Upper Lower Strength Routine

I would have to say a basic upper lower split training routine is one of my favorite ways to train. I have written about it in both Leave No Doubt training manuals. Volume 2 goes into great detail.

Most of the time I like to train with quite a bit of volume. At least 4 sets of every exercise with various rep ranges. For upper body we usually train in the 10-15 rep range and lower body is performed in 20 plus rep ranges. I like to train quite fast with limited rest periods. However I think its important to rest enough to be able to give your best to each set.
Here is an example of my upper body routine.

Flat presses
Close grip presses
Lateral raises seated
Reverse grip pullups

Lower body day
Leg presses
Calf Presses
Back ext
Leg curls
Seated Calf Raises

Most workouts are complete in 45 minutes. Short rest intervals and relatively heavy is my motto. The bottom line is at the end of the workout you must evaluate if you did your best recruiting the desired muscle groups.

Weekly set up
Monday Upper
Tuesday Lower
Thursday Upper
Saturday Lower


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Strength Training Safety

Yesterday I had a great friend come in and tell me he partially tore a pectoral muscle.  This conversation prompted today’s post.  Strength training is serious business.  You can get hurt in a millisecond.  You must train in a manner that is safe for you.  Let me give you a few tips to make certain you remain safe and productive. 

1) Choose exercises that do not irritate joints or cause structural damage.  Use pain as your guide.  You might consider having a good chiropractor or therapist evaluate your posture.  You could hire a good trainer and have them evaluate your form on exercises.  

2) Choose resistances that do not damage the body.  Many times we have clients that can’t train particularly heavy on a movement due to orthopedic conditions.  However, we can train lighter and  increase the repetitions per set.  This strategy is probably one of the best ways to insure safety. 

3) Controlling repetitions at all times.  During our conversation yesterday my friend mentioned that he did get carried away with his control of reps.  That was probably the reason for his suffering the injury.  It won’t help your ego to train a little lighter and control your reps but it will certainly keep you injury free.  By the way your ego will get you in trouble most of the time. 🙂

4) Choose exercises that do not put the body in compromising positions.  I could write a book on exercise selection but that is beyond the scope of this entry.   I would not perform any exercises behind your head.  Like pulldowns to the back of the head or behind the head presses.  For some people the deadlift is a horrible exercise.  For some the back squat is a bad exercise.  This goes along with item 1.  Listen to your body.

Bottom line:  Use pain as your guide.  If an exercise, repetition, resistance, or any training variable hurts your joints you must change it.  Find something similar but different.  Be safe and you will enjoy the only form of exercise that will transform your physique.



A Great Workout

Today has went much better than Tuesday.  I wasn’t so over booked and was able to focus on my workout.  The workout went phenomenal.  I really believe this high frequency training program has produced big time.  I am considering making a run at the Worlds this year.  Not sure yet, as I have a ton of stuff going on right now.  Hopefully, starting my PhD in Exercise Physiology this summer.  So a lot going but anyway here is the workout from today.

Flat Smith Presses 225 lbs x 22,18,15

Pulldowns  220 lbs x 15,14,10

Close Grip Smith Presses for Triceps  185 lbs x 20,12,8

Lying on Bench Rows at about a 45 degree incline.  90 lb dumbbells x 10,8,7

Seated Lateral Raises with dumbbells 45 lb x 7,6 30 lbs x 12

Preacher Curls 70 lbs x 25,20,15

Leg Presses after 2 warmups 8 plates x 40,30,30

Calf Presses 8 plates x 30,25,25

Total Time 43 minutes

A great workout today.  The gym was very busy which can make it difficult to focus.  I put my headphones on and went to work.  Not that I was being rude but I feel like workout time is precious time and not to be wasted or interupted.  I love helping others and will take time to do so. 

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Get To Basics

Goodness gracious.  This morning I have witnessed so many folks performing goofy exercises.  Not to focus on the negative here but come on. Lets get back to basic movement patterns.  Basic exercises like: lunges, squats, leg presses, flat presses, incline presses, overhead presses, pulldowns, pullups, rows,curls, standing calf raises,etc.  I see so many folks spending the bulk of their training time doing ab crunches and wondering why their body is not changing.  Or one better than that, for leg training they do leg extensions with no time spent on multijoint leg exercises like those listed above.

If you don’t know better study my training routines.  You will see 90% of our time is spent on the big, basic movement patterns.  Get good at these basics.  I know it doesn’t sound glamourous like some of the “celebrity” trainers are promoting.  But, do it.

Just Ranting Today,

All in an effort to help you!



Yesterday’s workout didn’t go as well as planned.  Yes, even I have trouble focusing and pushing myself.  However, I must admit those days are few and far between.  The biggest problem with yesterday was time management.  I said yes to too  many appointments and ran myself short on time.  By the time I got in the gym it was 3:30 which is late for me.  I had another appointment at 4:30 which left me with little time.  I got into the workout and things were going pretty well.  The gym was pretty busy this time of day which did offer some distractions.  I ended up having a conversation with a guy that is a friend which threw off my total focus.  Now, I am not saying I should have been rude and not talked but this conversation really distracted me.  Before I knew it 45 minutes had gone by and I was suppose to be at my next appointment.  All in all the workout went well.  Upper body training went fantastic but my lower body training was less than focused.

