It’s the end of the month, which means that it is now time for Part 5 in our series on free printable workout routines! Today, I will be talking about my experience with Darebee.com’s free fitness program called IRONBORN!
I have been using their fitness programs for all of my workout routine reviews over the past months, so if you want to check out my previous articles, feel free to click on any of the following links:
There are a couple of reasons why I want to point you to this amazing, free resource and they have to do with the motto of my site: “Effective Fitness. Budget Friendly”.
The first is that these programs are effective! You might be wondering if these workouts are actually worth your time. Well, I’m here to tell you that these workouts will definitely give your body the challenge it is looking for and needs to get results!
It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out or a long-time fitness veteran. Darebee has programs that are suitable to all fitness levels and styles.
The second reasons is that they are completely free! What could be more budget-friendly than that?
I was, at one point, a certified personal trainer. While I am glad for that background because it gave me the necessary knowledge to start this website, it also led to some frustration. I started seeing what personal trainers had to charge for sessions.
Now don’t get me wrong, if you are a personal trainer or work at a gym (My sister-in-law does), I don’t have any problem with you. You are doing a great service to a large portion of the population. I really hope that this COVID-19 lock down ends soon so that you can get back to doing what you do.
My frustration with the fitness industry became that a lot of it was too expensive, and therefore inaccessible, to many people on a tight budget.
I, personally, have a tight budget because I have a young family (two kids with a third on the way) so I know I’m not the only one out there like that. My goal is not to tell people to get rid of their gym membership and personal trainer, but to show people that fitness can be for everyone regardless of economic standing!
With that being said, let’s take a look at this month’s free workout program!
IRONBORN – What Is It And What Does It Entail?
The purpose of IRONBORN is to increase the definition of your muscles. It is meant to be used with dumbbells, though as I will explain later, there are definitely ways around that in case you don’t have a pair.
This is a total body program that is broken up into four sections that cycle over and over until the end of the 30 days and are separated into the following groups and exercises:
- Shoulders, Chest, and Triceps
- Various Shoulder Presses
- Chest Press and Push Ups
- Lateral and Front Shoulder Raises
- Triceps Extensions
- Back and Biceps
- Various Bicep Curls
- Upright, Renegade, and Bent Over Rows and Flys
- Dead Lifts
- Farmer’s Walks
- Leg Day
- Various Squats
- Various Lunges
- Calf Raises
- Single Leg Dead Lifts
- Ab Work
- Sit Ups
- Leg Raises
- Flutter Kicks
- Various Planks
This is a resistance program that is designed to be more linear in nature instead of constantly switching exercises in intervals. This is done to ensure that each muscle group is brought to fatigue by one particular exercise before moving on to the next.
If you are looking for additional guidance on how to start incorporating resistance training into your routine, take a look at a great article from Men’s Health!
In this article, you will learn more about what counts as resistance training (hint: bodyweight, free weights, resistance bands, machines, and sprinting all count!), isometric exercise, how often you should train and how much, as well as what exercises are best! Check it out if you have some time!
Healthline also notes the incredible benefits of performing resistance training that include, increased muscle mass, faster metabolism, more energy, better mood, less body fat, and more!
Getting back to IRONBORN, each of these workouts should take you around 20 minutes to complete if you don’t get distracted. That’s why I suggest with this, or any other workout you are doing, to turn off your phone’s notifications. In fact, this doesn’t just go for when you are working out either.
David Pierce of WIRED suggests turning them off and keeping them off. Check out his article to see why!
As a note, Darebee rates this program as a 3 out of 5 for difficulty, though still suitable for beginners since you are in control as to how much weight is used for each exercise. We will get into where the “suitable for beginners” may not apply a little later on.
Lastly, as with all of their different programs, IRONBORN comes with a free suggested meal plan. Because the focus is on building muscle, they suggest their Mass Effect Meal Plan.
Troubleshooting – Dealing With Problems and Modifications
Each of the workouts in IRONBORN are illustrated and easy to follow. Unlike previous workout programs of theirs, I didn’t really have any trouble deciphering what was being asked of me from the pictures.
As always, you can consult Darebee’s full Instruction Manual to explain each of the various moves found on their website. If you are having trouble figuring out what a picture is asking you to do, I would recommend starting there.
However, if you still find yourself unsure of how to perform an exercise, remember that the site also provides a huge video library of their exercises. These various videos can also be found on their YouTube channel. I will post a few video examples of moves from IRONBORN at the end of this section.
Additionally, feel free to visit their Get Started page to learn more about how to navigate their site.
When it comes to modifications there is definitely room to make some if you are in need. The most obvious modification is lowering the amount of weight you are using for each exercise. You want to find a weight that will challenge and fatigue your muscles, but not be so heavy that you can’t complete the suggested number of repetitions.
This will take some playing around to get you in the right spot.
For the abdominal sections, you can definitely switch some things up. If you aren’t big into sit ups, you could do crunches instead. Some of the plank variations involve movement, so you could just eliminate that if you so desired.
