Saturday, July 26, 2014
Fitting the legs between the arms

By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist

Dear Mr. Fitness:

I started my weight training with three sessions a week. Right now, I'm doing chest with triceps, back with biceps, and finally, legs. Since some similar muscles are being used with the upper body and arms, what about changing my order to legs in between the other two sessions?

-- Novice

Dear Novice:

I am happy to hear you are beginning a weightlifting program. You'll be happy with the benefits you will reap down the road, trust me.

The program you have described is good, but you need to finetune it a bit. You are correct in thinking you should get the leg day in between the upper body day. That makes sense. It is good that we think of the body in distinct parts. Always remember, though, the body is a whole organism. Pounding your upper body with the weights during your chest days still has an impact on the completely different muscle groups you do later in the week.

It is best to separate the upper body workouts. This is what I would recommend you try:

Stick with a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday routine if possible. Three days a week is sufficient. Perhaps on Mondays train chest, shoulders and triceps. I think you missed working your shoulder muscles.

This is important. In this manner, you can do all pushing movements. When you work your chest muscles, you are also working some shoulder muscles. When you are working shoulder muscles, you are also working some triceps muscles. See? Makes sense! Doing it in this manner sort of warms up the next muscle group in the work out session.

Now on Wednesday, do your leg muscles. This way you are avoiding beating up the upper body back to back, even though they are different muscle groups. Get it? Recall, you are a whole organism.

Now on Friday, you can go back to the upper body by doing back along with biceps and possibly forearms. These are all pulling-type movements. This is a typical push-pull training format. It is extraordinarily effective in getting a person results quickly.

Along with your new training regime, I would have you work your abdominal muscles twice weekly. Perhaps on Mondays and Fridays. This will ensure proper rest between abdominal routines. Try this and include some aerobics on your off days to strengthen your heart and lungs. In this manner you would have covered all of the bases.

Good luck and get fit!

-- Mr. Fitness

Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has more than 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and fitness author, he has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at, and come visit at Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd. Call 292-2930.