Every guy deserves a vacation -- even from the gym. While a short break from your normal routine won't make your gains completely disappear, the first workout after time away can be hellacious. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be. We reached out to Craig Ballantyne, C.S.C.S., creator of Turbulence Training, for the best routine to hit the ground running again. His answer: A quick routine that consists of body-weight moves and light weights like the circuit below.
It'll get your heart pumping and your muscles burning, without the next-day soreness, he explains. After all, there’s nothing worse than lifting too heavy after a break, and then skipping the gym the next day because you’re too sore. Plus, moves that you could crank out rep after rep before vacation -- like the pushup -- may not seem as easy this time around. And that's all the motivation you’ll need to kickstart your workout plan again. (Beat your workout plateaus with this 5-move Total-Body Muscle Assault.)
Performing the following six exercises in order, resting 15 seconds between moves. That's one round. Rest for one to two minutes, and then perform one more round.
Assume a pushup position, with your arms straight and hands below and slightly wider than your shoulders. Bend at your elbows and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, and push your body back up. That’s one rep. Perform as many as you can and finish 1 rep short of failure.
We found 3 simple tricks to perfect your form and protect your shoulders: The Best Way to Do Pushups.
Using an overhand, shoulder-width grip, grab a bar that’s been secured at about waist height. Hang with your arms completely straight, hands positioned directly above your shoulders, and heels touching the floor. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Pull your shoulder blades back, and continue to pull with your arms to lift your chest to the bar. Pause, and lower your body back to the starting position. That's one rep. Perform as many as you can and finish 1 rep short of failure.
You can Bolster Your Shoulders, put your strength to the test--and grow bigger--with the ultimate overhead exercise.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes forward. Push your hips back as if you’re about to sit in a chair, and lower your body. Pause, and then push back up to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform 30 reps.
Dumbbell Single-Arm Row
Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, and place your left hand on a bench. Lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbell hang at arm's length from your shoulder. Pull the dumbbell to the side of your chest. Pause, and return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 8 reps with one arm, then switch.
Boost your gains by downsizing your workout with The One Dumbbell Workout.
Dumbbell Bench Press
Lie on a bench holding a pair of dumbbells with your arms straight above your chest, palms facing forward. Lower the dumbbells to the sides of your chest, and then push the weights back up to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Do 8 reps with a weight you normally do 12 times.
Dumbbell Reverse Lunge
Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Take a long step back with your left foot so your left knee nearly touches the floor. Push back up and repeat. Do all your reps with your left leg, and rest before repeating the move with your right leg. Do 1 set of 8 reps per side with a weight you normally do 12 times.