1 Samuel 17
The third challenge David faces before ever coming face to face with Goliath is the challenge of choosing his weapons. In 1 Samuel 17:38-39 Saul has accepted David’s request to fight the giant and so he gives him his own armor. He gets a helmet, a coat of mail, armor, and a sword, probably of the highest quality, but it’s not what David is used to. He tries it on and says “I can’t even walk with these!” So he takes all the armor back off.
If I were going into battle I would think I would want all the state of the art technology I could get my hands on. So it makes sense that David tries it all on, but if it didn’t fit me, I’d start to be a little bit concerned. It doesn’t faze David though. He had such courage and confidence in the Lord that the weapons he uses doesn’t matter to him. So he takes his staff and selects 5 stones for his sling and that’s all he has for weapons. I’ve selected skipping stones many times. Finding the perfect rock can be a challenge. I can picture David just praying and hand selecting every rock with the care that comes when your life depends on it, to make sure it’s perfectly suited for use in his sling. He’s apparently pretty sure he won’t have the time or need to throw more than 5 stones.
Even though David’s skill set is not the most up to date or the one that researchers would say should give him the best odds of victory, that’s the method he chooses to fight with. He uses what he knows, because that’s the skills God has given him and prepared him with. He doesn’t go into it lightly though, he’s clearly practiced while he was out watching his father’s sheep. Then he still does his preparation by selecting the stones that he will use. Proverbs 31 says “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance (or victory) is of the Lord.” Even though victory always rests with the Lord of all, we are taught to train and prepare. God wants us to learn and grow and train for whatever battles he has called us to, but always trusting in Him for victory no matter what the situation, because really He’s already won!!
We also saw earlier in this passage how David’s every day work of serving in his family was the foundation of his preparation. David uses what he knows to serve the Lord and it’s very different from what was expected. He wore no armor and carried no fierce weapons…his rocks weren’t even sharp!! They were smooth! I know that’s for aerodynamic purposes, but he is really not very scary looking at this point. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul is talking about the diversity and yet the unity of the body of Christ. David is using his skills, his gifts from God, and fulfilling his role in the body of God’s people and God blesses it. God is always faithful even when we so often are not. Take what God has given you and put it to use! Don’t look at others and say I wish I could be like him, or I wish I had her gifts. Look at how God has already prepared you and be faithful. Love Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and ALL your strength!! God will work wonders in you and through you and you will find joy unspeakable in God alone.
But speaking of strength, as you train and learn more about lifting and what sort of exercises you may need, try different things and find out what works best for you. Everyone’s body isn’t built the same when it comes to lifting and eventually you’ll get a feel for what really works well. Maybe it’ll depend on whether you’re working out at home, at the gym, or on a 5 minute break in the office, you’re journey to a healthy fitness level will be unique to you. You don’t have to always keep up with the latest exercise methods, diets, fads…but just like David, you might have to stick to something classic that you know. If you are seeking to serve the Lord with all your strength He will be faithful.
A common sentiment I get from individuals I talk with is that the wealthy just become more wealthy, and they feel that they are somehow doing that by taking that wealth from everyone else. Basically it’s the concept that one man’s success is another man’s detriment. They think that there is a finite amount of wealth. It’s human nature to be jealous, to want what others have, whether they earned it or inherited it. If they have what we deem to be way more than they need, we think they could just share some of it…with us! It’s simple selfishness to see something shiny and to want it. It’s a socialistic tendency and it’s concerning, but I’ll save that topic for another time. I am not trying to contradict Proverbs 10:2 by any means, ill-gotten treasures still profit no one. But in our covetousness, we usually don’t think about or care how they got their treasures.
What is wealth? Merriam-Webster defines wealth as an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources. Wealth hinges on what we value. People turn trash into sculptures and sell it for a fortune to those eccentric city planners. They took something that had no value, if anything it was a cost or a burden, and they made it valuable. They put in effort and creativity and created wealth. Wealth is not a finite commodity, you can create more by hard work and ingenuity. A new idea or invention can create wealth. When you put sticks together in the right quantity and orientation, you end up with a house. There is new wealth created in the assembling of that house. You don’t have to take it from someone else. And someone else having it doesn’t take away your opportunities. If anything, being surrounded by successful people will increase your odds of success. They clearly know how to work hard and create what’s valued.
