Caroline Girvan’s Iron Series Workouts are here!! Okay, I totally love a good workout, and if it is free, even better! Caroline Girvan is one of my favorite people in terms of working out with. I love her free workouts and now she has her Iron Series workouts out! They just started and it is a six-week program! My daughter and I started yesterday and our legs/butt are killing us today!
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Caroline Girvan’s Iron Series Workouts is a six-week program consisting of 5 workouts each week that are only 30 minutes long but they push you to the limits! I thought I can do at least 30 minutes a day! Right? Yes! This is resistance training so you are going to need dumbbells! I am starting off with 8lb dumbbells because though I am in shape, I want to start with lower weights and focus more on my form and reps.
Caroline Girvan’s Iron Series Workouts
Here is a post in her Facebook group, that she shared about the Iron Series:
And welcome to The IRON Series!
It is a 6-week resistance training series consisting of 5 workouts per week, each workout is approximately 30 minutes duration.
There will be usually 2 x upper-body focused, 2 x lower-body focused, and 1 x full-body workout on a Friday!
There will be core & abs specific within some of the upper body workouts, usually on a Sunday.
This is a series of workouts programmed to challenge the main muscle groups approx 3 times per week. (See link below for full schedule)
It can be a great idea to record the weights you are using as you may consider repeating this 6-week series and progressively overloading with heavier weights for some of the movements 2nd time around! This is particularly relevant if new to training as you will likely increase the weight you can lift earlier than you might think!
Most of the workouts on this channel are time-based, as opposed to rep-based. However, a typical range of reps per compound movement will likely be between 8-15 reps depending on the weight you are using, if 2nd or 3rd set or if the first exercise within the workout.
I have always used a timer in my own personal workouts, but I know it may feel different if you are used to counting reps.
I just want to stress the fact that even though the timer is on, it is not ‘as many reps as possible’ particularly when lifting weights. In fact, sometimes I think of it as ‘as little amount of reps as possible’ as this usually involves more control, increased time under tension, and really makes the muscles work even harder!
Every workout I do, I treat it as a time to practice! I am always looking to improve, even more, feel the contraction more even though moving from point A to point B, and often imagine my muscle(s) lengthening and then contracting as I lift.
These are my real workouts and even though I have performed these movements many times, sometimes I still let my head drop and neck not in line with my spine perfectly, or the last rep of chest press involves the dumbbells being shaky slightly trying to finish that rep but even though I am pushing myself, I know my limits also. When I pause, it is usually because I know I won’t be able to perform the next rep as well as I should! I could still likely perform the reps, but I might arch my lower back, lift heels off the floor or aggravate my lower back depending on the exercise.
Carefully set the dumbbell(s) down, pause or reduce the weight if you prefer.
I usually keep the same weight as appose to reducing the weight simply as this is how I have always trained. Sometimes all I need is to pause for a moment, reset and go for more!
Also, the fact that I aim to not record using one pair of dumbbells where I can do it is easier for you to follow me but at times, I may use 3 pairs of dumbbells. However, if you have the access to various weights, definitely keep those nearby!
For this series I will be using several pieces of equipment however you can add or remove some of these, of which I will provide suggestions below:
Dumbbells (the weight I will use will range from 4kg to 30kg each dumbbell)
You can absolutely use kettlebells or barbells also for many movements.
A non-slip, comfortable mat (the mat I use is approx 10mm thickness)
A glute band (I prefer a fabric band with high resistance that really makes me work hard to push against)
A chair (the chair I will be using also has fabric so I am comfortable for hip thrusts however you can also use a chair with no fabric for Bulgarian lunges etc and perform bridges as opposed to hip thrusts if you prefer)
Later in the series, I will perform step-ups however this will be optional as there are great alternatives such as forward stepping lunges. A very stable and sturdy stepper, box, and chair would be needed to perform the step-ups.
Other equipment I will include to show as an option will be push-up bars and dip bars. These items are not needed but I may show how you can implement them into the workout if you do have access to them or perhaps would consider investing in such equipment!
