I need a workout routine
June 30, 2009 2:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a 3-day-a-week workout routine that only uses a bench, a bar, adjustable dumbbells, and weights.

My goal is to gain muscle mass. I have a bench, straight and curl bar, adjustable dumbbells, and a sufficient supply of weights.

I would be working out alone 3 days a week: Mon, Wed, Fri.

I'm looking for ideas for a balanced workout routine.

I'm planning on incorporating the following exercises (at least):

dumbbell bench press
dumbbell squats
bent over rows
shoulder press

What should I add/remove? How should I split them up? Any suggestions on reps/sets/etc.? Any advice would be appreciated.

Potentially relevant information: 22 year old male, 5' 7", ~ 130 pounds .. not a total beginner to working out, though its been a while.

posted by alligatorman to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Check out Joyce Vedral's books, I have her "Fat-Burning Workout" that's just free weights and a bench. I really like the workout.
posted by Billegible at 2:34 PM on June 30, 2009

Strong Lifts 5x5 does all that you're asking for.
posted by coryinabox at 2:39 PM on June 30, 2009

You don't have a squat rack, otherwise I'd second Strong Lifts 5x5.
There's also P90x that does a good job.
posted by aeighty at 2:50 PM on June 30, 2009

aeighty: "You don't have a squat rack, otherwise I'd second Strong Lifts 5x5.
There's also P90x that does a good job.

Yea that p90x is a good one to use. I have it and it seems to be pretty good.
posted by Gravitus at 3:08 PM on June 30, 2009

Get some deadlifts in there to cover your back and legs. To hit more big muscle groups, dumbbell snatches and swings and presses will help.
posted by ignignokt at 4:41 PM on June 30, 2009

i'd recommend the turbulence training program, which is designed to be done 3 days/week with minimal home equipment. the workouts often include a swiss ball, but you could modify those exercises. i've been using various TT programs since the beginning of the year and i find them really fun and well-designed, using primarily functional multi-muscle exercises. i'm getting good results strengthwise (and i am an acrobat, so i was already strong.)
you can buy a whole package of workouts or get them individually at http://www.turbulencetraining.com/workouts/
the web site is very trashy and e-marketing-y, but i promise it's a good product. google "turbulence training sample" and you can probably find a 4-week program to download for free to get started.
posted by nevers at 6:39 PM on June 30, 2009

Best answer: Starting Strength (there's also a book) would be ideal for you if you had access to a squat rack, and with that in mind, I strongly recommend you get a squat rack, or squat rack alternative. Squats are so incredibly beneficial to so much of your body, I can't imagine doing a serious lifting program without them.
posted by telegraph at 7:19 PM on June 30, 2009

Best answer: I'm not sure what you mean by "straight and curl bar." But you should get an olympic bar and a squat rack and do Starting Strength or some variant thereof. The squat will be the center of your program, and dumbells will only work for so long.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:03 PM on June 30, 2009

Stronglifts and starting strength should be the only weight lifting plans you consider. Both are excellent for strength and muscle mass gains and both are designed for anyone who can't squat twice his weight. I'd stay away from p90x because it's not for adding mass. After my experience with it I can say it does two things well: increasing your pullup count and decreasing your overall strength.

I agree with telegraph about squats and being serious.
posted by trueluk at 8:38 PM on June 30, 2009

Starting Strength is great. If it's at all possible to make that work for you, do it.
posted by teishu at 9:22 PM on June 30, 2009

Also for what it's worth I am 6' and went from 145 to 175 lbs. in about 9 months doing Stronglifts and then Starting Strength, and there are lots of folks who did much better. I got a little strong, too.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:03 PM on June 30, 2009

Too bad you didn't say "and a kettlebell and a pullup bar" or I'd throw my vote in for CrossFit, my current #1 crush.
posted by thedaniel at 1:38 AM on July 1, 2009

Here's a good article about CrossFit to read before you consider doing it. It's not really designed with the goal of adding muscle mass, which is what you say you're after.

Nthing the recommendation to get a squat rack if you can swing it. Unless your dumbbells are much heavier than the heaviest dumbbells at my gym, you're going to hit a wall once you're past the beginner phase. The weight distribution of such a heavy load is going to be much better with a barbell, too.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:30 PM on July 1, 2009

I just got back from the Crossfit gym -- I've been doing it once a week for a couple of months. Like that article says, it's great for GPP -- general physical preparedness. But it's not a strength program, and it's not the best way to add muscle mass. A lot of the movements and workouts are difficult to learn on your own, too. Go with Starting Strength and re-evaluate when you're squatting 250 or so.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:08 PM on July 1, 2009

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