Workout Tutorials

CHEST

BARBELL
BENCH PRESS
  1. Wide, firm foot positioning on floor to create stability
  2. Pin shoulder blades behind your back for optimal chest contraction
  3. Slight arch in back
  4. Shoulder-width hand placement on bar to maximize tension on chest and minimize tension on triceps
  5. Bring elbows in at 45-degree angle to body to minimize tension on shoulder and risk of injury to rotator cuff
  6. Bring bar down to nipple-line of chest and push back up while squeezing the bar as if bending bar in half to optimize chest contraction
INCLINE BARBELL
BENCH PRESS
  1. Wide, firm foot positioning on floor to create stability
  2. Pin shoulder blades behind your back for optimal chest contraction
  3. Slight arch in back
  4. Shoulder-width hand placement on bar to maximize tension on chest and minimize tension on triceps
  5. Bring elbows in at 45-degree angle to body to minimize tension on shoulder and risk of injury to rotator cuff
  6. Bring bar down to nipple-line of chest and push back up while squeezing the bar as if bending bar in half to optimize chest contraction
FLAT
DUMBBELL PRESS
  1. Wide, firm foot positioning on floor to create stability
  2. Pin shoulder blades behind your back for optimal chest contraction
  3. Slight arch in back
  4. Bring elbows in at 45-degree angle to body to minimize tension on shoulder and risk of injury to rotator cuff
  5. Bring dumbbells down to each side of chest and push back up while squeezing your chest and bringing dumbbells together at the top of the movement to maximize chest contraction
INCLINE
DUMBBELL PRESS
  1. Wide, firm foot positioning on floor to create stability
  2. Pin shoulder blades behind your back for optimal chest contraction
  3. Slight arch in back
  4. Bring elbows in at 45-degree angle to body to minimize tension on shoulder and risk of injury to rotator cuff
  5. Bring dumbbells down to each side of chest and push back up while squeezing your chest and bringing dumbbells together at the top of the movement to maximize chest contraction.
FLAT
DUMBBELL FLY
    1. Wide, firm foot positioning on floor to create stability

 

    1. Pin shoulder blades behind your back for optimal chest contraction

 

    1. Slight arch in back

 

    1. Bring elbows in at 45-degree angle to body to minimize tension on shoulder and risk of injury to rotator cuff

 

  1. Bring dumbbells down to each side of chest and push back up while squeezing your chest and bringing dumbbells together at the top of the movement to maximize chest contraction.

 

INCLINE
DUMBBELL FLY

CABLE FLY
  1. Adjust cable handles to your shoulder height
  2. Bring handles in front of you
  3. Adjust foot placement, one in front of another to create balance
  4. Bring cable handles back to the sides of your body with a slight bend in the elbow and push back together towards midline of body, bringing the cable handles back together.
UPPER PEC
CABLE FLIES
  1. Adjust cable handles to bottom of the pulley.
  2. Bring handles in front of you
  3. Adjust foot placement, one in front of another to create balance
  4. Bring elbows to your sides and push up at a horizontal angle towards the ceiling bring the handles together at the top of the movement
  5. Bring back to starting position with elbows at sides of body and repeat movement

 

LOWER PEC
CABLE FLIES
  1. Adjust cable handles to top of the pulley.
  2. Bring handles in front of you
  3. Adjust foot placement, one in front of another to create balance
  4. Bring elbows to your sides and push up at a horizontal angle towards the ceiling bring the handles together at the top of the movement
  5. Bring cable handles up to the sides of your body with a slight bend in the elbow and push back together towards midline of body, bringing the cable handles back together

 

PUSH-UPS
  1. Get on hands and toes of feet with hands at shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep butt flat
  3. Bend your elbows and come down towards the ground with your elbows slightly in towards the side of your body and push back up
BACK

