Each of the recommended routines focus on strength training. The rationale for this is simple: building muscle through strength training helps to boost your metabolism and burn fat. While you should eventually incorporate cardio into your workout, start by getting the basics correct. By seeing and feeling the results early on, you're more likely to keep with the program over the long term.
In this beginner's workout plan, focus on the large muscles that provide you with stability and core strength. You won’t need any special equipment. You can do the exercises together in one workout session or split them up throughout the day.
Aim to perform two to three sets involving 10 to 12 repetitions (reps) of each exercise. If you can only do four or six to start, that's okay. The aim is to perform an exercise so that you are slightly shaky by the final rep. Every week thereafter, aim to increase the reps until you are finally able to do three sets of 12.
As you begin to master the beginner's workout, you can incorporate additional exercises to build visibly stronger arms, legs, and abdominal muscles. For this intermediate plan, you would need a set of dumbbells.
Start by adding one or two of these exercises to your routine. You can then mix it up as you get stronger, creating workouts of six to seven exercises of your choosing (focusing on the upper body, lower body, overall body, or core).
In this advanced workout program, you're going to need a set of resistance bands and an exercise ball. These tools can help further strengthen the muscles used for stability.
There are four exercises you should add to the plan:
Stability ball push-ups: If you can complete a standard push-up with good form, try performing the exercise with your lower body positioned on the ball. Start with the ball under your knees and, as you get more comfortable with the exercise, move the ball closer to your feet.
Banded side steps: Step on the middle of the resistance band and grab one handle in each hand. The band should be looped under your feet. Now, step to the side with your right foot while keeping your left foot on the band. Do five steps to the right and five steps to the left to complete a set. Rest and repeat for three to four more sets.
Lunges with overhead extension: Step forward into a lunge position, placing your front foot on the middle of the band. With one handle in each hand, raise the arms into an overhead press while sinking into a deep lunge. Return to the starting position. Do five reps on each side to complete a set. Rest and repeat for two to three more sets.
Lat pulldowns: For this exercise, hitch the center of your resistance band to a hook on the door. Place the ball against the door. Grabbing a handle in each hand, take a seat facing away from the door. Slowly pull the bands down until your elbows are fully pressed to your sides. You should feel the effort in the back muscles adjacent to your armpits, called the latissimus dorsi. Raise to the starting position and repeat, aiming for two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps each.
To create a balanced exercise program, workout two to three times per week. Be aware that your weight may drop at first but then increase slightly as you build muscle mass. By this stage, your success should be measured not only in pounds and inches but how you look and feel.
If ever you reach a plateau, simply increase the intensity and/or duration of your workout. Your body responds in kind, putting you back on the fast track to weight loss.
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With a combination of blazing speed, incredible quickness, and ridiculous jumping ability professional basketball players are some of the most athletic people on the planet. How can you be the same? It all starts with strength training.