The following was an attempt to appease both myself in terms of improving movement, general strength while fitting into a typical bro split and building some serious muscle. For whatever reason, people are attached to this type of split. It’s probably so culturally ingrained that everyone can relate what they are doing with each other. So I figured, why fight. Give the people what they want!
I really enjoy the work of John Meadows and have applied much of the Mountain Dog Training formula. Who says it can’t be used to produce functional muscle. Each workout starts with a superset or single exercise to warm up for the main lift of the sessions. This way there is not too much messing about, poorly performing a dynamic warm-up. I prefer these to be sub maximal however should be heavy enough to feel the weight.
With the major lifts I’ve given 5x5 for the rep scheme. You could simply apply a wave protocol of periodization, use 5/3/1, use ladders, build your own rep and set scheme of Prilepins table etc. Any basic system of progressive overload for big weights will do.
The exercises that follow are mostly to increase the pump, stretch the tissue and to take the muscle to failure. I’ve stayed away from the advanced forms of overload since I feel people seldom do the basics enough justice.
I personally found that the workouts can be all performed under an hour. They are reasonable but challenging.
Warm-up for all days.
Start with spider man crawls. As research shows, crawling helps realign the body. As I’ve written in the past, I really like the way that this variation opens up the hips and chest. Try to keep the hips down as much as possible.
1A Incline DB Press
3x8 (Progressively heavier sets)
1B Face Pulls
A combination of shoulder friendly exercises really serves well the warm up and mobilize the tissue needed for the bench press. I can go pretty heavy on the presses without compromising my bench. Others will have to keep it light.
3 Pull Ups/chins
1x Max set
Even though this is a chest session, I like to add some extra pulling to keep the shoulders feeling good and because I like pull ups.
4 Pushup Ladder
1/2/3/4/5, 10 minutes
So few people train the push up, let alone with good technique. I would prefer if people would master this exercise but everyone want to bench. Obviously this could be modified for extra volume but for most this is fine. For more information on pushups and ladders Pavel’s Beyond Bodybuilding is not a bad place to start.
5 Cable fly
3x10 (somewhat light weight
In my opinion, cable flyes are great. Everyone want to do them and it’s a way of sneaking in loaded stretching.
6A Tricep Rope Pushdowns
Tricep pushdowns are an obvious exercise for the triceps. I also like rolling tricep extensions Zottman curls as demonstrated by Vince Gironda are a great exercise for grapplers and I feel are very good at helping keep elbows in orders. Also
1 Hamstring Curls
3x8 (progressively Heavier)
I was a bit sceptical about John Meadows claim of doing hamstring curls before squats. Complete stupidity on my part. My knees feel much better squatting because of this.
100 in 3 minutes
This was a strength standard I got from Steve Maxwell. Nothing, and I mean nothing, gives my quads a pump like the classic exercise.
For hamstring pump and stretch.
5A Alternating Reverse Lunges
10 each Leg (EDT 15 minute set)
5 B S/L Calf raises
10 each Leg (EDT 15 minute set)
So this is a superset using Charles Staley’s escalating density training method. Perform the two exercises , taking rest between each set as necessary. Not training for intensity here, shear volume is the goal.
6 Farmers Walks
Pick up weights and walk. I found this really helps with improving running form and posture.
1a one arm kettlebell/dumbell press
3x8 (progressively Heavier sets though still quite light)
Another alternative for this is a kneeling kettlebell or landmine press.
1b wide grip lat pull down
Progressively heavier but not too heavy. For stretching and activating the lats. Having an old shoulder injury this really makes military press a lot more comfortable
2 Military Press
Heavy overhead pressing!
3 Seated DB Press
Further overload for the shoulders. By using a slight incline be can also use a more shoulder friendly position rather than the more compromising position of the standing lift.
4 Hindu Push ups
Another classic exercise using a rotational pattern. I feel modern strength and conditioning really fails to acknowledge the benefits of such movement patterns. Very shoulder friendly to perform and really improves mobility in the shoulders.
5 Bar Dips (weighted if necessary)
Lean forward with these to engage the chest. Keeps the shoulders healthy.
6 Iso Hold Shoulder Raises
7 Negative Shoulder Raises
8 Front Raises
These final three exercises put the finishing touches on the shoulders
1 Single arm Kettlebell Swings
10 L/R per min x5
Don’t have to go too heavy. But should be heavier enough that you have to attack the weight. A great accessory and warm up for the deadlift
The king! My favourite lift. I am completely and entirely bias about this.
3 Pendlay Row
8x3 (every 1min15seconds)
I’ve gone with low rep sets with heavy weight. I’ve gone with this so that the form is kept strict.
4 Pull Up Ladder
1/2/3 for 10min
You could go higher with the ladder, but for most people this will be plenty.
5 Meadows Rows
You could alsouse the one arm barbell row. Both exercises have been popularised by John Meadows.
6 Narrow Grip Pull Down
More volume from a different angle. My preference is for the Maximum Activation Grip handles though Hammer Strength make some machines which will also serve this purpose. You could also use a D handle but I feel a get a better contraction from the MAG and Hammer gear.
9 Hip Thrusts
I really feel it is important to maximally load the full contraction of hip extension. Deadlifts alone do not build the posterior to the full extent and I feel for hypertrophy extra work is definitely needed. By using higher reps we can get sufficient overload with a lighter weight.
10 Inlcine curls
I really like these because they stretch the biceps and they