Last Updated on March 26, 2018 by Michael Brockbank
I’ve covered this basic mix routine once before, but I wanted to make it a bit clearer for my new visitors. This is the workout I usually fall back on when I have the time to pick up the dumbbells. I call this a “mix” because I include weights and cardio inside the time span. It has been an effective workout and has also contributed to helping my golf game, if you can believe it.
My Basic Mix Routine for Strength and Flexibility
This is a 20 minute routine that concentrates a great deal of work on the chest, shoulders, biceps and abs. I’m not one to focus on one muscle group every other day. I believe in giving myself a total workout in order to improve my body as a whole. Everybody has their own ideas of proper fitness. This has been one of my most utilized exercise routines and it has done me well.
In this workout, I normally use 10 pound dumbbells. However, you can use any weight you’re comfortable with. If this is your first go at using weights, I’d suggest starting off with something light, such as five pounds or less. It won’t take you very long to build up enough strength to step it up to heavier dumbbells. It’s also important to note that I sometimes give myself three 60 second breaks throughout this routine. If you want to get it done in just over 15 minutes, skip the breaks and push through. Here is what I do for my basic mix routine:
- Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 20 reps each
- Dumbbell Military Press: 3 sets of 20 reps each
- Standing Toe Touch: 3 sets of 60 seconds each
- Dumbbell Fly: 3 sets of 20 reps each
- Dumbbell Floor Press: 3 sets of 20 reps each
- Lying Leg Raise: 3 sets of 10 reps each
This is one of the easiest weight-based exercises to accomplish. Essentially, you hold a dumbbell in each hand at your side and curl your arms to bring the weight up to your shoulders. After a few sets of these, your arms will feel hard as rock. My wife thinks it’s pretty sexy as my arms will remain flexed for a while because of the pump-factor. This happens when you use muscles constantly over a short period of time and they remain flexed for a while after the exercise. Bare in mind, I don’t do alternating curls.
Dumbbell Military Press
The Dumbbell Military Press is one of the easiest for me. Since my shoulders and triceps have always been somewhat tone given the nature of past work experiences, I can crack out military presses far faster and with less effort than any other weight-based exercise. It’s easy to quickly shift from curls to military presses without taking a break. Holding dumbbells in each hand to your sides up where your elbows are shoulder height, you press upward. This works on shoulders and triceps quite nicely.
Standing Toe Touch
I like to add the Standing Toe Touch because it gives me 60 seconds of rest time from arm work while stretching out my hamstrings and lower back. This has been one of the most influential exercises in terms of hitting the driving range. Before, my back would start to tense up after placing 30 golf balls on the tee. After doing the Standing Toe Touch, I no longer get tense as quickly. Stand with your feet at about shoulder-width apart. Now, bend over and try to touch your toes. I start off with 60 second intervals but will increase the time by 15 seconds every two weeks.
Once the standing exercises are done, it’s time to lay down on your back. The rest of the basic mix routine can be done from this position. Since I have a great fear of developing man-boobs, I like to get in as much chest work as I can when ever possible. The Dumbbell Fly is one of those that helps keep me from shopping in the bra isle. With the dumbbells in hand and stretched out to your sides, bend your elbows slightly. Your going to the lift the dumbbells up above your chest like you’re trying to give someone a bear hug. This is one rep.
Dumbbell Floor Press
After the flies, I immediately move into a floor press. You hold the dumbbells above your chest while bending your arms making your triceps parallel with the floor. Then, you press upward as far as you can go. Bring your arms back down, but avoid touching the floor. This is counted as one rep and works the chest, shoulders and a small part of your triceps. As you develop your muscles further, you’ll find other exercises such as bench presses to be much easier to accomplish. Personally, I like the machine press, but that’s because I have a fear of crushing my chest with a barbell.
Lying Leg Raise
I added the Lying Leg Raise into the routine for the same reason as the toe touch: to give me a break from arm work. I also like the idea of ab work in any regard since I am trying to develop a washboard stomach. Currently, it’s more like a wash-rock. While lying on your back, bring your feet slightly up off the floor. Now, bring your legs straight up as if you’re trying to touch the ceiling with your feet. Keep your legs as straight as you can. Lower your legs back down and count that as one rep.
If you stand for the first three exercises, you can complete the last three while lying on your back. This may be more comfortable for many who have joint pains or arthritis. This way, you don’t have to bend your joints as much and the workout can be completed with little movement of body position.
Getting More Out of the Basic Mix Routine
There are a number of ways you can add to this routine to make it more grueling. It’s easily adaptable for any exercise strategy and doesn’t take a great deal of time to complete. Here are a few ideas to inspire you to make this workout your own.
Over time, I usually increase the number of reps I perform with each exercise. While it does add a bit of time to the routine, you’ll get more of a workout over a longer period. Just make sure you don’t over do it. I tried to set my own personal record once and I wasn’t able to move my arms for days.
If you add weight while keeping with the same number of reps, you’ll burn more calories. For instance, you’ll burn more doing 20 reps at 15 pounds than you will at 20 reps at 10 pounds. If you want to add just a bit more of a workout, wear weighted gloves at the same time. This increases the weight by 1.5 pounds on each hand but will cause your body to burn more calories with little additional effort.
Adding ankle weights when doing the Lying Leg Raise will also impact the workout. It works the same way as weight gloves only it puts additional effort on the abs.
Adding More Sets
Like any other exercise routine, you can’t go wrong with adding more sets to the workout. If you find yourself still full of pep after the basic mix routine, why not put in some more work? I often add a set or two if I have the time. Sometimes, I can turn this 20 minute workout into a 45 minute sweat-fest.
Adding Other Exercises
You can always add a few more exercises to this routine as well. I have been known to add Dumbbell Lateral Raises after doing the military press in order to work the shoulders and lats even more. Perhaps you can add tricep extensions. The possibilities are endless with what you can add into this workout.
This is the basic mix routine that I do the most. It’s a quick way to develop the core as well as the arms. I’ve found this workout to be beneficial for everything from playing outdoor sports to grocery shopping. It’s amazing what you can accomplish just by developing a few muscles in various parts of the body.