I’ve noticed a similar mentality when it comes to muscle and fitness. Some people, especially beginners, hit the gym, see some jacked guys, think they can never amount to that, and just give up. But muscles aren’t a finite commodity either. You get to build muscle or lose it based on your decisions. Many of those decisions are long term lifestyle decisions that will make or break you over years, just like your finances. Muscles are available to all. It’s not a competition. It’s a blessing you can and should enjoy. You should spend some time lifting with some of those people you think you could never be as fit as. See how they do it. Learn. Maybe one of them is a millionaire and you can kill two birds with one stone.
1 Samuel 17
Last time we looked at the first daily battle David had to face to be prepared to face Goliath. We saw that David fulfilled his daily tasks faithfully. Now let’s take a look at his second obstacle before he ever got close to Goliath.
David is at the camp and he sees Goliath come up and the fear of the Israelites as they flee from him. So he begins to ask why everyone is so afraid and learns that even with great rewards from the king, no one has dared to fight Goliath. He starts to show interest in fighting Goliath and seems rather shocked that no one else has stepped up. He can’t believe no one trusts God enough or has the courage to fight the giant. He’s asks, “Hey, who is this guy who thinks he can stand against the armies of the living God and why are you all just taking it?” But just as he’s moving toward fighting Goliath and standing strong on the promises of God, he’s confronted.
In verse 28 we see Eliab, David’s oldest brother, confront David almost as soon as he begins to speak against Goliath. He said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”
I have an older brother and I love and respect him very much and these words would hurt regardless of the situation, but coming from him it would be hard to overcome. You want to make your family proud, and you want the approval of your older siblings especially as you’ve followed in their footsteps your whole life. Just as you can see the courage and determination welling up within David, Eliab tears him down. If David were not fully trusting in God I think it would have ended his fight right there.
Eliab questions David’s motive and even adds some little insults inside the questioning. I can see poor David standing before his older brother who’s saying “Why did you come down here?” He’s thinking, “Ummm, to bring you some food and fresh baked bread.” And then, “With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?” Not just “Who’s watching the sheep?” But he makes sure to say “those few” sheep out there in the middle of nowhere. He just belittles David, “Who is taking on your insignificant task?” Then he comes straight to the insult, “I know the pride and insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” I can’t help but think Eliab is accusing David of the very sins within himself. He’s too proud to see his brother’s courage surpass his own and he’s clearly only there to watch the battle…or at least that seems to be why all of Israel is there, because none of them are fighting it.
We oftentimes do that to make ourselves feel better about our sin. We look at others around us and try to say “Ah ha! Look, they have the same sins as me…only worse! So I’m not so bad, in fact in comparison I’m doing pretty well.” It’s human nature to do so, but we are not judged by man, we are judged by God and God’s law is perfect. We’ve all broken his laws and stand guilty before Him because of it, that’s why Jesus Christ had to come. Apart from Christ’s grace we would all stand in Eliab’s shoes and try to make ourselves look good by works compared to other men. But because of Christ, we can stand with David as he responds.
“What have I done now? Is there not a cause?” He sees this Philistine defying the armies of the living God! He knows no one can stand against God. In Romans 8:31 Paul uses the rhetorical question saying, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Of course the answer is no one can successfully stand against God or God working through us, not even Satan himself.
Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as “the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Do you have the assurance that God’s promises are true, so much so that you can stand against friend, family, or foe to do what God calls us to? Follow in David’s steps and trust in God in the face of adversity.
As you exercise, maybe you have the old proverbial mountain to move, or maybe when you turn sideways in the mirror you disappear, but if you are resting in God and if your hope is found in Him, nothing can stand in your way. You may have other people at the gym who intimidate you by their attitude, or maybe even friends or family who say you’ll never make it. Sometimes it’s those closest to us who are maybe jealous or just don’t understand, who will say some of the most cutting and hurtful things. Don’t let it stop you, but rather use it to boost you along in your journey. Make sure your motivation and foundation are established on God, our Solid Rock, and continue to pursue the battle!!
