5-Day Weightlifting Routine: Your Roadmap to Fitness

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Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Thursday August 13, 2020

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Do you want to tone up and flex your muscles? Summer is the ideal time for a gun show or two as you flex in the gym mirror. Plus, you can strut your shapely legs all over and enjoy admiring gazes. 

There’s no better way than weightlifting to sculpt your physique. If you can make your workout correspond to the days when you punch a time clock, even better. Here’s the ultimate 5-day routine to shred fat, tone your triceps and still sleep in on the weekends. 

Designing the Ultimate 5-Day Routine 

According to the research, you need to work each muscle group at least two days per week to make gains and prevent atrophy. Therefore, to fit everything into five days, you need to devote two days to training the largest groups nearly exclusively, with a bit of arm and ab work for variety. One day per week, you target the smaller muscles to make the sculpting pop. 

Are you ready to hit the gym? Here’s the ultimate routine to follow to get the body you want before your Labor Day barbecue. 

Day One and Four: Leg Day 

Summer shorts demand toned legs. Your base moves on this day consist primarily of squats and lunges. To maximize your results, you need to add some variety to work your quadriceps and hamstrings differently. Perform three sets of squats — make one a standard back version and use a Zercher, Anderson or front position for the other two. Here’s a sample training plan to follow:

  • Squats: Three to four sets using different techniques. 
  • Lunges: Here, too, go for variety. Mix-up front and rear lunges. Make some stationary and the others dynamic. Go lateral to work your inner and outer thighs. Perform three to four sets. 
  • Seated leg extension: Perform two sets. Make the first for power — do three to five repetitions at nearly your weight max. During the second, drop the weight and increase the repetitions to 12 to 16. 
  • Hamstring curl: Perform two sets similar to the leg extension, above. If your gym offers both a seated and lying hamstring curl, alternate between equipment by using one on day one and the other on day four. 
  • Calf raises: Perform two sets with light weights for 12 to 16 repetitions. 
  • Add one abdominal and one arm exercise: That way, you hit all muscle groups twice in one week. 

Day Three: Arms and Abs

Even though you only need to devote one gym day to these groups, you should throw in some sets and reps on other days. The best way to do so is to split the following group of exercises into two and throw half of them in on another day. If you work out Monday through Friday in your 5-day weight training repertoire, you might devote Wednesday to arms and abs exclusively while working on muscles like your triceps on Monday and Friday. 

  • Overhead triceps: Use one dumbbell or two. With your elbows close to your ears, drop the weight back and extend it overhead, keeping your upper arms stationary.  
  • Triceps kickbacks: With a weight in one hand, lean forward, supporting yourself with the opposite hand on the front-most thigh. Lift your elbow high, and, keeping your upper arm stiff, squeeze the weight behind you as you flex the back of your arms. Bye-bye, chicken wings! 
  • Planks and side planks: Get into a pushup position and hold for as long as possible. Then, rotate to one side, stacking your feet and extending the other arm up to the sky. Repeat on the opposite side and perform several repetitions. 
  • Leg lifts and bicycles: You can do either a single or double-leg lift, depending on your core strength. Lie on your back with one or both legs extended to the sky. You can place your hands under your bottom to protect your low back. Drop your legs down and raise them using your core. 
  • Hammer curls: With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your thumbs and forefinger faced upward. Curl the weights up to your shoulders and lower. Play with the pace of your lifting to make it more of a challenge — try lifting for a three-count, then lowering for one. 
  • Concentration curls: Sit on a weight bench and prop your arm against the inside of your thigh as you perform a biceps curl. Switch arms. 

Perform two to three sets of each exercise. 

Day Two and Five: Chest and Back 

Now it’s time to give the larger muscle groups of your upper body a workout. If you suffer from back pain, you can also add moves like bridges and bird dogs to your routine. 

  • Bench press: Lie on a weight bench and lift and lower the barbell in alignment with your chest’s midline. Perform three to four sets. Vary your grip position — a more narrow grip incorporates more triceps work, while wider ones use more bicep. 
  • Lat pulldown: Here, avoid bringing the weight behind your head. This action can strain your neck. Instead, pull the bar down toward your collarbone and extend overhead. Play with your grip placement here, too, as you perform three to four sets. 
  • Seated row: You can use a narrow or a wide grip here and pull the cable toward your body. Keep your spine straight as you perform this move, completing at least two sets.  
  • Chest flies: Lie in a weight bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Imagine you’re a bird as you spread your wings to the side, then bring them together over the midline of your chest without letting them touch. 

Get Tight and Toned for Summer With This 5-Day Weightlifting Routine

If you follow this 5-day weightlifting routine, you will develop a sleek, toned physique. Enjoy hitting the gym and looking and feeling your best. 

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