Plyometrics For Power

Plyometrics translates to “measurable increases,” and that’s what you’ll get if you incorporate them into your workout routine. Plyometrics are a great way to workout on an active rest day, or even added to the end of a normal day at the gym. Plyometrics are great for increasing explosive power, which will improve your overall strength. Another advantage of plyometrics is that, for the most part, they can be done anywhere.

Some plyometric exercises are:

  • Jump Squat
  • Lateral Jumps
  • Box Jumps (Front or Lateral)
  • Jumping Lunges
  • Plyometric Push Ups (Push from the bottom position hard enough so that your hands come off the floor)
  • Medicine Ball Plyometric Sit Up
  • Broad Jumps

For the most part plyometric exercises will be done with only bodyweight or very light weight. This is to emphasize explosiveness, which will increase the ability and efficiency of your muscles to quickly recruit muscle fibers.

A plyometric workout can be done as a circuit, in which you move from one exercise to another, and upon completion repeat the entire thing. Or as a standard workout, with a certain number of sets for each exercise completed before moving on. However you decide to do so will work.

Try this workout:

  1. Medicine Ball Plyometric Sit Up
  2. Box Jumps (Or Jump Squats)- 3 sets of 4 reps
  3. Plyometric Push Ups- 3 sets of 4 reps
  4. Jumping Lunges- 3 sets of 5
  5. Lateral Jumps- 4 sets of 5 reps

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Build Strength With 5/3/1

The 5/3/1 system was popularized by Jim Wendler and is great for increasing strength. By taking advantage of your established 1RMs and certain percentages of them, you progressively increase the weight you’re moving and decrease the volume. By the end, you are almost guaranteed increases in strength which will be seen in higher 1RMs.

5/3/1 stands for the number of reps you’re doing each set as you progress through the routine. The first phase of the routine will be similar to the 5×5 routine, in the second phase you will complete sets of 3 reps, and in the final phase you will have a set of 5, a set of 3, and a set of 1. Each phase while lowering the volume will be increasing the weight. After the third phase it’s suggested to take a deload week, before repeating with 5-10 lbs. added or moving on to another routine.

How it looks in the gym:

  • Rest between sets of the main exercises should be between 3-5 minutes, and 60-90 seconds for supplemental exercises.
  • On the final set of the main lifts use all your effort. Make these sets count.
  • Use your recent, tested 1RMs.

 

  • Phase 1

Squat Focus

  1. Set 1- 5 reps at 65% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 5 reps at 75% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 5 reps at 85% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Leg Extension- 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Lunge- 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Leg Press- 3 sets of 10 reps

 

Bench Focus

  1. Set 1- 5 reps at 65% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 5 reps at 75% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 5 reps at 85% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Reverse Grip Incline Dumbbell Press- 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Incline Fly- 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Cable Fly- 3 sets of 10 reps

 

Deadlift Focus

  1. Set 1- 5 reps at 65% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 5 reps at 75% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 5 reps at 85% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Romanian Deadlift- 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Leg Curl (Seated or Lying)- 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Bar Curl- 3 sets of 10 reps

 

Overhead Press Focus

  1. Set 1- 5 reps at 65% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 5 reps at 75% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 5 reps at 85% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Dumbbell Should Press- 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Dumbbell Lateral Raise- 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Triceps Pushdown- 3 sets of 10 reps

 

  • Phase 2

Squat Focus

  1. Set 1- 3 reps at 70% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 3 reps at 80% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 3 reps at 90% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. (Alternating)Single Leg Press- 4 sets of 8 reps
  2. Lunge- 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. Leg Extension- 3 sets of 8 reps

 

Bench Focus

  1. Set 1- 3 reps at 70% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 3 reps at 80% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 3 reps at 90% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Barbell Incline Bench Press- 3 sets of 8 reps
  2. Cable Fly- 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. Chest Dips- 3 sets of 8 reps

 

Deadlift Focus

  1. Set 1- 3 reps at 70% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 3 reps at 80% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 3 reps at 90% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Leg Curl (Seated or Lying)- 3 sets of 8 reps
  2. Lat Pull Down- 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. Incline Dumbbell Curl- 3 sets of 8 reps

 

Overhead Press Focus

  1. Set 1- 3 reps at 70% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 3 reps at 80% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 3 reps at 90% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Arnold Press- 3 sets of 8 reps
  2. Cable Lateral Raise- 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. French Press (Skullcrusher)- 3 sets of 8 reps

 

  • Phase 3

Squat Focus

  1. Set 1- 5 reps at 75% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 3 reps at 85% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 1 reps at 95% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Front Squat- 4 sets of 6 reps
  2. Lunge- 3 sets of 6 reps
  3. Leg Extension- 3 sets of 6 reps

 