WIDE-GRIP PULL-UPS
  1. Keep a wide grip on a pull-up bar, hanging freely with your arms extended. This will be your starting position
  2. Pull yourself up by flexing the elbows and adducting the glenohumeral joint. Do not swing or use momentum to complete the movement. Attempt to get your chin above your hands.
  3. Pause at the top of the motion before lowering yourself to the starting position.
LAT PULL-DOWN (LONG BAR)
  1. Sit down on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley. Make sure that you adjust the knee pad of the machine to fit your height. These pads will prevent your body from being raised by the resistance attached to the bar.
  2. Grab the bar with the palms facing forward using the prescribed grip. Note on grips: For a wide grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance wider than shoulder width. For a medium grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance equal to your shoulder width and for a close grip at a distance smaller than your shoulder width.
  3. As you have both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, bring your torso back around 30 degrees or so while creating a curvature on your lower back and sticking your chest out. This is your starting position.
  4. As you breathe out, bring the bar down until it touches your upper chest by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Tip: Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the bar; therefore do not try to pull down the bar using the forearms.
  5. After a second at the contracted position squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position when your arms are fully extended and the lats are fully stretched. Inhale during this portion of the movement.
  6. Repeat this motion for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

 

Variations: The behind the neck variation is not recommended as it can be hard on the rotator cuff due to the hyper-extension created by bringing the bar behind the neck.

DUMBBELL BENT ROWS
  1. Holding dumbbells with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Tip: Make sure that you keep the head up. The dumbbells should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is your starting position.
  2. Now, while keeping the torso stationary, breathe out and lift the dumbbells to your sides. Keep the elbows close to the body and only use the forearms to hold the weight. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause.
  3. Then inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

 

Caution: This exercise is not recommended for people with back problems. A Low Pulley Row is a better choice for people with back issues.
Also, just like with the bent knee dead-lift, if you have a healthy back, ensure perfect form and never slouch the back forward as this can cause back injury.
Be cautious as well with the weight used; in case of doubt, use less weight rather than more.

Variations: The behind the neck variation is not recommended as it can be hard on the rotator cuff due to the hyper-extension created by bringing the bar behind the neck.

STRAIGHT-ARM PULL-DOWNS
  1. You will start by grabbing the wide bar from the top pulley of a pulldown machine and using a wider than shoulder-width pronated (palms down) grip. Step backwards two feet or so.
  2. Bend your torso forward at the waist by around 30-degrees with your arms fully extended in front of you and a slight bend at the elbows. If your arms are not fully extended then you need to step a bit more backwards until they are. Once your arms are fully extended and your torso is slightly bent at the waist, tighten the lats and then you are ready to begin.
  3. While keeping the arms straight, pull the bar down by contracting the lats until your hands are next to the side of the thighs. Breathe out as you perform this step
  4. While keeping the arms straight, go back to the starting position while breathing in.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: Can also be performed with a shorter shoulder-width straight bar or with a rope attachment.

SEATED CABLE ROW
  1. For this exercise you will need access to a low pulley row machine with a V-bar. Note: The V-bar will enable you to have a neutral grip where the palms of your hands face each other. To get into the starting position, first sit down on the machine and place your feet on the front platform or crossbar provided making sure that your knees are slightly bent and not locked.
  2. Lean over as you keep the natural alignment of your back and grab the V-bar handles.
    With your arms extended pull back until your torso is at a 90-degree angle from your legs. Your back should be slightly arched and your chest should be sticking out. You should be feeling a nice stretch on your lats as you hold the bar in front of you. This is the starting position of the exercise.
  3. Keeping the torso stationary, pull the handles back towards your torso while keeping the arms close to it until you touch the abdominals. Breathe out as you perform that movement. At that point you should be squeezing your back muscles hard. Hold that contraction for a second and slowly go back to the original position while breathing in.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Caution: Avoid swinging your torso back and forth as you can cause lower back injury by doing so.

Variations: You can use a straight bar instead of a V-Bar and perform with a pronated grip (palms facing down-forward) or a supinated grip (palms facing up-reverse grip).

SHOULDERS

BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS
  1. Sit on a bench with back support in a squat rack. Position a barbell at a height that is just above your head. Grab the barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing forward).
  2. Once you pick up the barbell with the correct grip width, lift the bar up over your head by locking your arms. Hold at about shoulder level and slightly in front of your head. This is your starting position.
  3. Lower the bar down to the shoulders slowly as you inhale.
  4. Lift the bar back up to the starting position as you exhale.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: This exercise can be performed standing.

