse Chop
Stand with feet a bit wider than shoulder width and hold a dumbbell in both hands by your left hip. Keeping your torso square with your hips, raise the dumbbell diagonally upward to near your head (a reverse woodchopping motion). Perform five reps on each side and repeat.
Exercise 5: Pullup With Knees Raised
Grab a chinup bar with an overhand grip, hands outside shoulder width, and hang. Raise your knees to your chest. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
Exercise 1: Inverted Row
Lie underneath a bar set at about waist height and grab it with an overhand grip, outside shoulder width. Allow your body to hang beneath it. Now pull up to the bar.
Exercise 2: Kettlebell Swing
Grab the end of a kettlebell and let it hang vertically between your legs. Lower your body into an athletic stance. Now explosively straighten your hips and knees as if you were jumping, and swing the weight to eye level.
Exercise 3: Up/Down Plank Pushup
Get into pushup position, then lower your right forearm to the floor. Now lower your left (keep the rest of your body to the floor). Go back up into pushup position and perform a pushup.
Exercise 4: Cross Body Clean and Press
Hold a dumbbell in your right hand so it’s across your body by your left hip. Bend forward at the hips and get into an athletic stance. Explosively extend your hips and knees and lift the dumbbell up to your right shoulder. Press it overhead. Perform five reps on each side.
Exercise 5: Stepup to Overhead Press
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Place your right foot onto a bench or box that raises your thigh parallel to the floor. Step up onto the surface. Press the dumbbells overhead. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Exercise 1: Alternating Lunge to Dumbbell Press
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Step forward into a lunge with one leg and then return to the starting position. Press the weights overhead. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Exercise 2: Elevated Pushup
Get into pushup position with your feet elevated on a box or bench. Perform a pushup (do not let your body touch the floor).
Exercise 3: Close-Grip Chinup
Grab the bar with hands about eight inches apart, palm facing you. Pull your body up until your chin is over the bar.
Exercise 4: Burpee to Squat Jump
Squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Thrust your feet back and land in the top of a pushup and then bring your feet back to the squat position. Jump up as high as you can.
Exercise 5: Barbell Rollout
Get on your knees and place the bar in front of you. Grab it with an overhand, shoulder-width grip, and slowly roll the bar forward, keeping your arms straight. Roll out all the way and then pull the bar back to the starting position.