Below is Part 2 of Roadmaster Drivers School’s “Truck Driver Exercises and Workout Tips” article.
If you missed it, be sure to click here and read Part 1.
NOTE: It’s important to read Part 1 before reading Part 2 below because last week we addressed a bunch of important points, including safety concerns, tips for how to get the most out of your workouts and much more.
Now, in Part 2, we’re going to walk through a bunch of exercises grouped together by which main muscle they target. Pick and choose which exercises you like, but try to get a good mix if you can.
Also, be careful to avoid overdoing it. This list of exercises is meant to be divided up over the course of about two weeks, if not longer. Don’t try to do them all at once or even in several workouts. You’ll burn yourself out or, worse, end up getting hurt.
And remember, if you move through your workout from exercise to exercise at a relatively fast pace, you’ll get some cardio benefits as well. That’s especially helpful for professional truck drivers since they are often pressed for time as it is.
Plus, as we said last week, a good cardio exercise is probably one of the most important and beneficial to your overall health of any single exercise you could pick.
Just be sure to use good form, and never sacrifice the right technique for speed or shortness of workout time.
Now, on to the exercises!
Keep in mind that shoulders are one of the more delicate muscle groups. It’s super easy to tear any one of the many complex muscles in this group, so good form will be extra important for these exercises.
Many of these exercises can best be performed either with stretch bands or random objects of appropriate weight. For most of these, you will need to use very, very light (if any) weight. (The movements use a lot of the overall weaker, more delicate shoulder muscles. So, be careful.)
Here are some good exercises to do to target your shoulders:
- Swimmers (Flat on your stomach, lift your arms out to the side a few inches off the ground and move them forward in unison as if swimming. Use light — if any — weight.)
- Lateral Extensions (Raise your elbows out to the sides until they’re almost even with your shoulders, and then back down to your sides. It’s sort of like a chicken clucking but keep your elbows at 90 degrees and even with your hands — which should be out in front of you — throughout the movement.)
- Rear Delt Extensions
- Front Delt Extensions (With your arms straight down at your sides and thumbs facing forward, raise your hands straight out in front almost like Frankenstein and back down. Keep your arms straight and thumbs facing forward/upward throughout.)
For arms, make sure you don’t cheat by rocking your body. While the “cheat curl” is, in fact, an actual type of curl (designed to use heavier weight), it’s easy to injure your back or shoulders trying to do them. Instead, use good form, remain still and focus on the specific arm muscle you’re trying to target to get a good squeeze and burn.
Again, you can use bands or any object that feels like a weight you can handle for however many repetitions you plan on doing.
Some good exercises for your arms include:
- Bicep Curls (Tons of variations of this curl can be found by searching online.)
- Overhead Tricep Extensions / Lying Tricep Extensions
- Dips (Can be done on many different objects/surfaces, including tires, seats or the step right outside your cab door, provided they’re sturdy and stable enough.)
- Forearm Curls (Just don’t burn your forearms out so bad that you have trouble steering.)
- Grips (Use hand grips like these if you have them, or else you can just grab a heavy object and hold it in your grip. Also, read about Pull-ups in the “Back” section below. Again, though, keep in mind that you will need to be able to drive afterward so don’t go overboard.)
As is the theme here, this one is all about form. If you use bad form, you’ll end up working your arms and shoulders more than your chest. Don’t rush, either. Go slow and really burn the muscles to build a stronger chest.
Here are some of the exercises that target this group:
- Push-ups (Adjust your hand spacing from wide to regular to close in order to hit different parts of your chest. Careful, though, as different grip widths take time for your body to adjust to and can strain your joints and muscles, particularly in the shoulders and wrists.)
- Incline Push-ups (You can use a large tire or other slightly elevated, sturdy, stable surface. Takes time to get used to, so start slow and be careful.)
- Decline Push-ups (Same idea as Incline, just reversed.)
- Uneven Push-ups (Put your left hand on a slightly elevated surface or stable, sturdy object with your right hand on the ground, do a set and then switch.)
This is another important muscle group for focusing on form, since these muscles can be just about as easily injured as those of the shoulders can be.
The two main exercises for your back are:
- Supermans (Lay flat on your stomach, reach your arms straight out over your head (parallel to the ground) and lift them and your legs up an inch or two off the ground. Similar to “Swimmers” but just hold your arms and legs off the ground until your muscles get tired. Then, drop them and rest before repeating. You can also lift for a second or two and then drop and repeat for repetitions. This will help your core strength, similarly to abs but obviously on the opposite side.)
- Pull-ups (There are a ton of variations to target most of your back muscles. Pull-ups also will help to strengthen your grip. Just make sure whatever bar, frame or other structure you’re using as a pull-up bar can support your weight safely. You don’t want to hurt yourself or damage/break whatever equipment you’re using.)
This is the muscle group that most people think of when talking about workouts. The thing to remember, though, is that it’s more than just a “vanity” muscle. Having a strong core is important for making the rest of your body stronger. The bonus advantage is that you can shed weight from your stomach in the process.
Here are some good ab exercises:
- Planks (Can be easier on your back than sit-ups and crunches. Plus, planks will work other muscle groups as well.)
- Holds/Flexes (You can always tighten your abs while standing around. That will help burn fat and build muscle. You can even turn it into an on-going challenge. Maybe every time you are out of your truck, standing around, you keep your abs flexed. Every time you start walking, you release and rest them. Make up your own challenge and see how well you can do.)
Push-ups and certain other exercises where you must keep your core tight also can work your abs.
Your leg muscles might get a good workout from doing your cardio exercises. But, you can supplement your cardio workout with a few other beneficial leg exercises, including:
- Wall-sits (Sit with your back against a stable wall, but without a chair. Don’t let your knees go past your toes, as this can cause knee pain/problems. See how long you can hold that position.)
- Calf Raises
- Step-ups (Step up onto a slightly-raised, stable, sturdy platform and step back down. Alternate which foot goes first.)
- Squats (You don’t need weight if you do high reps with good, slow form. Just like with Wall-sits, be sure to keep your knee from going in front of your toes. That can cause knee problems.)
Now that you know not only that it’s possible to get fit and be healthy as an OTR driver, but also how to do so, it’s time to get started in your career as a professional truck driver.
The road to your successful future begins with quality Class A CDL training at Roadmaster Drivers School.
*wage information provided by Werner Enterprises