We all want to look great at the beach and also show off those 6-pack abs. Now, I can certainly help you get back into shape with 20 key exercises that will certainly transform your body sooner than you think!
There is no way to specifically burn fat from one part of the body when we want to get rid of that body fat. An effective way to burn fat would be on a monitored calorie diet in conjunction with your workout routine. In addition, performing activities such as jogging, biking, or any other high intensity activities will help you burn calories.
Now, I will only be focusing on the training portion and if you have any questions regarding nutrition, calorie intake, or calorie deficit I would highly recommend going to the Bodybuilding.com archives or the knowledgeable brothers and sisters at our forum!
Before I begin, not only will I include the 20 top exercises to get ready for the beach but a training program that conveniently works well for most people. Let's face it, some of us can't go to the gym everyday and we have a busy lifestyle. Of course we all want to look and feel great so the program I am introducing will do wonders for that individual.
What I'm introducing is nothing new and is a split routine that can be used by all levels. There are various combinations that will impact your body and muscles differently. One thing to remember: have a large muscle group and small group together instead of all large muscle groups combined. You will be exhausted if you did it this way; combining large muscles together.
Exercises To Transform Your Body!
Now let me unfold the 20 key exercises that will transform your body! I'll later discuss how it will be integrated into your training routine.
So let's begin with the routine and I'll mention some key points for each exercise. Also, all exercises will be 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps since our objective is to get a lean body and we aren't aiming to get bigger. So choose a weight that gives enough difficulty for you (say about 70% of your strength).
Monday: Chest & Triceps
A key exercise that really works the mass of the chest, shoulders and triceps all at the same time. A common exercise that you need and can't live without. Remember to squeeze your chest muscles at the top.
Concentrate and keep the weight on the pecs. Keep the movement controlled and do not lock out. Try to add another 1-2 reps extra at the end of your set if you are approaching 10-12 reps upon fatigue.
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip.
With dumbbells I usually make sure my feet are firm on the ground. Ensuring your feet are secure so you can generate additional reps using a transfer effect from your feet.
I use this practice with all my exercises whether that is building muscle, strength and conditioning, sports performance, etc. Power can come from feet up towards your core and helping you push additional reps.
The dumbbells should be held directly over your chest area, squeeze and hold at the top for 1 second and lower the weight. Do not cheat and bounce the weight from the chest, keep your elbows out and away from the body.
Incline Dumbbell Press
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Incline Dumbbell Press.
By this time you are probably pumped if you are exercising intensely. This next exercise is a good finisher. Remember to isolate the chest and keep the movement slow. Extend elbows down as far as possible.
The longer you are on the muscle, more stimulation is induced. Continue with a constant controlled motion, contract and squeeze at the top. This is similar to the bench and creates great depth and separation in your chest.
This builds that line in the middle of your chest giving your pecs height and depth. For all you ladies it will take care of gravity for the ones looking to improve in this area!
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Dumbbell Flyes.
Remember to go at a slow gradual rate let the weight up by bending your elbows so arms at a 90 degree angle. Always keep your elbows close to your body.
Squeeze the triceps at the downward movement. Do not cheat and swing your body. Also leaning forward will give you additional leverage.
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Triceps Pushdown.
Great for developing muscles in upper arms. Do not lock your elbows when they reach the top of the exercise; they should remain slightly bent. This is a muscle definition stimulating it. Longate the muscle and contract.
Don't let your arms drop and maintain that extension at the top to get a full stretch on triceps as it will stimulate from exertion to origin. We are not using heavy weights so no need to bomb them.
Lying Triceps Press
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Lying Triceps Press.
As you notice, I implement finishing exercises at the end of the routine so you can really get that additional pump. Make sure when you put your thumbs around the bar to squeeze hard.
The more force applied to the bar, the stronger you are. Chest is up and shoulders back. You can bend your legs crossing your feet. Squeeze your glutes on the way up. The dips build lockout strength when you straighten your elbows.
This will help your bench press and overhead tricep press. Bench dips is an alternative if you don't have 2 supports that will allow you to lock out elbows.
Dips - Chest Version
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Dips - Chest Version.
