Everything You Need to Know About Athlete Workout Plans


athlete workout plan

When you look around the gym you know you’re a little bit different. You’re not just going to sit on the stationary bicycle and read your gossip magazine. You’re not going to chat up the front desk employees. You’re there to hit the gym and hit the gym hard. And this isn’t the only bit of exercise you get during the week. You’re competing with others, either in a sport or activity.

Perhaps it is simply for fun but you take it seriously, or you are competing at a semi-professional (or even professional) level. When you’ve reached this point you are a true athlete. And one of the best ways to ensure you get the most out of your athletic performance is to tune your workout plan to better fit your athletic needs.

Your athletic workout plan will differ from the next individual, because not only is your body different but your goals are different. Some muscles on your body will be stronger and other parts of your body are weaker than your competition. You need to be able to finely target these muscles and really work them while you workout.

But maybe you’re a bit in the dark with what you should be doing?

We’ve got you covered. So here are the basics for what you need to know about an athletic workout plan. 

Best Athlete Workout Plans

The Workout Plan Insights

med ball abs

We’re going to dive right into the workout plan you should follow. This is a bit different from the old school lifting plans where you focus on one muscle group on each day. That might work for some people but you’re an athlete, which means you regularly work all of your body’s muscles. Because of this you need to hit muscle groups more than one time a week.

We’re not going to tell you exactly the lifts you should do. We’ll throw out some options but you can tinker and adjust the lifts where needed. You should also add in some lifts if you find one area of your body is weaker than the other.

Maybe you find that your traps are not as strong as you’d like and this is holding back your chest and back performance. If this is the case you can easily add some trap exercises. The same is true with any other part of your body. So we’ll give you the basics and you can alter this when needed.

Additionally, while you’re hitting different areas of your body on every day you will want to refrain from hitting the exact same areas of your body the following day. Even though you’re not going to be overloading specific muscle groups with a barrage of lifts on a given day you still need a good 48 hours of recovery time.

Anything less than this and you’ll potentially diminish the overall strength and size gains you’re going for. With that said, let’s get into the workout.


upper body workout

On Monday you’ll want to pick out a major lift for your chest, a major lift for your lower body, and a major lift for the front of your arms. You can opt for the traditional bench press here, a traditional weighted squat, and a curl or cable pull for your arms.

Each lift you’ll want to do three sets. In terms of reps a good target will be in the 8 to 12 range. This is a good range for both increasing strength and for increasing size. However, don’t leave anything in your tank. You’re only doing one major lift for this muscle group so give it all you got. You shouldn’t have anything left to give after the set.

After that set move on to the next exercise. Do the same with your squat. If you’re using a barbell squat you’ll want a spotter, or at the very least use a Smith machine so you don’t hurt yourself. Going to complete muscle failure on the squat can be dangerous if you don’t have any kind of support that can catch you if you’re unable to lift it all the way back up.

Now go to the third lift, which will be the front of your arms. Again, do the same thing. Once you’ve finished these three you should repeat the process two more times. You’ll have a bit more energy back in those muscle groups, so you’ll be able to get a few more reps out of your body. But again, go to complete failure (Self, 2017).

Following the three lifts your body should be pretty beat. It’s amazing how torched you can feel when you go to complete failure, even when it’s just on three lifts.

Now you’ll want to bring in some high intensity exercises that will hit all of your body. Select one that hits the lower portion (such as a jump squat), one than hits the upper portion (such as a medicine ball throw), and one that hits your entire body, like a burpee.

Do each high intensity workout 10 to 15 times then go right into the next exercise without a break. After the third exercise you can take a minute or two to gather yourself. You’ll need these two minutes to recover and then to be ready to hit the circuit again.

By doing your exercise routine this way you will be targeting both your fast twitch and slow twitch workouts. And you’re always able to add more lifts if you’d like. If you want to add a decline bench lift to your chest by all means do that. However, add those lifts after you’ve completed your high intensity circuit.

You’ll be pretty beat, but you may still have some energy left in the tank to complete burn out. The goal here is to be dead tired when you’re done with the gym. And best of all it won’t be just one area of your body that’s tired. It will be the entire body. As an athlete you’ll be using your entire body, so this is a good sign. It means your entire body will be getting stronger.

Wednesday and Friday Workout

barbell bench press

You’ll want to follow a similar workout routine for Wednesday.

However, select different lifts and high intensity workouts than what you did on Monday.