As with every single workout, you can use as a reference the weights I am using but also if you have a selection of weights available, keep those nearby!
WARM UP & COOL DOWN
I will provide links to suggested short-duration warm-ups as a simple suggestion. I know these off by heart as I have completed them so often so I just can perform those full-body warm-ups prior. Depending on if I feel particularly tight in my hamstrings, for example, I will spend a few extra minutes focusing on the lower body.
A simple, easy-to-follow cool-down will be completed post the finisher. This cooldown is not included within the 30 minute time period of the workout, so the workout is typically the full 30 minutes itself excluding cool down.
ACTIVITY OUTSIDE OF WORKOUT
Every one of us is different of course and this is very true when it comes to energy levels, goals we are working towards, movement throughout the day such as steps at work, whether we walk a dog daily, training for a marathon, time restraints, sleep patterns, other sports, etc.
It is important to have that balance in our lives so that we can continue to enjoy our training and gain the most from our hard work.
Some of us train early in the morning fast, others later in the morning post the first meal of the day, and many in the evening after work. The question of what time is best or fasted versus not fasted really is personal to you.
What works for you is the best way!
REST & RECOVERY
These workouts will demand a lot from you physically and mentally.
It is important to have time to really let your body rest and repair in order to build.
There may be times when energy is slightly lower and this is when you might select slightly lighter weights or find you are mentally challenged even more during the workout and this is completely normal for most of us!
Sleep is the most important aspect for all areas of performing, whether work, training, or daily life so never underestimate the power of a great night’s sleep.
Below is some insight into the workouts for week 1! (see instructions for week 2 below!)
Kicking off the 6 weeks with a well-rounded lower body workout using 60 seconds per exercise with no focus on achieving a certain number of reps, more making each rep count.
A pair of dumbbells will be all that is needed. I will be using 2 x 15kg dumbbells.
Chest, back & shoulders are the targets for this workout involving push and pull movements with some isolation towards the end on the shoulders!
A selection of weights is ideal incorporating a heavier pair and lighter pair!
The glutes will be the focus however those hamstrings, quads, and core are all involved throughout!
Hip-hinging movements and abduction work combined!
A glute band will be used and a chair for hip thrusts however you can perform bridges if you prefer!
A barbell can be incorporated for hip thrusts if preferred also!
I expect to use approx 10kg dumbbells for this workout which will incorporate a cardio element to increase the heart rate throughout but also using the fact it is a full-body to include some movements that won’t be within upper / lower body specific days!
A fun session to challenge you!
ARMS, ABS & CORE
Biceps and triceps are specific within this workout, although they have been working hard alongside the back, chest, and shoulders during the week!
Some time on the mat also to work on core strength, stability, anti-rotation, and core endurance.
Download your FREE IRON Series High-Resolution Printable Calendar: https://carolinegirvan.com/IRON-Series-Calendar.pdf
This workout had me sweating SOOO much! My daughter and I are both doing them together and the next day we could barely walk! This was an awesome one for leg day!
Day 2 of Caroline Girvan’s Iron Series Workouts
This was a good one. I did not sweat as much as I did with Iron Series day one, but I was shaking when I was done with this arm and upper body workout! SO good!
Day 3 of Caroline Girvan’s Iron Series Workouts
Another leg day! I was still really sore from day one leg workout, so I took one day off in between! This one made me sweat like a pig and it really got my heart rate up there! Lots of cardio for the body. My legs were on fire!
This was a great full-body workout! I am feeling it the next day for sure! I had to do a few things differently because I did not have the dip bars, but I still felt it! This was a great workout and had me sweating!
Oh my goodness this was another great upper body workout! My abs are on fire today for sure! This workout your arms really good and has you sweating!
WEEK TWO!!! (From Caroline!)
Well done to everyone this week and I hope you are ready for week 2!
Here we go! An overview of what is planned for this week! I have yet to actually program the details but here is some insight to help perhaps with equipment etc!