DUMBBELL SHOULDER PRESS
  1. While holding a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a military press bench or utility bench that has back support. Place the dumbbells upright on top of your thighs.
  2. Now raise the dumbbells to shoulder height one at a time using your thighs to help propel them up into position.
  3. Make sure to rotate your wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing forward. This is your starting position.
  4. Now, exhale and push the dumbbells upward until they touch at the top.
  5. Then, after a brief pause at the top contracted position, slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position while inhaling.
  6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: You can perform the exercise standing or sitting on a regular flat bench. For people with lower back problems, the version described is the recommended one.
You can also perform the exercise as Arnold Schwarzenegger used to do it, which is to start holding the dumbbells with a supinated grip (palms facing you) in front of your shoulders and then, as you start pushing up, you align the dumbbells in the starting position described on step 3 by rotating your wrists and touch the dumbbells at the top. As you come down, then you would go back to the starting position by rotating the wrist throughout the lowering portion until the palms of your hands are facing you. This variation is called the Arnold Press. However, it is not recommended if you have rotator cuff problems.

LATERAL RAISES (STANDING/SEATED)
  1. Pick a couple of dumbbells and stand with a straight torso and the dumbbells by your side at arms length with the palms of the hand facing you. This will be your starting position.
  2. While maintaining the torso in a stationary position (no swinging), lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend on the elbow and the hands slightly tilted forward as if pouring water in a glass. Continue to go up until you arms are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you execute this movement and pause for a second at the top.
  3. Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position as you inhale.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: This exercise can also be performed sitting down.

FRONT RAISES
  1. Pick a couple of dumbbells and stand with a straight torso and the dumbbells on front of your thighs at arms length with the palms of the hand facing your thighs. This will be your starting position.
  2. While maintaining the torso stationary (no swinging), lift the left dumbbell to the front with a slight bend on the elbow and the palms of the hands always facing down. Continue to go up until you arm is slightly above parallel to the floor. Exhale as you execute this portion of the movement and pause for a second at the top. Inhale after the second pause.
  3. Now lower the dumbbell back down slowly to the starting position as you simultaneously lift the right dumbbell.
  4. Continue alternating in this fashion until all of the recommended amount of repetitions have been performed for each arm.

Variations: This exercise can also be performed both arms at the same time. Also, you could use a barbell as well.

REVERSE FLY (BACK OF SHOULDER)
  1. To begin, lie down on an incline bench with the chest and stomach pressing against the incline. Have the dumbbells in each hand with the palms facing each other (neutral grip).
  2. Extend the arms in front of you so that they are perpendicular to the angle of the bench. The legs should be stationary while applying pressure with the ball of your toes. This is the starting position.
  3. Maintaining the slight bend of the elbows, move the weights out and away from each other (to the side) in an arc motion while exhaling. Tip: Try to squeeze your shoulder blades together to get the best results from this exercise.
  4. The arms should be elevated until they are parallel to the floor.
  5. Feel the contraction and slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position while inhaling.
  6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

 

ARMS

BICEP CURLS
  1. Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length. Keep your elbows close to your torso and rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward. This will be your starting position.
  2. Now, keeping the upper arms stationary, exhale and curl the weights while contracting your biceps. Continue to raise the weights until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level. Hold the contracted position for a brief pause as you squeeze your biceps.
  3. Then, inhale and slowly begin to lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: There are many possible variations for this movement. For instance, you can perform the exercise sitting down on a bench with or without back support and you can also perform it by alternating arms; first lift the right arm for one repetition, then the left, then the right, etc.
You can also do the exercise starting with both palms of the hands facing the torso and then rotating forward as the movement is performed. At the top of the movement the palms should face forward and the small finger should be higher than the thumb for a peak contraction.

PREACHER CURLS
  1. To perform this movement you will need a preacher bench and an E-Z bar. Grab the E-Z curl bar at the close inner handle (either have someone hand you the bar which is preferable or grab the bar from the front bar rest provided by most preacher benches). The palm of your hands should be facing forward and they should be slightly tilted inwards due to the shape of the bar.
  2. With the upper arms positioned against the preacher bench pad and the chest against it, hold the E-Z Curl Bar at shoulder length. This will be your starting position.
  3. As you breathe in, slowly lower the bar until your upper arm is extended and the biceps is fully stretched.
  4. As you exhale, use the biceps to curl the weight up until your biceps is fully contracted and the bar is at shoulder height. Squeeze the biceps hard and hold this position for a second.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: You can perform this exercise also using a low pulley with an E-Z Bar attachment instead. In this case you will need to position the bench in front of the pulley. You may also use a wider grip for variety purposes.

