Caroline Girvan Strength & Muscle Building Rotation

I was so enamored with Caroline Girvan‘s Iron Series workouts that I decided to create a strength & muscle building rotation using the majority of the Iron Series workouts plus many of Caroline’s other workouts. At the end of the Iron Series, Caroline talks about how it is a series you can return to again and again to increase strength. So when choosing non-Iron Series workouts for this rotation, I chose her workouts that give you the opportunity through interval times and/or structure to challenge yourself with heavier dumbbells. Just before I created this rotation, I watched Caroline’s most recent Q&A session. In that Q&A session, she discussed the different ways to use progressive overload. It isn’t always through lifting heavier weights but also by changing tempos, interval times, techniques, etc. So I made sure I used a few of those types of workouts, too.

The primary thrust of this rotation is building strength and muscle. This takes time, which is why I created a 12 week rotation. Keep in mind that even 12 weeks is too short of a length of time to see “big” results, so I suggest repeating this rotation or some variation of it several times (taking a recovery week between each repetition). For your strength gains to be measurable, certain workouts need to be repeated. I chose 4 specific workouts. They are all workouts that lend themselves to challenging yourself with your weight selection. You will do them the first week, you will repeat them halfway through and then you will do them the 3rd and final time the last week of the rotation. Make certain you record the weights you use each time you repeat the workouts. Strive to lift heavier on at least some of the exercises each time you return to those workouts.

During those 3 weeks you will also be doing a lower body workout. It is the only workout that changes each time the week is repeated. The reason for this is, in Caroline’s workouts, lower body exercises are easier for me to track my progress. In addition, I build muscle easily in my lower body so I am not as concerned with lifting heavier for most lower body exercises. In fact, since I have been doing Caroline’s workouts, my thighs have bulked up significantly. When I did Cathe‘s STS program the first time they bulked up then, too. In that instance I quickly put a stop to it by lowering my weights. I have not done that with Caroline’s workouts and well… I feel like I have thunder thighs. But I am older now and I don’t care as much. Plus, I get nothing but complements from my husband so my thighs aren’t bothering him.

I have decided to post this rotation before doing it since other people who also love Caroline’s workouts might like to join me. I will be starting this rotation on Monday, August 22. This is also the reason that this is a skeleton rotation. Only the strength workouts are listed below. On the other days, I only list the type of workout I plan to do (cardio or recovery). The reason for this is, other than the first week of the rotation, I don’t know what workouts I will be doing on those days. The same goes for the warm ups, add on/finisher workouts and stretches. Many days I will do more than what is listed in the rotation but again, as of the posting of this rotation, I don’t know what that will be. What I do know, is that I will be doing all of the strength workouts listed in the rotation below on the days they are listed.

I can tell you what I will probably be doing on those other days. On my cardio days I will probably do a cardio rebounder workout. You can do whatever you want to; go for a run, kickbox, do step aerobics, do a HIIT workout, or do nothing. On my recovery days I will likely do some type of short workout (again, probably a short cardio rebounder workout) followed by a long yoga or flexibility session. Again, what you do is up to you. Take a long walk, do a long yoga session, or again, do nothing. This is your rotation, too. I’m just laying out the strength workouts. However, you do need to take at least one recovery day each week, and I also recommend devoting time to flexibility and mobility.

If you are coming to this rotation at a later date, and/or are not doing it with me, ignore the days of the week. Start each week on whatever day works best for you. Finally, I suggest previewing each review before doing the workout to help you prepare for it. As you can see below, each workout listed is also a hyperlink. Click on it and it will take you to the workout review. There is a lot of information in my workout reviews. Not just the length of the workouts but the equipment you need, each exercise and how long the intervals are. This will help you mentally prepare and choose the weights to have ready since I also list the weight I used for each exercise. Obviously we are all individuals with different strength levels. I cannot lift as heavy as Caroline does but looking at the variety I used will give you an idea of whether you need heavier or lighter weights for the exercises. Each workout review also contains a hyperlink to the YouTube workout so you can build your daily/weekly playlists directly from this post and the reviews. Below I am linking to each warm up that Caroline has created. I have not reviewed them so the hyperlink will take you directly to the YouTube video. You need to choose one before starting the main workout of the day. I do not choose them for you since you may like one or two more than the others. But you need to warm up–do not skip it. These are advanced workouts. Do not come to them cold.

