Bodybuilding Shift Work

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How to Workout with Rotating Shift Work

Shifting Your Workouts to Adjust for Shift Routines

Unless you have the luxury of being a professional bodybuilding and being able to train whenever you want during the day, you have to deal with the reality of squeezing your workouts in around the edges of your work day. For most people that are on a rote weekly work schedule, the stability of the same work hours allows them to plan when to train on the edges of that schedule. However, if you are on shift work, and have to work different time slots each week, and these change on occasion, you have to put a little extra thought into planning a workout routine that works for you.

Full Body Workout

One option is to go to a full body workout approach. That way you are able to address each muscle group and not leave anything hanging. When you have an opening in your week, you perform a full body routine, then rest for a couple of days. Here is one good option the Harold Poole full body session:

3 Sets Barbell Press Behind Neck 6 Sets of Barbell Bench Press, Wide Grip 3 Sets of Barbell Rowing 3 Sets of Chins Behind Neck 3 Sets of Cheating Barbell Curl 5 Sets of Triceps Kickbacks 3 Sets of Front Squats 6 Sets of Donkey Calf Raises 1 Set of Sit-ups


Another great option is the push/pull workout approach. You work the push session in one workout, and the pull in another. Since you allow 2-3 days of rest between sessions, this approach should mesh well with any rotational type of work.

Push Session
Incline Bench Press 3 x 10
Standing Press 3 x 10
Dip 3 x maximum amount of repetitions possible
Triceps rope pushdown on cable machine, 3 x 10

3-4 minute rest

Squats 3 x 10
Standing or seated calf raise 3 x 10
Finish the session with 10-20 minutes of easy riding on a recumbent bike.

After a 2-3 day rest, go to the Pull workout

Pull Session
Explosive Bent Row 3 x 10
Stiff-leg Deadlift 3 x 10
Reverse hyperextension 3 x 10
Wide grip Chin up 3 x maximum amount of repetitions trainee can perform
Heavy Barbell Curls - 2 x 8

If the shift rotation is the nasty rolling cycle of working some mornings, some nights, default to an extra day of rest between workouts. That is, instead of trying to cram too much into a a narrow period, allow a little more rest than usual as this morning/night shift rotation plays havoc on your body, and more rest will let you get in better workouts.

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