In this article, I’m going to give you an example workout and teach you how to change things up so that it can fit you personally. I’m also going to give you advice on how to keep on progressing and stay injury free.
The program below is a bro split where you train each muscle only once a week and train 5 days a week.
|Exercise||Sets & Reps||Rest|
|Mon||Incline DB/BB press||5×3-5||3-5min|
|Wide grip dips||4×8||2-3min|
|One arm rows||3×8||2-3min|
|DB upright row||3×6-8||1-2min|
|Reverse grip pushdowns||4×8||1-2min|
|Overhead tricep extensions||4×12||1-2min|
|Lying leg curls||3×12||1-2min|
|Seated leg curls||3×12||1-2min|
|Seated calve raises||4×20||2min|
On Monday we start out with chest. The first exercise is a heavy compound to build strength and put on thickness on the upper chest. Elbows should be tucked to the sides instead of flared out to remove strain from the shoulders.
To switch this up and to not do the same heavy inclines week after week, month after month, do pause reps instead. For instance, pause 1 sec at the bottom of the first rep, 2 sec on the second rep and so on. You can also pause on your sticking point on the way down, pause again at the bottom and then pause again on your sticking point on the way up. And remember, don’t explode up on the pause reps, but flex up.
Another trick is to switch up the intensity and exercise. Still stick with incline, but you can rather do machine press or DB press also with low or high reps.
There is a wide variety of exercises and techniques that you can utilize to switch things up and keep it fresh.
How often should you switch things up? Once a week or every 4 weeks is perfect.
For the secondary exercises, you can replace the given exercises with exercises that will bring out weak points or lagging muscles that you might have. For example, the wide grip dips will put thickness and width on your lower chest, but if you don’t lag that and want to focus more on your upper chest, replace it with incline DB press.
I put deadlifts first in the workout because that is an exercise that I want to progress in for strength. If your deadlift is stalling, you can stitch it up with deficit deadlifts, 1 & ½ rep deadlifts, rack pulls, behind the back deadlifts, pause deadlifts, etc., to keep on progressing. If you don’t want to progress in this exercise, replace it with an exercise that will hit the area of the back that you want to bring out most. Another great exercise for back thickness is bent over rows or pendlay row.
Another way to structure Tuesday is to do 4 sets of three exercises. Deadlifts for strength, hormonal release and lower and mid back thickness, then pull-ups for back width and lastly seal rows with elbows flared to put thickness and detail on the whole upper back.
Again, I start with the power movement to gain strength and to put on mass on the delts. This exercise can be replaced by seated military press if your lower back is giving you problems. Support military press is also a great exercise to build power on the military press. The exercise is executed with support beams about chin height that the bar can rest on. From this position, you explode the weight up and then bring it back down and reset for the next rep.
Most peoples’ posterior delts are lagging so I put face pulls second in the workout to bring it out. Reverse flies with arms and hands going more forwards is also a great exercise to isolate the posterior delts. Machine or cable reverse flies can also be used as an alternative.
The last two exercises will hit the medial head of the delt. The iron angles is a great exercise to work the full range of motion to strengthen all weak spots. Use a really light weight at first to do the exercise and to feel the motion. Don’t swing, but flex on the way up. If this exercise hurts your shoulder, replace it with normal lateral raises. You can play around with the hand tilt. I like to use an exaggerated forward tilt to really hit the lateral posterior delt area to give my delts that capped look. Cable lateral raises are also great to keep constant tension on the delts.
The DB and wide grip BB upright row are much easier on the shoulder than the narrow grip BB upright row, which could cause an impingement. There is also a variety of ways you can do this exercise, for instance, you can go heavy and raise the weight close to the body. Or you can do it lighter and do it almost like a frontal raise. A great alternative for those with low back problems is to do this exercise on the seated cable row machine, and then use a grip a little wider than shoulder width, lie on the bench and do the upright row.
I would do triceps first in the workout because I want to bring out my triceps and my biceps grow rather easily compared to my triceps. You can also do this workout with supersets, where you do a tricep exercise, such as close grip bench, and then superset it with a bicep exercise, such as BB curls. It’s a great way to increase the intensity and shorten the workout.
I like to do a variety of exercises to hit the biceps and triceps from all angles.
To bring out the bicep peak for an awesome double bicep back shot, do BB body drag or incline curls, concentration curls and hammer curls or reverse curls. To bring out the short head and to just put mass on the bicep do heavy DB or BB curls. To strengthen the elbow area, do preacher hammer curls on an incline bench so that you can rest the weight on the bench at the bottom of the rep. Pause at the bottom and relax completely and then flex back up again.
To remove the shoulder and really isolate the biceps during bicep curls, do preachers, or overhead curls.
To strengthen the elbow with tricep exercises, use uncomfortable exercises. For instance, instead of normal close grip bench press, lower the weight to the upper chest. Or instead of normal skull crushers, lower the weight to your ears. If you’re strong in the overhand tricep pressdown, use an underhand grip. Another great exercise to strengthen the elbows are tate press. Start out with a light weight to strengthen the tendons and ligaments first before going heavier. If you get strong in those weak areas, you’ll get even stronger in your strong areas; you’re only as strong as your weakest link.
The best exercise to build the legs and to define them is squats. Never do just one type of squat or exercise but a variety. If you always do low bar back squats, like I did once, you’ll overdevelop your posterior chain and your quads will lag behind and lack definition. Get strong with the low bar back squat first though and then start switching it up with other more quad dominant exercises. Similarly, if you always do front squats or high bar back squats your posterior chain might start lagging.
You can also start with the low bar back squat to build the strength and size and then do front squats second in the workout. You can also elevate the heels to make it an even more quad dominant exercise. Some of you might freak out because the knees will go over the toes, but this is what we want because we want to strengthen the knee ligaments and tendons. This exercise should also not be done heavy, but as heavy as you can go for the given type of exercise, and do it as slow and controlled as possible.
With the hack squats and leg press, you can also play around with the foot placement. When the feet are at the top of the platform the exercise will work your posterior chain, and when the feet are at the bottom of the platform the exercise is much more quad dominant. When trying to isolate the quads with the leg press or hack squats, you don’t have to go below parallel, because that will activate more glutes and hammies and take tension off the quads. Alternate partial range of motion exercises on the leg press or hack squat with full range of motion exercises to always give the muscle new stimuli.
So how do you know if you have to alternate exercises?
If you stall with a certain exercise, it’s a good time to make a change. It’s also good to switch things up to prevent an injury. Muscle regenerates much faster than tendons and ligaments, and if you’re always doing the same exercise you might be overworking the ligaments and not giving them enough time for recovery. Also, doing the same exercise over and over will strengthen a certain part of the muscle, but neglect another. Switch things up, keep it interesting and always keep on progressing.
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