Sculpt an Athletic Body

If you’re like many, you’ve made the resolution to get into shape this year. So here you have it – a workout designed to build muscle and shred fat. Even if you’re not an athlete, you can sculpt a body that will have others mistaking you for one with this workout! Choose your level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) and get your new year’s resolution in gear!

Equipment:
  • Dumbbells
  • Barbell (for advanced)
  • Lat Pull-Down Machine or Pull-Up Bar
  • Flat Bench
  • Mat

Choosing the correct weight: Shoot for heavy weights. What’s heavy? You should be able to do approximately 10 reps (repetitions) per set. If you are able to do 10 reps easily, increase weight. If you cannot make it through 10 reps, decrease weight.

Warm-up:

Perform each of the following exercises for 30 seconds.

  • arm circles forward
  • arm circles backward
  • push-ups
  • mountain climbers
  • squats
  • jumping jacks
  • high knees
  • butt kicks

Stretch

Part I:

Complete 10-12 reps of exercises #1-3, 30 seconds of rest, repeat twice for a total of 3 rounds. Rest for 2 minutes and begin Part 2.

1.  Power Clean, Squat, Press

Beginner: Standing shoulder-width apart, grasping dumbbells, arms hanging in front of legs, pull dumbbells up to chest, leaving elbows down. That is your clean. Bend knees and lower rear as if you were sitting back in a chair until your legs make a 90 degree angle. That is your squat. Pushing up from the heels, stand back up as you press dumbbells overhead. That is your press. Return to starting position and repeat sequence.

power squat b

Intermediate: Standing shoulder-width apart and holding barbell shoulder-width apart in front of legs, toss barbell up, leaving elbows down, and pull in towards chest, hooking the hands underneath the barbell, wrists up. That is your clean. Next, bend knees and lower rear as if you were sitting back in a chair until your legs make a 90 degree angle. That is your squat. Next, pushing up from the heels, stand back up as you press barbell overhead. That is your press. Return to starting position and repeat sequence.

Advanced: Follow intermediate; add plates to barbell to increase weight.

power squat c

2.  Step-up

Beginner: Standing hip-width apart with dumbbells in hands hanging at sides, step onto a low bench with right foot and step back down with left foot. Complete the set with right foot leading, and then repeat with left foot leading.

step up a

Intermediate: Standing hip-width apart with dumbbells in hands hanging at sides, step onto a high bench with right foot and step back down with left foot. Complete the set with right foot leading, and then repeat with left foot leading.

step up b

Advanced: Standing hip-width apart with barbell resting on traps, step onto a high bench with right foot and step back down with left foot. Complete the set with right foot leading, and then repeat with left foot leading.

step up c

3.  Dead-lift

Beginner: Standing hip-width apart with dumbbells in hands hanging in front of quads, bend forward from hips with a flat back, stretching arms towards floor. Holding that flat back lift torso back up, returning to starting position. (I stress flat back because it is common for beginners to round their shoulders when doing an exercise like this one. Keeping your back flat will prevent lower back pain and injury).

deadlift a

Intermediate: Standing hip-width apart with dumbbells in hands hanging in front of quads, lean forward with a flat back, stretching arms towards floor, and simultaneously raise your right leg behind to hip height. Return to starting position. Complete your reps on the right, then repeat on the left side.

deadlift b

Advanced: Standing hip-width apart grasping onto barbell in front of quads, lean forward with a flat back, stretching arms towards floor, and simultaneously raise your right leg behind to hip height. Return to starting position. Complete your reps on the right, then repeat on the left side.

deadlift c

Part II:

Perform 10-12 reps of exercises #4-6, 1 minute of rest, repeat twice for a total of 3 rounds. Rest for 2 minutes and begin Part 3.

4.  Row

Beginner: Standing hip-width apart holding dumbbells, knees bent, back flat and leaning forward to about 45 degrees, draw elbows straight back, pulling dumbbells to rib cage, squeezing shoulder blades towards spine. Lower arms being sure to keep legs bent and lean forward until all reps are complete.

row a

Intermediate: Leaning over with a flat back, place left hand on bench, extend right leg back, grasp dumbbell in right hand, and draw elbow straight back, pulling dumbbell to rib cage. Complete reps on right, then repeat on left side.

row b

Advanced: Leaning over with a flat back, extend right leg back, with dumbbells in both hands, draw both elbows back, pulling dumbbells to rib cage. Complete reps with right leg extended, then repeat with left leg extended.

row c

5.  Bench Press

Beginner: Laying with your back on the bench, hold dumbbells right outside shoulders and press straight up. Lower back down to starting position and repeat.

bench press a

Intermediate: Laying with your back on the bench, hold barbell over chest and press straight up. Lower back down to starting position and repeat.

bench press b

Advanced: Add more weight.

6.  Lat. Pull Down

Beginner: Sit upright facing the Lat. Pull-down machine and grasp bar overhand, hands shoulder-width apart. Pull bar straight down to collar bone. Adjust yourself so that you are able to pull the bar straight down to collar bone without leaning forward or back.

Intermediate: Add more resistance.

Advanced: Add more resistance.

lat pull down

*No lat pull down machine? Do pull ups on a pull-up bar instead. Separate hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart and use an over-hand grip.

Part III:

Perform 20 reps of exercise #7 and hold exercise #8 for 30 seconds, rest for 1 minute, repeat twice for a total of 3 rounds.

7.  Toe Touch

Beginner: Lay on back, extend straight legs up, and reach towards toes.

toe touch a

Intermediate: Lay on back, grasping a dumbbell overhead, extend legs straight up, and reach for toes with dumbbell, lower upper body back down, leaving legs extended up, and extend dumbbell back overhead. 20 reps.

toe touch b

Advanced: Lay on back, grasp dumbbell and extend arms and legs out in opposite directions. Pull arms and legs together over pelvis, reaching for toes, and lower upper body and legs back down, stopping about an inch before reaching the floor, and repeat.

Toe Touch with Leg Raise and Dumbbell

8.  Side Plank

Beginner: Lay on your side with knees bent, and position your body so that you are in a straight line from your head to your knees. Resting on forearm, lift hips up and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on other side.

side plank a

Intermediate: Lay on your side with legs straight, and position your body so that you are in a straight line from your head to your heels. Resting on forearm, lift hips up and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on other side. side plank Advanced: Lay on your side, with legs straight, and position your body so that you are in a straight line from your head to your heels. Pressing your palm down, lift hips up and extend opposite arm up perpendicular to floor, and raise the top leg up approximately 30 to 45 degrees from the supporting leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat on other side.

side plank c

Great job!!! You did it!!!

Cool-down & Stretch:

Stretches

Complete workout 2-3 times a week (leaving at least 1 day in between for recovery) for a lean, sculpted, athletic body!

Safety Briefing

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