Your Workouts Reviewed: Getting a Beach Body
Our experts assess a three-day routine with the goal of getting lean for summer.
Everyone's got a workout of their own—your "go-to" routine. But is your routine good enough? We asked our Men's Fitness Facebook friends if they had a killer routine to share and subject to the scrutiny of our readers. The big catch? Our team of training experts also review it, critique it and tweak it if necessary.
Muhammad Hassan: Men's Fitness Facebook Friend
"As summer is approaching, I’m trying to cut. Currently, I’m 5'10" and 185 lbs. and I recently started doing cardio and lifting weights. I spend 2.5 hours in the gym and perform this routine 3 days per week.”
>> Bench Press - 4 sets
>> Incline Bench Press - 3 sets
>> Decline Bench Press- 2 sets
>> Cable Crossovers - 3 sets
Cardio and Body Weight Training
>> Heavy Bag Work/Cardio - 20 minutes
>> Push Ups - 25 reps
>> Sit Ups - 20 reps
>> Lunges - 20 reps on each leg
>> Treadmill Run - 30 minutes
Expert Assessment #1
Pros: "LOVE that you're just getting into working out and giving your overall routine some thought. Three days per week is a solid place to start. Consistency is the most important factor to any new routine, but let's also get some more variety/awesomeness into your lifts, reduce this 2.5 hours in the gym insanity (that shit cray), and get you shredded for summer."
Cons: "This all chest, all week routine is great if you want a sore chest. But if you want to get cut, focusing on the same body part all week is counterproductive. As a beginner you don't want an old-school body-part split routine like this. Full body push/pull is more your speed."
Comments: "Want to get cut? First of all, make some nutritional changes to your diet (like eliminating all packaged foods or eating a protein rich breakfast every morning)—it's the most important get-cut factor. Second, consider some supersets to help keep your workout intensity higher. For example: do a set of leg press (12 reps) then do a set of bench press (12 reps) with 60 seconds of rest between. Do that 3 times. Then do a set of leg curls followed by a set of seated rows. Also 3 x 12. Finish your workout with some hard intervals—a 1-minute sprint followed by a 1-minute walk. 10-12 rounds. Boom. You've hit a full body upper/lower push/pull + some high intensity intervals. Next stop, shredded-ville.
This new workout should be an aggressive 55 minutes. 2.5 hours is epic. After all, the best part of looking and feeling good is life OUTSIDE the gym—that means getting in, getting out, and getting on with your shredded life."
Expert Assessment #2
Pros: "As far as the weight training portion of your routine goes, doing a variety of movements for the same muscle group (in this case, your chest) is a great way to promote muscle growth as you are causing a lot of muscle fiber damage and metabolic disturbance—both important factors for hypertrophy. I love using boxing as a component of energy system training. It uses a lot of rotational movement you don't often get out of other types of cardio and it's fun and aggressive. Using unloaded callisthenic-type training as a warm-up or, as you did, a finisher, is a safe way to drive up the metabolic demands of the workout."
Cons: "You are not training for your goals. If you are looking to cut for summer, a full-body approach will give you more bang for your buck than training one body-part per day. If you are spending 2.5 hours in the gym you may be making friends, but you aren't making progress. That is way too much time to spend on a training session. Oh, and there a few body parts such as your legs, back and arms that want to know why you are not allowing them to weight train along with your chest. I hear they're pretty pissed about it."
Comments: "Your approach seems really haphazard. You have a body-building component (the weight training), you have an energy systems component (boxing), you have a metabolic component (the random body weight exercises) and you have another energy systems component (the treadmill). I am all for variety, but none of these pieces seem to go together. You would be much better off creating a metabolic circuit, alternating upper body and lower body exercises or even supersetting antagonist muscle groups (like chest and back or quads and hamstrings). All of these will create more metabolic demand while increasing muscle mass which is the recipe for getting shredded."