3 Ways To Structure The Perfect Strength Workout

Strength is a crucial component of a training program, for both males and females (as I discuss in this article )– not just because it sculpts and tones your body while building bone density, mitochondria and even cardiovascular fitness, but because it can be a potent hormonal and anti-aging strategy. My favorite and most effective ways to strength train is to A) Weight Training - lift heavy weight in a structured and controlled manner and/or B) Bodyweight Training - to train with lighter loads to exhaustion.

Most people’s bodies or nervous systems can handle 2-3 strength training sessions per week (that is if you aren't on a 2 body part bodybuilder split ie Chest & Triceps). Below, I’ve included three options for you to include for strength. I recommend you do these sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which will allow about 48 hours of muscle recovery, adaptation and growth between each strength session.


Strength Option 1: Bodybuilding Routine, free weights (for beginner/intermediate fitness levels or those looking to put on strength and size)

You can substitute free weights such as dumbbells or kettle bells instead of a barbell for any of the exercises.

I would start each workout with the Dynamic Warm up or Functional Foundations (FREE e-book) to prep for the movements but also to get the plyometric and agility work prior to weight training. Science suggest that performing a bit of aerobic exercise before weight training can actually enhance muscle growth [1] This is also a perfect time to strap on your Elevation Training mask if you are an athlete and want to work on VO2 Max or Hypoxic Training.

Chest & Tri's:

Incline Chest Press 4 sets of 12 reps

Flat Bench Press 4 sets of 12 reps

Dips 4 sets of 12 reps

Skull Crushers 4 sets of 12 reps

Tricep Kickbacks 4 sets of 12 reps

Back & Bi's:

Rows 4 sets of 12 reps

Pullups or Pulldowns 4 sets of 12 reps

Face Pulls 4 set of 12 reps

Hammer Curls 4 sets of 12 reps

Preacher Curls 4 sets of 12 reps

Legs & Shoulders:

Back Squat or Front Squat 4 sets of 12 reps

Deadlift 4 sets of 12 reps

Walking DB Lunges 4 sets of 12 reps

Calf Raise 4 sets of 12 reps

3 Way Overhead Shoulder Press 3 sets of 12 reps

Front, Side, Rear Delt Raise Superset (no break, do each exercise consecutively) 4 sets of 12 reps


If you prefer training in the typical way mentioned above, and like mixing it with bodyweight training, take a look at the 90-day BW44 program.


Alternatively, if you are an athlete, or you want something more functional, then perform the strength workout mentioned below M, W, F. If you want to gain a bit of size, I would keep the above strength schedule on M, W, F and sprinkle these workouts once or twice a week in exchange or combine it with above on a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday schedule.  

Strength Option 2: Functional Routine (for intermediate/advanced fitness levels or athletes)

Dynamic Warm-up for 5-10 minutes, preferably with a dynamic warm up routinefunctional foundations routine, or anything else that dynamically prepares the body for movement and elevates the heart rate. Again, if you're an athlete, time to strap on that training mask.

Next, choose from the movement list below:

-1 Push Movement

-1 Pull Movement

-1 Leg Movement

-1 Cardio Movement

-1 Core Movement

-1 Total Body Movement

Gradually add weight with each set (if do-able with good form), complete 10-15 repetitions of each movement for 3 rounds. Try to complete the 3 rounds in 30 minutes or less. It's ok if the repetitions decrease as the weight used increases. You'll also notice that this is where we are sprinkling in some speed, power, and agility work.

Cool-down with some foam rolling when complete.

Of course, you can substitute kegs, logs, rocks, kettlebells, sandbags, etc. for most of the equipment below if you’d rather train outdoors like I do in my F3 - Functional Fitness Fast & F3 Black Ops Programs.

