I've been in the game long enough that I've learned what works for my body. The type of training I do today is the same type that I'll do pretty much 12 months out of the year. It's going to be a priority on function, but also an undertone of aesthetics.
This is how I trained when I was a bodybuilder who also happened to be an NFL punter, and it's how I plan on training now that I'm done with football. I like to hit shoulders, chest, arms, and abs in one quick, tough, Grit-building workout that'll have you out the door and back to life in less than an hour.
No wasting time here. Just jump in and get it done!
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Dumbbell Lateral Raise
The first set of all four movements is what I call a "working warm-up set." It's a hybrid set that warms you up and also gets some blood in the muscle. Start off light! I only use 20s for 20 reps.
You can start with your hands at your sides or in front of you—that's up to you. What I care about is what happens at the top. Bring your elbows to where they're even with your shoulders, but no higher, before going back down. Going above that point is going to give your muscle time to rest, which is what we don't want. Keep the tension constant, even if it means you need to use a lighter weight. You're only doing one shoulder exercise today, so make the most of it.
Cable Chest Fly
This is very similar to the dumbbell raise in that you're going to start light with a working warm-up set, then gradually increase weight, all while maintaining constant tension throughout the movement.
This isn't an exercise where you need to go incredibly heavy. It's really more about the technique and the contraction of the muscle. If you go a little over the rep target or can't quite hit it, that's fine. Just focus on the form.
One technique point: I like to start with the cables at about shoulder height, and then push up slightly at the point of contraction.
In contrast to the two previous movements, you can go as heavy as you can handle here. If you cheat just a little bit, I'm OK with that. I would rather see you go a little heavier than you're used to and cheat on those last couple of reps than leave anything in the tank. The triceps is a muscle group that's incredibly resilient, which means that to encourage growth and strength gains, you need to go heavy.
Standing Dumbbell Concentration Curl
When you're picking your weight here, go light. In fact, go lighter than what you think is light. If you have access to them, I recommend you use Fat Gripz, which I use for my arms workouts whenever I can. It's not imperative, but I really feel it helps to isolate the biceps.
When you're at the top of the movement, think about twisting the weight so your pinky is facing up. This is going to help build the overall peak of the muscle. We're talking pure aesthetics here.
If you can set up four cables in the cross-over station and perform this series that way, great. If not, just use a single cable stack, move the weight up and down, and rotate your body as you go through this series.
The precise order doesn't matter as much as simply hitting all the angles here. It should take you no more than 4 and a half minutes to bust this out. Pick a reasonable weight and get ready to burn.
Modified Dragonfly (Dragon Flag)
You can perform this movement on any level of decline bench or even a flat bench. The higher you go, the more it resembles a strict hanging leg raise—and the more difficult it gets. Pick whatever works for your current level of core strength.
The results from this movement are all in the details: how straight you keep your legs, how locked you keep your knees, and how pointed you keep your toes. All of those things make the movement more difficult, too, so expect your reps to go down.
Putting a small weight—like really small, as little as 5 pounds—can also up the intensity in the later sets.