Whether it was by choice or by a circumstance you had no control over, there may be a time that you’re not as committed to fitness or overall wellness. This isn’t something to be ashamed of because life happens to all of us.
But if you’re reading this right now, then chances are that you’re looking to get back on the horse again. You want to get back to feeling fit and capable of doing great things. If that reads like I was talking about you, then keep reading.
Keep in mind that this won’t be a weight-loss specific program. You may not want to lose a bunch of fat or gain a lot of muscle. Your goal is to improve your overall conditioning and endurance, and feel confident in yourself again.
Give this program 3 days a week for the next 2 months. You can incorporate this program at the end of your weight training, if that is something you’re still doing, or follow these as separate workouts.
Fitness Equipment You'll Need
- Dumbbells: Dumbbells are free weights that allow you to work each side of your body individually and require you to stabilize the weight while doing so. Your range of motion won’t be restricted and you can still train heavy if you have access to larger dumbbells. You shouldn’t need really large weights for this program.
- Resistance Bands: Two forms of bands will work for this. One is the bands with the handles on the ends. The other is the band that is in the form of a circle that you may see powerlifters use. If you have either form, they will work. Having different levels of resistance will be even better.
- Your Body: There will be bodyweight movements in this program. Some will call for you to do reps while others will force you to stabilize yourself in different positions.
The Workout Split
The workouts are split into 3 days - lower body, upper body, and full body. You can perform these workouts at any time that you have available in your day. The only rule is that you perform them in that above order. So if you follow a Monday, Wednesday, Friday plan, then it would look like this:
- Monday: Lower Body
- Tuesday: Off
- Wednesday: Upper Body
- Thursday: Off
- Friday: Full Body
- Saturday: Off
- Sunday: Off
The lower and upper body workouts will call for you to perform 100 total reps of each exercise in the minimum amount of time possible. That doesn’t mean you use the lightest weight possible to do one set of 100 reps. You should have to stop and rest occasionally.
If the weight you use allows you to do over 30 reps before stopping, then you should either use more weight or perform your reps slower. The goal for these workouts is for you to perform all 100 reps in less time than you did the previous time.
Once you finish the 100th rep, take two minutes to rest before starting the next exercise. For each of these workouts, that’s 500 total reps.
The full body workout will be a little different. There will be six movements. You will perform each exercise for a total of five minutes. Your mission is to perform as many reps as possible in those five minutes.
You get to rest occasionally but remember that the clock is ticking. Once you finish your five-minute segment, you get two minutes to rest before moving on.
The ultimate vision is for you to be using more weight and either performing more reps or finishing in a faster time by the conclusion of this program. So remember to log or track your times or reps. Even if you beat your best by one second or one rep, that’s still improvement which should be recognized.
The Conditioning Comeback Day 1: Lower Body
|Dumbbell Lunge||*||100 (50 each)|
|Banded Good Morning||*||100|
|Lying Leg Raise||*||100|
|Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk||*||100|
|* As few sets as possible|
The Conditioning Comeback Day 2: Upper Body
|Dumbbell Floor Press||*||100|
|Banded Lateral Raise||*||100|
|Hammer Curl||*||100 (50 each)|
|Close Grip Pushup||*||100|
|* As few sets as possible|
The Conditioning Comeback Day 3: Full Body
|Goblet Squat||AMRAP||5 Minutes|
|Dumbbell Lunge||AMRAP||5 Minutes|
|Dumbbell Floor Press||AMRAP||5 Minutes|
|Dumbbell Pullover||AMRAP||5 Minutes|
|Hammer Curl||AMRAP||5 Minutes|
|Lying Leg Raise||AMRAP||5 Minutes|
|AMRAP = As Many Reps As Possible|
Below are the exercises you will use in this program. If you need more guidance on any of these movements, check out the M&S Exercise Video Database. You can see detailed instructions and videos for each exercise as well as seek other options to serve as substitutions should that be necessary.
Lower Body Exercises
Dumbbell Goblet Squat: When you lower yourself down into the hole, go as low as you comfortably can. You should be able to go down until your thighs are parallel with the floor. If not, do what you can until you improve. This isn’t a powerlifting meet and there are no judges around. That said, don’t let that be an excuse to do quarter reps and count them either.
Dumbbell Lunge: You can do these standing, on a platform, or as the walking lunge. That’s up to you and the options you have around you. As long as you’re lowering the knee as far as you safely can and consistently moving without losing your balance.
Banded Good Morning: Place the center of the band around your neck and shoulders first before stepping into the band. This is the safest way to place it. When you lower your upper body, stick your butt out and try to keep your back as straight as possible. Take your time going back up too so the band doesn’t try to jerk you back down.
Lying Leg Raise: This is a core movement that focuses on the lower abdominals. When you lift your legs, lift your hips slightly at the top. Lower them slowly until your feet are right above the floor but try to not let them touch the floor.
Farmer’s Walk: You’ve seen the strongman competitions where they carry the implements at their sides while walking. You can do the same thing with dumbbells. This exercise is one where you could finish quicker than expected. That’s ok. You can either use more weight or time yourself to see if you can complete the required steps quicker.
Upper Body Exercises
Dumbbell Floor Press: If you have access to a bench, feel free to use it but anyone can do a floor press. Lower the weights down until your upper arm touches the floor and press back up with as much force as you can generate.
Pullover: If you need to use the floor here, make sure you place a towel underneath your upper back so you can feel a slight stretch in the lats. Also, pause on the floor before lifting the weight up. Of course, if you have a bench, that would be better.
Banded Lateral Raise: When you lift the weight up, do your best not to jerk. If you have to swing and use momentum, stop and take a quick breather. Your form is more important than simply getting the weight up. Quality beats quantity.
Dumbbell Hammer Curl: The biceps and forearms will be the primary focus here. This exercise is a great assistance for pulling as well as grip strength. It also will add width to those upper arms.
Close Grip Pushup: Place your hands at a closer position than you would if you were to do regular pushups. You should feel the majority of the stress on the triceps. If you need assistance, place them higher like on a bar or bench.