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Summer Workout Plan: Workout Templates

If you’re up to date with the latest post, then you know what I believe it takes to Transform Your Body in a shortened time frame (8 to 16 weeks):

1 – A Calloused Mindset (Utilizing both your Warrior and Wizard)

2 – Mastering Your Lifestyle (Taking 10-12k steps/day, getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and limiting alcohol to 2 drinks per week).

3 – Doing 4 Real, Strength Workouts per Week

4 – Decreasing Your Calories, while Keeping Protein High

(You can read all of this information at this link:  Your Summer Workout Plan)

Today, we’ll dive into the practicality of the third step:  Doing 4 Real, Strength Workouts per Week

Workout Templates

Below you will find workout templates for Beginner, Intermediate, and “More than Intermediate” Workout Programs. 

How do you know which one you are?  I can come up with a way to codify that, but I won’t. 

I will say this though, if you haven’t worked out in 3 to 6+ months, start with the beginner routines, even if you’ve done all of the exercises. If you’ve worked out on your own for a few years and have never missed a leg day, with back squats and deadlifts the core of your leg and back days, then you might be “more than intermediate.”  Somewhere in the middle might be intermediate.

Most people, will fall somewhere between the beginner or intermediate level.  If this is the case with you, err on the side of caution and start with the easier routine (you can always make things harder), so if you do a week with the beginner routines and feel they’re too easy, then you can move up to the intermediate.  With that said, I’m pretty sure I can kick my own ass with the “Beginner” routines with enough weight. 

Therefore, these workouts are not “Easy, Medium, Hard” but instead, “Beginner, Intermediate, and More than Intermediate,” because the difference isn’t necessarily in the difficulty of the workouts (ok, maybe a little), but is categorized by the difficulty of the movements themselves

Disclaimer #1: You should always check with your doctor before starting any workout routine and seeing as how I am sending this out to a large group of individuals, I don’t know if your body type (do you have a hip impingement, a slipped disc, bad knees, a bum shoulder, ankle issues, etc) and the exercises listed, may cause certain movements to cause you pain.  As such, please use caution if you know you have an injury.  There are other movements you can do and if you need some advice on that, please feel free to email me and ask. 

Last disclaimer:  This workout routine is for those who want to have a toned look.  This means, less fat, more “muscle tone.”  This isn’t the program to lose as much weight as possible (because it will help you keep your muscle, while burning fat), and it won’t help you prepare for a sport (anything from running to a Tough Mudder, to baseball, etc), and it is not meant to be the workout routine you do for life (although, I guess you could, I wouldn’t suggest it), and it is not meant to make your healthiest ever (the workout routines themselves will make most people healthier though). 

Note on the workouts:  They should take 45 to 60 minutes to complete.  If they’re taking longer than this, check your rest times in between sets.  If it feels too hard to complete within that time frame, you might have to supplement these workouts with some dedicated steady state cardio sessions to improve your cardiovascular conditioning in order to simply complete the workouts quicker. 

Last note on the workouts: I don’t put the weights in for the exercises, but know that you should be using a heavy enough weight to not only feel a burn, but to be able to be almost completely spent by the end of the set.  This means you shouldn’t be able to do more than 2 to 5 more reps with the weights your using for the prescribed reps.  For example, if the set calls for 8 to 12 reps, and when you’re done with the set, you feel like you could do another 8 to 12 reps, you’re using a weight that’s way too light.  Most often, men use too much weight when training their upper body (well, they’re lower body also), and women tend to use too little weight, with a subconscious fear that they’re going to “get big.”  You’re not, especially if you’re in a caloric deficit. 

Note on reps:  When I say you should finish a set with 2 to 5 reps left, this means, reps with good form.  Good form, means you can be struggling, but you’re working the muscles you should be working, and not throwing your form all out of whack, just to complete the last few reps. 

Sets equals, the amount of rounds you complete an exercise. 

For example, 3 sets of: 
1A.  Back Squats
1B.  Chin-ups

3 sets means you’re doing back squats, followed by chin-ups for 3 rounds. 

Reps equals, the amount of times you perform a movement in a set.  

For example, 3 sets of:
1A.  Back squats for 10 reps
1B.  Chin-ups for 5 reps

Reps means you do 10 squats, followed by 5 chin-ups and then take a break.  Then do another set. 

Note on Workouts:  I will be giving you 3 workouts per template, but the goal is to complete 4 workouts per week.  Does this mean I’m leaving out a workout?  No.  It means you’re going to cycle through the routines. 