If you’re not fit, and want to get fit and stay fit, you have to make a lifestyle change. You have to eat healthier and be more active across the board. If all your family and friends want to do is just sit on the couch and watch TV, it’s going to be way harder to get fit than if they want to get fit with you. If your family likes to eat frozen pizza for dinner 3 nights a week, it’s going to be hard to eat healthy. Obviously you can’t change who’s in your family. Hopefully you don’t want to. After all, being able to be there for our family, really is one of the greatest motivators to get fit and healthy! So invite your family to come to the gym, or go on a hike, or simply go for a walk around your neighborhood. Get everyone bikes this Christmas and find a trail! Go kick a soccer ball in the back yard! The possibilities are endless and loads of fun!
Once you have your family involved, get your friends involved. If they refuse, don’t worry, you can still be their friend, but make some more friends! Having a lifting partner can revolutionize your fitness as they keep you accountable to show up and help you push your limits. Surround yourself with fit people or at least those who share your goals and soon you’ll be exceeding those goals and setting new ones!
Likewise, when it comes to money and being financially fit, you should surround yourself with likeminded people. If you want to be a millionaire, go talk to some millionaires and find out how they did it. It may surprise you, but you probably know a few. They probably drive a car that’s a few years old, shop at the discount bulk grocery stores, have their house paid off, and look just like everyone else on the street. That’s because there are very few people who make a million over night. It’s a lifestyle change and a persistence to saving money over time.
It’s a lot easier to save, when your family is dedicated to responsible saving, especially your spouse. There’s a reason that money is always among the topics that cause stress in relationships or even divorce. When you and your spouse don’t see eye to eye on spending and saving, you are fighting each other silently with every purchase you make. Sit down together and make a plan. Underlying your financial fight, is a communication failure. Be open, honest, and clear with what your wishes are, and be brutally honest with what the reality is of what you can afford. Credit cards are for the perks, like 1.5% cash back, not for carrying over debt from month to month. If you save together, you can reach a place of relative financial security, which should reduce the tension in your relationship. You might even find it bonding to work toward those financial goals together!
Friends are also a factor in your financial health. If your friends like to go on weekend getaways to a hotel on the beach, and eat out all the time, and go to movie theaters, you’ll find yourself spending quite a lot just to hang out with them. You have to be disciplined enough to say no when you can’t (or shouldn’t) afford to attend concerts or events. Try to encourage your friends to go on weekend getaways to camp on the beach, to make dinner together at your house or theirs on Friday nights, and to wait for movies to be released to Redbox. You’ll have just as much fun, and save a lot of money!
1 Samuel 17
Men like playing with swords. We want to be the hero and save the damsel in distress, or maybe our country. We want to be the victors. If you’re anything like me you imagine sometimes what you would do to protect your loved ones and how you would take on an entire army for your wife or family. We tell ourselves we would lay our lives down in a heroic way for others…but unfortunately we oftentimes don’t do it for them on a daily basis. We don’t want to do it without the glory. We don’t want to put in the work behind the scenes where there may never be any praise. But it is those times where we’re called to lay down our lives for others.
When you think of David and Goliath you probably think of David standing strong in the Lord and facing the giant in the battlefield. The hillsides are lined with two armies on either side. The Israelites fearfully watching the young man David approach the trained soldier and giant. The Phillistines laughing along with Goliath. Then David kills Goliath with the stone from his sling and cuts off the giant's head with his own massive sword. That’s the part that we all want to partake in, but that wasn’t even the real battle. It was only the conclusion of the battle, the tiny crescendo in the symphony of God’s working! In order to get to that point God had prepared David in many ways. If we’re not preparing ourselves beforehand, we won’t be ready in the day of battle. When the big challenges come we won’t have the foundation to stand on, unless we’re standing on the Rock.
Let’s look at the first step of David’s preparation right here in this chapter. Where is David before he comes to the battle? Verse 15 says, “But David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.” So at the beginning of the story of David and Goliath, David is actually off feeding his father’s sheep. He is doing the mundane tasks of his house. He’s not too proud to tend to sheep. He’s doing what his father asks him to do and he’s doing it faithfully. We all have daily responsibilities around our homes, at work, at our church, and most of those duties are not high profile and full of excitement. But if we’re not faithful in taking the trash out when it needs to go, why would we think we could be faithful when an army stands before us.
In verses 34 and 35 we see that it was his daily duties that really prepared David for battle.
“But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.’”