I will be using 2 pairs of dumbbells plus a yoga block for those heel elevated squats we all love!
A chair will also be used for some Bulgarian lunges however you can absolutely perform regular lunges with both feet on the floor if you prefer!
A favorite finisher of mine will be there to officially finish the quads for the day!
SHOULDERS & TRICEPS
Working through the shoulder movements to target all areas before time on the mat with all dumbbell work for the triceps!
Another favorite of mine is partial lateral raises will be at the end as the finisher!
GLUTES & HAMSTRINGS
Plenty of RDLs! Oh, Yesss!! And some unilateral work before finishing with some focus on those hamstrings!
Hip thrusts will absolutely be on there towards the beginning of the session too!
Friday fun day!! All I know right now is that it will be a sweaty session hitting every muscle group and a lot of core involved too!
BACK & BICEPS
Plenty of unilateral work within this session along with those compound movements we all love to hit all areas of the back!
I am doing this one today and will report back on how it made me feel! Wish me luck! haha! Okay, my daughter and I just did this one, and OMG. Holy lunges and squats!! If you like those workouts, then you will LOVE this one. I am shaking and sweating so badly right now! WOW.
This was easier than yesterday and all about the shoulders and bicep/triceps! I liked this one!
This was glutes and hamstrings! A few lunges but mainly RDLs and weighted hip thrusts, so I loved this one! I and my daughter were sweating like a filthy pig!! My heart rate stayed up there too. Great workout!
I loved this workout! My arms are a bit sore from doing this yesterday but I loved it so much! I used my 8lb dumbbells for this and then went down to 5lb dumbbells at the very end because I just couldn’t do it anymore! Haha!
WEEK 3 (from Caroline!)
This was SOOO hard I am not going to lie! I sweated SO dang much! My heart rate was up the whole time too! This workout was pretty much just lunges, various types of lunges galore! Haha! BUT, it was ONLY 30 minutes long (that is what I kept telling myself to help get me through this!) and soon I was DONE! My legs are STILL hurting me two days later!
I LOVE arm days! They are easier for me and don’t make my heart race as much. I also don’t sweat half as much as I do when I do leg days! But, this workout was still intense and hard! My arms are feeling it today for sure! Great upper body and chest workout!
Holy crap this was a hard one! When it first started, I thought ‘oh this isn’t bad at all!’. BUT, when the squats started all of that changed! I was dripping sweat after this workout and my heart rate was high throughout it! And? My butt hurts SO bad today!!! Exactly where I wanted to feel it! I am working on my butt and so feeling soreness in it today made me smile!
This is another one with a lot of lunges! I was dripping sweat after this full-body workout!
I have one bad shoulder (rotator cuff issue) so I had to use really light weights when doing this workout! BUT, I got through it and it felt great, sweat and all!
Week 4! Halfway!! Wow! (From Caroline!)
Here’s a brief overview of what is loosely planned for this week!
Hip flexion and extension through hip hinging whether it standing (RDLs) or a supine position such as hamstring focused hip thrusts, this workout will be aiming to promote muscle building within the hamstrings. Although support will come from the glutes, lower & upper back, quads, and core, it will be the hamstrings that will be doing most of the work!
We will also be including variations to tempo such as slow eccentric and paused, not only for purpose of variety, but these movements allow for you to focus on keeping the weight close to your body on lowering, bottom position, and rising therefore helping you to master the element of hips back & up and also improve YOUR positioning for what works best for you.
Always remember that when performing RSLs, deeper and greater isn’t always necessarily better. There is no need to lower the dumbbells past your knees, particularly when it is putting strain on the lower back, leading to rounding of the upper body and/or losing proprioceptive feedback from the targeted muscles ie. The hamstrings in this case.
A complete upper body workout, involving primarily those compound lifts to recruit as much muscle as we can!
A fun staple will be within this workout so it might be a shoulder exercise or more of an isolation exercise!
I may use dip bars again but of course, bodyweight dips on chair/tricep press/tricep push-ups could be performed as an alternative!