For example, here’s a 3-Week Template (you can workout on any days – this is just an example): 
(The “Perfect” Week)
Monday – Workout 1
Tuesday – Workout 2
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Workout 3
Friday – Workout 1
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Off

(The Front-Loaded Week)
Monday – Workout 2
Tuesday – Workout 3
Wednesday – Workout 1
Thursday – Workout 2
Friday – Off
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Off

(The Back-Loaded Week)
Monday – Off
Tuesday – Off
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Workout 3
Friday – Workout 1
Saturday – Workout 2
Sunday – Workout 3

With all of that out of the way, let’s get started with the Summer Transformation Workout Templates

Summer Transformation Workout Templates

This is actually my preferred way of delivering workouts, but feel like you just wouldn’t understand. 

Note on the exercises:  Not all of you will have the equipment to do the prescribed exercises.  This is fine.  Try and replace it with a similar movement. 

Last note on the exercises:  You can interchange exercises if you don’t feel comfortable doing a certain movement.  For example, in the ‘More than Intermediate’ template, I list sumo or conventional deadlifts, but for some people, their back doesn’t feel good with those movements, but are fine with trap bar deadlifts.  If that’s the case, then switch to the trap bar deadlifts, but keep the sets and reps the same.  On the other hand, if you don’t have access to a trap bar deadlift, but do have access to a regular barbell, you can do conventional or sumo deadlifts instead.

Note on Rep Ranges:  In some movements, I give rep ranges (ie. 8 to 16 reps).  With this, the goal is to do at least the minimum number, but your ultimate goal would be the higher rep range.  If you hit the upper rep range for every set, the next time week, increase the weight. 

Note on Rest Periods:  In between the blocks of exercises (for example 1A and 1B), you want minimal time in between movements with 5 to 30 seconds in between the movements.  Basically, only the rest needed to get you into position for the movement.  After a block of exercises (for example, after completing 1B) take at least 30 to 90 seconds.  After a burn-out set, you can take up to 2 and a half to 3 minutes.  But again, the goal is to take as minimal rest as needed. 

With that said, if you need more rest, than prescribed, then I would recommend you spend some dedicated time doing some steady state cardio (incline walking on a treadmill, the StepMill, jogging outside, bike riding, elliptical machine, swimming, amongst other things, etc). 

Beginner Workout Templates

Day 1:
3 Sets
1A.  Dumbbell Goblet Squats – 10 reps
1B.  Lat Pulldowns – 10 reps

Burn-out Set
One set of 20 reps with the Dumbbell Goblet SquatsOne set of 6/8/10* with the Lat Pulldowns.
*A 6/8/10 set consists of 6 reps with a heavy weight, lower the weight real quick and do 8 reps, and then lower the weight again and do 10 reps

3 sets
Step-ups Notes: You can hold weights at your side, or just with your body weight).  You’re going to do 8 reps with a slow descent (step up fast, control it slow back down), and 8 fast.  With progressing and making step-ups harder, you will first increase the reps, then you will increase weight, and then you will change the height. 

2A.  Step-ups –  8 and 8 reps, then switch legs
2B.  TRX Rows – 12 reps  (You can substitute Seated Cable Rows for TRX Rows)

2 to 3 sets
3A.  Side Band Walking (put a small band around your ankles and take 10 to 15 steps to one side, then back) You can find bands here:  (
3B.  Plank (20 to 40 seconds)

Day 2: 
4 sets
1A – Either Elevated Push-ups or Modified Push-ups (from your knees) – 6 to 10 reps
1B – Single Arm Dumbbell Rows – 12 to 16 reps

3 sets
2A – Step-ups with Shoulder Press and Fast – 10 and 10* *Holding weights in both hands, starting with the weights up by your ears, step up and as you do so, press the weights overhead.  Do 10 with the press, put the weights down and 10 fast on the same leg.  Then switch legs, starting with the press again.
2B – Band Pull-aparts 12 reps

2 to 3 sets
3A – Kettlebell High Pulls – 12 reps
3B – Half-Kneeling Shoulder Press – 8 to 12 on each arm
3C – Tricep Dips – 8 to 16 reps

Day 3: 
3 sets
1A.  Dumbbell or Kettlebell Deadlifts – 8 to 12 reps
1B.  Push-ups – Elevated or Slow-descent – 6 to 8 reps

Burn-out Sets (1 to 2 sets)
2A – Kettlebell High Pulls – 12 to 20 reps (try to get the 20 reps)
2B – Elevated Push-ups – 10 to 12 reps

3 sets
3A – Reverse Lunges – 8 to 12 reps on each leg (do all one side first, then switch)
3B – Cable Rows – 12 reps (can be seated or standing)

2 sets
4A – Step-ups – 20 fast on each leg
4B – TRX Side-to-Side Squats – 16 to 20 total (alternating side to side for a total of 16 to 20 reps or 8 to 10 on each leg)

Intermediate Workout Templates

Day 1
4 sets
1A.  Landmine Goblet Squats – 10 reps
1B.  Assisted Chin-ups – 6 to 8 reps

Burn-out Sets – Ideally 2 sets
2A.  Landmine Goblet Squats – 20 reps (lighter weight)
2B.  Assisted Chin-ups – 1 set of as many as you can do and 1 set of 12 with a 10-second hold at the top on the last rep

3 total sets
3A.  Walking Lunges – 20 to 24 total steps
3B.  Single Arm Dumbbell Row – 2 sets of 12 reps on each arm.  20 reps on each arm on the last set.

