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Back to Strength-Training Basics

Woman doing bench press exercise

A beneficial workout routine does not need to be overly complicated to produce great results. Not to mention, with school back in session, your time is limited and your brain will be too occupied with homework or studying. Keeping your workout simple is going to make you most efficient in juggling both school and gym time. 

Below is a three-day back-to-basics routine that covers the major muscle groups. It consists of upper body push, upper body pull, and a full leg routine! This three-day regimen can be applied to any goal, from bodybuilders to those just looking to improve their fitness level. 

Goal Adjustments

Here are some exercise adjustments that you can apply according to your goal. 

Muscle Gain: Perform exercises listed below as a single set for 6-8 repetitions with 60-90 seconds between sets. Abstain from performing cardiovascular activity. 

Tone or Muscle Maintenance: Perform exercises as a superset (pair two exercises together), for 10-15 reps with 30-60 seconds rest between each superset. For additional results, incorporate 20 minutes of cardiovascular activity. 

Fat Loss or High-Calorie Burn: Perform listed exercises as a circuit for 15-18 reps. After all, exercises have been performed, rest 2-3 minutes. Repeat for a total of 3 rounds. For additional results, incorporate 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular activity. 

Keep in Mind

Do not forget to perform your dynamic stretches before you begin the workouts. I would also recommend one warm-up set. This means the first exercise of each workout is performed using a lighter weight than your actual working set. Properly warming up your muscles helps minimize any strains or serious injuries. Remember, follow the rep ranges listed above according to your goal. For proper recovery, allow one day of rest between each routine. 

Back view of woman on lat pulldown machine

The Workouts


  • Barbell Bench Press 
  • Dumbbell Incline Chest Press 
  • Decline Chest Press Machine 
  • Barbell Lying Triceps Extensions 
  • Dumbbell Triceps Kickbacks 
  • Dips 


  • Barbell Squat 
  • Barbell Straight-Leg Deadlifts 
  • Barbell Walking Lunges 
  • Plate Loaded Leg Press 
  • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 
  • Dumbbell Alternating Front Raises 
  • Dumbbell Alternating Lat Raises 
  • Barbell Upright Row


  • Cable Wide Lat Pulldown 
  • Cable Narrow Reverse-Grip Pulldown 
  • Dumbbell Back Row 
  • Barbell Biceps Curl 
  • Preacher Curl Machine 
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curl

– By Claudia Virgil, certified personal trainer

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