For a while, I’ve been committed to my 3 day split which did the trick in building strength and endurance while getting me ripped, so why change it? Quick answer… plateau. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great starter routine, especially if you want to get ripped, but I wasn’t getting stronger on some of my major lifts like the presses (bench & shoulder) squats and deadlifts. So I felt it was time for a change.

Lately I’ve been tweaking my workout routine, focusing on hitting each major muscle group twice a week, but in doing so, the trick is to find the perfect balance between volume and rest.  In heeding the advice of Jeff Nipper in this video, I needed to divide up the volume so that I can hit each muscle group twice a week with the goal of getting 20 working sets per body part in the week.

What I’ve done is basically take my 3 day split, remove the cardio days between the strength training days so that I have 3 consecutive strength training days and I added a day rest between the training days. So the routine looked like the following: workout Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday,  rest Thursday, workout Friday, Saturday & Sunday, rest on Monday.

The routine is working great so far, with the modified volume, I’ve seen a big difference in recovery time, my heavy lift PRs have all gone up (front squat, deadlift, pull-up, bench and shoulder press). So this is what my routine looks like now:

Day 1 (Chest concentration)

**warm-up

Chest

  • Bench press → 2 warm-up sets, 4 **back-loaded sets
  • Dips (weighted in need be) → 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Decline press → 3 sets of 12 (take the last set to failure)

Quads

  • Front Squats → 2 warm-up sets, 4 sets 8 reps
  • Walking lunges → 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Leg Extensions → 3 sets of 12 (take the last set to failure)

Triceps

Finisher
Jump-rope → 3 minutes, 1 minute rest (3 rounds)

  • Skullcrushers Tricep Extensions → 4 sets of 8 reps 
  • Tricep rope pull-downs → 4 sets of 12-15 reps (take the last set to failure)

Day 2

**warm-up

Abs

  • Weighted machine crunches  → 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Incline bench leg raises → 4 sets of 15 (or failure)

Back

  • Weighted pull-ups → 4 **back-loaded sets (optional: superset with 1 min spiderman blanks)
  • Seated rows (close grip) → 3 sets of 12
  • Standing lat pushdowns → 3 sets of 12

Biceps

Finisher
Assault bike (2 minutes), 30 body weight squats and 30 push ups → 3 rounds with no rest

Day 3

**warm-up

Hamstrings

  • Romanian (straight leg) deadlift → 1 warm-up set, 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Seated leg curls → 3 sets of 12
  • Kettle swings  → 3 sets of 15

Shoulders

  • Standing shoulder press → 4 **back-loaded sets
  • Barbell shrugs → 3 sets of 12 superset
  • Lateral raises → 3 reps of 12-15 (take the last set to failure)

Finisher
Calf raises  → 4 sets of 12 superset with Jump squats → reps of 25

Day 4

Rest

Day 5 – (Leg concentration)

**warm-up

Quads

  • Leg press → 2 warm-up sets, 4 **back-loaded sets
  • Hack squat → 3 sets of 12
  • Leg Extensions → 3 sets of 12 (take the last set to failure)

Chest

  • Incline press → 2 warm-up sets, 4 **back-loaded sets
  • Floor dumbbell presses → 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Cable flys → 3 sets of 12 (take the last set to failure)

Triceps

Tricep Extensions → 4 **back-loaded sets
Reverse Grip single arm cable pull-downs → 4 sets of 15 (or failure)

Finisher
Jump-rope → 3 minutes, 1 minute rest (3 rounds)

Day 6

**warm-up

Abs

  • Hanging leg raises (weighted if need be) → 4 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Weighted machine crunches  → 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Back

  • Lat pull-downs → 4 **back-loaded sets (optional: superset with 1 min spiderman blanks)
  • Seated rows (wide grip) → 3 sets of 12
  • Single-arm hammer strength pull down → 3 sets of 12 (take the last set to failure)

Biceps

Finisher
Assault bike (2 minutes), 15 kettle swings, 20 body weight squats and 25 push ups → 3 rounds with no rest

Day 7

**warm-up

Hamstrings

  • Dumbbell deadlift → 1 warm-up set, 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Seated leg curls → 3 sets of 15
  • Kettle swings  → 3 sets of 15

Shoulders

  • Standing shoulder press → 4 back-loaded sets
  • Dumbbell shrugs → 3 sets of 12
  • Reverse flys → 3 sets of 15

Finisher
Calf raises  → 4 sets of 12 superset with Jump squats → reps of 25

**Warm-up

Consists of 3 minutes on the elliptical machine or assault bike at a normal pace (just enough to break a sweat), followed by 30 body weight squats and 30 push-ups, do 2 rounds.  After the second round, lightly stretch the chest, quads and hamstrings, etc…

This is intended to warm-up the upper and lower body, ideal for doing upper/lower body split routines as laid out in this workout program.

**Back-loaded Set

A back-loaded set it when you start with heavy weight at low reps and work your way down in weight but increase the reps as you go from set to set.  Ex: Front Squat

Set 1: 185 LBS 4-6 Reps
Set 2: 170 LBS 6-8 Reps
Set 3: 155 LBS 9-12 Reps
Set 4: 135 LBS 15 or Failure

It’s ideal that back-loaded sets be used with compound movement exercises such as Deadlifts, Barbell Squats (Front and/or Back), Pullups, Dips, Bench Press and Standing Shoulder Press.

Categories: Exercises

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