2 sets
4A – Lying Hamstring Curls – 8 to 12 reps
4B – Either Alternating Bicep Curls (8 to 10 on each arm) or Leg Lifts (8 to 12 reps)

Day 2
One Warm-up set and 4 regular sets
1A.  Low Incline Dumbbell Chest Press – 8 to 12 reps
1B.  Single Arm Dumbbell Rows – 10 to 12 reps on each arm

Burn-out set
1A.  Low Incline Dumbbell Chest Press – Rest/Pause Set
*A Rest/Pause set is one where you do as many reps as you can.  Then bring the weights down.  Take 20 to 30 seconds, and do as many reps as you can again
1B.  Single Arm Dumbbell Rows – 20 reps on each arm

2 to 3 sets
2A.  Single Arm Clean and Press – 8 on each arm
2B.  Side-Band Walking – 10 to 15 steps in one direction and then back

2 to 3 sets
3A.  Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 8 to 16 reps
3B.  Lateral Raises – 8 to 12 reps

2 sets
4A.  Suitcase Carry – 30 seconds in each hand
4B.  Long-lever or RKC Plank – 20 to 40 seconds

Day 3
One Warm-up set and 4 regular sets
1A.  Trap Bar Deadlifts – 6 to 10 reps
1B.  Banded or Regular Push-ups – 6 to 15 reps

Burn-out Set (1 set)
1A.  Trap Bar Deadlifts – 15 to 20 reps
1B.  Push-ups – Complete double the amount of reps from the previous set.  Take as much time and quick rests (5 to 10 seconds) in order to complete the set.

3 total sets
2A.  Dumbbell Reverse Lunges – 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps. 
*Every 3rd week, finish with a set doing 20 reps on each leg.  Do all one side, then switch sides.
2B.  TRX or Seated Cable Rows – 10 to 16 reps *Every 3rd week, finish with a set doing 20 reps.

2 to 3 rounds
3A.  Kettlebell Swings – 12 reps
3B.  Kettlebell Jumps – 6 reps
3C.  Kettlebell High Pulls – 8 reps
3D.  Kettlebell Cossack Squat (side to side squat) – 12 total reps

“More than Intermediate” Workout Templates

Day 1
One Warm-up Set and 5 sets
1A.  Front or Back Squats – 5 to 8 reps
1B.  Chin-ups (or weighted chin-ups) – 5 to 8 reps

Burn-out Sets (2 to 3 rounds)
Option 1: Landmine Squats – 20 reps

Option 2: 8 Front Squats, rack the weight, and then 12 Back Squats

Option 3:  20 Back Squats

All options paired with:
Chin-ups – One set of 20 reps where you take as many short rest periods (5 to 10 seconds) as possible to get there

2 to 4 sets
2A.  Split Squats – 8 to 12 reps on each leg
2B.  Barbell Bent Over Rows – 8 to 12 reps

2 to 3 sets
3A. Hamstring Curls – 8 to 12 reps
3B.  Back Extensions (with or without weight) – 8 to 25 reps (yes, that’s a large rep range)

Day 2
1 Warm-up set and 5 sets
1A.  Flat Barbell Chest Press – 5 to 8 reps
1B.  Single-Arm Dumbbell Row – 8 to 10 reps

2 sets
2A.  Low Incline Dumbbell Chest Press – 8 to 10 reps of 1 and a half reps
1 and a half reps = Go all the way down, come back up half way, go all the way back down, and then all the way up.  That’s one rep. 
2B.  Single Arm Dumbbell Rows – 16 to 20 reps

3 sets
3A.  Kettlebell Snatch – 12 on each arm or Goblet Squat Presses – 16 total reps
3B.  Kettlebell Swings – 20 reps

1 to 2 sets
Every other week do this circuit (Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc), taking no rest in between movements, and never putting the dumbbells down

3A.  Dumbbell Front Squats – 8 reps
3B.  Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 8 to 12 reps
3C.  Dumbbell Push Press – 4 to 6 reps
3D.  Bent-over Rows – 12 to 16 reps
3E.  Dumbbell Deadlifts – 8 to 12 reps
3F.  Renegade Rows – 12 to 16 total (alternating sides) reps
3G. Push-ups – 6 to 12 reps

Every other week do this circuit (Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, etc):
3A.  Farmer’s Walks – 45 seconds
3B.  Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 8 to 12 reps
3C.  Lateral Raises – 8 to 12 reps
3D.  *Either Band Pull aparts (12 reps) or Hanging Leg Raises (8 to 12 reps)
*Choose the exercise, depending on what’s less tired, either your forearms (if less tired, do the hanging leg raises) or your shoulders (if less tired, do the band pull aparts). 

