Back day, leg day, shoulder day… There aren’t enough days in the week! If you want to squeeze some lifts into your life without giving over hours every day, you’ll need a good all-round weights routine. But does such a thing exist?

The basics

Different types of exercises naturally put more strain on different muscle groups, and mastering them all is the key to developing the perfect all-round routine. Broadly speaking, pressing exercises can help you to bulk up your chest, shoulders and triceps, while pulling movements can impact on your back, biceps and forearms. Meanwhile you can introduce deadlifts into your routine to help work on your quads, hamstrings and those all-important glutes.

Speed is the key here; do it right, and you'll get those mad gains without dedicating your life to weightlifting. Aim for one intense hour each session and take every other day as a rest day. Here’s what you should concentrate on as part of the perfect all-round routine...


It's easy to get carried away focusing on your arms and chest when you start introducing weights into your life, but don't forget about your back. Pull-ups are a great way of developing the muscles you can't personally see (at least without a mirror!), while doing bent over barbell rows will make a big difference to your lower back.

2-4 sets, 10-12 reps.


Alternate dumbbell curls are a great way of developing or keeping your biceps in shape, but if you want the biggest guns it's difficult to beat standing barbell curls. When doing curls, only your forearms should be moving, and remember to hold the position for around a second once your biceps are fully contracted.

2-4 sets, 10-12 reps.



The good old bench press is one of the best lifts you can turn to when it comes to your chest, with a 30-45% incline bench proving ideal for work on your upper chest. When working on the middle of your chest you'd be better served by a flat bench, while a 35-45% decline bench will sort your lower chest exercises.

2-4 sets, 10-12 reps.


Putting your triceps through their paces is really important if you want a balanced look. Dips are a great way to do this, using parallel bars to lift your entire body weight and making your triceps work against a heavy load.

2-4 sets, 10-12 reps.


The shoulder press machine should definitely be a part of your routine if you want to work on your shoulders (funny, that), but there are other ways to bulk your blades. Sitting (on a bench with a back support) or standing and doing dumbbell shoulder presses is your best bet here.

2-4 sets, 10-12 reps.


Never forget your legs – working them eats calories and burns fat. Standing calf raises are perfect for your calves, either on a machine or using use dumbbells or barbells as weights. Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a step, before lifting onto your toes.

2-4 sets, 10-12 reps.


Along with helping other areas of your body, squats are one of the best ways of putting almost every muscle in your legs through their paces, so they should be one of the first exercises on everybody's all-round routine. If the big boys are hogging the barbells, don't forget that your legs can also benefit from dumbbell squats – but either way, make sure you start out with a weight you know you can comfortably manage.

2-4 sets, 10-12 reps.

And that’s it! Burn through all the areas above during each intense hourly session and you’ll have worked pretty much every major muscle group. Got time for one last top tip? Avoid doing the same exercises in the same order each time you hit the gym – shake it up and you’ll feel less tired.