Fall Fitness Conditioning
A word to the wise:
The summer body craze is finally over for the 2018 year. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look and feel my best. With the temperature cooling down over the next few months it will be much easier to head to the gym. Inspired by the change in season, I have developed a new workout routine for myself. College Word to the Wise’s Fall Fitness Conditioning is based in two parts: a push, pull and leg routine (PPL) mixed with a full body kettlebell routine for mobility.
For a long time now, I have been doing full body routines. My preference is full body because I enjoyed only going to the gym 3 times a week and it felt good to work my full body after sitting all day at work. Recently, I have started to work out in the mornings before work. I’ve been loving it! But I started to notice that I have way more energy in the mornings and 3 full body exercises a week was not enough.
Unfortunately, I was never really a fan of the typical bodybuilding split routine which involve 1 muscle group per day. After a little research I stumbled across an alternative split routine that I really liked the sound of, a PPL routine (push, pull and legs). For beginners it was suggested to start with 3 days a week (PPL) and move up to a 6-day work (PPL-PPL).
Although I want to up the intensity of my routine, I don’t enjoy the idea of lifting weights 6 days a week. I have other hobbies and interests I want to spend time on as well!
In the end I decided that I would just stick with a 3-day PPL each week. Monday is my push day, Tuesday is my pull day and Wednesday is my Leg day.
Before going any further, let’s dive a little deeper into what exactly a PPL Routine involves.
The push day is exactly as it sounds. It is a workout that is focused completely on pushing movements. Pushing above your head, pushing forward or pushing down. The primary exercises to focus on are the bench press and shoulder press. These are your biggest compound lifts for push day. For these movements the goal is 4-5 sets of 5 reps.
After the main compound exercise is completed, I move on to secondary exercises that are complementary to the compound lift: incline press, dips and triceps extensions. Aim for 8-12 reps.
The pull day is focused on pulling movements. Think about pulling things up off the ground, pulling something towards yourself, or pulling yourself up. The primary compound movements for pull day are the deadlift and barbell rows. For these movements the goal is 4-5 sets of 5 reps.
After the compound exercise is completed, the secondary exercises that are complementary to the compound lift are done: pull-ups, cables rows and bicep curls. Aim for 8-12 reps.
You guessed it! Leg day is primarily for our legs. However, I also like to add in my core exercises on leg day as well. Squats will be the exercise to prioritize for this workout. Aim for 4-5 sets of 5 reps.
Leg day is fun because you have a lot more variations to play with for secondary exercises. A few of my favourite options are: Bulgarian split squats, lunges, side lunges, pistol squats, calf raises, leg extensions and hamstring curls. Aim for 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
For core work, I will be focusing on a movement that challenges my entire core, not just my abs. Some good options for this exercise is planking, hanging leg raises, and hollow body.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I am looking to increase the intensity of my weekly workouts. The first way I increase the intensity was by doing PPL routine. This allowed me to focus on each muscle group more than I could in a full body routine. The second way to increase my workout intensity was to add an additional workout each week.
I really do love full body routines. So, I decided that because I was using barbells and dumbbells for my PPL routine, I would use kettlebells for full body. The kettlebells provide a unique workout with both unique weights loads and skill work that barbells do not often provide. Not only are kettlebells great for athletic strength and conditioning, they are also amazing for improving mobility.
Before I do the kettlebell workout, I start off with mobility work. If you’ve never done exercises like this, it will feel very much like a workout, but don’t worry, it will prime your body for the actual kettlebell workout!
KB Turkish get-ups [3 per side]
KB windmills [10 per side]
KB kneeling hip extension + around the world [5 per side]
KB lying hip extension [10 slow]
KB Swings [15 singles]
Doing 1 round of this will warm-up your muscles, open up your shoulder and hips, and give you a light workout. If you pair this with an after workout stretch, you will be standing tall and feeling great!
A great option for kettlebell routines is to utilize supersets and tri-sets. Aim for 6-8 reps of an exercise before moving to the next exercise. Once all the exercises are complete, take a rest. For example:
KB Deadlift 6-8 reps
KB Clean & Press 6-8 reps
KB Squat 6-8
Completing 3-5 rounds of this kettlebell sequence will give you an awesome workout. It will challenge both your muscles and cardio.
As a finisher on the kettlebell day, I like to do farmers carries to really hit a functional strength requirement. Imagine carrying a bunch of groceries from your car into the house.
KB Farmers carry [20 steps per side]
Fall Fitness Conditioning:
Monday – Push Day:
- Bench Press – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Press – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Dips – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Skull Crushers – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Stretch Routine
Tuesday – Pull Day:
- Deadlift – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Pull Ups – 3 sets of as many reps as possible
- Cable Rows – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Barbell Curls – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Stretch Routine
Wednesday – Leg Day
- Squats – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Bulgarian Split Squats or Walking Lunges – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Leg curls – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Calf Raises – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Stretch Routine
Friday – Full Body Kettlebell
- KB Turkish get-ups [3 per side]
- KB windmills [10 per side]
- KB kneeling hip extension + around the world [5 per side]
- KB lying hip extension [10 slow]
- KB Swings [15 singles]
Double Kettlebell clean and press – 5 sets of 6-8 reps
Try out the College Word to the Wise Fall Fitness Conditioning and let us know what you think! If not, what is your go to workout during the fall season?