AB Workouts

How To Get Stronger In 21 Days

The Plan

With so many workouts to choose from, it can be easy to forget the strength training basics. This workout plan is designed to make sure you get started safely by building a strong foundation before doing more complex moves. It’s a split routine that involves working all of your upper body muscles one day and all of your lower body muscles the next. Don’t hesitate to lift a weight that will challenge you! You should be able to perform the set number of repetitions – no more and no less. If you can pump out another 20 reps, the weight is too light. If you’re struggling to make it to five reps, the weight is too heavy. Capiche?

      • Lat raise
        2-3 Sets of 12-15 Reps
        1. Grab a pair of medium weight dumbbells and lie with your upper back on an exercise ball. Alternatively, use a weights bench
        2. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and place them slightly apart for stability. Hold the weights at chest level with elbows bent
        3. Press the weights up toward the ceiling until your arms are fully extended. Lower slowly and repeat
      • Bentover row
        2-3 Sets of 12-15 Reps
        1. Hold a barbell between each of your hands with your arms shoulder-width apart
        2. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward from your hips with a straight back
        3. Draw the barbell back towards your lower abs, keeping your elbows close to your torso. Return to the starting position and repeat the move for the set amount
      • Arnold press
        2-3 Sets of 12-15 Reps
        1. Start seated (on an exercise ball if you want to challenge your core) and hold a set of dumbbells in each of your hands at shoulder height
        2. Rotate the dumbbells in by turning your palms to face your body and moving your arms in towards your centre line (the arms come in front of your face). This is your starting point
        3. Rotate your arms out to a traditional shoulder press position with your elbows under your wrists at shoulder level. Push the weights overhead until your arms are extended, then lower back to a shoulder press and rotate back inward.
        Repeat the entire move
      • Curl kickback
        2-3 Sets of 20 Reps (each side)
        1. Begin standing with a dumbbell in one of your hands and lean forward slightly with a straight back
        2. Curl the dumbbell up to your chest, keeping your elbows close to the midline of your body
        3. Lower slowly and then extend your arm to push the dumbbell out behind you, squeezing your triceps. Return to the start and repeat. Perform 20 reps on one arm, then switch sides
        Pt tip: Engage your core muscles to stabilise your spine
      • Front squat
        2-3 Sets of 15-20 Reps
        1. Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart, your knees slightly bent and a barbell or a pair of dumbbells resting on your upper chest muscles. Keep your elbows high
        2. Take a deep breath, arch your back slightly and bend at your knees to squat down
        3. Breathe out and return to the start position
        PT TIP: Be careful when completing this move as it could lead to unwanted joint pain. Try not to let your elbows drop or your knees move too much

      • Stifflegged deadlift
        2-3 Sets of 15-20 Reps
        1. Grab a barbell and hold it in front of your thighs, with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Engage your core muscles
        2. Bend at your hips to lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor
        3. Return to standing, squeezing your glutes as you rise and thrust your hips forward
        Did you know? Performing this move regularly will strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, potentially preventing injury
      • Barbell lunge
        2-3 SETS OF 20 (alternating)
        1 Stand with your legs hipwidth apart and a barbell on the fleshy part of your back
        2. Keeping your chest straight, take a big step forward. Bend down into a lunge position, with your front leg bent at a 90-degree angle and your back knee nearly on the ground
        3. Don’t let your front leg bend beyond your toes. Return to the start position and repeat on your other leg
        Did you know? This strengthens your glutes and hamstrings which can speed up metabolism and help you lose weight
      • Split squat
        2-3 Sets of 20 Reps (each side)
        1. Start in a standing position with a dumbbell in each of your hands. Place one foot in front of you, one leg behind with both feet pointing forwards.
        2. Bend down into a lunge position with your front leg bent at a 90-degree angle and your back knee nearly touching the ground.
        3. Push through both of your legs to rise straight up. Bend your knees to lunge back down. That’s one repetition. Perform 20 and one side, then swap legs.

Personal trainer: Sarah Ivory (sarah-ivory.com), Photography: Cliqq (cliqq.co.uk), Hair and make-up: Jo Adams (hairandmakeupatelier.com), Model: Emma Atkins, W Model Management, Clothing: Top and leggings: Sweaty Betty (sweatybetty.com), Trainers: New Balance (newbalance.co.uk), with thanks to Stoke By Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa (stokebynayland.com)

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