A couple lessons learned are:  I should have budgeted my day better which would have allowed for training to be done earlier.  I should have been brief with the conversation and kept on moving.

Here is the actual workout:

Incline Smith Presses 225 lbs x 20,16,14

Pullups body-weight x 20,18,15

T Bar Rows Lying on bench 135 lbs x 18, 90 lbs x 15,15  went lighter to get better reps

Close Grip Incline Smith Presses 205 lbs x 18,16,16

Seated Lateral Raises 40 lb dumbbells x 12,12

1 arm Preacher Curls 40 x 18,15

Leg Presses 6 plates x 40 8 plates x 30,30

Standing Calf Raises 45 lbs 1 legged x 40,40

Total Time 42 minutes

Performance was actually pretty good.

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Have a Great Day,


Today’s Plan Of Attack


I decided to sleep later today and workout this afternoon.  I am sort of apprehensive about this as most of the time I like working out before work.  We shall see how it goes.  I will probably drink a little coffee before the workout.  I will like the fact that I won’t be so rushed to get to work.  My plan is to workout about 3pm.  I should have enough fuel in my body by that point.  I will eat my 4th meal of the day at about 2pm so by 3 I should be ready to go.  Here is the plan.

Flat Smith Presses 2 sets of 20 reps

Pullups 2 sets of 20 reps

Rows 2 sets of 20 reps

Lateral Raises 2 sets of 20 reps

Leg Presses 2 sets of 50 reps

Seated Curls 2 sets of 20 reps

Rope Pushdowns 2 sets of 20 reps

Calf Presses 2 sets of 30 reps

That should do the trick.  If the equipment is take I will find a suitable alternative that is simlar.  Ill keep you guys updated later.



A Rough Day, But


I still got my workout done.  I have been fighting a little bit of a cold.  I slept in this morning and worked on my website today.   This afternoon I got the workout in.  I was tempted to skip today but decided against it.  The workout was very tough to complete.  My body just wasn’t delivering the O2 to my working muscles.  Intraworkout recovery was limited greatly.  Here is the actual workout.

All exercises were performed in straight set fashion.

Flat Barbell Bench 245 lbs x 18,12

Pulldowns stack x 15,13

Rows lying facedown on a bench slight incline 80 lb dumbbells x20,16

Close Grip Presses Barbell 225lbs x 14,10

Lateral Raises seated 40 lb dumbbells x 14,8

45 % leg Presses 6 plates x 50, 8 plates x 30

1 legged Calf Presses 6 plates x 30,30

1 arm preacher curls 40 lbs x 18,15

Total time 33 minutes.

Good workout certainly not my best.  Ill talk to you guys tomorrow I am going to go home to rest.



January 1, 2009


New Years Day Workout.

I started off the year with a great workout.  I decided to train in a straight set fashion on the weekly training days.  Training this way includes completing all sets for an exercise before moving on to the next exercise.  Rest intervals are generally around 45 seconds.  With such limited rest intervals we aren’t getting complete recovery. 

The intensity of this workout was incredible.

Flat Hammer Presses 115 per arm x 17,14,12,12

Pulldowns 255 lbs x 12,10,9,9

Calf Slide Machine 6 plates x 20,20,18

1 arm Row Machine 130 lbs x 10,10

Lateral Raise Machine 130 x 12,10,10,8

Dip machine 200 lbs x 12,10,10,8

Leg Presses Leverage Machine 6 plates x 40, 8 plates x 40,30

Strive Curl Machine 80 lbs x 12,10,9,8

As you can see I added a fourth set to many of the exercises.  We are doing this to push our bodies to adapt to higher levels of training.  I couldn’t believe I completed this workout in about 33 minutes.  Total sets for the workout was around 28 sets.  That is an average of almost 1 set a minute.  That’s intensity folks.

Have a Great Day,



December 30, 2008 Michael’s Training Log


I moved Wednesday’s workout to Tuesday for the time being.  This will help with my schedule.  I want experiment this week with training with slightly higher volume during Tuesday and Thursday’s workout.  I also decided to train in straight set fashion instead of training in a circuit.  Heavy and fast was the order of the day.  Rest intervals between sets was probably 35-40 seconds. 

Flat Hammer Presses 135 lb per arm x 10,8,7,4

Pulldowns 255 lbs x 8, 270 lbs x 8,7,5

Calf Slide Machine 6 plates x 20,20, 20 1 leg at a time

Dumbbell Lateral Raises Seated 40 lbs x 10,8,8

Row Machine 1 arm 150 lbs x 8,6,6

Dip machine 200 lbs x 20,18,15,10

Strive Curl Machine 80 lbs x 12,10,10,8

Horizontal Leg Presses 250 lbs x 50,50 (just did 2 sets here to give the knee a break)

Total Time 40 minutes

As you can see I did up the sets from 3 to 4 on some exercises.  I am wanting to see just how much volume I can tolerate and not regress in performance. 

This workout as I stated was performed with limited rest intervals.  Specifically, I would start a set each time my watch changed to another minute.  For instance, at 11:01 I performed a set and then at 11:02 I performed another set, etc, etc.  Rest intervals were about 40 seconds. 

Awesome Workout,