CONCENTRATION CURLS
  1. Sit down on a flat bench with one dumbbell in front of you between your legs. Your legs should be spread with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
  2. Use your right arm to pick the dumbbell up. Place the back of your right upper arm on the top of your inner right thigh. Rotate the palm of your hand until it is facing forward away from your thigh. Tip: Your arm should be extended and the dumbbell should be above the floor. This will be your starting position.
  3. While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the weights forward while contracting the biceps as you breathe out. Only the forearms should move. Continue the movement until your biceps are fully contracted and the dumbbells are at shoulder level. Tip: At the top of the movement make sure that the little finger of your arm is higher than your thumb. This guarantees a good contraction. Hold the contracted position for a second as you squeeze the biceps.
  4. Slowly begin to bring the dumbbells back to starting position as your breathe in. Caution: Avoid swinging motions at any time.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions. Then repeat the movement with the left arm.

Variations: This exercise can be performed standing with the torso bent forward and the arm in front of you. In this case, no leg support is used for the back of your arm so you will need to make extra effort to ensure no movement of the upper arm. This is a more challenging version of the exercise and is not recommended for people with lower back issues.

TRICEP EXTENSION
  1. Attach a straight or angled bar to a high pulley and grab with an overhand grip (palms facing down) at shoulder width.
  2. Standing upright with the torso straight and a very small inclination forward, bring the upper arms close to your body and perpendicular to the floor. The forearms should be pointing up towards the pulley as they hold the bar. This is your starting position.
  3. Using the triceps, bring the bar down until it touches the front of your thighs and the arms are fully extended perpendicular to the floor. The upper arms should always remain stationary next to your torso and only the forearms should move. Exhale as you perform this movement.
  4. After a second hold at the contracted position, bring the bar slowly up to the starting point. Breathe in as you perform this step.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: There are many variations to this movement. For instance you can use an E-Z bar attachment as well as a V-angled bar that allows the thumb to be higher than the small finger. Also, you can attach a rope to the pulley as well as using a reverse grip on the bar exercises.

SKULL CRUSHERS
    1. Lie on a flat bench while holding two dumbbells directly in front of you. Your arms should be fully extended at a 90-degree angle from your torso and the floor. The palms should be facing in and the elbows should be tucked in. This is the starting position.

 

    1. As you breathe in and you keep the upper arms stationary with the elbows in, slowly lower the weight until the dumbbells are near your ears.

 

    1. At that point, while keeping the elbows in and the upper arms stationary, use the triceps to bring the weight back up to the starting position as you breathe out.

 

  1. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Caution: This is an exercise that you need to be very careful with when selecting the weight. Too much weight with sloppy form and you could be looking at injured elbows. Also, if you suffer from elbow problems this exercise might be too harsh on your elbows, so you may need to look for a substitute such as a close-grip bench press.
Variations: You can perform this exercise in an alternate fashion like alternate dumbbell curls.

DIPS
    1. To get into the starting position, hold your body at arm's length with your arms nearly locked above the bars.

 

    1. Now, inhale and slowly lower yourself downward. Your torso should remain upright and your elbows should stay close to your body. This helps to better focus on tricep involvement. Lower yourself until there is a 90 degree angle formed between the upper arm and forearm.

 

    1. Then, exhale and push your torso back up using your triceps to bring your body back to the starting position

 

  1. Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

Variations: If you are new at this exercise and do not have the strength to perform it, use a dip assist machine if available. These machines use weight to help you push your bodyweight. Otherwise, a spotter holding your legs can help. More advanced lifters can add weight to the exercise by using a weight belt that allows the addition of weighted plates.

 

LEGS

BARBELL SQUAT
  1. Begin with the barbell supported on top of the traps. The chest should be up and the head facing forward. Adopt a hip-width stance with the feet turned out as needed.
  2. Descend by flexing the knees, refraining from moving the hips back as much as possible. This requires that the knees travel forward. Ensure that they stay align with the feet. The goal is to keep the torso as upright as possible.
  3. Continue all the way down, keeping the weight on the front of the heel. At the moment the upper legs contact the lower legs reverse the motion, driving the weight upward.
LEG EXTENSIONS
  1. For this exercise you will need to use a leg extension machine. First choose your weight and sit on the machine with your legs under the pad (feet pointed forward) and the hands holding the side bars. This will be your starting position. Tip: You will need to adjust the pad so that it falls on top of your lower leg (just above your feet). Also, make sure that your legs form a 90-degree angle between the lower and upper leg. If the angle is less than 90-degrees then that means the knee is over the toes which in turn creates undue stress at the knee joint. If the machine is designed that way, either look for another machine or just make sure that when you start executing the exercise you stop going down once you hit the 90-degree angle.
  2. Using your quadriceps, extend your legs to the maximum as you exhale. Ensure that the rest of the body remains stationary on the seat. Pause a second on the contracted position.
  3. Slowly lower the weight back to the original position as you inhale, ensuring that you do not go past the 90-degree angle limit.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of times.