Now you and I have seen those magazines, commercials and advertisement everywhere displaying fitness models and their 6-pack abs. Well, you can achieve that if you perform full intense reps in your sit-ups keeping constant tension on the muscles.
Ensure you do a variety of sit-ups that will target all angles and aiming 15-20 reps in each of them with no rest. What works for me is doing 3 different sit-up exercises one after another with no rest.
Go at a nice slow rate when doing your abs contracting and squeezing every rep. You can also call this tri-sets to get those ultimate abs you've wanted. Once you are done with the ab circuit you can rest for about 1 minute. Perform 2-3 more sets of this circuit.
Include other exercises such as oblique crunches or reverse crunches; once this becomes easy for you add another 10 more reps.
Progressively adding another ab exercise when ready, change your rest periods in between sets, or mixing the order of exercises will keep your body guessing. Have fun and you will definitely feel the burn!
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Sit-Up.
This is a great core exercise as well. Isolate your body going up and squeeze both legs at the top and control going back down keeping your legs together.
Hanging Leg Raise
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Hanging Leg Raise.
Lay on the bench or floor and have your hips extended up. You will now proceed with how you normally do a crunch.
Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise.
At the edge of the bench with hands to the side supporting yourself. Bring in both knees close to your chest and then extend legs fully out.
Flat Bench Leg Pull-In
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Flat Bench Leg Pull-In.
Another ab exercise you may want to try, and something most people are missing (an integral part of their abs), is the transverse muscle that prevents your stomach from sticking out or protruding.
It is often called the vacuum. Begin lying on your back and exhale all air out of your lungs. Instead of inhaling, I want you to now suck in your stomach and visualize your abs touching your spine.
Hold for about 10 seconds at that position and slowly release. Repeat this procedure 3 times.
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Stomach Vacuum.
Tuesday: Light Cardio Jog (30 Minutes)
Wednesday: Shoulders & Legs
This is a great exercise to start off that works the overall area of your shoulders. This exercise works the entire deltoid area and the triceps.
But you still have to hit the various angles of your shoulders because if you only do this exercise your shoulders will look like a log with no separation. Now do you want that?
Seated Barbell Military Press
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Seated Barbell Military Press.
You can use the straight bar or v-bar with this exercise. Using the v-bar will be better off than the straight bar since we really want to see our shoulder girdle, traps and deltoids. Again our intention is to get ripped and cut in all parts of our body.
Also, using a v-bar bar is a lot more comfortable on the wrists compared to using a straight barbell.
Try to remember to squeeze and flex your traps at the top and when you lower the weight to get a nice stretch or extension at the bottom.
Upright Barbell Row
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Upright Barbell Row.
Guys do you want to have those nice shoulder caps coming out of your shirt? Ladies you will look great in a nice strapless evening gown enhancing your shoulder and neck line giving the additional illusion of a smaller waist.
Well, this is a great definition exercise for your shoulders. This exercise works the medial (side) deltoids. You really want to squeeze every rep when raising the dumbbells to the side at chin level.
Side Lateral Raise
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Side Lateral Raise.
At this point you should definitely be feeling your shoulders! This exercise works the entire upper back, rear deltoids, and traps.
Developed rear delts will balance out your shoulder development and help prevent many shoulder injuries or rotator cuff issues.
Lying Rear Delt Raise
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Lying Rear Delt Raise.
If you want to see great results in your shoulder development and are up to the challenge you can perform this shoulder circuit in the following format.
During the Arnold days came the popular Arnold press - one of my favorite exercises and you don't really have to go heavy. Be careful on the Arnold press because if done incorrectly you will have rotator cuff issues.
So to begin with the Arnold press, ensure when you rotate at the top your shoulders, contract and don't let momentum carry. In the same motion you will next do the lateral raise, followed by front raise, and then bent over.
Right there is 1 rep and you will still do 3 sets of about 12 reps if possible. After doing this your shoulders will be burning and remember giving up is for the weak!
Arnold Dumbbell Press
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Arnold Dumbbell Press.
