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Dublin: 10°C Friday 25 September 2020

Leg curl and pull ups – it’s week 3 of our gym training programme with a personal trainer

A step-by-step guide to this week’s workout.

IT’S THAT TIME of the year again when we all have good intentions but achieving results is easier said than done.

Unfortunately parting with a membership fee and dragging yourself to the gym a couple of days a week is only laying the foundations for you to achieve your end goal, whatever that may be.

Not all of us have access to a personal trainer to kickstart our training so we’ve teamed up with a leading personal trainer to design a six-week programme for you to follow.

This is a full body workout and will help you settle into the gym, become familiar with the machines and exercises and help you on your way to discernible results.

The equipment and machines we will be using will be available in any gym. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email

Before we get into week two, here’s last week’s workout.

Week 3

We are going to move on from squats and concentrate this week on single leg workouts beginning with split squats and prone leg curls.

1) Split squats

shutterstock_325509236 Source: Shutterstock/studioloco

Firstly place a step (gyms usually have Reebok step boxes) on its lowest setting a good pace out in front of you. Position yourself into a staggered stance, step forward and place your foot firmly in the middle of the box with the rear foot elevated. This will be your starting position.

Begin by descending, flexing your knee and hip to lower your body down. Maintain good posture througout the movement.

Keep the front knee in line with the foot as you perform the exercise. At the bottom of the movement, drive through your heel to extend your knee and hip to return to the starting position. Repeat for between 12-15 reps and then change foot.

Progression: Add dumbbells or a barbell to help overload the muscles.

2) Prone leg curl

Source: ScottHermanFitness/YouTube

As squats and split squats predominately work the glutes and quads, we are now doing an exercise which focuses on the hamstring as the prime mover. Use the prone leg curl machine for this exercise.

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Adjust the machine lever to fit your height and lie face down on the machine with the pad of the lever on the back of your legs (just a few inches below your calves). Keeping your torso flat on the bench, ensure your legs are fully stretched and grab the handles of the machine. Point your toes straight – this will be your starting position.

As you exhale, curl one of your legs up as far as possible without lifting the upper legs from the pad. Once you hit the fully contracted position, hold it for a second. Inhale and bring that leg back to the initial position.

Repeat for between 10-14 reps, then swap legs. Repeat for four to five sets.

Be careful not to use too much weight on this exercise. You don’t want to swing or jerk the body as this can cause lower back injury and also a hamstring injury.

3) Bench press

shutterstock_176186315 Source: Shutterstock/Dmitry Melnikov

Once you have mastered a press up then it’s time to hit the bench. Firstly lie down on the bench with your feet flat on the ground. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip just wide of shoulder width. Inhale and lower the bar to your chest with a controlled movement.

Extend your arms and exhale at the top.  Keep your feet flat on the ground at all times, do not arch the back.

Progression: Vary the angle of the bench between incline and decline and also the width of the hands on the bar will isolate different parts of the muscle.

4) Pull up

shutterstock_310231076 Source: Shutterstock/fizkes

There are many different variations of a pull up, we are going for the reverse chin-up.

Hang from a bar with an underhand grip, hands shoulder width apart. Inhale and push out your chest as you raise the chin to the bar, slowly lower yourself back down, full lock out of the arms. Repeat for as many as possible.

Tip: Use a resistance band if you can’t achieve a pull up. Tie the band around the bar and then place your foot into it.

Matt Keatley is a Personal Trainer & Nutritionist. For more information on training programmes and diet check out his Facebook and Instagram. Check back next Wednesday for the fourth week of the programme. 

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About the author:

The42 Team

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