In spring there are two guarantees. The weather will turn, and your head will spin with the plethora of smarmy get-fit-quick routines. If you are looking for an easy way, pretty calves and biceps, or the latest trick, read no further. In 40 years, Harvey Newton has discovered no shortcuts. Few people are more respected within serious weight training circles than Newton, former national and Olympic coach for the U.S. weightlifting team and current head of Newton Sports in Ormond Beach, Florida. His books (most recently Explosive Lifting for Sports, Human Kinetics Publishers) and approach are short on glitz and long on real life function.
Newton's rules for those of us emerging from winter sloth are simple. To build your strongest body, and avoid injury during the games of spring and summer, stick to three principles. Start slowly - lift lighter in the beginning, and never sacrifice proper form for heavier weight. Be diligent - three days a week, 45-60 minutes of strength training is what you need, no less, no more. And be functional.
"The best way to build overall strength is with multiple-joint movements that involve many muscles rather than isolation exercises like bicep curls that work only one joint at a time," says Newton. "Multiple-joint lifts mimic real life movements. They aren't fancy, but they are efficient. As long as your lifts are multiple joint, full range of motion, executed in the 8 to 12 repetition range, and repeated for three sets with two to three minutes rest between sets, mission accomplished."
Courtesy of Newton, what follows is a ruthlessly efficient, wholly functional, whole body routine.