Effective Daily Workout

Bench press

If you have limited time, or just don't have the interest in going all in-depth about your fitness regimen, you can still establish an effective daily workout that keeps you in good shape. Of course, a workout that stays the same from day to day should target both the muscles and your cardiovascular system for overall health benefits. Here are a few suggestions depending on your situation.

In the Gym

As a gym member, you have a plethora of machines and fancy equipment at your disposal for both weight training and cardio. Here's a sample full-body workout using basic equipment found in most gyms.

  • Warmup - 5 minutes on stationary bike plus light stretching
  • Abdominal crunches - 2 sets, to failure
  • Abdominal machine of choice - 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Classic squats - 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Hamstring machine of choice - 2 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Seated calf presses - 2 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell chest presses - 2 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Tricep pressdowns - 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Deadlifts - 2 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Lat pulls - 2 sets, to failure
  • Standing barbell curls - 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Stairmaster or similar cardio machine - 15-30 minutes
  • Cooldown - 5 minutes slower cardio plus more thorough stretching

Some prefer to do the circuit training approach, where you do one set for all weight exercises in order and then start from the top again for the second set. Also, you can (and should) substitute exercises once in a while in order to avoid stagnation. Doing a few weeks of machine leg presses, front squats or leg extensions between the rounds of classic squats will keep the muscles guessing.

Outdoors

If you live in a suitable climate and have a love for fresh air, you can compose an effective daily workout strategy using virtually no equipment.

  • Warmup - 5 minutes light jogging plus light stretching
  • Running - 5 minutes
  • Abdominal crunches - 1 set, to failure
  • Lunges - 1 set, to failure
  • Push-ups - 1 set, to failure
  • Chins - 1 set, to failure
  • Dips - 1 set, to failure
  • Running - 5 minutes … Repeat
  • Cooldown - 5 minutes light jogging plus more thorough stretching

You can repeat the cycle outlined above as many time as is fit for your current fitness level. A beginner may need to take a minute to catch his or her breath in the switch-off between cardio and resistance training, while more advanced trainers may be able to work in an all-out sprint or two into the cardio portion (ie. interval training).

At Home

This option depends largely on your home equipment. We'll assume you have a multigym or at least a bench with dumbbells, plus some kind of cardio machine such as a stepper, stationary bike, Bosu ball or similar.

  • Warmup - 5 minutes with light resistance on cardio machine
  • Abdominal crunches - 2 sets, to failure
  • Dumbbell squats - 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell lunges - 2 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Standing one-legged calf presses - 2 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell chest presses - 2 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Tricep kickbacks - 2 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell rows - 2 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Shrugs - 2 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Seated bicep concentration curls - 2 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Cardio machine - 15-30 minutes
  • Cooldown - 5 minutes slower cardio plus more thorough stretching

More on Finding an Effective Daily Workout for You

Please note that these workouts are intended as basic health maintenance efforts. If your goal is muscular growth or weight loss, there are much more targeted workouts out there that'll bring quicker results for these specific objectives. Likewise, don't forget to take rest days as needed. While the workouts above can indeed be daily workouts, don't make it a habit to train with sore muscles. Listen to your body and do something else -- swimming, biking, etc. -- if your regular workout gets to be a little too demanding. You can also take a day or two entirely off once in a while.

Good luck!

Effective Daily Workout