Wherever God has you, He is preparing you for battle. But ultimately the victory belongs to the Lord.
“Moreover David said, ‘The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’”
Just like David’s training, exercising your body, building muscle, getting fit, has to be a daily thing if you want it to make a difference. But it’s only part of your training so that you’re prepared to face whatever battles may come, physical or spiritual. Remember to lift with consistency and make it a daily endeavor. It may take years to get to your goals, but as long as you’re serving God, when the battle comes, victory is always the Lord’s.
When it comes to working out, a huge factor in your results is mental. You have to give your all when you lift. If you quit early, every bit of work you’ve done so far is wasted. You have to push through to the very end if you want to get big gains. You have to plan your lift, plan your nutrition, plan your growth. A streak of bad habits, a series of donut and pizza runs, and you can kiss your progress goodbye. You have to be willing to put in the work to get the results. How bad do you want to win? If you want to be better, stronger, or faster than all the competition, you have to work harder and eat better than all the competition.
It turns out, your financial health isn’t too different. You have to mentally decide you’re going to save, invest, and be wise with your money. You have to be dedicated to your plan. If you struggle in that department, make it automatic. Technology has made it way easier to spend money at the swipe of your finger any time of day or night, but it’s also made it way easier to save, manage, and invest. You just have to want to. Do you think investing is too complicated for you? If you spent as much time learning about investing as you did watching TV, playing video games, or keeping up with the latest football stats, you could figure it out real easily. I believe in you. Grab a book like “Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond” by Bruce Greenwald. This book was helpful to me when I started investing. Talk to someone who has experience. My dad was also incredibly helpful in my investing education. You could even listen to investing podcasts instead of music while you lift.
Just like a bad diet or poor sleep habits can sap your strength and energy, a bad decision on a car payment, buying too much house, or credit card binge purchases, can derail your financial plan and security for years to come. Live within your means and stay the course. According to Forbes 69% of working Americans have less than $1000 in their savings account. That’s not a good place to be. If you want to have more money than the average Joe, you have to save harder than the average Joe. You have to be willing to sacrifice more than the average Joe. It’s clearly not working to just do what everyone else is doing.
Genesis 12:1-3 “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”
I love how God has given us His Word, the Bible in its entirety, and I love how from the very beginning we are set looking forward to the coming of Jesus and then He comes and then after He comes we look back to His coming. History pivots around Christ. There’s a reason our calendar uses BC and AD. BC stands for Before Christ and AD stands for Anno Domini, Latin for “In the year of our Lord”. That’s because Christ is pre-eminent in all things! (Col. 1:18) Even though our culture may be trying to erase any reference to Christ by using BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era), they can’t erase thousands of years of history, and it still pivots around the life of Christ. Don’t give in, it’s BC and AD.
But this promise to Abram is so awesome! God comes to Abram and calls him to go to a foreign land. He tells him to leave his country and family and go to Canaan and then promises him an incredible future! Back then family was everything. Your country was your safety. That’s still somewhat true today, but we can travel easily and visit family at will. The world has become so connected that we don’t grasp the extent of what God called Abram to do. This was scary, and who ever thinks of starting his own nation? This was some intense stuff God was promising.
Heb 11:8 tells us that Abraham believed God by faith and that he looked forward to a city “whose builder and maker is God” and “a heavenly country” (Heb 11:16). So it wasn’t just the Bible looking forward to Christ through prophecy, it was every believer looking forward to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. They sacrificed animals, and year after year, the Israelites would have to make a sacrifice for their sins, but it all pointed to and looked forward to the only real blood that can atone for our sins. They were saved by faith in Christ just as we are now. He is the only Way, Truth, and Life. Today as you lift, look back to Christ. I am just overwhelmed by gratitude and joy when I reflect upon not only the sacrifice of Jesus, but also on the incredible, consistent, perfect story God has told throughout History. Lift and love like you’re preparing for a heavenly country.
A quick google search will show you lots of articles and studies of how the wealthy are healthier, or live longer, or are more fit. Some of them say “successful people” are more fit. They may conclude the wealthy experience less stress, have more free time to exercise, have enough money to access gyms, or that the same dedication that makes them successful in the business sphere, makes them successful in the gym. It’s all true to some extent with exceptions as always. Successful people also tend to be life-long learners, so when they start exercising, they study it and learn to exercise effectively. Whatever the correlation, we can’t be well rounded body builders without some discussion on financial responsibility. None of us make exactly the same amount of money, so I’d like to look at some principles and practical saving methods that apply no matter how much or little you make. For this article we’ll focus on just one.
