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Field Manual: A Training Guide For Those With Little Time & Equipment


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May 13, 2016
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Get Shredded!
No equipment, no time? No problem! Using only dumbbells, bands and your bodyweight, Brad Borland shows you how to train for gains using supersets.


Workout Description​

Why do so many excuses crop up when it comes to getting in shape or more specifically, stripping away body fat and building muscle with little resources? With the seemingly endless options of not only fitness centers on every corner but also hotel gyms, public parks and mobile training equipment, the potential for a quick workout at any time is that much more reachable.
So, what is the big bad wolf at the door? Why are so many reluctant to do even the minimum when it comes to getting fit? Motivation? Organization? Planning? Desire? It can potentially be one, all or even more of these factors.
Hopefully this field manual will shed some much-needed light on the pitfalls of training with little time and equipment and finally get you on the right track to progress “in the field.” You will be able to build some appreciable muscle and lose some body fat with a well thought-out plan of attack.
Don’t think it can be done without belonging to a big-box gym? Read on, follow the plan and then when you muster the energy to get back up from your pool of sweat we’ll revisit your doubts.

A Quick Word About Motivation​

This is sometimes seen as the big ugly word many throw around but lack by admission. “I want to get into better shape but I just can’t seem to get motivated,” is the broken record heard around the world. But how do you overcome this wall you’ve built?
You need to set a goal. Do something that will force you to commit and that in turn will motivate you to stay the course. Some strategies include:
  • Take a “before picture.”
  • Do you have a date that you are looking forward to? Wedding? Vacation? Birthday? Write it down.
  • Sign up for a local run or other competitive event.
  • Create a friendly rivalry.
  • Write up a commitment contract with yourself and have a friend witness it.
  • Write down realistic goals and a timeline towards the new you.
Notice these are all tangible things, not just ideas or thoughts floating in your head. Create a vision, a real life commitment to yourself to hold you accountable. Additionally, it is best to tell a friend or family member your goals which make them all that much more real and urgent.

Get Organized!​

This, by far, is one of the most troublesome areas of training. Don’t know where to start? What equipment to use? What to do? The following plan lays it all out for you with minimal equipment AND time.
Let’s first set up a time and place. Before starting any training program take a few things under consideration.
  • Plan a time. If the afternoon is not an option, wake up earlier and perform your workout in the morning.
  • Your workout area should be a large space free of clutter.
  • Put away all distractions. Keep all electronic devices in another room and out of reach - cell phones, tablets, laptops, etc. Keep your focus and use your time efficiently.
  • If training first thing in the morning, hydrate. Drink at least eight ounces of water upon rising and eat breakfast after your workout.
  • Take a few minutes to review your workout and goals and familiarize yourself with what lies ahead.
Now that you have a schedule and space, let’s get a quick list of equipment needed for your new venture. All the equipment listed is inexpensive and very mobile. Easy to set up and use, it can all be easily stored away after use as well. No expensive membership required!
  • A chair or bench
  • A pair of dumbbells (medium weight relative to your strength)
  • Strength bands of various tensions
  • Pull-up bar

The Plan: Let’s Get To It!​

As mentioned before, this plan requires little equipment and utilizes what is called workout density. Density refers to doing more work in either the same amount of time or less time by putting into practice some select intensity techniques. These will include reduced rest time (between sets), supersets (performing two or more sets back-to-back without rest) and interval training.
  • Perform all workouts once per week for a total of four days of training. A good example is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Wednesday and the weekends off.
  • There is no rest between supersets - simply move on to the next exercise listed without resting. Rest one minute between regular sets and after all supersets are completed.
  • For High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) start with a 3 minute warm-up followed by 30 seconds of high intensity work then 2 minutes of low intensity work. Each week increase the high intensity portion and decrease the low intensity portion respectively: [high (seconds)/low(seconds)] 60/90, 90/60 and 120/30. Good forms of HIIT are jog/sprint, biking, swimming or any form of circuit training such as burpees, shuttle runs and track and field work.
  • Each workout should last no longer than 40-45 minutes.
  • Stay on the program for 6 weeks before reducing intensity, switching programs or taking a short break.
  • AMRAP = As Many Reps As Possible
Workout 1
Field Manual
MovesWarm-up SetsWork Sets
Superset: Incline dumbbell press or banded chest press and wide grip pull-up2 x 10-203 x 10-12 and AMRAP
Superset: Flat bench dumbbell fly or banded fly and bent-over two-arm dumbbell row 3 x 10-12
Superset: Alternating dumbbell press and wide banded upright row1 x 10-203 x 10-20
Superset: Dumbbell hammer curl and dumbbell kickback1 x 10-203 x 10-12
Superset: Floor crunch and plank 3 x 20-30 seconds on planks and 20-30 reps on crunches
Cardio: 15-20 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Your choice of type See notes above
Workout 2
Field Manual
MovesWarm-up SetsWork Sets
Superset: Split jump squat and goblet squat2 x 10-203 x 10-16
Superset: Bulgarian split squat and Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 x 10-16
Superset: Dumbbell lunge and single-leg calf raise 3 lengths of walks and 10-20 reps of raises
Superset: Russian twist and bicycle crunch 3 x 20-30
Cardio: 15-20 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Your choice of type See note above
Workout 3
Field Manual
MovesWarm-up SetsWork Sets
Superset: Banded flat bench fly or push-up and inverted row2 x 10-203 x 10-12 and AMRAP
Superset: incline dumbbell fly and one arm dumbbell row 3 x 10-12
Triset: 3-way dumbbell raise (bent-over, side lateral and front raise) no rest 3 x 10 each angle
Superset: Close-grip push-up and banded or dumbbell curl1 x 10-20AMRAP and 3 x 10-12
Superset: Leg raise and side crunch 3 x 20-30
Cardio: 15-20 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Your choice of type See notes above
Workout 4
Field Manual
MovesWarm-up SetsWork Sets
Superset: Box jump and reverse lunge2 x 10-203 x 10-16
Superset: Dumbbell sumo deadlift and walking lunge or banded squat 3 x 10-16
Superset: Dumbbell Stiff Leg deadlift and calf raise off floor 3 x 10-16
Superset: Three-way sit-up and hanging leg raise 3 x 20-30
Cardio: 15-20 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Your choice of type