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This 4-week gym workout plan adjusts for any fitness level

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The great thing about the gym is that it presents the perfect space to push yourself and use various pieces of equipment, which gives you better results for the time you put in. But whether you are brand new to working out or just getting back into the routine, trying to figure out where to start can be overwhelming. 

An effective way to structure your workout for time and efficiency is to plan movements with the same equipment or with pieces in the same small area in the gym. We've created a simple 4-week plan that can be modified for any fitness level. We'll start slow and walk you through every step of the way. This program can be repeated or adjusted for a higher or lower intensity.

Below is a series of exercises focused on different body parts with examples of other formats. Pick weights that are challenging for you: This means something that you can work with but may feel the need to break as the time is ending and/or the last 2 reps are demanding. This is your 80 percent capacity—a great level to train at.

Warm-Ups

A warm-up is important. These dynamic movements increase your body's temperature and blood flow. It is essential for injury prevention, so your body is loose and ready to move when you get into your workout. We suggest 8-10 minutes. 

Cool Downs

2A cool down is a great time to add static stretches. You will want to hold each move for 30-40 seconds. Stretching is a great way to support the recovery of the muscles you just worked. When working out, you are creating microtears in the muscles. As a result, they will strengthen themselves. Stretching supports muscle recovery and your ability to stay mobile. It also allows your body's temperature to slowly return to its original state. Cool downs are essential for injury prevention. We suggest 8-10 minutes.  

Full body warm up

5-10 minutes: 1-2 rounds 

  1. 10 Cat Cow 

  2. 5/5 Bird Dog 

  3. 5 Plank Shoulder Tap to Push Up (elevate hands to a bench and/or drop to knees)

  4. 10 Glute Bridges 

  5. 10 Squat

Full body cool down:

5-10 minutes : Hold each for 30-40 seconds each. 

  1. Standing Quad Stretch (hold on to a wall for support)

  2. Standing Hamstring Stretch   (hold on to a wall for support)

  3. Standing Chest Opener Stretch 

  4. Figure Four Stretch 

  5. Downward Dog 

  6. Child Pose 

Weeks 1 and 2

Aim for 3 Active Days and 4 Recovery or Rest Days

Day 1: Full Body Workout

Day 2: Active Recovery: Find time for a walk or stretching: 5-10-20-30 mins! This should be low impact or take a rest day!

Day 3: Active Recovery: Find time for a walk or stretching: 5-10-20-30 mins! This should be low impact or take a rest day!

Day 4: Full Body Workout

Day 5: Active Recovery: Find time for a walk or stretching: 5-10-20-30 mins! This should be low impact or take a rest day! 

Day 6: Active Recovery: Find time for a walk or stretching: 5-10-20-30 mins! This should be low impact or take a rest day!

Day 7: Full Body Workout

Weeks 3 and 4

Repeat Weeks 1 and 2 or adjust to 4 Active Days and 3 Recovery or Rest Days 

Day 1:  Upper Body Workout

Day 2: Active Recovery: Find time for a walk or stretching: 5-10-20-30 mins! This should be low impact or take a rest day!

Day 3: Lower Body Workout

Day 4: Active Recovery: Find time for a walk or stretching: 5-10-20-30 mins! This should be low impact or take a rest day!

Day 5: Core + Cardio Workout

Day 6: Active Recovery: Find time for a walk or stretching: 5-10-20-30 mins! This should be low impact or take a rest day!

Day 7: Full Body Workout

Beginner

We encourage using body weight and/or lighter weights (0-15lbs): 

  1. Strength Exercises: Choose 3-6 moves from the list below

    1. Strength: 12-15 reps for 2-3 rounds

    2. Add 30-60 seconds rest between each move if needed

  2. Optional Cardio: Last few mins of your workout add cardio (1-4 mins)

    1. Exercises: Choose 1-3 moves from the list below

    2. Work: 30 seconds of work, 30-45 seconds rest for 1-3 rounds

Intermediate

Use medium to light weights (10-20lbs)  

  1. Strength Exercises: Choose 4-6 moves from the list below

    1. Strength: 12-15 reps for 2-4 rounds. 

    2. Add 30-60 seconds rest between each move if needed

  2. Optional Cardio: Last few mins of your workout add cardio (3-5 mins)

    1. Exercises: Choose 1-3 moves from the list below

    2. Work: 30 seconds of work, 30-45 seconds rest for 2-3 rounds

Advanced

Use medium to heavy weights (20-50lbs) 

  1. Strength Exercises: Choose 4-8 moves from the list below

    1. Strength: 12-15 reps for 3-4 rounds. 

  2. Optional Cardio: Last few mins of your workout add cardio (3-5 mins)

    1. Exercises: Choose 1-3 moves from the list below

    2. Work: 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds rest for 2-4 rounds 

Strength Exercises

For a Full Body Workout: Choose 1-2 from each category. 

For an Upper Body Workout: 3-8 choose from the upper body section.  

For Lower Body Workout: Choose 3-8 from the lower body section (see beginner, intermediate, and advanced for specifics.) 

Upper Body

  1. Chest Press 

  2. Push up with weighted row

  3. Lat Pull Machine 

  4. Tricep kick back

  5. I-Y-T

  6. Bicep curls to overhead press

  7. Plank with forward arm extension

Lower Body

  1. Squat and press

  2. Sumo squat (with weight)

  3. Forward lunges (with weight)

  4. Backward lunges (with weight)

  5. Side lunge (with weight)

  6. Glute Bridges 

  7. Weighted RDL (can use dumbells or barbell)

  8. Band walk series (band around knees or ankles and perform monster walks forward, backwards and laterally)

Core

  1. Russian twists (with weight)

  2. Alternating standing oblique dips

  3. Leg extension crunches with weight

  4. Bear crawls (no equipment)

  5. Plank series (no equipment) can pick a variety of versions from this video

Optional Cardio Exercises:  

  1. Burpees

  2. Jump rope

  3. Treadmill or bike sprints (sprint and rest for the allotted interval time)

  4. Mountain climbers

  5. Skater hops

Now: Put it all together 

When it's your workout day, decide which program works for you: beginner, intermediate, or advanced. 

Decide what type of workout you want to do: full, upper, lower, core + cardio. Choose the moves you would like to do from those sections as instructed. Review the videos. Once you get to the gym, you should know where you will be going for each move! This will give you confidence around the gym. When ready, find some space. You will perform a 5-10 minute warm-up. Go through your workout moves and write down the weight and rep you perform for accountability. End with your final 5-10 minutes of stretching. 

After your workout, you should feel good. If you do not, you may want to assess the weights you used and/or how high your heart rate increased. If it felt like too much, break it down. Reduce your weight, add longer breaks, or choose fewer movements. If you feel good after your workout session, great! Continue in the path you set. 

You may notice soreness in some areas in the next few days. Don't worry—it's very common. If you are too sore to go back, take an extra day of active recovery. 

The only way to fail is to give up. Give yourself grace and give it another try when your body feels ready!


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