Movements:

Push:
-Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press
Incline Barbell or Dumbbell Incline Press
Overhead Shoulder Press
Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press
-Loaded Pushup (with Weighted Vest, or Super Slow with body weight)

Pull:
-Dumbbell Row
Weighted Pull-up
Lat Pulldowns or 3-Way Lat Pulldowns
Seated Cable Row

Leg:
Back Squat
Goblet Squat
Front Squat
Single Leg Squat
DB Lunges

Cardio:
Burpees
Box Jumps (power)

-Lateral Shuffle (agility)
Broad Jump Half Burpee (power)

Any of these ladder drills (speed and agility component)

-Suicide Run (as explained in this video)

Full Body/Power Move (this list is not exhaustive, and there may be others that you like:
Dragon Walks 
–Turkish Get-Up

Deadlift

-Kettle Bell Swings
–Bear Complex (power clean, front squat, push press, back squat, and second push press):
Sledge and Tractor Tire
Push Up Mt. Climber Rotations

Core:

Triceps March
Oblique Twists
Bicycle Crunch
Cross Body Situp
Standing Ab Wheel roll out
Mountain Climbers
Pike Roll Out
TRX Lawnmower Extension

More ideas here.


F3 Program - Functional Fitness Fast

 

14 Day Functional Fat Shredding Program


Alternatively, if you are primarily looking for bodyweight strength for calisthenics or just to balance out your weight training, then perform the strength workout mentioned below.

Strength Option 3: Bodyweight Strength Routine (for beginners, intermediate/advanced fitness levels or athletes)

If you’re an athlete or if you’re someone who simply cares about optimizing their nervous system performance, HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to structure your bodyweight strength training. 

So, since you’re completing a Weight Training or Functional Strength training routine on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, then on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday you should do some kind of HIIT training. Similar to the strength training routines above, I’ve included below a couple options: one for beginners using less complicated, foundational movements, and one for more advanced exercisers or for a harder day.

Option A: The Ultimate Efficient Body Weight Workout (beginner/intermediate)

You can find complete details and science behind this body weight routine here. Each exercise is to be performed for 30 seconds with no rest in between exercises. Then repeat the entire circuit again from the top.

Technically, one round only takes about 4 minutes, you should attempt to do 5 circuits for a total body 20 minute workout. Use good form on every exercise. Remember, I'd rather 1 good rep than 100 shitty reps.

Circuit 1

Half Burpees

Sumo Walks

Close Grip Pushups

Bicycle Crunch

Circuit 2

Cross Body Sit Up

Air Squats

Bent Knee V-Sit

Dips

Circuit 3

Running in place with high knees

Lunges

Mountain Climbers

Glute Bridge

Circuit 4

Forward Plank

Oblique Twists

Wide Grip Push Up

Intermediate V-Sit

Circuit 5

Half Push Up

Sumo Squat

Walkout Push Up

Scissor Kick


This workout above is an example from The Dirty Basics 30-Day Bodyweight series. It's a HIIT program designed to introduce beginners to bodyweight movements, and recalibrate advanced calisthenics practitioners to simple and effective movement patterns. Try it here.


If you are an athlete, if you are wanting to train more for strength and power, or if the routine above feel simply too simple for you, then do the below routine for this day: “ADV HIIT Routine (for intermediate/advanced)”. Alternatively, if you are already using the more advanced sets but you’re tired or sore today, do the body weight only workout above instead. If you're an athlete, and you're interested in working on your VO2Max Threshold, then I would do the entire bodyweight WOD in the Elevation Training Mask.

Option B: ADV HIIT Routine (for intermediate/advanced)

Warm-up for 5-10 minutes, preferably with a Dynamic Warm Up, a Functional Foundation routine, or anything else that dynamically prepares the body for movement and elevates the heart rate.

Some of the listed movements will be completed for reps, some will be done for time. 

Alternating Plank Reachers X 10 Reps

Kaizen Mountain Climbers X 1 Minute

Lunges X 15 Each Leg

Box Jumps X 15 Reps

Alternating Plank X 1 Minute

Bodyweight Rows X As Many As Possible

Hindu Push Ups X 10 Reps

Forward Plank X 1 Minute

X 5 Rounds


Skip all the guess work: Customized training and nutrition program just for you.