Once I finish this rotation (the end of October), I will return to this post and update it with my results. I will also be updating the individual reviews if the weights I used changed (which I hope they do, since that is the point of this rotation).

Warm ups:

5 Min Full Body Warm Up (5:03 minutes)

5 Minute Warm Up Routine (5:24 minutes)

5 Minute HIIT Warm Up (5:38 minutes)

5 Minute Warm Up – Full Body (5:39 minutes)

Cardio & HIIT Warm Up (9:20 minutes)

9 Min Full Body Warm Up Routine (9:41 minutes)

10 Minute Full Body Low Impact Warm Up (10:51 minutes)

12 Week Rotation:

Week 1:

Monday: Iron Series 30 Min Final Full Body Workout – Hypertrophy | 29 (37 minutes)

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: Day 8 of EPIC | Dumbbell Upper Body Workout (42:30 minutes)

Thursday: Iron Series 30 Min Leg Workout – Dumbbell Leg Day | 1 (41:45 minutes)

Friday: Cardio

Saturday: Unilateral Full Body Workout at Home with Dumbbells (50 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 2:

Monday: Iron Series 30 Min Glute Workout – Dumbbell Lower Body | 3 (38:30 minutes)

Tuesday: Iron Series 30 Min Upper Body Workout – Shoulders, Back, Chest | 2 (36 minutes)

Wednesday: Notorious No Repeat Squat Workout – Leg Day | EPIC III Day 27 (45:30 minutes)

Thursday: Iron Series 30 Min Arms and Abs Workout – Biceps, Triceps | 5 (38 minutes)

Friday: Cardio

Saturday: Full-On Full Body Dumbbell Workout | EPIC Endgame Day 14 (47:45 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 3:

Monday: Beastmode Full Body Workout – Intense Strength Training | Day 4 (42 minutes)

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: Unilateral Leg Day / 45 Min Lower Body Workout | EPIC II – Day 8 (51 minutes)

Thursday: Iron Series 30 Min Complete Upper Body Workout | 17 (34:45 minutes)

Friday: Cardio

Saturday: Beastmode Full Body – Strength & Sweat Dumbbell Cardio Workout | Day 9 (46:30 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 4:

Monday: Iron Series 30 Min Shoulders & Triceps Workout – Dumbbells | 7 (34 minutes)

Tuesday: Iron Series 30 Min Quad Workout – Dumbbell Leg Day | 6 (36:30 minutes)

Wednesday: Iron Series 30 Min Back & Biceps Workout – Rows, Curls | 10 (36:30 minutes)

Thursday: Iron Series 30 Min Glutes & Hamstrings Workout – Hip Thrusts / RDL | 8 (36 minutes)

Friday: Iron Series 30 Min Upper Body Chest and Triceps Workout | 12 (35:30 minutes)

Saturday: Iron Series 30 Min Dumbbell Leg Workout – Calves Included | 11 (39 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 5:

Monday: Iron Series 30 Min Hamstring Workout – Hip Extension & Flexion | 16 (36:45 minutes)

Tuesday: Iron Series 30 Min Superset Arms, Abs and Core Workout | 20 (37 minutes)

Wednesday: Iron Series 30 Min Dumbbell Leg Day Workout – Step Ups | 21 (40:45 minutes)

Thursday: Iron Series 30 Min Upper Body Chest and Back Workout | 22 (36:30 minutes)

Friday: Iron Series 30 Min Dumbbell Glute Workout – Supersets | 18 (40:30 minutes)

Saturday: Iron Series 30 Min Shoulder Workout – Compound & Isolation | 15 (35 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 6:

Monday: Iron Series 30 Min Final Full Body Workout – Hypertrophy | 29 (37 minutes)

