Goal Driven: 3 Goal-Specific Training Programs

Get the body you want with the program you need. One of these three goal-specific training plans will fit you perfectly.

A one-size-fits-all training program doesn't exist - and if it did, it wouldn't work. Forget that everyone has a different bodytype and needs to train accordingly; every woman has different goals, too.

What's yours? Is it to be more athletic so you can perform better and have the appealing physique of an athlete? Or to add a bit more muscle to a frail figure for better shape and greater size? Or maybe you want to drop bodyfat to fit into the pair of jeans or dress you used to wear when you were significantly leaner.

Whatever it is, we have the program for you - one each for getting more athletic, getting more muscular and getting leaner. The choice is yours.

Get Athletic
Program By Jim Stoppani, PhD

Getting more athletic is all about developing pure power, as well as core stability, which will help you to better harness that power so that you're faster and more agile, regardless of the sport you're participating in. Shown here are a few of the exercises that work to effectively develop these qualities for almost any sport.

High-intensity interval training is a short burst of high-intensity cardio, followed by a period of lower-intensity activity, or even rest, usually performed at a 2:1 interval.

For example, a HIIT sprint workout would be one minute of sprint work followed by a 30-second walk or jog; two minutes of sprint work followed by a one-minute walk or jog.

This cycle would be repeated in some fashion for 20-25 minutes.

Developing power requires light weight (30%-50% of the weight you can normally do for one rep) done for low reps - three to eight, depending on the exercise. This targets the fast-twitch muscle fibers, the ones responsible for power, speed, strength and even muscle size.

To be athletic also requires conditioning (a.k.a. muscle endurance) so that you don't hit the proverbial wall when playing your sport. To do this means you'll also need to do high-rep sets.

The Get Athletic workout accomplishes this by way of both straight sets and supersets of up to 30 reps. For cardio, on training days, the workout incorporates Tabata intervals, a highly intense method of improving conditioning and ramping up fat burning.

Try this total-body Get Athletic workout three days a week for a few weeks to see how it works for you, or incorporate some of the exercises into your regular routine.

Get-Athletic Training Split:

MONDAY Workout + Tabata cardio
WEDNESDAY Workout + Tabata cardio
FRIDAY Workout + Tabata

Get Athletic Workout:

Athletic Workout:
  • Drop Jump Drop Jump

    Drop Jumps

    3 sets of 5-8 reps*, 2 min rest

Stand on the edge of a box or bench knee height or higher. Drop off the end of the box (or bench) to land in a squat position and immediately spring out of the squat to jump as high as you can. After landing on the floor, step back up onto the box and repeat.

Hold a dumbbell in both hands and begin with it in front of your thighs, hanging at arms length. Keeping your back flat, squat down, let the dumbbell travel underneath your glutes, then explosively extend your knees and hips to swing it up with your arms still extended. When your arms reach parallel with the floor, let gravity pull the weight back down and go immediately into the next rep.

Set a flat bench in a Smith machine so that the bar lowers to your middle chest. Lie back, grasp the bar with a shoulder-width grip and unhook the latches. Slowly lower the bar to your chest just as you would during a normal set of bench press. When the bar reaches your chest, explosively press it up so that you throw the bar up as high as possible, to the point that it actually leaves your hands at the top. Upon release, keep your arms extended with a slight bend in the elbows and catch the weight as it comes back down. Reset your hands so they're even before doing the next rep.


From a standing position, drop down only slightly - no more than about a quarter of the way into a squat - then explode back up so that your feet leave the ground. Land with soft knees and repeat for reps. Calf jumps are similar to jump squats, except that knee bend is minimal and your calves are doing most of the work to propel you upward.

† Use a weight that's about 50% of what you can do for one rep; perform the positive portion of the rep as fast and as explosive as possible.

Tabata Workout ±:

Tabata How-To:
A complete set of Tabata intervals consists of 20 seconds of intense exercise alternated with 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated eight times, continuously, for a total of 4 minutes.

± Rest 1-2 minutes between each exercise.

Get Muscular
Program By Jim Stoppani, PhD

Getting more muscular isn't easy - but if it's your goal, you'd be wise to follow the rules that science has found to be best for encouraging muscle growth. A few rules in particular include exercise selection, muscle group pairings and intensity techniques used.

For exercise selection, you want to include both multijoint and isolation movements. Multijoint exercises allow you to use more weight, which places more overload on the muscles and helps to increase muscle growth.

Drop sets and the rest-pause technique are two intensity techniques that can help you push past failure.

For drop sets, complete a set for the required number of reps, then lower the weight by 20 percent; train to muscle failure, then lower the weight by another 20 percent. Train to muscle failure again to complete one drop set.

To perform the rest-pause technique, train until you can't complete another rep. Rack the weight, or place it on your chest or knees.

Rest for 20 seconds, then perform as many additional reps as you can before reaching muscle failure.

Isolation exercises can help place more focus on a particular muscle, which also enhances muscle growth. Generally speaking, you should include both types of exercises for each muscle group, doing multijoint exercises first in the workout when you're strongest.

How you pair muscle groups can also effect muscle growth. Research shows that the more muscle you train, the higher your growth hormone levels go. Hence, training just biceps and triceps alone is not a good way to boost GH. So you should always pair up smaller muscle groups with larger ones.