Bench Focus

  1. Set 1- 5 reps at 75% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 3 reps at 85% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 1 reps at 95% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Barbell Decline Bench Press- 3 sets of 6 reps
  2. Cable Fly- 3 sets of 6 reps
  3. Dumbbell Press- 3 sets of 6 reps

 

Deadlift Focus

  1. Set 1- 5 reps at 75% of 1RM
  2. Set 2- 3 reps at 85% of 1RM
  3. Set 3- 1 reps at 95% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Romanian Deadlift- 3 sets of 6 reps
  2. V-Bar Pull Down- 3 sets of 6 reps
  3. Cable Hammer Curl- 3 sets of 6 reps

 

Overhead Press Focus

  • Set 1- 5 reps at 75% of 1RM
  • Set 2- 3 reps at 85% of 1RM
  • Set 3- 1 reps at 95% of 1RM

Supplemental Exercises

  1. Barbell Upright Row- 3 sets of 6 reps
  2. Rear Delt Fly- 3 sets of 6 reps
  3. Rope Overhead Triceps Extension- 3 sets of 6 reps

 

  • Phase 4

Similar to Phase 1, but the percentages are 40, 50, and 60.

 

 

 

 

Agonist/Antagonist

I mentioned this method of training before, but I’ll give a detailed workout routine here.

  • The two exercises are done in a superset, meaning go from one exercise immediately to the next, before rest.
  • Rest between supersets should be 60-90 seconds.
  • Use a weight that will make completing all reps/sets a challenge.
  • I like to add Calves (either weight or volume) to Day 1 and Day 3.
  • For the Chin Ups I like to alternate grips (wide, close, neutral, reverse)

Day 1

  1. Bench Press {Superset With} Bent Bar Row- 5 sets of 8 reps
  2. Incline Bench Press {Superset With} Chest Supported Row- 4 sets of 8 reps
  3. Dumbbell Fly {Superset With} Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise- 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Day 2

  1. Leg Extension {Superset With} Leg Curl (Seated or Lying)- 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  2. Squat- 4 sets of 8 reps
  3. Romanian Deadlift- 4 sets of 6 reps

Day 3

  1. Standing Military Press {Superset With} Chin Ups- 5 sets of 6
  2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press {Superset With} Lat Pull Down- 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Dumbbell Lateral Raises {Superset With} Straight Arm Push Down- 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Day 4

  1. Bar Curl {Superset With} Triceps Push Down- 5 sets of 10-12 reps
  2. Preacher Curl {Superset With} Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension- 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  3. Incline Dumbbell Curl {Superset With} French Press (Skull Crusher)- 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  4. Reverse Grip Bar Curl {Superset With} Close Grip Bench Press- 4 sets of 10-12 reps

German Volume Training

Also known as GVT, German volume training is an intense routine made popular in the 70’s. It’s got a lot of volume, so be ready to do a lot of work, every time you’re in the gym. GVT is also known as 10×10 training or the ten sets method. The reason for this is, yes, you will be doing 10 sets, 10 reps each. The goal with GVT is to complete 10 sets of 10 reps with a single exercise, using the same weight. That won’t happen right away. It will be a 3 day split, for example: bench day, squat day, and deadlift day. If you feel up to it, you can add supplemental exercises for each day. Before you start GVT you will need to know your 1RM in all three exercises you’re going to use. With GVT it’s best to use your 20RM or, if you’re feeling strong (and brave) you can try with your 15RM.

Some exercises you can use with GVT are:

  • Squat (front or back)
  • Deadlift
  • Bench press (incline or decline works as well)
  • Bent row

Rest between sets is 90 seconds or less.

So this is how your week would look:

Day 1- Squat

  • Squat- 10 sets of 10 reps

–Optional Supplemental Exercises–

  1. Leg Press or Squat Press- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  2. Lunge- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Calf Raises/Presses- 4 sets of 12-15 reps

 

Day 2- Bench Press

  • Bench Press- 10 sets of 10 reps

–Optional Supplemental Exercises–

  1. Reverse Grip Incline Dumbbell Press- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  2. Dumbbell Should Press- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Triceps Pushdown- 3 sets of 10-12 reps

 

Day 3- Deadlift (or Bent Row)

  • Deadlift- 10 sets of 10 reps

–Optional Supplemental Exercises

  1. Leg Curl (Lying or Seated)- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  2. Romanian Deadlift- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Chin Upss (or Lat. Pulldowns)- 3 sets of 8-10 reps (Chin ups done to failure)
  4. Bar Curl- 3 sets of 8-10 reps

 

 

 

Cardio

Some people hate it, some people love it. However you feel about it, cardio can be a very valuable tool to achieve and maintain great levels of fitness. While I do enjoy an occasional 5k, normally my cardio comes in the form of once or twice a week sessions of HIIT. High intensity interval training (HIIT.) is the ideal way to get cardio done for many reasons. Read more here.

