March 13, 2018


Five of the best ways to train: Legs, pull, push, cardio and core

IF YOU’VE BEEN a regular reader of my column the last two years you will know how I tend to keep things simple with regards to your training. The goal of any article I publish is to try educate the reader with as much workout advice, healthy lifestyle tips, nutrition support as possible – right down to mindset and recovery protocols.

Today, I am going to give you five very simple components of a well-rounded workout plan. These five areas will give you the bones of a session plan and you can even stick with this structure and build on it with every session.

The biggest obstacles I generally see with people using the gym is that they don’t really have any structure in their workout, nor do they really know what to do for a general, all-round workout.

- If you are an individual who wants to get in into the gym two to four times a week and wants to get the most out of that 45-minute session then this is a sample session that will help you.

- If you are an individual who wants to train like a bodybuilder, have plenty of time on your hands to train and wants to do tones of isolation exercises – wanting to train small, medium and large muscles groups at all different types of angles – this structure might not be for you.

Any training program I work with alongside clients always starts with the basics, and most of the time we actually don’t need to step too far away from these areas.

Working in the fitness industry for the last 10 years I have seen lots of fads come and thankfully go; the majority of us actually need to be working around simple, basic functional movements. Once we do them correctly and stay consistent the results achieved speak for themselves.

Below is a simple structure for the main chunk of your workout session. Before we start, lets briefly cover your warm-up. If you are a person who rocks up to the gym and jumps on the crosstrainer for 10 minutes – or even does no warm-up – then you should watch this sample 10-minute warm up video or go scan my column for warm-up ideas.

Moving on from there, lets look at the main emphasis of this article.

Today I want you to focus on this simple five-part workout plan:

  • Lower body
  • Upper body pull
  • Upper body push
  • Cardio/Power
  • Core
  • Rest

Ideally, this is how I would structure a session and pull exercises together for a circuit- style plan. I would suggest you spend roughly four working sets on a plan like this and give yourself 20-25 minutes chipping through this session.

So, lets build this plan.

Time: 20-25 minutes

Sets: 4-5 x 5 minute work sets

In each set I would encourage you to try get through all the aspects of the plan in the above order, starting off with lower body.

This template will be broken down into ‘advanced’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘beginner’-level categories. Along with that, I will attach the movements linked to the exercise which will bring you straight to a technique demo video.

Set 1

Barbell back squat (Adv)—-Goblet squat (Inter)—-Air squat (Beg)

8 reps barbell/10 reps goblet/12 reps air squat

*one minute for set then move on

Weighted chin/pull-up (Adv)—-5-second negative chin-up (Inter)—-Ring row (Beg)

3-5 reps/5 reps x 5 second negative/10-12 reps ring row

*1 minute for set then move on

Banded push-up (Adv)—-push-up (Inter)—-Elevated push-up (Beg)

4-8 reps banded/6-10 reps normal push-up/10-12 reps elevated push up

*1 minute for set then move on

Kettlebell swing (Adv)—-Broad jump (Inter)—-Squat jump (Beg)

15 reps KB swing/8 reps broad jump/12 reps squat jump

*1 minute for set then move on

Weighted plank (Adv)—-Plank (Inter)—-Elevated Plank (Beg)

45-second 10-20kg weighted plank/30-45 second hold/30-second elevated hold

*remainder of plank time to rest, plus one minute to rest, then start at the top again making some adjustments to load/reps/level as you move on. Overall I would tend to do 4-5 sets.

This is a structure that is going to work full body and will really give you a good bang for your buck for the time that you have to train.

‍Moving on from there into the next session on another day, you can absolutely stick with the same structure. A quick example of these movements would be as follows:Trap bar deadliftDumbbell single arm rowDumbbell chest pressBall slamPall of press

If you would like the correct rep or need advice with the right load percentage routine here – or even another workout structure similar to this – then just follow the links below and drop me a message. If you need any more advice or would like me to cover any particular topics in future articles then I would love to hear from you.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.