To grow muscle you also need to take most of your sets to muscle failure. You also should take at least one set per exercise beyond failure with techniques such as drop sets or rest-pause. These techniques have been found to better boost GH levels as compared to stopping at initial muscle failure.

Get-Muscular Training Split:

MONDAY Legs, calves
TUESDAY Chest, triceps, abs
THURSDAY Back, biceps
FRIDAY Shoulders, abs

Get Muscular Workout:

Monday (Legs, Calves)

Stand erect holding a bar across your upper traps with your feet about shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and your toes turned out slightly. Keeping your head neutral, abs tight and torso erect, bend at the knees and hips to slowly lower your body as if sitting down in a chair. When your legs reach 90-degree angles, forcefully drive up through your heels, extending your hips and knees, to the standing position.

Tuesday (Chest, Triceps, Abs)
Thursday (Back, Biceps)

Sit at a row station with your torso perpendicular to the floor and your knees slightly bent. Hold a close-grip attachment with your arms extended out in front of you. Contract your back muscles to pull the handle all the way to your abs and squeeze the contraction. Slowly return to the start position.

Friday (Shoulders, Abs)

With a dumbbell in each hand, your chest up, back flat and knees slightly bent, bend over at the waist until your torso is just about parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbells hang directly beneath you. With a slight bend in the elbows, raise the dumbbells up and out to the sides until your upper arms are about parallel to the floor. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start position and repeat.

† Use a weight that's about 50% of what you can do for one rep; perform the positive portion of the rep as fast and as explosive as possible.

Abs Workout:

Abs training (Tuesday and Friday) can be performed as a circuit, or with 30-60 seconds rest between exercises.

Stand at a pullup station and grasp the bar with a wide, overhand grip. Raise your feet off the floor and - without using momentum or swinging your legs - lift your legs so that they form a 90-degree angle to your upper body. Slowly lower your legs to the starting position and, without swinging your body, repeat.

Get Lean
Program By Nicole Wilkins

Achieving an ultra-lean figure - not just losing weight, but losing bodyfat, and lots of it - requires an aggressive training plan. It takes high-intensity workouts and big, bang-for-your-buck exercises that hit large muscle groups to burn tons of calories and stimulate the metabolism. Passive workouts where your mind wanders off to other matters while you go through the motions won't cut it. You need to get after it in the gym.

In the upper-body circuit, exercises alternate mostly between pushing and pulling moves to allow all muscles to recover as much as possible during the circuit.

These workouts - one upper-body circuit rotating with one lower-body circuit, plus cardio - accomplish everything a fat-burning training plan needs to.

The exercises are primarily compound moves and the pace is nonstop, except between circuits when the body is dying for a break.

Getting lean is also about diversifying your training with both lifting and cardio, not choosing one or the other.

In this plan, you'll be doing HIIT twice a week to force your body to burn bodyfat while also incorporating steady-state cardio to maximize calorie burning. This, combined with the lifting circuits, will give you a harder, leaner physique in no time.

Get-Lean Training Split:

MONDAY Upper-body circuit, HIIT cardio
TUESDAY Lower-body circuit, steady-state cardio
THURSDAY Upper-body circuit, HIIT cardio
FRIDAY Lower-body circuit, steady-state cardio
SATURDAY/SUNDAY HIIT cardio, steady-state cardio

Get Lean Workout:

For each of the circuits below:

    • Complete 15-20 reps for all exercises.

    • Perform one set of each exercise consecutively without rest; that's one circuit.

    • Rest 1.2 minutes between circuits.

    • Complete 4 circuits total.

Monday/Thursday - Upper-body circuit:

Circuit Training:
Between exercises in a circuit, rest only as long as it takes to move to the next exercise. Taking an extended break will cause the heart rate to slow down more than you want it to.

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at shoulder level with your palms and forearms facing you. In one fluid motion, press the dumbbells overhead while rotating your wrists so that by the top of the rep your palms and forearms face forward. Stop just short of your elbows locking out, then reverse the motion to return to the start position.

Hold a pair of dumbbells and lean over at the waist so that your torso is about parallel with the floor. Begin with your upper arms parallel with the floor and your elbow at 90 degrees. Moving only at the elbows and keeping them up high and in close to your sides, contract your triceps to extend your arms and lift the dumbbells up and back until your elbows are fully extended. Slowly reverse the motion, then repeat for reps.

Tuesday/Friday - Lower-body circuit:
  • Dumbbell Exercise Ball Wall Squats Dumbbell Exercise Ball Wall Squats

    Dumbbell Exercise Ball Wall Squats

    15-20 reps

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides, leaning back on an exercise ball up against a wall. Squat down so that the ball rolls up your back until your thighs are parallel with the floor, then extend your knees and hips to return to the start position.

Abs Circuits:

Train abs up to three times per week, with at least one day between ab workouts.

Ab Circuit 1:

Start in a modified pushup position where your shins are resting on top of an exercise ball. Keep your body in a straight line from your feet to your head. Contract your abs to pull your knees toward your face while lifting your glutes toward the ceiling. When your knees almost reach your chest, slowly reverse the motion and repeat for reps.

Ab Circuit 2: