Workout Swap #2: High-Intensity Weights Routine

I love mixing up my weight training routine and rarely ever do the same exact thing twice. I make small tweaks, such as the grip, the amount of weight, or the order of the exercises, and I constantly change up the exercises themselves. I also mix it up by using techniques such as negatives, supersets, and drop sets.

I’ve seen incredible results from weight training – not only do I feel strong and energetic, but I’ve seen great muscle definition and achieved a generally super hot physique that’s a work in progress! (Hey, I’m the one who says you’ve got to strut your stuff, remember?) I love my muscles and am proud of my body and all the “fun play” I’ve had training it.

That’s why it’s so exciting to swap routines with my friend Kris (@Krazy_Kris), who is in fantastic shape and enjoys a wide variety of training routines herself. (We’ve swapped workouts before – see how Kris did with mine and I did with hers.) Kris focuses on functional, full-body routines and has seen amazing results from working with her trainer. Her workouts are totally different from mine so it’s challenging to try her style while she tries mine! (Don’t miss the functional workout she created for me.) Our Twitter friend Greta (@MiddleAgedJock) also posted a swap that looks challenging! Check it out here.

While I normally train two muscle groups per session, I created an advanced, full-body workout for Kris and anyone else who wants to try it. This routine is a time saver because there are virtually no rest periods. It will get your heart rate up and challenge your entire body. Important: Be sure to start with very light resistance if you do not weight train regularly!

Since this is an intermediate to advanced routine, you can modify these exercises any way you want to make them more or less challenging. You can add exercises or skip some if you’re low on time. I suggest using lower resistance than you might normally use because of the intense nature of the workout. My friend Roy Cohen looked this workout over for me so check him out as well!

Warm Up

Warm up for five minutes on a cardio machine that uses both arms and legs: an elliptical machine or treadmill while pumping your arms or the rowing machine.

The Workout

For each part, do three sets. One set equals both exercises back to back for 10 reps (no rest!). These are called supersets. Since these supersets are with mostly unrelated muscle groups, there is no rest between sets; just keep going. This makes the workout fast (about 45 minutes for your whole body!). Lift enough weight so that you can do about 10 reps of each exercise (except the ab exercises – see below). Equipment needed is listed so you can plan ahead.

Part 1

Equip: Light dumbbells and a flat bench or box. Superset these two exercises with no rest between sets.

  • Pushups with Dumbbell Rows. Do as many as you can!
  • Dumbbell Step ups. Switch step-up feet mid-way through. For additional challenge, hold dumbbells and/or squat on top of bench. Alternative for creaky knees: Stationary Lunges

Part 2

Equip: Smith Machine, dumbbells (optional). Superset these two exercises with no rest between sets.

Part 3

Equip: Flat bench or seated bench, dumbbells (optional). Superset these two exercises with no rest between sets.

Part 4

Equip: Barbell (or dumbbells). This is a tri-set: three exercises back to back (no rest between sets).

  • Bicep 21’s. You can use dumbbells or a barbell but I prefer a barbell.
  • Skullcrushers. Use a barbell. You may need a lighter barbell, or use a light barbell for both 21’s and skullcrushers.
  • Bench Jumps. You can also use a box. Alternative: Kickboxing side kicks or jabs.

Part 5

Equip: Floor mat and light weight plate. Do 20 reps of these three exercises with an optional 30-second rest between sets. Feel free to add MORE ab exercises if you want, with or without weights.

You’re DONE!

Cool Down

Don’t forget to gently stretch your entire body. Afterwards, grab a banana and a protein shake and you’re golden! Let me know how you like the workout or how you modified it to suit your needs :).

19 thoughts on “Workout Swap #2: High-Intensity Weights Routine

  1. Oh Dang! Look at you – you hot little Sistah! EEEEEK! That first exercise is a killer, shall I read on?

    Ha! I was gonna give you inverted rows! That is too funny 😉

    I’ve never done the Arnold Press – gosh I learn so much from you.

    Thank you so much Suzanne – I can’t WAIT to do this!


    • How funny about the inverted row – it’s my new favorite back exercise (besides the low-cable row). There were so many things to choose from, it’s hard to decide. I hope you get a good workout. You’re in great shape and it’s a toughie to challenge you sufficiently :). Have fun! I can’t wait to try your workout!


    • Lindsay: Cool – let me know how you like it! I did it today and thought it was fairly kick butt! Could even add a couple more exercises or do cardio beforehand.
      Michelle: Right ON! I really want to hear how it goes. And if it works, please buy us protein powder, something like that ;).


  2. Okay, so when you were kind enough to lower your standards and ask my opinion of this, I knew I could not give that opinion without also knowing that today I would take the workout for a spin — and I did. That said, it’s been over a year since I have done push-ups with DB rows. I had forgotten the challenge there.

    The only thing I did different was that I did it in tri-set format, with a set of 10 deep squat box jumps after every superset — just to up the intensity a bit, and it worked.

    I love workouts that touch-up a bit of everything, and this was one of them!! Loved it, and am now reminded to mix in the push-up/rows into my client routines again. Poor them 🙂


    • Those push ups with rows are killer! I also hadn’t done them in awhile. I’m the sorest in my back after this workout. I love the idea of tri-setting the whole thing. You can really do that many deep squat box jumps?! That would put me in physical therapy for a year with my knees! I suppose I could do something more low impact, like kettle bell swings.

      How cool that you did my workout, that’s the highest compliment! Thanks Roy for your input and for writing.


  3. Okay. It was a modified version, but I did it. I’m already sore..usually that’s a day away. And I’m sweaty. So, I guess I did something right here.

    I’ll let you know tomorrow if you’re the devil or not. Although, if you ARE, then my arms will probably be too sore to type.


    • Ok, so that goes on record as the very first time me and someone else actually left a comment on each other’s blog at the EXACT SAME TIME. Freaky!
      Great job doing the workout babe!! You’re sore already, ok, good. Tomorrow might be a toughie … I could very well end up on your sh*t list. In any case, the next time you do it it won’t hurt so much. Lemme know so I can wear body armor!


  4. This looks like a great workout!!!! It’s funny to see push up with rows there. I just started doing those again last week. And Bicep 21’s…ooh the memories 🙂 Great post!


  5. Ha! I think you’re safe. I’ve seen your pictures. I’m a grandmother who has been out of shape for YEARS. (Okay, I am a HOT out of shape grandmother).

    The progress I’ve made puts me light years behind where you are instead of impossibly behind where you are. So even if you’re on my sh*t list, I don’t think you have to fear an ass kicking. I would completely run away screaming. And then I’d fall down. sigh.

    I just talk tough. I’m actually a marshmallow.
    Except for when I’m not. 🙂


    • You’re an exceedingly YOUNG grandmother so it really doesn’t count. I’m not that far behind you in terms of age. SO, that means you could easily catch up. And you’re getting there already! I know you won’t kick my ass but frankly I’m still a little scared of you. In a good way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s