It’s easy to lose muscle mass during the winter while you’re cooped up inside, but you can retain strength in the gym with a weight-lifting routine that focuses on aerobic strength rather than building bulk. How do you do that? The answer is simple: more reps, lower weight. You’ll have to stow your ego while other guys lift bigger, but you’ll thank yourself in a few months when you don’t need to push an extra 15 pounds of muscle up that killer climb. Here’s a basic routine to guide you. Tweak as necessary to meet your personal needs.
Walk on a treadmill or pedal an exercise bike for 10-minutes.
2. Leg Press:
--Do four sets in a pyramid routine, starting with high weight and low reps. Adjust the weight so you can do no more than 7-8 reps on the first set. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
--Decrease weight so you can do no more than 10-12 reps. Rest.
--Repeat for last two sets, decreasing weight and increasing reps to 15, then 20.
Grab an Olympic barbell and a couple of plates. Your goal is a total of 70 to 100 reps, in several sets, squatting no more than 135 pounds (one 45-pound plate on either side of the barbell) on any given set.
4. Stiff-Legged Deadlift:
Use the same Olympic barbell with low weight, around 95 pounds (25-pound plate on either side). Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and bend from the waist to grab the barbell palm down, lifting to a standing position. Your legs should be relatively straight throughout the exercise, with only a slight bend in the knee. Do four sets of 10 reps.
5. Regular Deadlift:
Increase weight from the stiff-legged deadlift to 135 pounds. Stand shoulder-width apart and grip the bar as before. At the bottom of the lift, your back should be parallel to the ground and knees bent. Lift with your legs as you straighten the back and legs into a standing position. Do four sets of 10 reps.
6. Cool down:
Walk on the treadmill or pedal an exercise bike for 10 minutes, then stretch for five minutes. If you can, follow that up with a 15-minute sit in the sauna, drinking plenty of water while you sweat.