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Back-to-Basics Workout

I’m looking for a workout that uses compound exercises. I keep hearing about the basics, but no one ever says what they are. I don’t have a ton of time to spend in the gym, so I’d like a short routine I can do three times per week. I don’t want to look like the Hulk—more like Spiderman.

We run basic routines in IRONMAN all the time, and we also have a video, “Beginning Bodybuilding,” that includes complete training, eating and supplement schedules you may want to check out. Till then, here’s a routine that has the specs you’re looking for:


Squats or leg presses*, 2 x 8-10

Leg extensions, 1 x 8-10

Leg curls*, 2 x 8-10

Standing calf raises, 2 x 10-20

Bench presses*, 2 x 8-10

Pulldowns or chins*, 2 x 8-10

One-arm dumbbell rows, 2 x 8-10

Lateral raises ,2 x 8-10

Note: You may want to do some lower-back work, such as stiff-legged deadlifts, after hamstrings if you do leg presses instead of squats.

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Close-grip bench presses*, 2 x 8-10

Pushdowns, 1 x 8-10

Undergrip pulldowns*, 2 x 8-10

Spider curls (preacher curls on the

vertical side of the bench), 1 x 8-10

Reverse curls, 1 x 8-10

Wrist curls, 1 x 8-10

Full-range crunches, 2 x 8-10


Same as Monday

*Do one or two light warmup sets with 50 to 70 percent of your work weight prior to your heavy work sets.

Trainees at your level—or any level, for that matter—like arm training, which is why I put it on a separate day. Notice that you train biceps and triceps with direct work only once a week. The reason is that arms get a lot of indirect stimulation on Monday and Friday. Because of this indirect work, that one arm day is enough to stimulate extrordinary growth. In fact, it may be too much for some.

If you want a more abbreviated schedule, skip the Wednesday workout and put one exercise each for biceps and triceps—either close-grip bench presses and undergrip pulldowns or pushdowns and spider curls—at the end of the Monday and Friday routines. That will give you an extra day of system recovery. Try this routine and you’ll be looking like your favorite Marvel Comics superhero in no time—and using your webs instead of straps on your pulling exercises.

[Download a complimentary issue of Iron Man magazine for iPhone and iPad!]

*Reprinted by permission from Iron Man magazine.

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