Having a workout routine can help build strength, enhance physique, and improve health. It can be difficult to find a suitable routine, but it is important to consider an appealing and feasible routine that people can tailor to suit their needs.

There are a variety of exercises that people can incorporate into a workout routine, either at home or at a gym. People may also need to experiment with different exercises to find out what they enjoy, what they can do, which muscles require work, and the desired results.

It is also important to include a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups to prevent overtraining. Other factors, such as nutrition, also play a role in improving physique.

This article will provide some sample routines that people can perform at home and at a gym.

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Getting regular physical exercise is an important part of an overall healthful routine.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) note that any amount of physical activity has many potential benefits. Also, the ODPHP and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both suggest that adults perform muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.

Even without access to a gym, having some simple equipment may be enough to provide a full body workout at home. This can include a set of dumbbells or other household items, such as heavy books or cans.

Some example exercises to try as part of a home workout routine include:

Day 1: The chest, triceps, and shoulders

On day 1, perform the following:


push up

Do three sets of 10 reps. To perform these:

  • Place the hands on the ground. They should be shoulder width apart.
  • Step back to fully extend the legs and tighten the core, keeping the body straight and parallel to the ground.
  • Slowly lower the body down, until the chest is parallel to the elbows or lower.
  • Push into the hands to raise back up.

Tricep extensions

Do three sets of 10 reps. To perform these:

  • Hold a weight in each hand over the head, with the arms extended.
  • Bend the arms at the elbows so that the weights lower slowly toward the back.
  • Raise the arms back up above the head.

Shoulder press

Do three sets of 10 reps. To perform these:

  • With the palms facing forward and the elbows out to the side and bent at a 90-degree angle, hold the weights in each hand, by the shoulders.
  • Extend through the elbow to press the weights overhead.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

Day 2: The back and biceps

On day 2, perform the following:

Weighted rows

Do three sets of 10 reps on each side. To perform these:

  • Start with the right knee on a bench or a chair and the left leg extended on the ground.
  • Lean forward so that the upper body is about parallel to the ground.
  • Take a weight in the left hand. Pull the weight upward, toward the chest, keeping the elbow close to the side.
  • Slowly lower the weight back down and repeat, before switching sides.

Bicep curls

Bicep curl

Do three sets of 10 reps per arm. To perform these:

  • Hold the weights in each hand, with the arms at the sides.
  • Bending at the elbow, raise one arm up toward the chest.
  • Lower the arm in a controlled fashion and switch sides.

Day 3: The legs and core

On day 3, perform the following:



Do three sets of 20, with or without weights. To perform these:

  • Stand upright, with the feet slightly wider than hip distance apart.
  • Slowly squat down until the butt is at knee level, keeping the back straight and the knees over the feet.
  • Slowly come back up.


Do three sets of 20 seconds. To perform these:

  • Get into a pushup position, with the forearms on the floor and the elbows bent.
  • Tighten the abs and ensure that the body is in a straight line from head to toe.
  • Hold for 30 seconds or until exhaustion.

Going to a gym can provide people with a range of equipment that allows them to perform a greater selection of exercises. However, it is still important for people to incorporate a variety of exercises and perform them with the correct form.

As people become comfortable with a workout routine, they can make the exercises more challenging by increasing weight or volume, performing a superset, or performing a more difficult variation of the exercise.

Some example exercises to include as part of a gym routine include:

Day 1: The chest, triceps, and shoulders

On day 1, perform the following:

Bench press

Do three sets of eight. To perform these:

  • Lie back on a bench with the barbell above the head and chest.
  • Grip the bar with the hands slightly more than shoulder width apart. Push the bar up to release it from the rack and bring it down slowly to the chest.
  • Push the bar away from the chest and extend the arms.

Tricep dips

Do two sets of 10. To perform these:

  • Sit on the edge of a flat bench.
  • Keeping the hands to the sides, grip the bench. Extend the legs out in front of the body, keeping the heels on the ground.
  • Lifting up on the hands, slide the body forward and away from the bench, until the butt clears the bench.
  • Slowly lower the body down until the elbows are between 45 and 90 degrees.
  • Slowly press back up.

Lateral raises

Do three sets of 10. To perform these:

  • Stand with a straight back and a dumbbell in each hand, with the palms facing each other.
  • Tighten the core and lift the weights to the sides, until the arms are parallel with the floor and in line with the shoulders (forming a T position), keeping the elbows slightly bent.
  • Slowly lower the arms back to the starting position.

Day 2: The back and biceps

On day 2, perform the following:

Lat pull-downs

Do three sets of 10. To perform these:

  • While sitting forward and facing the lat pull-down machine, grasp the bar with a wide grip.
  • Retract the shoulder blades and pull the bar down to the upper chest.
  • Staying upright, squeeze the lats at the bottom of the movement.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

Standing cable curl

Do three sets of 10. To perform these:

  • Stand facing a cable machine with the feet shoulder width apart.
  • Hold the handle with both palms facing forward and the arms extending straight to the floor.
  • Keeping the elbows tight to the body and the shoulders stationary, slowly curl the handle to the front of the shoulders. Pause, squeezing the bicep.
  • Slowly lower the handle back to the starting position.

Day 3: The legs and core

On day 3, perform the following:

Leg press

Do three sets of 10. To perform these:

  • Using a leg press machine, sit on the machine with the back and head against the rest. The butt should be flat in the seat, not raised, and the feet should be about hip width apart, resting flat against the plate.
  • Engage the core and push into the plate, engaging the legs and keeping the heels flat against the plate.
  • Extend the legs, but do not lock out the knees.
  • Gently move back to the starting position.

Weighted situps

Do three sets of 20. To perform these:

  • Secure the feet on the decline bench, then lie back onto the bench.
  • Place a weight on the chest and use the hands to hold it in place.
  • Engage the abs to lift the upper body up toward the knees.
  • Gently return to the starting position.

As with any exercise routine, nutrition plays a vital role in ensuring results. Food is the fuel of the body, and it is important to ensure that the body has what it needs to recover and build muscle after a workout.

Protein is an essential macronutrient for building muscle. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest eating dietary protein sources such as:

  • seafood
  • lean meats
  • eggs
  • poultry
  • legumes
  • seeds
  • nuts
  • soy

Learn more about which foods to eat after working out here.

In addition to eating simple dietary sources, some people may use protein powders to provide the body with sufficient protein.

Learn more about the best muscle building protein powders here.

People can also try a bodybuilding meal plan, which is a diet rich in healthful fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

Learn more about bodybuilding meal plans here.

Workout routines are a useful tool for exercising. However, it may require some trial and error, as no two people are the same, and routines may need tweaking for people to see the best results.

People should try to focus on developing a suitable routine for their current fitness level that includes a variety of challenging exercises.

Anyone who is uncertain about the optimum workout routine or diet plan for them can talk to a personal trainer or dietitian to explore their options.