Day 3
1 Warm-up Set and 5 sets
1A.  Sumo or Conventional Deadlifts (can also alternate in every 6-week block) – 3 to 8 reps
1B.  Low Incline Dumbbell Chest Press – 6 to 12 reps

3 sets
2A.  Barbell Reverse Lunges – 8 to 10 reps on each leg
*Every 2nd week, finish with a set doing 20 reps on each leg.  Do all one side, then switch sides.
2B.  Dumbbell Batwings – 10 to 12 reps *Every 2nd week, finish with a set doing 20 reps

2 to 3 sets
3A.  Alternating Kettlebell Swings – 16 total
3B.  Side Lunges or Cossack Squat – 8 on each side
3C.  Hollow Hold Press – 10 to 12 reps on each side
3D.  Side to Side Leg Lifts – 12 to 16 total reps

This is Training vs Working Out
I’ve said this a number of times over the years, but please note that there is a difference between training, working out, and being active.  It’s in the first email I send to new clients, because this is an important distinction. 

What you won’t find here are lots of “workout” movements, such as burpees, jumps, mountain climbers, or anything of the ilk.  It’s not that they’re wrong, but there’s only really one way to get better at them = do more of them.  You can’t train those movements, but they can be fun to do.  But this workout templates are training.   You are actively looking to get better.  You have a plan to get better and a way to progress (down below) in order to continually see progress.  Simply doing more, isn’t necessarily getting better.  It’s just being more stubborn and puts you at an increased risk for injury. 

As I’ve said, time and time again though, if you enjoy something, do that…in order to create long-term sustainable habits.  But if you’re looking to make a time-constrained body transformation (8 to 16 weeks), then you should focus your efforts on training.

Make Continual Progress

The goal, week by week, is to make continual progress.  Without continual progress, then these workouts will only be good for a few weeks.  If you’re making continual progress though, you can use these workout templates for a long time. 

With that said, please know that every 4th or 5th week, you should just try and stay the same.  Almost all progress is not linear.  Also know that there are three levels of days we have:

A – Green Days.  These are days when you feel good and go harder than you would’ve predicted.  These days are rare, but when they happen, they feel great.  Expect 1 to 2 days per week if you’re recovering well (sleep is good, and stress is relatively low). 

B – Yellow Days.  You’re putting in the work and you’re moving, but you know you don’t have that “extra gear.”  That’s fine.  Most of your days will be here.  3 to 4 days per week should be here. 

C – Red Days.  These are days when after 15 minutes, you want to go home and go to sleep.  Maybe do that.  I don’t know.  I would recommend doing at least 25 minutes, but know that if your sleep is messed up, you’re overly stressed and your eating hasn’t been great, then you’re going to get a lot more of these days.  Ideally, you’re seeing this about 1 day per week or every 10 days (3 per month).  Any more than that, and go back and focus on your lifestyle habits. 

How to Progress with These Workout Templates

Week 1:  Learn the Movements.  Make it through the workouts and simply try to make sure every rep, on every set is done correctly.  Time this workout. 

Week 2:  Increase the Weight and Be Economical with Your Time.  Beat your time from the previous week and choose one exercise, ideally from the “1” Movements, to increase weight on (at least one of the “1” movements). 

Week 3:  Try to Increase your weight or reps with “1” movements again.  Also, increase reps on the “2” exercises, while keeping the weight the same. 

Week 4:  Increase weight on at least one of the “2” movements, while keeping everything else the same. 

Week 5:  Time Your workout and re-check your form.  Get rid of one set from the “1” and “2” movements.

Week 6:  Increase the Weight on a “1” movement, while adding the set you took out the previous back in, while trying to beat your time from the previous week. 

Rinse and Repeat with the rest of the weeks: 
Week 7 = Week 3
Week 8 = Week 4
Week 9 = Week 5
Week 10 = Week 6
Week 11 = Week 3
Week 12 = Week 4
Week 13 = Week 5
Week 12 = Week 6

After you get to Week 12, maintain those weights, reps, and overall time for 4 weeks (Weeks 13 thru 16). Then start over on a new program or move up a stage (ie, from Beginner to Intermediate or Intermediate to ‘More than Intermediate’). 

I gave a ton of disclaimers and notes, just on the workouts themselves, because templates are meant to be that – a template – not a prescription.  Therefore, if you have any other questions for me, please feel free to let me know: