4 Personal Trainers Tell Us Their Workout Routines

With so many endorsements for different workouts, figuring out how to stay fit is just becoming more confusing. Some claim interval training is the best while others go for steady-state cardio. Personal trainers clearly know something we don’t because they always manage to keep themselves in fantastic shape. Luckily, four top personal trainers were willing to share a week’s worth of their workouts with us. Maybe one of these programs can help you become your fittest self.

1. Marc Perry

shot of Marc Perry doing one-arm push-ups on a black background

Marc Perry doing one-arm push-ups | Source: BuiltLean 12-Week Fitness Program

After losing the 30 pounds he gained working as an investment analyst, Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT, and creator of BuiltLean, gave desk-bound office workers everywhere hope when he revealed it’s possible to stay fit without being a slave to the gym. Instead of spending hours slogging through exercise after exercise, Perry aims for 30 quality minutes with minimal rest. But even more important is variety. “I usually change my workout plan once per month, and it can change substantially from month to month,” he said.

For his current plan, Perry alternates between two different workouts for six days and also does 60 minutes of hot yoga. Before each workout, he does a fair amount of dynamic stretching followed by two sets of five repetitions of Turkish get-ups using 16 pounds of weight. “My warm-up routine can easily take 15 minutes,” Perry said. “I take my time.”

Workout A

1. Turkish get-ups (5 sets, 5 repetitions with 24 to 32 kilograms)

2. Kettlebell goblet squat (48 kilograms)

3a. One-arm push-ups (3 sets, as many repetitions as possible)

3b. Pull-ups (3 sets, as many repetitions as possible)

4a. Rack kettlebell carries(3 sets, 50 meters with 24 kilograms)

4b. Farmers kettlebell carries(3 sets, 50 meters with 24 kilograms)

Workout B

1. Reverse lunges (3 sets, 5 repetitions with 24 kilograms in each hand)

2. Single-arm kettlebell shoulder press (3 sets, 5 repetitions with 24 kilograms)

3a. Rack kettlebell carries (3 sets, 50 meters with 24 kilograms)

3b. Farmers kettlebell carries (3 sets, 50 meters with 24 kilograms)

4. Two-arm kettlebell swings (5 sets, 10 repetitions with 40 kilograms)

Somewhere during the week, he’ll also incorporate five sets of five repetitions of both barbell deadlifts and squats. As for rest between exercises, it’s extremely short at just 30 seconds.

2. Maik Wiedenbach

close shot of Maik Wiedenbach lifting weights in black and white

Maik Wiedenbach lifting weights | Gregory James/Maik Wiedenbach

When you work in the fitness industry, practicing what you preach is a necessity. “Staying in shape is a must in order to be believable,” said Maik Wiedenbach, personal trainer, former Olympic swimmer, and adjunct professor of exercise sciences at New York University. For him, this means plenty of exercise as well as a healthy diet. “I do my meal prep on Sundays and Thursdays, this way I have my meals ready to go since I don’t fancy cooking every day,” he explained.

As for the actual workouts, Wiedenbach typically shoots for 60 minutes of weight lifting and 30 minutes of cardio. He takes one to two rest days each week, depending on how he feels. While Wiedenbach values consistency in training, he’s also a firm believer in some sort of variety. For example, he heads to a number of different gyms around New York City instead of working out at his own facility. “I think it’s beneficial to change your environment to spice up your routine,” he said.