So, if you did a barbell bench press on Monday, consider a dumbbell bench press on Wednesday. You can even do pushups if you’d like (and if you want to make your pushups more difficult take a resistance band and hold part of it down to the ground with your hands while it is against your back. This way when you push up you’ll have added resistance, which is important if you can squeeze out 60 pushups without getting tired).

You can swap your traditional squat for a sumo squat or a goblet squat where you hold the dumbbell weight in front of you. You can also do deadlifts, which will work most of your body.

With your high intensity circuit you can use similar exercises, although we prefer to switch it up a bit. This keeps your body guessing, which maximizes everything you can squeeze out of your body. It also helps boost muscle growth while also preventing your workout from getting boring. Instead of the squat jump you can add in an elevated jump, where you jump onto a workout bench, a box, or anything elevated.

For Friday you’ll want to follow a similar routine as well. If you’re out of ideas for your chest you can use a chest press, or you can opt for an incline bench. Whatever you haven’t used yet during the week. Do the same with the rest of your lifts and your high intensity training circuit.

Tuesday and Thursday Workout

back exercise

You’ll want to do something similar to the rest of the days, but focus on other areas of your body. Specifically, you need to target your back. Your back has all kinds of fun muscles to train, and while some of the chest lifts do work a bit of the back you’ll want to hit these specifically.

You can use a barbell row, a cable row, a pull up, or a dumbbell shoulder press to work your back and shoulders, then you’ll want to do a lunge where you work your quads and hamstrings, and you’ll want a skullcrusher or something else where you’ll be working your triceps. Again you’ll want to switch the lifts up with what you do on Tuesday and what you do on Thursday.

These lifts will work different areas of the body than what you do on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and yet you’re not just targeting one particular muscle group. This way, you’ll constantly be putting in full body workouts (and, remember, if you find one area of your boy is on the weaker side of things you can always add in some secondary lifts to perform after your lift and high intensity training circuit have completed).

As for the high intensity training on Tuesday and Thursday you’ll want to focus on agility work instead of just intensity cardio. So, for this you’ll want to do the cone drill or the shuttle run. You can also run gashers if you have the space for that. If you’d like you can toss in some jump rope and do 30 seconds of rope jumps. The main idea for this is to work on your agility training while also keeping it fresh and different from the rest of your workouts.

Before An Athletic Event

girl on bike

You generally do not want to go crazy the day before an athletic event. You want your body to be fully recovered and ready to go. While this will depend on the kind of event you’re partaking in your best course of action is to do some light cardio the day before. You can opt for some light stationary bike work or anything else that will help elevate your heart rate and yet won’t force you too over the top. You want your muscles to have plenty of time to recover.

You may need to tweak this based on what it is you’re doing (if you’re running a marathon you’ll probably want to go a bit lighter a few days out). These workouts do take some tweaks, but as long as you make the necessary adjustments you’ll be good to go.

Remember Your Supplements


The best way to get the most out of your workout is to supplement. As an athlete you’re likely already taking supplements, but if you’re not we can help give you some basic pointers for what you need to be taking.

First, you need to add creatine to your pre-workout drink. This will help you squeeze more out of your lifts. You should also consider a pre-workout energy booster. Most of this is caffeine, but there are some other benefits within these drinks that will help you really get into the gym and work hard. You’ll also want to add protein to help with energy before the workout and to assist in recovery after the workout.

Also, if you are not yet taking it, fish oil will help reduce inflammation of your muscles, which will allow you to recover faster and do your best work in the gym (WebMD, 2020).

Vegetarian diet bodybuilder

In Conclusion

An athletic workout plan is all about finely tuning it to fit your specific needs. We have given you the basics for what you need to know. You just need to fit it to your personal requirements. Whether you’re playing in a semi-pro basketball team or you’re the ringer on the company soccer team, this workout plan will help you prepare for any and all of your athletic activities.

It will take a bit of adjusting on your part as you go. You’ll see what works and what might not be workout as well as you like, but that’s okay. Just tweak as you go along. Eventually, with the ground work in place from this workout plan, you’ll have the ability to excel in all your athletic workouts.

-Terry Asher

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Terry Asher

Owner & Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!
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Everything You Need to Know About Athlete Workout Plans
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Everything You Need to Know About Athlete Workout Plans
Here are the basics for what you need to know about an athletic workout plan. Your athletic workout plan will differ from the next individual...
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Gym Junkies
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