It’s not what you make, it’s what you spend that will determine your wealth. You think making millions will make you wealthy for life? Ask the broke athletes and lottery winners who blew millions how that went for them. Sure, making more makes it easier to save more while still spending more, but making less is not an excuse to not save. There was a story a couple of years ago that came out in the news, of a Vermont life-long janitor and gas station attendant, Ronald Read, who passed away and left millions of dollars to the library, hospital, and family. He had amassed over $8,000,000. Neither of those jobs are high paying, but his spending and saving habits made all the difference. I’m sure that some of the things you see as “necessities”, are not necessities. Eating out is not a necessity. New clothes every month is not a necessity. New cars or new car leases are not a necessity. Name brand tomato soup is not a necessity. Name brand anything is not a necessity. You get the picture. Friends of Read said he never bought anything he didn’t have to. That might be excessive, but there’s a healthy balance that I think we should strive toward regardless of how much we make. Let’s focus on that name brand tomato soup.
Before I was married, I would spend less than $200 on food each month. Now we spend an average of $575 on food each month for 2 adults and 2 infants (who don’t eat food yet). We eat our whole-food, high-protien, high-quality diet (with occasional entertaining/hospitality) for that amount, but that’s a large portion of our monthly expenses. I'm sure we could save more if we put in the effort. We only eat out on special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries, or when traveling and that comes from a separate budget category, but it’s about once a month. Food is one of those necessities that is very easy to over spend on. You may not think it’s costing you much when you go to a more expensive store or buy name brand items, because it’s only 50 cents or a dollar more per item. How could that make a life changing difference? Well when Campbell’s tomato soup is $1.29 at Target, but you can get Winco brand with the same ingredients for 80 cents, you’re saving 38%. When buying olive oil, you could get Bertolli for $6.72, or Pompeian for $4.99. There’s 25% savings. I’ve bought the 5 dozen egg pack at Winco for less than $4, when the dozen pack was over $1. That’s at least 20% savings. On multiple occasions I’ve found items at Winco for half the price of the same item at Safeway or Fred Meyer. Is the shopping experience really worth the 50% mark-up? Can you tell I like Winco? Winco and Costco are almost the only places we get groceries. On top of these savings, you can go without a lot of the fancy dressings and garnishes on a daily basis by cooking clean and simple. It will be cheaper, and usually healthier.
Ok, let’s say you can cut your bill by 25% on average by just being selective in the stores you shop at and the brands you buy. The USDA lists this year’s monthly moderate-cost plan of food for a family of 2 adults as $611.10, or $882.70-$1053.30 (depending on age of children) for a family of 4 with 2 pre-teen children. If you save 25% of the $611.10 it’s $152. If you save 25% of the $1053.30, it’s $263. It may only be $10 or $20 each trip to the grocery store, but it adds up over the course of the month. If that doesn’t sound like enough money to make a difference in your life, let’s invest it in an index fund that tracks the S&P 500. If you’re 25 now, and plan to retire at 62, and the S&P 500 returns the same interest it has averaged in the past, 10%, your $152/month will grow to be $662,191. Does that sound life changing? If you can save and invest the $263/month, and all the other factors remain the same, it will grow to be just over $1 million! Of course the stock market may not perform as well as it has in the past. But even if it underperforms and only gets you 6%, your $263/month would end up being $425,757.
Maybe you won’t invest that money in a retirement account, maybe you’ll invest it in helping someone else, and that’s just as good of a reason to save. Financial responsibility liberates us to help others all the more! That’s why even if you make loads of money, there’s no reason to blow it on needless expenses.
The exact numbers are not the point, the principle is the point. I just want you to see the difference that saving 49 cents on a can of tomato soup can make over the course of your life. Huge financial changes are made in tiny steps, just like huge gains in lifting usually come in tiny increments over months and years. As a nuclear engineer, I’m always concerned with the details. It’s how I’m wired. So I have to intentionally spend more on something if I know it’s healthier or if my wife specifically likes it, like Starbucks brand coffee, or La Victoria diced green chiles. You don’t have to take it to the extreme, but every decision counts. Don’t turn off your brain when you go grocery shopping. Maybe you’re not a math person and you’re not calculating the compound interest earning potential of 50 cents over 30 years while in the aisle, that’s ok, just keep it simple and grab the item with the lower price. A little hint, they're usually kept on the lower shelves. And plan your shopping trip to the cheaper grocery store.
