A Students Guide: The Gym

Whenever I go to my schools gym, I see tons of students trying to figure out what the heck they should be doing in the weight room. Honestly, most of them are probably absolutely lost. But dont worry, we are here to give you a little guide to what your workouts should be looking like!

First and foremost, let me say that your workout plan should be tailored for what you want to do. Also, if you have zero lifting experience, you should not just hop into this program thinking you can lift 500lbs. Remember that getting a strong bodyweight base of strength first is most important to avoid unnecessary injury. Also remember, being fit, healthy and happy consists of performance based goals. Check out this site to see proofs. So, first lets set up some goals you should be trying to hit.

Strength Goals for the average MALE student:

  • 300lb+ Ass-to-Grass Squat
  • 450lb+ Deadlift
  • 250lb+ Bench Press
  • 175lb + Overhead Press
  • Optional: 225lb+ Clean, Snatch

Strength Goals for the average FEMALE student:

  • 150lb+ Ass-to-Grass SQUAT
  • 225lb+ Deadlift
  • 100lb+ Bench Press
  • 95lb+ Overhead Press
  • Optional: 95lb+ Clean, Snatch

Goals for the average student (male and female):

  • 20+ Strict pull-ups in one set
  • 100+ Chest-to-floor pushups in one set
  • 10+ Muscle-Ups


  • 10+ Handstand Pushups
  • Below 4 mins on any of the classic Crossfit workouts: Fran, Grace, Cindy, etc.
  • Sub 7 min Mile
  • Skills: Single-Leg Squat, Superman Pushups, L-Sits, L-Pull ups, Handstands

What an average day at the gym might look like:

Warmup: 5-10 min jog, dynamic stretches(frankenstein walks, deep lunges, quad stretch, arm circles, etc.)

Skill Work: Work on one of the skills listed above for at least 15 mins

Strength Work: Progressively work up to a 5,3 ,2 and 1 rep max of the strength goals. Doing 4 sets of 3 reps, 3 sets of 5 reps, 5 sets of 1 rep, etc. are all beneficial for strength

Sprint Workout: A sprint workout can be made up of several different things. First and foremost, it could literally be sprints. However, it could also be a Crossfit style WOD. Try doing 5 sprints at 60 yards each. Or do grace, fran, or any of your favorite crossfit style workouts.

Mobility: Any good workout ends with some solid mobility work. The most important areas of the body for the average student to work on is hips, ankles and shoulders. Try holding the classic couch stretch for 30 seconds on each side post-workout. Also, work on shoulder and scapular mobility in order to avoid injury and keep those joint loose and flexible.

What an average week at the gym might look like:

Monday: Walk/play/yoga/meditation/move slowly

Tuesday: Work on Muscle-Ups, 3X5 (3 sets of 5) back squat, working up to a 5 rep max, 21-15-9 Deadlift (225lb for men, 185 lb for women), Handstand Pushups.

Superman Pushups

Wednesday: Walk/play/yoga/meditation/move slowly

Thursday: Work on L-Sits, 4X2 (4 sets of 2) Deadlift, working up to 2 rep max, 100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 squats for time

Friday: Walk/play/yoga/meditation/move slowly

Saturday: Walk/play/yoga/meditation/move slowly OR Work on Superman Pushups, 5X3 (5 sets of 3) Push Press, Grace (30 Clean & Jerks for time)

Sunday: (Depending on how you feel/if you lifted weights on Saturday)  Walk/play/yoga/meditation/move slowly OR Work on Superman Pushups, 5X3 (5 sets of 3) Push Press, Grace (30 Clean & Jerks for time)

What do you do in the gym? Leave a Comment and Let Us Know!


About The Author


Max is a passionate pursuer of integrative health. He has been drafted by a professional baseball team, worked in publishing scientific laboratories and spoken to groups of students on health and well-being. He is currently a biology major and philosophy minor at Denison University. Max spends his time reading, weightlifting, traveling and learning. Email Max at mungar810@gmail.com.

4 Responses

  1. Jordan Houghton
    Jordan Houghton November 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm | | Reply

    Max, I like this list, but I think there are some discrepancies on your list. For instance a 200+ overhead press is easily a 300 bench, even if the lifter never benches (assuming strict press, because that’s way cooler.) Also, I think the female numbers are awesome goals, but not proportionate to the males. Realistically, most high school males should be able to squat 300 if they would take themselves seriously, but a 200 pound squat for a female is pretty darn noteworthy.

    And if you want to go a mile in less than seven minutes, buy a bike.

    1. Josh Singer
      Josh Singer November 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm | | Reply

      Yeah thanks Jordan! That’s why we added that little note in the beginning saying that you should not just hop into the program with no background in weight lifting. This post was definitely geared toward the extremely athletic readers.

      We’re going to start putting up more basic fitness info along with our other material. Keep reading!

  2. Stephanie
    Stephanie November 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm | | Reply

    Definitely appreciate the numbers for the girls, but I can’t say I’ve made it to that level yet! I know of maybe 3 girls at my school who lift consistently (I go to a small school), so I never really had a good gauge of my progress or what I should be shooting for. Thanks guys!
    And I can’t wait to read your future posts on fitness, I really need some fresh ideas as the machines in my gym can get old fast!

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