Late last month I received an e-mail from a leatherneck and he told me that he didn't want to get huge, he justed wanted to "tone up". I replied to him that it was fine and I asked him how much time he had to workout. He said no more than three days a week. I told him that it would be no problem to design a quick program for him. Well, I'm going to share that workout with you because I know that there are many guys like Eric who just want to "tone up", and who have very little time. Time to build some muscle.

I call this workout "3 The Hard Way" because you will be conducting this workout 3 times per week. During the session you will be working 3 bodyparts per day and you will be doing 3 sets of every exercise. Hence, you can see why this is called three the hard way.

Today we'll be discussing day one and we will continue on with the rest of the workout in subsequent articles. As personal trainers, we have heard all types of advise on what bodyparts to work with one another. Well, I say it doesn't matter a whole lot if you are exhausting the muscle and using proper form. For our workout session, we'll be working chest, triceps and abdominals on Monday. On Wednesday we'll be working back, biceps and hamstrings. Finally, on Friday we'll work quadriceps (front thigh), shoulders and calves.


We're going to start with either the incline barbell bench press or dumbbell press. The first set you do will be a warm-up set of 10-12 repetitions (reps) with weight you can do fairly easy. This is done just to warm and loosen the muscles up. Next, you will do two heavier sets at 8-10 reps almost to total failure.

After incline bench press, you'll do flat bench press with either the barbell or dumbbells. Again, you'll do one warm-up set and two heavier ones.

Finally, for the final part of chest you're going to do incline dumbbell flyes. This will be done with the same set/rep scheme as before (1 warm-up, 2 heavy). That's it for chest, let's move on to triceps.

For tricep (tris) we're going to start with lying tricep extensions. You can use an easy curl bar to help make it easier on the wrists. Make sure that you keep your upper arms pointing straight to the ceiling as you lower and extend the weight. Again, you shall do 1 warm-up and 2 heavier sets. You will do the same amount of reps that you did with chest. That is 10-12 reps on the warm-up set and 8-10 on the heavy sets. You must be very careful with extensions, as they put a lot of pressure on the elbows. If you find that your elbows are in too much pain, reduce the amount of weight that you are lifting or discontinue the exercise altogether. Following the tricep extensions, you will be doing standing tricep pressdowns on the cable machine. All exercises will be conducted with the same set/rep scheme as before (1 warm-up, 2 heavy). Make sure when you do the pressdowns, that your elbows are locked in nice and tight to your body and also be sure to use your triceps to extend the v-bar down and not your bodyweight (very important). After you have finished the presdowns, you will move on to tricep kickbacks. To do a kickback, you will put one knee on a bench and use the hand on that same side of the body to brace yourself. You will grab a dumbbell with your other hand. Make sure that you back is straight and as close to parallel to the floor as possible. Raise your elbow so that your upper arm is parallel to the floor also and on the same level as your back. You are going to extend the dumbbell back until your arm is straight. Do not swing the weight up. Extend it up. If you have to swing the weight, you are using too much weight. This concludes your tricep workout. Let's move on to abdominals (abs).

The ab portion of this workout will start with hanging leg raises. You will start by either hanging from a pull-up bar or using the leg raise machine. Either way you'll be bringing your knees up to just slightly above parallel. The first set will be a warm-up of 15 reps and your final two sets will consist of 20-25 reps. Next, you will be doing lying trunk twists. You will lay down on the floor with your arms straight out to your side with your palms facing down. You can use dumbbells in each hand to help with the leverage if you so choose. You will bring your feet straight up until your body is shaped like the letter L (legs perpendicular to floor). Rotating at the hips, you will lower your legs first to the left and then to the right ensuring that you don't let them hit the floor. You are going to do 3 sets of 10 reps to the left and right. Alternating from each side back and forth. Your last exercise that you will be doing is crunches. Lay down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your hips and look straight up. Raise your shoulder blades off the floor while flexing your stomach muscles as tight as you can. You will do 3 sets of 20-25 reps. This will complete the first part of the 3 the hard way workout. I hope this gives you a little guidance for your workkout. Join us next issue of Semper Fitness to hit day two of the workout plan; back, biceps and hamstrings. That's the scoop from the extreme motivator this week. Stay pumped, stay motivated and OO-RAH!

Semper Fidelis!