A session of HIIT is split into two segments: “high intensity” and “low intensity/rest.” During high intensity segements you will be going at about 80%-90% of your maximum output. During rest segments you will be at a low intensity -think good paced walk or slow jog- or if you’re new to this, complete rest. Work and Rest ratios can be manipulated according to your experience, fitness level, schedule, etc.

Some ideal work/rest ratios are:

1:4

  1. 15 seconds high intensity
  2. 1 minute low intensity/rest

1:2

  1. 30 seconds high intensity
  2. 1 minute low intensity/rest

1:1

  1. 30 seconds high intensity
  2. 30 seconds low intensity/rest

2:1

  1. 30 seconds high intensity
  2. 15 seconds low intensity/rest

 

As your fitness improves you can increase each portion, up to a minute. I like to do 1 minute of high intensity and 1 minute of low intensity.

HIIT can be done with any traditional cardio machines or body weight exercises:

  • Treadmill
  • Eliptical
  • Stationary bike
  • Stairmaster
  • Jump squat
  • Squat
  • Lightweight goblet squats
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Push-ups
  • Jump Rope

A great low impact HIIT workout is swimming. From myfitnesspal:

WARMUP (5–10 MINUTES)

Start your workout slowly to give your muscles an opportunity to warm up. Focus on your technique: long, powerful strokes move you through the water at a steady pace. Depending on your swimming experience, you can either do a longer swim (400–500 yards) or break it up into shorter distances, with rest every few lengths. But make sure to start slow and build your pace throughout, which raises your heart rate and prepares you to swim fast.

KICK (5–7 MINUTES)

A good kick set helps you continue to warm up while also getting your heart rate up. Some swimmers use kickboards, but you can just extend your arms in a streamlined position or kick on your back.

Your kick should start at the hip, not the knees, which means you’re using your entire leg to provide propulsion. Keep your kick narrow and steady. A large up-and-down motion slows you down as it creates drag and reduces the power you generate.

MAIN SET (10–15 MINUTES)

This is the focus of your workout. The set should allow you to maintain a high heart rate over an extended time, which allows you to burn maximum calories. (Compare it to the fat-burning qualities of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT)

Here’s a possible structure to follow:

  • Swim two lengths of the pool at a quick pace
  • Rest for 5–10 seconds
  • Repeat

Let’s say you can do a 50 (two lengths of a standard, 25-yard pool) in 45 seconds. Your interval would be 50–55 seconds, meaning you should get about 10–15 repeats in.

Once you build endurance, you can increase the distance or decrease the interval.

COOL-DOWN (5 MINUTES)

Swim an easy 300 yards, broken up by 50s or 100s. This step is important because your body needs a chance to recover from the main set. Your pace should be like what you did in the warmup, and you should focus on good technique so your body can repeat it more easily when it’s tired.

 

 

 

 

FST-7

FST-7 stands for fascia stretch training 7. It’s a workout system designed by Hany Rambod, and used most notably with Jeremy Buendia (4x Olympia physique champion) and Phil Heath (7x Mr. Olympia). So it would seem like Mr. Rambod is on to something. A basic layout for an fst-7 workout is 3-4 exercises using heavy weight and an isolation exercise done for 7 sets, with only 45 seconds between sets.

The idea of this set up is to achieve gains in strength and hypertrophy with the first few exercises, using relatively heavy weight. Then for the last exercise you’re using a moderate weight, but drastically increasing the volume and decreasing rest. This final 7’s segment is designed to maximize flow of blood and fluid into the muscle to stretch the fascia surrounding the muscle, allowing for muscle growth.

Here’s how it looks in the gym:

  • Complete 2-3 warm-up sets for each exercise.
  • Rest periods should be kept to 75 seconds, except for the 7’s portion in which rest is 45 seconds.
  • Incorporate partial and/or negative reps.

Chest

  1. Reverse Grip Dumbbell (Or Incline Bar) Press- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  2. Incline Dumbbell Fly 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Flat Dumbbell (Or bar) Bench Press- 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  4. {FST} Cable Fly (Pec Deck acceptable but Cable is preferred)- 7 sets of 8-12 reps — 45 seconds between sets

 

Back

  1. Bent Rows (Use Reverse Grip to target upper lats)- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  2. Reverse Grip Lat Pull Down- 2 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. V-Bar Pull Down- 2 sets of 8-10 reps
  4. Cable Row- 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  5. {FST} Straight Arm Pull Down- 7 sets of 8-12 reps

 

Shoulders and Traps

Shoulders

  1. Seated Dumbbell Press- 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  2. Cable Lateral Raise- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Dumbbell Front Raise- 2 sets of 8-10 reps
  4. Dumbbell Rear Delt Raises- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  5. {FST} Dumbbell Lateral Raise-7 sets of 8-12 reps