This is a critical exercise and we must include it in our leg program. Try doing a full range squat and go down slow and squeeze every part of your legs at the top activating all the muscles. Try to aim for 15 reps at a reasonable weight you can handle.
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Barbell Squat.
I enjoy performing a multi-directional lunge moving forward, back, and sideways. Begin by lunging forward and bring your leg back to the starting position. Now try the lunge at a different angle and go to the side.
Alternate legs once you complete a movement with your one leg. It creates a great pump and also works out different parts of the muscle group for a good thorough workout.
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Dumbbell Lunges.
By now your legs should have felt like jelly! Calves can be a stubborn muscle for most people and we constantly use that muscle daily.
I would recommend more of a higher rep scheme when doing your calves and performing it very slow squeezing at the top. Aim at about 15 good quality reps to get that burn. You can perform a standing or sitting calve raises by having toes pointed straight as one angle.
After that is done, immediately point your toes outwards working your inner calves, and last pointing your toes inward working the outside muscles. You've just completed 45 reps for this one set. Did I mention you have 2 more sets to go!
Standing Calf Raises
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Standing Calf Raises.
Friday: Back & Biceps
This is a great exercise for your hamstrings. For some this can be one of the hardest exercises to perform properly. A tip is to place some weighted plates on the ground and half of your feet will be positioned on top of it which will be your toes.
You will perform this the same way you would do the deadlift. By doing this, the plates target most tension on your hamstrings and stretch it further. This literally forces your hamstrings to be activated and results definitely show.
Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift.
This exercise can help you get that nice V-shape look that we want. Perform a lat pulldown by bringing the weight to the front and remember to not pull the bar down past your chest to your mid-section.
Now, grab the bar with a "false" overhand grip meaning you place your thumb on top of the bar alongside your index finger putting more emphasis on your lats. You can also change the grip keep it further apart or closer for variation.
Add in some partial reps at the end of the routine when you can't do any more creating a longer time and stimulation. Your back should be blasting by now!
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown.
Excellent exercise that works middle of your back. Really retract your muscles as you bring in the weight to your chest.
Seated Cable Rows
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Seated Cable Rows.
It doesn't really matter if your elbow is going back real high as long as you are engaging on that muscle area. Make sure your elbows are close in to your body as well.
One Arm Dumbbell Rows
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of One Arm Dumbbell Rows.
To really focus on the biceps, your back will be against the wall using a straight bar or v-bar. There will be 3 points to remember when performing this and ensure your head, butt, and feet are against the wall. Perform it slowly and you will have all your biceps involved!
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Barbell Curl.
This is an isolation exercise that is great for peaking your biceps. Again focus on your form, contraction, and intensity.
Remember to really sit securely, arms extended and relaxed at the same time. Curl up at about 75-80% to the top so you are really engaging the muscle. Any higher and you are resting the weight. Pull with the biceps and not with the shoulders.
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Preacher Curl.
By this time you should be maxed out. Performing this routine on an incline at about 30 degrees can take your bicep exercise to a new level.
Keep your elbows set and don't move your elbow forward. Optional if you want to add in a rotation or twist at the top. This exercise will help eliminate any body swing or momentum really focusing on your biceps.
Incline Dumbbell Curl
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Incline Dumbbell Curl.
Saturday: Cardio Interval Running (20 Minutes)
Here you will do interval running starting off with a brisk walk and then begin to sprint. You will sprint for 30 seconds to a minute and then walk for about 3 minutes.
Follow this routine until you reach about 20 minutes and you will be totally exhausted if you gave a total effort!
The split program is excellent for either attaining size or getting in shape. There is no right or wrong answer to splitting your routine and it is based on your goals and objectives. This a basic push and pull routine with excellent results.
Now, I also wanted to add in that your muscle responds to stress or when it is taxed. Remember the last 1-2 reps of each set is when you are triggering your body's muscle building mechanisms by promoting muscular failure.
However, anytime you feel the pump going away there is a point you should stop and it's time to either move onto the next exercise or pretty much walk away since you really taxed your muscles at this point. You don't want to beat them down, you just want to stimulate the muscles. Now, what are you waiting for, it's time to train hard if you want to show off your beach body!