Choosing the Best Workout Routines for Men

Workout Routines for Men

Workout Routines for MenWhen considering the best workout routines for men, many make the mistake of thinking that “one size fits all”. While many goals can overlap one another, this doesn’t mean that there’s only one solution for every guy out there. This article will discuss what criteria you should consider when choosing your workout routines for men, as well as supply sample programs.

How to Choose Your Routine

When evaluating workout routines for men, there are two main criteria you need to keep in mind:

  • Goals
  • Equipment

While other elements such as schedule, exercise selection, and so on may seem like important factors, they can generally be dealt with rather easily. However, depending on your goals, you’re going to have to train a certain way, and that may require certain types of equipment. Conversely, if you desire to train with (or without) particular types of equipment, that can limit what goals you’re able to achieve with your workouts.

The Calisthenics Workout Program

Some guys like the idea of training with body weight exercises only. They can be perfect for the guy who doesn’t have time to hit the gym, for the businessman who is constantly on the road working out in his hotel room, or someone who just wants to get better at manipulating his own body.

The problem with many calisthenics workout routines for men is that they go too far to one extreme or the other. Many would have you believe that to build strength, you need to do gymnastic-inspired movements which can require as much skill or technique as they do physical capability.

On the flip side, you have other programs that would have you doing hundreds (or even thousands) of reps per day. This is something you’d never do in the gym, as you’d run the risk of causing an overuse injury to your joints. This means you shouldn’t do it with your calisthenics workouts, either.

Because every guy is built differently, weighs something different, and is of a different strength level, there’s no one such thing as a body weight workout that’s good for everyone. 20 push ups might be a maximum effort for one guy while being a cakewalk for another. As such, you’ll have to use your own best judgment when selecting exercises for the below workout.

This workout is good for overall strength, requires no equipment, and will get you huffing and puffing quite readily. Feel free to perform the workout several times per week, but try to change up the exercises (when given the choice) every time you perform it:

  • Moderately difficult push up variation #1 x 10 reps (could be a regular wide grip push up or a push up with your feet elevated on a chair)
  • Moderately difficult single leg movement x 15 reps (i.e. lunges, pistol squats or split squats)

Repeat 5x

  • Easier push up variation – 4 x max reps (i.e. regular push up)
  • Burpees x 8*
  • Jumps over a knee-height object (jump over the object, turn around, jump back) x 8
  • Burpees + jumps x 8**

Repeat 5x

*Burpees can include a push up, a jump, both, or neither.

**”Burpees + Jumps” is a rep of each performed back-to-back. Do a burpee, jump over your object, turn around, and repeat.

The biggest issue with a workout like this is that there is no direct back work. If you can get access to a pullup bar, try to do 20-50 (depending on your strength level) total chins or pullups 2-3x/week. If you can’t do chins/pullups or can’t get access to a pullup bar, hanging under a table to do inverted rows would work, too. Do 30-50 total reps in as few sets as possible after the “easier push up variation” above.

The “Gymless” Workout

Maybe you still don’t want (or can’t) get to the gym, but want to do more than just calisthenics. With nothing more than a pair of adjustable dumbbells, a pullup bar, and a little bit of space, you could easily do workout routines for men that are based on strength, hypertrophy, and circuit-style cardiovascular conditioning.

Alternate between the two below workouts, doing 3-4 workouts per week. If training 3x/week, go Mon/Wed/Fri for an A/B/A, B/A/B type of setup. If training 4x/week, just go with Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri:

Workout A:

  • Single arm clean & press – 5 sets x 1 rep left, 1 rep right until you’ve done 6 reps each side
  • Pullups x 50 total reps (as few sets as possible)
  • Moderately difficult push up variation – 3 sets x max reps
  • Dumbbell curls – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Step-ups x 8 reps per side
  • Burpees x 10
  • Jmping jacks x 50

Repeat 5x

  • Single arm dumbbell swings – 3 sets x 15 reps each side

Workout B:

  • Dumbbell floor press (do dumbbell bench press if you have a bench) – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Double dumbbell rows – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Lateral raise + rear laterals – 3-4 supersets x 10-12 reps each exercise
  • Lying dumbbell triceps extensions – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps each side
  • Reverse lunges x 8-10 reps each side
  • Mountain climbers x 15 reps each side
  • 2-hand dumbbell swings x 20

Repeat 5x

Strength-Based Hypertrophy

Now it’s time to look at some workout routines for men that can be done in the gym. Below is a workout program great for not only newer lifters, but also for those with a decent amount of training time under their belt. It keeps things simple, and is geared mostly toward building new muscle mass via increased strength.