Supersets are going to be the format for this glute focused workout!
And of course, these supersets will ‘flow’ and compliment one another so either a pre-exhaust or even essentially a drop set within the superset!
Have your glute band at the ready!
Friday fun day and it definitely will be!
I’m not certain on format and structure but for sure it’ll cover all muscle groups and hopefully, a fun-filled 30 minutes!
Biceps, triceps, abs, and the entire core will be worked very hard during this workout…. Plenty of planks will be present I’m pretty sure!
So that’s what is planned for this week…
I absolutely LOVED this lower body workout! It has a ton of RDLs and hip thrusts which are my all-time favorite!! I certainly felt this the next day! I also sweated SO much and my heart rate was high the whole time!
I feel this today! My shoulders, triceps, biceps, even my back! This was a really good upper body workout! Lots of sweating too!
I don’t know why but I was sweating SO much with this workout! It was GOOD! It has quite a bit of lunges in it which I can’t stand, but I did them! There are a lot of hip thrusts too! There is a tiny bit of RDLs as well. My butt and legs HURT today! Great workout!
JUST completed this workout and I am shaking! My arms, my legs, I am SHAKING! Soooo good! And the sweat is REAL! Holy heartrate! I know I will be feeling this one tomorrow!
This had my arms shaking! I loved this upper body workout!
Week 5!!! (From Caroline!)
Here is an overview of what is coming this week! I hope it maybe gives some insight into equipment you might use!
Ready for some step-ups? you might be surprised to hear the step-ups will be bodyweight only! And you will understand when we begin the workout! Supersets beginning with a weighted leg movement superset with a variation of step-ups!
Of course, if you prefer both feet to remain on the floor, you can simply perform x1 dumbbell static lunges as a great alternative! Or if you want more quad focus, forward stepping lunge!
The box I am using is approx 50 cm in height for your reference.
I will also be using a yoga block!
And the finisher… heel elevated squats! My favorite way of them all is to finish a leg day!
CHEST & BACK
Simply putting on some solid push and pull movements to hit the entire back and chest, along with the demand on the biceps, triceps, and front and rear delts too!
I will use a chair in this workout for the bent-over rows but this isn’t necessary.
Sometimes I use a steady chair or table to rest my non-working hand on but in this work, I will also place my knee on the chair, similar to putting your knee on a bench in a gym. This is just to show you more ways to change up your training if you like to try it out!
GLUTES & HAMSTRINGS
Supersets are on the agenda in this workout! We will have fun with tempo and foot positionings to pivot between more glute or more hamstrings focused!! I’m excited about this one!
A chair/bench for hip thrusts and a glute band will be used!
Friday Full Body fun! This will include full-body movements to provide some conditioning but maintain a moderate pace to allow for safe lifting and control throughout! It’ll be sweaty!
I’m most looking forward to this week! I plan on focusing on Arnold Pressing along with more isolation exercises to hit all sides of the shoulders.
I absolutely love shoulders and sometimes those movements with the lighter weights require so much control, effort, and awareness of alignment that they become very intense!
It’ll be one of those workouts where you feel you are literally sculpting those delts!
A slightly heavier and lighter pair of dumbbells will be used by me… probably 12.5kg / 10kg and 6kg / 4kg.
If you are relatively new to resistance training and are training with proper intent, focus, and energy zoned in on perfecting your technique, over time you will move even closer to that mind-to-muscle connection that I am sure you likely have felt many times already!
Often incredible strength gains can be made if you are relatively new to this and you may be even looking for a heavier pair of dumbbells for certain movements such as legs or rows!
Please ensure you increase slowly…. and when you are confident before lifting any new weight.
And if you like me, are more advanced and more experience, those increases in weight definitely don’t come as often!
It has taken me a while to progress from 17.5kg to 20kg for the chest specifically. Even getting into position with the 20s is challenging especially on camera and not on a bench to roll into! But I am pleased with moving up!
For me, longevity in lifting is always on my mind.