Day 1

1. Overhead barbell press, inward intention, seated at squat rack (5 sets, 10 repetitions)

2. Superset of weighted dips and skull crushers (3 sets, 8 repetitions)

3. Poliquin raises (5 sets, 10 repetitions)

4. Barbell clean and press (3 sets, 20 repetitions)

5. Cable curls (3 sets, 10 repetitions

Day 2

1. Weighted pull-ups (5 sets, 10 repetitions)

2. Superset of lat pull-downs and Superman presses (5 sets, 10 repetitions)

3. Rear delt flyes (3 sets, 8 repetitions)

4. Seated rows (3 sets, 10 repetitions)

5. Cobras (5 sets, 10 repetions)

Day 3

1. Squats (4 sets, 10 repetitions)

2. Leg presses (4 sets, 20 repetitions)

3. Pull-throughs (5 sets, 8 repetitions)

4. Stiff-leg deads (4 sets, 8 repetitions)

5. Calf raise leg press (3 sets, 30 repetitions)

Day 4

1. Arnold presses (3 sets, 8 repetitions)

2. Decline barbell bench press (5 sets, 8 repetitions)

3. Cable flyes, presses, and push-ups (5 sets, 10 repetitions each)

4. Superset of Poliquin side raises and partial side raises (3 sets, 10 repetitions)

5. Superset of triceps dips and rear delt cable flyes (3 sets, 10 repetitions)

Day 5

1. Two-arm dumbbell chest rows on a bench (4 sets, 10 repetitions)

2. Partial deads (5 sets, 5 repetitions)

3. Face pulls using 80 pounds (3 sets, 10 repetitions)

4. Superset of behind-the-neck pull-downs and superman presses (4 sets, 10 repetitions)

5. Zottman curls (3 sets, 10 repetitions)

For each of these workouts, Wiedenbach also incorporate 30 minutes of stead-state cardio. He typically goes for the treadmill or StepMill.

3. Ron Mathews

Personal trainer Ron Mathews working out on a row machine

Ron Mathews working out on a row machine | Landon LaRue/Ron Mathews

Traditional workouts that combine weights and cardio aren’t the best fit for everyone, even fitness professionals. Ron Mathews, CSCS and CPT, prefers CrossFit for his own workouts. In addition to the routines themselves, Mathews devotes a fair amount of time to working on mobility and flexibility. “The mobility portion is always a dynamic warm-up based around the movements and body parts of the day,” he said. “Remember that the point of the warm-up is to be fully ready to perform.”

Mathews works with both male and female clients, so his workouts reflect the amount of weight each gender should use. The first applies to men while the seconds is for females. As for the portions that are as many rounds as possible, he performs each exercise the prescribed number of times in order, repeating until using up all the allotted time.

Monday

Mobility: Hips, T-spine, ankles

Part A: Every 90 seconds for 15 minutes

1. 10 empty barbell back rack box

2. Step ups (5 per leg)

3. 10 pistols (5 per leg)

Part B: Every 90 seconds

Back squat (5 sets, 10 repetitions, staying at 60% of maximum effort)

Part C: Three rounds for time

1. Toes to bar (15 repetitions)

2. Butterfly sit-ups (25 repetitions)

3. Air squats (35 repetitions)

Flexibility: Glutes and anterior hips

Tuesday

Mobility: Ankles, hamstrings, shoulders

Part A: 10 minutes skill work

Jump-rope double-unders (3 sets, maximum unbroken effort)

Part B: Maximum height box jump

3 attempts

Part C: For time

30 clean and jerk (135 pounds/95 pounds)

Flexibility: Hamstrings and calves

Wednesday

Mobility: Shoulders and lats

Part A: 10 minutes skill work

1. Kipping pull-ups

2. Butterfly pull-ups

3. Muscle-ups

Part B: 8 minutes of as many rounds as possible

1. Burpees (8 repetitions)

2. Wall balls (8 repetitions at 20 pounds/14 pounds followed by 2 repetitions at 30 pounds/20 pounds)

3. Chest-to-bar pull-ups (8 repetitions)

5 minutes rest

Part C: 8 minutes of as many rounds as possible

1. Calorie row (18 pounds/12 pounds)

2. Box jump-overs (15 repetitions at 24 pounds/20 pounds)

3. Dumbell shoulder-to-overhead (12 sets at 45 pounds/25 pounds)

Flexibility: Shoulders, lats, calves

Thursday

Mobility: T-spine and anterior hips

Part A: Three sets, not for time

1. Single-leg glute bridge (10 repetitions per leg)

2. Single-leg Romanian deadlift (10 repetitions per leg)

3. Elbow plank (60 seconds)

Part B:

Deadlift (5 sets, 5 repetitions at 70% to 80% maximum effort)

Part C: Three rounds for time

1. Kettlebell squats (30 repetitions)

2. Push-ups (30 repetitions)

3. All-out 400-meter run

Flexibility: Posterior chain and chest

Friday

Mobility: Shoulders and hips

Part A: 10 minutes skill work

Kipping hand-stand push-ups (Sets of 3 to 5, strict or deficit)

Part B:

Burpee box jumps (5 minutes, as many rounds as possible at 24 pounds/20 pounds)