Variations: As mentioned at in the foot positioning section, you can use various foot positions in order to maximize stimulation of certain thigh areas. Also, you can perform the movement unilaterally (one leg at a time).

BARBELL LUNGES
  1. This exercise is best performed inside a squat rack for safety purposes. To begin, first set the bar on a rack just below shoulder level. Once the correct height is chosen and the bar is loaded, step under the bar and place the back of your shoulders (slightly below the neck) across it.
  2. Now, inhale and slowly lower yourself downward. Your torso should remain upright and your elbows should stay close to your body. This helps to better focus on tricep involvement. Lower yourself until there is a 90 degree angle formed between the upper arm and forearm.
  3. Hold on to the bar using both arms at each side and lift it off the rack by first pushing with your legs and at the same time straightening your torso.
  4. Step away from the rack and step forward with your right leg and squat down through your hips, while keeping the torso upright and maintaining balance. Inhale as you go down. Note: Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, as this will put undue stress on the knee joint.
  5. Using mainly the heel of your foot, push up and go back to the starting position as you exhale.
  6. Repeat the movement for the recommended amount of repetitions and then perform with the left leg.

Caution: This is a movement that requires a great deal of balance so if you suffer from balance problems you may wish to either avoid it or just use your own bodyweight while holding on to a fixed object. Definitely never perform with a barbell on your back if you suffer from balance issues.

Variations: There are several ways to perform the exercise.

• One way is to alternate each leg. For instance do one repetition with the right, then the left, then the right and so on.

• The other way is to do what I call a static lunge where your starting position is with one of your feet already forward. In this case, you just go up and down from that starting position until you are done with the recommended amount of repetitions. Then you switch legs and do the same.

• A more challenging version is the walking lunges where you walk across the room but in a lunging fashion. For walking lunges the leg being left back has to be brought forward after the lunging action has happened in order to continue moving ahead. This version is reserved for the most advanced athletes

LEG CURLS
  1. Adjust the machine lever to fit your height and lie face down on the leg curl machine with the pad of the lever on the back of your legs (just a few inches under the calves). Tip: Preferably use a leg curl machine that is angled as opposed to flat since an angled position is more favorable for hamstrings recruitment.
  2. Keeping the torso flat on the bench, ensure your legs are fully stretched and grab the side handles of the machine. Position your toes straight (or you can also use any of the other two stances described on the foot positioning section). This will be your starting position.
  3. As you exhale, curl your legs up as far as possible without lifting the upper legs from the pad. Once you hit the fully contracted position, hold it for a second.
  4. As you inhale, bring the legs back to the initial position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Caution: Do not ever use so much weight on the exercise that you start using swinging and jerking as you can risk both lower back injury and also a hamstring injury.

Variations: As mentioned at in the foot positioning section, you can use various foot positions in order to maximize stimulation of certain thigh areas. Also, you can perform the movement unilaterally (one leg at a time).

STRAIGHT LEG DEADLIFTS
  1. Grasp a bar using an overhand grip (palms facing down). You may need some wrist wraps if using a significant amount of weight.
  2. Stand with your torso straight and your legs spaced using a shoulder width or narrower stance. The knees should be slightly bent. This is your starting position.
  3. Keeping the knees stationary, lower the barbell to over the top of your feet by bending at the waist while keeping your back straight. Keep moving forward as if you were going to pick something from the floor until you feel a stretch on the hamstrings. Inhale as you perform this movement.
  4. Start bringing your torso up straight again by extending your hips until you are back at the starting position. Exhale as you perform this movement.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Caution: This is not an exercise that is recommended for people with lower back problems. Also, it needs to be treated with the utmost respect paying special attention not to round the back forward as you move the torso down; the back should always be straight. Finally, jerking motions or doing too much weight can injure your back.

Variations: The exercise can also be performed with a dumbbell as described above.