Five “Go-To” Workouts
Over the years I have been asked many questions about what my favorite workout is: “What is your go-to workout?”, “If you could only do one workout what would it be?”, “What is the best workout to build muscle?”, “What is the best workout you know?”. I wish I could answer with just one workout. I wish it were that simple that there could be one workout session that could achieve any goal or accomplish any purpose. The truth is there are many workouts for different purposes and for different goals. The answer I could give also could be dependent on many factors like time limit and equipment. Or the answer could be influenced by how I feel that day. The reality is there just isn’t one workout I could recommend. There are many.
With that in mind here are a few of my favorite workouts for different occasions or different circumstances. There is a whole body workout, a no gear workout, a cardiovascular workout, a mass gain workout, and a workout for occasions where you are running short on time.
Enjoy and choose your workout wisely.
20-1 Burpee Ladder
My favorite “No Gear” workout is something called “Prison Burpees”. It is a 20-1 Burpee ladder. Complete 20 burpees and walk 5 meters across a room. Then do 19 burpees and walk 5 meters back across the room. Then complete 18 burpees. Keep following this pattern until you are finished the entire 20-1 ladder. It is 210 total burpees.
This workout can take anywhere between 15 and 25 minutes depending on how hard you are willing to go. Remember to use proper form for the Burpee though. It is one of the most cheated movements. Make sure your chest touches the ground and make sure you jump a minimum of 6 inches off of the ground with your hips fully extended at the top of the jump. I’d rather see you take 25 minutes and do every burpee with perfect form than cheat and finish in 15 minutes. Hold yourself accountable. Form is everything.
6x (30sec Work/30sec Rest) Row or Ski
Rest 4 minutes between blocks
Two of my favorite cardiovascular tools are the Rower and the SkiErg. They are relatively inexpensive to buy, they are durable, you can find one of them at almost any gym, and they have a great computer with preset workouts. I have done countless workouts on the rower and SkiErg but my favorite breathing workout is a simple interval structure involving 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest.
Do a 10 minute warm-up on the rower or the SkiErg. Get a good sweat going to tell your body it is time to work hard. When you are done the warm-up set the the rower or SkiErg for 30/30 intervals. Complete 6 total 30sec work intervals. That is one set or block. You will complete three total blocks resting 4 minutes between each one. That makes 18 total intervals. For beginners I would aim for 150m each 30 second intervals. For intermediates I would aim for 160m each 30 second interval, and finally for advanced athletes I would aim for 170m each 30 second interval.
10x Bench Press +
Ten Sets, Rest 2 minutes between sets
When it comes to mass gain there is no better workout than ten sets of ten. It is a workout format that I have used again and again and again with great results every time. It is simple to execute. Complete 10 reps of Bench Press and then immediately complete 10 pull-ups. The Bench Press must be full range of motion. Touch the bar to your chest and fully extend your elbows at the top. The negative should take 4 seconds and then press up as quickly as possible. For the pull-ups ensure you pull your chest all the way up to the bar and then lower yourself down slowly to full extension. All pull-ups should be done without a kip and with strict form.
Beginners should use 135lbs for the bench press, intermediate athletes should use 185lbs and advanced athletes should use 225lbs.
20 minutes Max Reps
Sometimes you just don’t have a lot of time to train. Work, family, relationships and life in general can all get in the way. If you find yourself short on time then do a quick 20 minute test. Choose a movement: squats, bench press, lunges, burpees, push-ups, and push press are just some of the movements you could pick. Then choose a weight if the movement requires one and get to work. The workout is simple but certainly not easy. Just get as many reps done as humanly possible in 20 minutes. If you are willing to really go for it 20 minutes will be more than enough time. The next time you do the workout try to beat your last score. If all you did was one of these 20 minute workouts every day you’d be well on your way to getting fitter than you can imagine.
Bench Press +
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of each
This is one of my favorite workouts of all time. All you require is a few barbells, a squat cage, and a few 45lbs plates. Do a few Bench Press reps, Deadlift reps, squats, and push-ups to warm-up and then get down to business and start the circuit. The goal is to get this done as quickly as possible while using perfect form. Do 10 reps of each movement, then 9 reps of each movement, 8 of each movement and keep going until you have completed 1 rep of each movement. This is a workout that will work your entire body from head to toe. If you are a beginner use 135lbs for Bench Press, Deadlift, and Back Squats. If you are an intermediate then use 185lbs for each movement. If you are an advanced athlete use 225lbs.