5 minutes rest

10-meter shuttle run (4 minutes, as many rounds as possible)

4 minutes rest

Power cleans (3 minutes, as many rounds as possible at 135 pounds/95 pounds)

3 minutes rest

Wall balls (2 minutes, as many rounds as possible at 20 pounds/14 pounds)

2 minutes rest

Pull-Ups (1 minutes, as many rounds as possible)

Flexibility: Foam roller lower back, legs, calves

Saturday

Rest day

Sunday

Mobility: Shoulders and hips

Part A: Every minute on the minute for 20 minutes

Odd minutes: Calorie row (20 repetitions)

Even minutes: Jerks (10 repetitions at 135 pounds/95 pounds)

Part B:

Overhead squat (5 heavy repetitions)

Part C:

Overhead squat with 2-second pause at bottom (3 sets, 2 repetitions)

Flexibility: Lower back and hamstrings

4. Ngo Okafor

Ngo Okafor grasping sides of boxing ring

Ngo Okafor | Source: Ngo Okafor

No one knows what it takes to get in shape better than professional athletes. And when it comes to looking your best, models are at the top of their game. This means, Ngo Okafor, a former Golden Gloves champion and model, is the ultimate personal trainer. He’s using the knowledge from these fields to whip New Yorkers into shape and still manages to maintain his own physique.

While taking a day or two off is the norm for many fitness professionals, Okafor doesn’t prescribe to this theory. “Fitness is equal parts sanity and vanity, and I believe that there are now shortcuts to fitness,” he said. “Hard work and dedication are the keys to success.”

Monday

3-mile run

Circuit 1: Four rounds

1. Chest flyes (20 repetitions, low to hight)

2. Push-ups (20 repetitions)

3. TRX row (20 repetitions)

4. 30 Sit-ups

5. Flutter kicks (50 repetitions)

Circuit 2: Three rounds

1. Bench press (15 repetitions)

2. Back cable pull-downs (15 repetitions)

3. 3 minutes on the bike (1 minute fast, 1 minute raised resistance and standing, 1 minute reduced resistance)

Tuesday

20 minutes of jumping rope

Circuit 1: Four rounds

1. Kettlebell squats (20 repetitions using 35 pounds)

2. Kettlebell deadlift (20 repetitions using 53 pounds)

3. Stationary lunges (30 repetitions per leg)

4. Ab wheel (15 repetitions)

5. Bicycles (50 repetitions per side)

Circuit 2: Three rounds

1. Leg extensions (15 repetitions)

2. Leg press (15 repetitions)

3. Lying leg curl (15 repetitions)

Wednesday

3-mile run

Circuit 1: Four rounds

1. Lateral and frontal raise combo (15 repetitions)

2. Rear deltoid pull on TRX (20 repetitions)

3. High knees (60 seconds)

Circuit 2: Four rounds

1. Dumbbell overhead press (15 repetitions)

2. Dumbell bent-over row (15 repetitions)

3. Bicycles (50 repetitions per side)

4. Sit-ups (30 repetitions)

Thursday

30-minutes of bike intervals

Circuit 1: Four rounds

1. Seated chest press (20 repetitions)

2. Cable pull-downs (20 re[etitions)

3. Side planks (20 repetitions per side)

4. 3-minute run on the treadmill  (6.0 speed and 2.0 incline, raising incline 2% after each minute)

Circuit 2: Five rounds

1. Push-ups (10 repetitions)

2. Pull-ups (5 repetitions)

Friday

3-mile run

6-minute warm-up at a moderate pace

Circuit: Four rounds, increasing running speed by .5 each round, starting with 6.5 and ending with 8.0

1. Squats with shoulder press (20 repetitions)

2. Deadlifts (20 repetitions)

3. Bent-over rows (20 repetitions)

4. Sit-ups (30 repetitions)

5. Leg raises (30 repetitions)

6. 3-minute run

Saturday

30-minute intervals on elliptical trainer

Circuit: Five rounds

1. Squats (20 repetitions with 100-pound bar)

2. Deadlifts (20 repetitions with 100-pound bar)

3. Push-ups (30 repetitions)

4. TRX rows (30 repetitions)

5. Sit-ups (50 repetitions)

6. Bicycles (50 repetitions)

7. 100-yard sled-push (no weight added)

Sunday

30-minute light run followed by stretching

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