8 Gold’s Gym Trainers’ Go-To Bodybuilding Workouts

 

Bodybuilders spend years, even decades, perfecting the human form. Now, you may not want to look herculean, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t incorporate some bodybuilding principles and workouts into your routine. If you’re a veteran lifter, these workouts will push you out of your tired routine and stimulate some serious muscle growth. If you’re a beginner, these will certainly bulk up your frame and build the physique you’ve been after.

“The key benefits to our workouts is diversity in training principles while maintaining a strong sense of exercise science. Utilizing the foundation of effective body building can be translated for nearly all fitness goals though the increase of lean muscle mass which will benefit in both metabolic rate as well as increases in strength and athletic performance,” says Jeff Na, vice president of fitness at Gold’s Gym. 

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And if you’re looking to lose body fat (and have been hesitant to commit to a bodybuilding regimen in fear of building muscle on fat), a 2014 Harvard School of Public Healthy study found that weight training whittles down stomach fat, and keeps it off, better than aerobic exercise alone—though a combination of the two is best—so keep clanking those weights, and say goodbye to that beer belly for life.

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These workouts come from Gold’s Gym trainers across the country; included are their favorite full-body routines for strength and muscle mass, as well as a few muscle group-specific workouts. You want boulder shoulders? A wider back? Stronger legs and glutes? No problem. All of your bulking needs are catered to within the following 8 routines.

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Workout 1

Works Chest/Shoulders/Triceps

Workout courtesy of Eddy Campbell – Gold’s Gym Regional Fitness Director in Dallas, TX, Oklahoma and New Orleans, LA

Begin with The Ultimate Warmup for Lifting Heavy to prepare your body for the 40 minutes ahead.

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1. Incline Bench Press 
Directions: Follow a reverse pyramid on this exercise. Start heavy with a very high intensity. Then, after each set, decrease the weight and rest time, and increase the reps.

Set 1: 4 reps with 120-second rest
Set 2: 7 reps with 90-second rest
Set 3: 10 reps with 60-second rest
Set 4: 13 reps

2. Straight Bar Push Downs 
Directions:
Follow a traditional pyramid scheme—but model the final set as a drop set.

Set 1: 12 reps with 35-second rest
Set 2: 10 reps with 35-second rest
Set 3: 8 reps followed by a 20-pound drop in weight for 8 more reps, followed by another 20-pound drop and 8 more reps 

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3. Tri Set: Arnold Press/Lateral Raise/French Press
Directions:
Complete 3 sets of each exercise, increasing the weight after each set, using this rep range below.

Set 1: 12 reps with 45-second rest
Set 2: 10 reps with 45-second rest
Set 3: 8 reps 

4. Tri Set: Chest Fly/Dumbbell Bench Press/Rope Push Downs
Directions
: Rest after all three exercises are complete for 20 seconds (or just long enough to change the weight that you will use), then repeat the three exercises with set number two. Rest another 20 seconds then finish the final drop set. 

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Chest Fly
Directions
: Perform 10 reps on all 3 sets—but model the final set as a drop set.
 
Set 1: 10 reps  
Set 2: 10 reps  
Set 3: 10 reps followed by a 10-pound drop in weight for 10 additional reps
 
Dumbbell Bench Press
Directions:
Maximum effort will be placed on the dumbbell bench press; again, model the final set as a drop set.
 
Set 1: 12 reps  
Set 2: 10 reps  
Set 3: 8 reps followed by a 20-pound drop in weight for 8 additional reps, and (if possible) drop weight another 20 pounds and rep until failure
 
Rope Push Downs
Directions:
Perform 10 reps on all 3 sets—but model the final set as a drop set 
 
Set 1: 10 reps 
Set 2: 10 reps 
Set 3: 10 reps followed by a 20-pound drop in weight for 10 additional reps

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Workout 2

Works Legs/Glutes/Hamstrings/Quads

Courtesy of Jake Justice – Specialist Level Personal Trainer in Birmingham, AL

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1. Front Squat
3 sets of 4 reps or at 85% of 1RM
Rest: 20-30 seconds