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: Day 8 of EPIC | Dumbbell Upper Body Workout (42:30 minutes)

Thursday: Beastmode Lower body Workout –  Legs, Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes | Day 7 (42:30 minutes)

Friday: Cardio

Saturday: Unilateral Full Body Workout at Home with Dumbbells (50 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 7:

Monday: Iron Series 30 Min Full body Workout –  Dumbbell Circuits | 4 (40:30 minutes)

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: Iron Series 30 Min Posterior Chain Workout – Glutes, Hamstrings, Back | 13 (38 minutes)

Thursday: Beastmode Chest and Tricep Workout | Intense Upper Body | Day 8 (41 minutes)

Friday: Cardio

Saturday: Superset Full Body Workout with Dumbbells | EPIC Endgame Day 49 (50:45 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 8:

Monday: Beastmode Back & Biceps – Intense Upper Body Workout | Day 6 (39 minutes)

Tuesday: Beastmode Leg Day –  Intense Leg Workout with Dumbbells | Day 1 (39:45 minutes)

Wednesday: Unbreakable Upper Body Workout – Shoulders, Chest & Triceps | EPIC Endgame Day 46 (48 minutes)

Thursday: Hamstring & Glute Isolation Workout / Dumbbells | EPIC II – Day 12 (54 minutes)

Friday: Cardio

Saturday: Iron Series 30 Min Unilateral Training Full Body Workout | 14 (37 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 9:

Monday: Fluid Full Body Workout with Dumbbells | EPIC Endgame Day 9 (48:30 minutes)

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: 1000 Rep Lower Body Challenge – Pure Endurance Day 1 (49 minutes)

Thursday: EPIC Upper Body Workout – Powerful Push & Pull | EPIC III Day 2 (44:30 minutes)

Friday: Cardio

Saturday: Iron Series 30 Min Muscle Building Full Body Workout | 19 (36:45 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 10:

Monday: Proper Leg Day Workout with Dumbbells | EPIC Endgame Day 1 (46 minutes)

Tuesday: Bold Upper Body Workout with Dumbbells | EPIC Endgame Day 2 (46:30 minutes)

Wednesday: Only the Glutes Workout with Dumbbells | EPIC Endgame Day 3 (46:30 minutes)

Thursday: Beastmode Shoulders and Arms – Intense Upper Body Workout | Day 2 (39:45 minutes)

Friday: Squats for Glutes Workout // EPIC II Day 28 (54:30 minutes)

Saturday: Iron Series 30 Min Upper Body Chest and Back Workout | 22 (36:30 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 11:

Monday: Iron Series 30 Min Full Body Dumbbell Cardio Workout | 9 (35:30 minutes)

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: Giant Killer Upper Body Workout – Arms, Chest, Back, Shoulders | EPIC Heat – Day 32 (36:30 minutes)

Thursday: Unilateral Leg Day / 45 Min Lower Body Workout | EPIC II – Day 8 (51 minutes)

Friday: Cardio

Saturday: Beastmode High intensity – Dumbbell HIIT Cardio Workout | Day 10 (34:45 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

Week 12:

Monday: Iron Series 30 Min Final Full Body Workout – Hypertrophy | 29 (37 minutes)

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: Day 8 of EPIC | Dumbbell Upper Body Workout (42:30 minutes)

Thursday: Iron Series 30 Min Leg Workout – Circuits & Step Ups | 26 (40:30 minutes)

Friday: Cardio

Saturday: Unilateral Full Body Workout at Home with Dumbbells (50 minutes)

Sunday: Recovery

17 thoughts on “Caroline Girvan Strength & Muscle Building Rotation

  1. This is gonna be awesome! Thanks so much for all your time breaking down the MANY workouts you do! Always good information and I’ve been reading your emails since you started! Thank you!!!!!

    Like

  2. Wow this is incredible work – whoohoo – yeah I’m in the middle of a kettlebell burn program with Jillian Michaels and every 2nd week I do a Caroline Girvan Tempo week just so I can go heavy. Once I’m done I will look at this list of yours. I’ve already shared it with some friends.

    Liked by 1 person

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