The suggested piece of equipment is dumbbells. If you are looking for some reliable pieces of dumbbell equipment that will easily let you switch weights on the fly without having to purchase a whole set of them, here are my picks of what you can use.
- Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
- Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebells
- PowerBlock Sport 24 Adjustable Dumbbells
However, you may not be the biggest fan of dumbbells and are wondering if there are alternative pieces of resistance equipment you can use. The good news is the answer is “YES!”. In fact, I used resistance bands instead. I guess you could call my version “BANDBORN” instead of “IRONBORN”.
Here is an equipment list I recommend and think would definitely work with and enhance the exercises in this program:
- Bodylastics Resistance Bands
- The Perfect Pushup Elite
- Sportneer Adjustable Ankle/Wrist Weights
- ihuan Padded Weight Lifting Gloves
- The Top 8 Balance Trainers
- The Gorilla Bow
- The BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0
- The OYO Personal Gym
Any of these pieces of equipment or even a combination of them would work instead of dumbbells! Be sure to check them out if you get the chance.
The only exercise I had trouble with while using resistance bands was the Farmer’s Walk since you can’t really do that with bands. However, there are alternatives to that exercise and you could simply fill up some milk jugs if your really wanted to stick with the exercise.
Now that you have an overview of what the program entails and what kind of equipment you can use, take a look at several of the exercises you can expect to find in motion!
What I Liked About The Program
For me, it had been a long while since I had picked up weights. I had been doing a lot of bodyweight training (as seen by the past four months of workout programs reviewed), which I feel was necessary.
When I was becoming certified for personal training, I did so through the American Counsel on Exercise (ACE). Their model for strength training was first focusing on stability and mobility, before moving on to functional fitness (bodyweight) and then resistance training.
I’m glad I went through those first as I feel they were preparing my body for weights. I liked this program as a reintroduction to weight lifting. I chose to go with a lighter weight than normal because I wanted to make sure I eased myself back in. I feel the workouts were well-balanced and I liked how each day focused on certain muscle groups.
I also liked how many of the exercises involved multiple muscle groups. Sure, you had your bicep curls, but you also had chest presses, squats, and lunges that brought in the stabilizing muscles as well as the primary ones.
I feel that after doing these workouts for a month, that I am slightly stronger, but more importantly, that I am ready to take on heavier loads. That is a good feeling!
Additionally, I loved that the different days could be completed in about 20 minutes. Time is an important thing for me, even while in quarantine for COVID-19. I usually devote my mornings to completing work for this website and then spend the rest of the day taking care of chores or the family.
I simply don’t have a ton of time to work out. To be able to get a great workout in less than half an hour (as
long as I don’t get distracted) is a wonderful thing!
IRONBORN has me looking forward to next month’s workout program where I will be continuing to focus on weight training.
Another beautiful thing about the workouts being completed quickly is that I could (and did) two days combined into one. The reason for this is because I like to get outside and run as the weather warms up. Therefore, I was able to have my strength days and my cardio days without giving up a huge amount of time!
I also liked how I didn’t feel limited to just using dumbbells. The workouts are very versatile and other-equipment-friendly as I noted above. If dumbbells aren’t in your budget, there are options available!
What I Didn’t Like About The Program
When going through IRONBORN, there was really only one major complaint that I had and it has to do with the Ab days. With all the other body sections, the exercises were varied and worked multiple muscle groups.
However, the ab days were really punishing to my core. Some of the exercises (including the sit ups and leg lifts) took a toll on my lower back as well.
If I could have changed one thing it would have been to incorporate an ab exercise into each of the other days instead of devoting a full day to them. The difficulty jumped up way too quickly for my taste and made me dread when Ab day popped up.
That is about all as far as the negative is concerned though!
The Verdict – Pick Things Up And Put Them Down
IRONBORN is a very good program for getting you into training with weights. Except for the ab days, the workouts are varied and hit all your muscle groups. I think it is definitely worth a try, even if you want to use pieces of equipment other than dumbbells.
Be sure to take a look at the equipment suggestions above if that describes you!
Now, it’s your turn! What do you think of IRONBORN? Do you think that you would give it a shot? What kind of equipment do you currently have that you could use for the program? Do you have any suggestions for free programs that I should take a look at and try for a review? Let me know in the comments below!
If you have any questions about this program or any of the other ones I have done, feel free to ask away down below!
Next month, I’m going to get even more technical with sharing my results because I recently was able to pick up a FITINDEX Bluetooth Body Fat Scale. This device measures not only your weight, but a whole host of other body measurements.
I’ll see where I start out at the beginning of may and where I end up after a month of workouts! That should be fun. Stay tuned for the monthly schedule coming out in May to see what workout program I will be doing!
Speaking of staying tuned, if you want to get a notification of every time I post a new article, simply put your email in the subscribe box in the top right!
Additionally, if you know someone who is looking for a workout program, please take the time to hit one or more of the share buttons following you down the page! I would greatly appreciate your support!
That’s all for now! As always, God bless and Happy Workouts!