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2. Low-Bar Back Squat
4 sets of 5 reps or at 80-85% of 1RM
Rest: 20-30 seconds

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3. Overhead Squat
3 sets of 5 reps (start off very light)
Rest: 20-30 seconds

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Workout 3

Works Chest
Courtesy of – Brock Edmondson, Specialist Level Personal Trainer in Birmingham, AL

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1. Barbell Bench Press
Sets: 4 
Repetitions: 10, 8, 6, 4
Rest: 2 minutes

2. Dumbbell Incline Press & Dumbbell Incline Flyes Superset 
Sets: 3
Repetitions: 10 
Rest: 45 seconds 

3. Dips (weighted if possible) 
Sets: 3
Repetitions: 6 
Rest: 45 seconds 

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4. Pushups 
Sets: 3
Repetitions: 15 
Rest: 45 seconds 

5. Dumbbell Pullovers
Sets: 3
Repetitions: 8
Rest: 45 seconds 

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Workout 4

Works Shoulders 
Courtesy of Noe Ibarra – Personal Trainer in Watsonville, CA

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Warmup: 

Shoulder Press Machine 
Reps: 20
Rounds: 2 

Workout Directions: Make sure to increase weight after each set. Work up to using 80 percent to 90 percent of your 1 rep max.
Rest: 90 seconds between each superset

Superset 1
1a. Dumbbell Overhead Press 4X10

1b. Rear Dumbbell Flyes 4X12  

Superset 2
2a. Wide Grip Upright Rows 4X12 

2b. Seated Side Dumbbell Lateral Raises 4X10 

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Superset 3
3a. Dumbbell Shrugs 4X12 

3b. Front Plate Raises 4 Sets 
Set 1: 25lbs 15 reps
Set 2: 35lbs 12 Reps
Set 3: 45lbs 10 Reps   
Set 4: 25lbs 15 Reps to help fatigue the front deltoid 
 *Do not swing the weight; lower weight if needed   

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Workout Finisher:

Suitcase Carries
Directions: Hold as long as possible while maintaining good form and posture. Make sure to keep your chest high and straight, your core fully engaged and shoulders dropped back by retracting your scapula. 

Sets: 3 at 80% of max weight

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Workout 5

Works Legs/Glutes/Quads/Hamstrings
Courtesy of Jesse Estrada – Gold’s Gym Personal Trainer in San Antonio, TX 

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Warmup
Directions:
Start slow, speeding up gradually to elevate your heart rate and loosen muscles.  

1. Air Squats 
Sets: 2
Reps: 20
Rest between set: 30 seconds  

2. Forward Lunges
Sets: 2
Reps: 20 (10 each leg)
Rest between set: 30 seconds  

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Workout
1. Weighted Squat 

Directions: Add weight progressively until the last set
Sets: 5
Repetition: 15-12-10-8-6
Rest between sets: 2 minutes 

2. Seated Leg Extension
Directions:
If you reach failure before 10 reps, drop weight and continue. 
Sets: 3
Reps: 10
Rest between sets: 10 seconds  

3. Weighted Lunges
Directions:
Step with the same leg 10 reps in a row before switching legs for the subsequent 10 reps.
Sets: 3
Reps: 20
Rest between sets: 2 minutes  

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4. Romanian Deadlifts
Directions:
Keep your chest forward and your butt out; drive up with your heels, locking your knees at the top of the lift. 
Sets: 4
Reps: 8
Rest between sets: 2 minutes  
 
5. Kettlebell Swings
Directions:
Use your legs and hips to thrust the weight forward and up. Don’t use your arms to throw the kettlebell. 
Sets: 3
Reps: 10
Rest between sets: 30 seconds  

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6. Lying Hamstring Curls
Directions:
Complete 8 reps with a heavy weight. Then, drop the weight by 60 percent and complete 8 more curls. 
Sets: 3
Reps: 8, followed by 8 more at lower weight
Rest between sets: 2 minutes (no rest between reps)