I know when I am performing HIIT, I really push myself but when lifting weights it is so important to lift safely… number 1 priority.
This isn’t a powerlifting channel, nor do I train to be the strongest or biggest muscles but I lift because of how it makes me feel… absolutely invincible! Although when it comes to Bulgarian lunge tri-sets, I’m brought back to reality quite quickly!
Also, these workouts have structured rest. In the gym, you may rest 1-2 minutes between sets so 3 sets of shoulder press with weight will feel a lot more demanding with 30 seconds of rest so always bear this in mind if ever comparing weights with others.
I have NEVER sweated this MUCH. Holy cow! My heart rate was up the whole time and this was just intense the whole time! SO many step-ups and lunges!
I loved this workout! I sweated a LOT! My upper body was on fire!
HOLY hip thrusts!! This day was ALL about the hip thrusts!! I loved it!
This one was great!! A little bit of everything but still really intense and sweaty!!
This was tough (in a GOOD way!). I loved all the shoulder workouts and back workouts! Lots of sweat!
Week 6!! (From Caroline!)
It’s the final week! 😁
Congratulations on making it to week 6! I hope through this series, you have maybe learned to lift with even more intent. Not always about solely the kgs you lift, but how you actually perform each rep.
Who knows… we could do a full Iron Program in the future! 😁
This is only a 6-week series but it is a perfect structure to repeat and focus on progressively overloading the muscles. And this doesn’t have to mean the weight… the range of movement that you move the weight and controlling of the negative portion. Every workout is a practice session!
Ready for a final week of lifting?
Tomorrow we kick it off with leg day circuits!
Ok, so this might be one of the most demanding lower body workouts of the Iron Series… it’s a very simple movement but you’ll see what I mean when you finish! A whole variety of fun in a circuit to make this an incredible leg day! You’ll be buzzing after!
Circuit format but this doesn’t mean as many reps as possible. In fact, the fewer reps, the more time under tension and control is the goal!
A pair of dumbbells, a stepper for bodyweight step-ups, and one heavier dumbbell for sumo deadlifts squats are perfect!
Supersets! We will begin with antagonist sets, chest, and back!
Then onto the shoulders!
Some unilateral movements and tempo variations to get that intensity high!
Activation at the beginning with a band, ‘slow’ Bulgarian Lunges (🔥🔥🔥), and definitely a hip thrust finisher… it’s going to be good!!🤩👊🏼
The timer will be formatted for more rest or slightly shorter sets so perfect full body for consideration to increase the weight on some movements. In fact, I plan to make this workout a perfect full-body workout to revisit to focus on that progressive overload!
A bodyweight finisher is likely after such volume!
Finale!! Day 30!!
Abs with no specific rest.
Biceps about to explode.
Dip bars are optional.
A fun finisher.
The highlight of the week… the full body and of course Sunday’s arm and abs!
It’s going to be an awesome week!
I hope you will finish Sunday’s workout so proud of your dedication and progress. It’s such a fortunate place to be where building your body is so rewarding, a learning experience, and of course fun!
I’ve had an absolute blast so thank you for joining me!
Let’s smash this last week everyone!
I did this one before day 25, oops! At least I got it over with because it was a doozy!!! LOTS of step-ups, lunges, squats, and a few RDLs mixed in there somewhere! Whoosh!
I loved this upper body workout! My arms are feeling it today!
SO MANY hip thrusts!! Lots of them! But, this workout was AMAZING!!!
This full-body workout was SOOO good! It focused on a little bit of everything which I LOVED!
Each day she releases the Iron Series workout, I will be adding it to this blog post for your convenience.
So, who will be doing Caroline Girvan’s Iron Series Workouts with me, besides my daughter??? You KNOW you want to join me! Just think, in SIX weeks you could be fit instead of flabby! Instead of six weeks of excuses, let’s have six weeks of PROGRESS!!!
Let’s do this! Leave me a comment below if you will be doing this workout with me for the next six weeks! Don’t forget to take pictures to track your progress! This will not only help improve your body but your mind too!