The workouts are full-body and all around size builders. Alternate back and forth between the two on a Mon/Wed/Fri schedule, hitting them A/B/A, B/A/B style.

Workout A:

  • Standing pushpress – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Weighted pullups or pulldowns – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Dips – 2 x max reps
  • Deadlifts – 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Shrugs – 2 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Curls – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

Workout B:

  • Bench press – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Low pulley rows – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Incline press – 2-3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Squat – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Romanian deadlift – 2 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Kroc rows x 2 sets
  • Pudowns – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

Add in any moderate aerobic cardio of your choice 2-3x/week for 20-30 minutes.

The Strictly Bodybuilding Workout

If purely bodybuilding is your goal and you’ve been training for a few years, then this could be a good program for you. It still involves basic strength work, as that should always be your base for putting on size. However, there are many additional movements added for aesthetics and for more well-rounded muscular development. The program is a 4-day split, and should be performed on a “4-on, 1-off” schedule.

Workout A – Chest and Triceps:

  • Bench press – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Incline press – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Unweighted dips – 3 sets x max reps
  • Lying triceps extensions – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Cable crossovers – 2 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Pushdowns – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

Workout B – Back and Traps:

  • Deadlift – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Pullups – 50 total reps in as few sets as possible
  • Kroc rows x 2 sets
  • Pulldowns – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Low pulley rows – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Face pulls – 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Shrugs – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

Workout C – Shoulders and Biceps:

  • Seated dumbbell press – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Plate raises to overhead – 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Lateral raises – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Rear delts – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Barbell curls – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Cable curls – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

Workout D – Legs:

  • Squat – 3-4 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Leg press – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Romanian deadlift – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Leg extensions – 2-3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Leg curls – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Standing calf raises – 3-4 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Seated calf raises – 3-4 sets x 12-15 reps

Add in the same aerobic cardio as was prescribed in the strength-based hypertrophy workout.

An Athlete’s Performance Workout

Athletic workout routines for men are their own separate category, and can vary probably more than anything else. This is because they can be in-season or off-season, depend on the level of the athlete, and should cater to the actual sport itself. For instance, a sprinter has wildly different physical needs than does an American football player. The same goes for a baseball player and a mixed martial artist.

However, for a general athletic workout rooted in performance, a program that increases strength, improves explosive power, maintains aerobic capability, and entails anaerobic conditioning would work well. Below is a 3-day split that should be done on a Mon/Wed/Fri schedule. You might notice that there is more upper body training than lower body. This is because the legs will get additional work from intervals and conditioning.

Workout A – Explosive Lower/Strength Upper/Tempo Runs:

  • Box jumps – 3 sets x 5 reps for max height
  • Bench press – work up to a 5RM, backoff 20%, then do 25 reps in as few sets as possible
  • Pullups x 50 total reps in as few sets as possible
  • Dumbbell incline press – 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Face pulls – 3 sets x 15 reps
  • 50-yard tempo runs x 8*

Workout B – Explosive Upper/Strength Lower:

  • Plyometric push ups – 3 sets x 5 reps for max explosiveness
  • Squat – work up to a 5RM, backoff 20%, then do 25 reps in as few sets as possible
  • Split squats – 3 sets x 8-10 reps each side
  • Natural glute ham raise – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • 2-hand dumbbell swings – 3 sets x 20 reps

Workout C – Hypertrophy Upper/Tempo Runs:

  • Dips – 3 sets x max reps
  • Barbell rows – 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Seated dumbbell press – 3 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Rear delts – 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Curls + pushdowns – 3-4 supersets x 10-12 reps each exercise
  • 100-yard tempo runs x 6*

*Can be done either at the end of the workout or at a different part of the day.

You’ll also want to do two additional cardio conditioning sessions per week on non-workout days. Start off with an easy warmup, followed by 20 secs of maximum effort + 40 secs easy effort, repeated for 10 minutes. Then end your session off with another 30 minutes of easy to moderate effort.

As you can see, there are many workout routines for men to choose from. Pick one that suits your goals and equipment, put in consistent effort, and you should see gains quickly.