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The Fresh Start Workout

A balanced approach to build muscle and burn fat.

Consider them ying and yang; the relationship between strength training and cardiovascular training is one that demands perfect balance. If you’ve read this magazine for any length of time you’ve probably noticed that most of our workouts share a theme of killing two birds with one stone. Or, more specifically, strength training at a brisk pace so as to derive a significant cardiovascular benefit while you do so.

Our New Year, New You Workout on the next page ups the ante on this concept. The circuits you’ll be doing provide just enough volume to build muscle, but you switch body parts often enough that your heart will have to work to keep up the blood supply to all the areas you’re working. Workout I has a lot of chest and back work, with just a touch of legs sending the blood rushing to all areas of your body, whereas Workout II starts off with front squats and barbell thrusters, which deliver a total-body shellacking that will jack up your heart rate and keep it there for the remainder of the workout.

The workouts are easily scaleable; if you find that they’re not challenging enough, just add 2-5 reps per exercise, or an extra round or two. Or just add more weight. If you get bored, however, you might need to switch it up. You can check out past workouts from Robert Irvine Magazine by clicking here.


Alternate workouts, doing 4-5 workouts per week. Perform each workout like a circuit doing 3-4 total rounds. Don’t rest between exercises and rest only for 1-2 minutes at the end of each round. Give yourself 10 minutes to warm up and stretch before each workout and do a 5-10 minute cooldown and stretch at the end of each workout.

Dumbbell Bench Press x 15
Dumbbell Row x 15 each side
Bodyweight Squat x 20
Pushup x 10
Inverted Row x 10
French Curl* x 15
Hammer Curl x 15
Cable Triceps Pressdown x 10
Cable Biceps Curl x 10
Plank x 60 seconds


Barbell Front Squat x 10
Barbell Thruster x 10
Arnold Press x 15
Lateral Raise x 10
Front Raise x 10
Upright Row x 10
Rear Delt Flye x 10
Walking Lunge x 20
Side Plank x 60 seconds each

DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS: Lie flat on a bench holding two dumbbells. Engage your pecs and triceps to press them up, arcing slightly from the bottom of your chest to the center. Slowly return to the start and repeat for reps.

DUMBBELL ROW: Place your right knee and hand on a bench. With your back flat, and the dumbbell in your left hand, row the dumbbell to your chest, pulling from your shoulder blade (you should feel most of the work being done by your rhomboids, the muscles of your upper middle back). Pause at the stop and slowly return to the start. After 10 reps, repeat for 10 more with the opposite arm.

BODYWEIGHT SQUAT: With your hands straight out in front of you or at your hips, squat low to the ground, keeping your back flat and driving through your heels to return to the start. Since this is an unloaded movement, reps should be rapid, but under control.

PUSHUP: Keep your back flat throughout these, and keep your neck in alignment with the rest of your body, meaning down bend it toward the floor. Do deep, full reps, getting your chest as close to the floor as possible. Like the bodyweight squat, do reps quickly, but under control.

INVERTED ROW: Lie in the base of a power rack with the bar resting on safety pins that have been set about 2-3 feet above the ground. Grasp the bar with both hands and pull your chest up to the bar, keeping your back flat and your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your hips and ankles. Pause for a second at the top of the movement, then slowly return to the start.

FRENCH CURL: Hold a single heavy dumbbell behind your head with two hands on the underside of the top plate. Keeping your elbows facing forward, extend your arms to lift the weight overhead.

HAMMER CURL: Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides with your thumbs touching the underside of the top plates. Curl the weight up to your shoulders without rotating your hands (when your arms are moving up and down it will look like you are hammering).

CABLE TRICEPS PRESSDOWN: Use an attachment of your choice—rope, v-grip, straight bar, or other—attached to a high cable pulley. Grasp it with both hands and engage your triceps to push the bar down. Hold it for a second, then return to the start under control.

CABLE BICEPS CURL: Using the same attachment, adjust the high pulley to the low position. Perform biceps curls under control, squeezing hard in the top position.

PLANK: Get down on the floor in a pushup position with your elbows and forearms propping up your body. Keep your shoulders, hips, and ankles in a line and squeeze your abs, breathing behind the brace, as you hold for the allotted time.

BARBELL FRONT SQUAT: Load a barbell and rest it just below your collarbones on the front part of your deltoids (shoulder muscles). Hold it in place with your hands just in front of your shoulders or by crossing your arms over the bar. Perform squats, getting your thighs parallel to the floor at the bottom of the movement.

BARBELL THRUSTER: With a loaded barbell across your front delts and under your collarbones, hold the bar with an overhand grip; your hands should be just outside shoulder width. Perform deep squats, then, at the top of the movement—and using some momentum to get the weight up—thrust the bar overhead to a full extension of your arms. Return the bar to your shoulders under control and go right into the next rep.

ARNOLD PRESS: Hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders with your palms facing your shoulders. Press the weight up, slowly rotating your palms away from your body so that they are facing the opposite direction at the top of the movement. Reverse the move exactly to start the next rep.

LATERAL RAISE: Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Without bending your elbows, raise your arms out to your sides until they are parallel to the floor. Hold the top position for a second, then slowly return to the start.

FRONT RAISE: Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Without bending your elbows, raise your arms straight out in front of you until they are parallel to the floor.

UPRIGHT ROW: Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of you at your waist. Lift the weights straight up to your shoulders, keeping your hands close to your body. Your elbows should flare up and out as you do this.

REAR DELT FLYE: Lie face down on a bench set to a slight incline, holding a pair of dumbbells. Raise the dumbbells straight out to your sides without bending your elbows. Squeeze your delts in the top position then slowly return to the start.

WALKING LUNGE: Holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides, perform walking lunges, walking forward with a long stride and lowering your back knee to the floor. Drive through your front heel to stand back up and take the next step. Keep good posture throughout the exercise and don’t bend at the waist as you go.

SIDE PLANK: Lie on your side and prop up your body on one elbow, keeping your body in a straight line for the duration of the exercise. Switch sides after you’ve hit the allotted time. For an added challenge, raise your top leg up and try to hold it there.

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