Here's a great intermediate resistance training routine.
For the few few months of my weight loss, I was just following the resistance training routine my personal trainer gave me. Every 3 weeks he would change things up, just to keep my body sore and confused, which happened to be a good strategy for me. Now that I don't see a personal trainer regularly, I'm needing to put together my own resistance training routines.
If you're into books, here's a good one from Gunner Peterson simply called The Workout. It teaches 13 basic exercises and gives you a myriad of "twists" on each one to basically give you an infinite variety.
I'm a bit lazy (or perhaps busy), so I went looking for a pre-baked workout that was similar to the ones I was getting from my trainer, but would allow me to pace myself and keep me challenged over time. I found a good website called A Workout Routine that gave a simple, effective intermediate-level strength training routine. It gives tips on how to do each exercise and acceptable variations. If I was unsure of how to do a particular exercise, I simply typed it into Youtube and watched a couple of different videos showing technique.
Note that this is an intermediate routine, meaning you're comfortable with the gym. If you're just starting out, see my blog post on working out with dumbbells. That's a better place to start.
So here is the routine. I've modified it a little to include some cardio each day, and longer cardio sessions twice a week. My own fitness goals are not to just build muscle, but to become more physically fit with a good balance of lean muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness. For the cardio, I like to do do any combination of: Run/Walk intervals, Stair Steppers, Row Machine, Elliptical, Bike and Treadmill w/incline.
Upper/Lower Split: 4 Day Resistance + Cardio
Each muscle group gets trained once every 3rd or 4th day, which is right within the ideal frequency range for building muscle mass at the optimal rate.
While this specific template is probably the most common (people like having weekends off), the exact days you choose really doesn’t matter as long as the same 2 on/1 off/2 on/2 off format is kept intact.
Upper Body A
Lower Body A
Upper Body B
Lower Body B
As you can see from the workouts, each one is focused primarily on the most effective compound exercises with just the right amount of secondary focus on isolation exercises as well.
There is also a near perfect balance among the opposing movement patterns, and the exercises in each workout are ordered in terms of most demanding to least demanding (the exact way it should be).
As you can also see, the intensity/rep ranges and rest intervals between sets for each exercise is exactly what it should be for building muscle, and the volume for each muscle group both per workout and per week total is all perfectly within the optimal volume range for intermediate/advanced trainees looking to build muscle mass.
So, what I’m trying to say is, all of the factors and components that work best for building muscle have been brought together perfectly in one ideal workout routine.
See the website for additional details on each exercise. Jay gives other routines as well, so you can look around the website to see what might work for you.