7. Seated Calf Raises
Directions:
Be sure to engage your calf for the full range of motion and contract the muscle for best results. 
Sets: 3
Reps: 15
Rest between sets: 1 minute

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8. Leg Press Calf Raises 
Directions:
Complete 8 reps with heavy weight. Then, drop the weight by 60 percent and complete 15 more reps without rest. 
Sets: 3
Reps: 8, then 8 more at lower weight 
Rest between sets: 1 minute

9. Bodyweight Calf Raises 
Directions:
Be sure to engage your calf for the full range of motion and contract the muscle for best results. 
Sets: 3
Repetition: 30 
Rest between sets: 1 minute

10. Workout Finisher: Burnout Bodyweight Lunges
Directions
: This is meant to be a “finisher” exercise meant to exhaust your muscles. Complete 1 set to failure, or complete 2-minutes worth of lunges—whichever comes first! 

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Workout 6

Works Upper Body – Chest/Shoulders/Arms
Courtesy of Serge Sejour – Regional Director of Fitness at Gold’s Gym in Washington DC  

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1. Dumbbell Incline Chest Press
Reps:
20, 10, 6, 6, followed by a drop set (immediately follows the last set with no break in between to maximize rep output and exhaust the muscle) on the last set. Try to get another 6-8 reps.
Rest: 2-minute breaks 
Note: You want heavy sets with hard contractions

2. Hammer Strength Machine Incline Press 
Reps
: 20, 10, 6, 6, followed by a drop set on the last set. Try to get another 6-8 reps.
Rest: 2-minutes

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3. Pec Deck
Sets: 4×15 (drop set on last set)
Rest: 2 minutes 
 
4. Decline Bench (Flat Bench) & Dumbbell Flyes Superset
4a. Decline Bench 

Reps: 20, 10, 6, 6, followed by a drop set on the last set trying to get another 6-8 reps
4b. Flat Bench Dumbbell Chest Flyes 4×10
Rest: 2 minutes (after the superset)

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5. Dumbbell Seated Lateral Raise Drop Set
Reps
: 20, 10, 6, 6, followed by a drop set on the last set trying to get another 6-8 reps
Take 2 minute break after the drop set

6. Bent Over, Single-Arm Dumbbell Rear Delt Flyes 4×12 
Rest: 20-30 seconds

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7. Barbell Shrugs 3×12 
Rest: 20-30 seconds  

8. Upright Row 3×12 
Rest: 20-30 seconds  

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9. Single Arm Lateral Raises 3×12 
Rest: 20-30 seconds

10. Incline Rear Delt Flyes 3×12 
Rest: 20-30 seconds

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Workout 7

Works Legs/Glutes
Courtesy of Marcus Sanchez – Fitness Manager Gold’s Gym in San Antonio, TX

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Directions: Start with 10 reps each leg on the landmine then 10 reps each leg on the Smith machine and so on until you finish all exercises. Once the first round is complete, rest for one minute, then return back to A and complete 8 reps, then 4, 2, and then work your way back up to 10. Estimated time to complete is 30 minutes.

Rep count: 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10  (total of 60 reps)

A. Landmine Single Leg Deadlifts 

B. Front Foot Elevated Reverse Lunge on Smith Machine 

C. Single Leg Hip Thrust

D. Kettlebell Swings
Note: Each rep should be performed with as much power as possible. 

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Workout 8

Works Chest
Courtesy of Kyle Mandelberg – Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor in New Jersey

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Directions:
Reps: 10-12 
Sets: 3 
Rest: 45-60 seconds between each superset; though supersets are to done back to back with no rest in-between each exercise.

Superset 1:
1a. Incline Dumbbell Flyes
1b. Incline Dumbbell Chest Press

Superset 2:
2a. Standing Cable Chest Flyes
2b. Flat Bench Press

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Superset 3:
3a. Hammer Strength Decline Chest Press
3b. Incline Bench Press

Workout Finisher:
Pushups (to failure)

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