We should never put our confidence or find our security in money and stuff. That can only be found in God, our solid rock. However, the Bible talks about being responsible with the money God gives us, it talks about investing (and the wise investors are rewarded), and it talks about leaving an inheritance to our children’s children. A little planning and focus today can go a long way. And by the way, I know you’re all wondering now, if you invest 50 cents a month for 30 years, and get the 10% average return of the S&P 500, you would end up with $1085. You would have saved $180, and interest would have added $905. So don’t laugh at those 50 cent savings!
Genesis 6: 14 – “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.”
The story of Noah and his ark is one of the better known Biblical stories because we’ve all seen the various cartoon depictions of an ark with some cute little animals like a lion, an elephant, a giraffe, and then Noah and his family. Usually it looks like that is all that could actually fit on the ark. But what is this story really about? This is the story of God wiping out all of mankind at the time because of how evil they had become. He floods the whole world and changes the face of the planet forever. God is not weak and this story is not cute. We find out in this passage that Noah was the only one who “walked with God.” (Gen. 6:9) And Genesis 6:8 tells us that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Grace is unmerited favor, so even though Noah hadn’t earned his spot on that lifeboat, God chose him to carry on all land animals and basically restart with a fresh world.
In reality this was not a fun task at all. Noah was told to build a massive ark, which took probably between 55 and 75 years and ended up having over 100,000 square feet of space, and held a ton of stinky animals! On top of all that, he was doing it before there was any sign of a flood and probably at a time when rain as we know it now didn’t even exist. The Bible doesn’t say it, but I would guess all those people around Noah thought he was crazy. They didn’t believe he was doing anything worthwhile and probably ridiculed him. However, in faith Noah persevered and sure enough, just as God had said, the flood came and Noah and his family were kept safe. Do you sometimes feel like Noah, like you’re going against the tide and fighting what the world around you says? Well you are. Paul tells us in 1 Peter 2:11-12: “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” We are sojourners and we will face trials, but just as Noah did, we need to continue to trust God in faith. If you are training to compete in what God has called you to, have faith in God and keep working towards your goals! We are called to rely on Him always, but especially when it seems like the sky is falling around us. Work hard on the task at hand and let Him carry you safely through turbulent waters.
Here is a typical chest and back day workout to try. There are loads of different exercises and variations and I’ll share some of those over time too. Start with a 2 minute warm up on the stationary bike, a set of pushups, and an easy set of pullups or assisted pullups. For the following exercises shoot to hit muscle failure on the last set of each exercise around the target number of reps.
Flat Bench Press
Incline Dumbbell Press
Dumbbell or Cable Fly (usually either flat bench dumbbell flyes or decline cable flyes...or both)
I super-set my first back exercise with my last chest one. Typically I start back with wide grip standing barbell rows first. Super-setting forces your body to do more work in less time. By super-setting different muscle groups, you can get good powerful sets while pushing your cardiovascular conditioning. This is accomplishing your HIIT portion of the workout. It results in increased natural testosterone production as well, especially when done with heavy weights and the larger muscle groups. For guys, that’s great for all around health and lean muscle growth. However, testosterone is important for proper female metabolic function as well. So don't be afraid to hit the weights ladies!
Wide Grip Barbell Rows
Narrow Grip Cable or Dumbbell Rows
Wide Grip Lat Pull Downs or Wide Grip Pullups
Reverse Grip Pullups
4 sets to failure. If you can do 30 pullups in a set consider grabbing a weight
belt (or a baby or two if you’re like me) to get you down in the 8-12 rep range.
3 sets of 10 reps, each rep held at full contraction for 5 seconds (make sure you have good posture and even tense the muscles across your upper back (i.e. – draw your shoulder blades slightly together) before shrugging and really focus on squeezing your trapezius)
You can super-set the reverse grip pullups and shoulder shrugs if you’re hard core enough