Traps– Squeeze at the top and hold for 2-3 seconds each rep

  1. Dumbbell Shrugs- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  2. 1 Arm Smith Machine Shrugs- 2 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. {FST} Machine Shrugs (Using the Standing Calf Raise machine) or Smith Machine Shrugs- 7 sets of 8-12 reps

 

Arms– For arms you will do FST sets first AND last

Biceps

  1. {FST} Bar Curl- 7 sets of 8-12 reps
  2. High-Cable Curl- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Hammer Curls- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  4. Reverse Grip Bar Curls- 2 sets 15-20 reps
  5. {FST} Machine Preacher Curl- 7 sets of 8-12 reps

Triceps

  1. {FST} Rope Triceps Push Down- 7 sets of 8-12 reps
  2. French Press (Skullcrusher)- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  4. Close-Grip Bench Press- 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  5. {FST} Cable Overhead Triceps Extension (With Rope)- 7 sets of 8-12 reps

 

Legs

Quads

  1. Leg Extension- 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  2. Squat (Front or Back)- 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  3. Squat Press or Hack Squat- 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  4. {FST} Leg Press- 7 sets of 8-12 reps

Hamstrings

  1. Romanian Deadlifts- 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  2. Seated Leg Curls- 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. {FST} Lying Leg Curls- 7 sets of 8-12 reps

Calves

  1. {FST} Standing Calf Raises- 5 sets of 8-12 reps
  2. {FST} Seated Calf Raise (Or use leg press machine)- 5 sets of 8-12 reps

 

 

Abs/Midsection/Core

It’s called your “core” because it is the core of your balance, stability, and the key to so many exercises and basic movements. There are an endless number of exercises and moves to engage your midsection/abs/core. Most are effective, some are not. Which exercise(s) you want to do is really a matter of preference. A method I find effective is a circuit of 2-4 different exercises. Another trick I like and use for my clients, is to do all ab work as a pre-warm up, before the main workout.

Ideally, your circuit will target upper and lower abs as well as the obliques, and strengthen core stability. A sample circuit would look something like this:

  1. Hanging leg raises
  2. Body weight twists
  3. Reverse Crunches
  4. Planks

Each exercise done to failure before moving on to the next. Repeat the entire circuit, totaling about 10 minutes.

Here are different exercises you can choose from to create your own circuits:

  • Flat leg raises
  • Hanging leg raises
  • Incline/decline leg raises
  • Reverse crunches
  • Incline/decline reverse crunches
  • Sit ups
  • Weighted sit ups (holding a plate or a bar)
  • Planks
  • Knee plank
  • Side plank
  • Sumo Squat
  • Body weight twists
  • Weighted twists
  • Elbow-to-knee
  • Bicycle kicks

Golden 6

Arnold’s old school full body routine. Before he was Mr. Olympia, he used this routine to develop a strong and lean physique. It was a popular workout scheme in those days, before body part split routines took over the bodybuilding scene. This is straightforward full body routine. Great for beginners or more advanced gym-goers who want to simplify things.

  • For squats, the rest between sets can be up to 2 minutes; for all other exercises keep the rest to 90 seconds or less.
  • Once you’re able to do 2 to 3 reps extra for EVERY set, increase the weight. After 2 or 3 weight increases, add a set to each exercise.
  • 10 reps means use your 10RM
  1. Squat- 4 sets of 10 reps
  2. Bench Press- 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Chin Ups- 3 sets to failure (each set should be as many reps as you can do)
  4. Standing Shoulder Press- 4 sets of 10 reps
  5. Bar Curl- 3 sets of 10 reps
  6. Sit Ups (I prefer leg raises)- 3 sets to failure

 

A way to make this routine even more intense is to (gradually) increase the number of sets to 6, AND drop the reps to 8 (your 8RM).

 

5×5

This classic routine is great for building strength and increasing size. It’s a relatively simple setup. Choose a compound lift for each muscle group: squat, military press, etc., and complete 5 sets of 5 reps each. The weight should be your 5RM, so each set should be a challenge. There are different ways of setting up your gym sessions, which I’ll lay out below.

  • The goal is strength, so rest enough between sets, 75-120 seconds.
  • I usually will do 10 minutes of abs/midsection/core exercises before anything else.
  • Do 2-3 warmup sets before using your working weight.
  • When you’re able to complete 2/3 reps extra on EVERY set, increase the weight by 5-10 lbs.

Full Body 5×5

In this setup you will be applying the 5×5 scheme to a full body workout, meaning you will be hitting every muscle group. It is best to do full body workouts every other day, to allow recovery.

  1. Squat- 5 sets of 5 reps
  2. Bench Press- 5 sets of 5 reps
  3. Deadlift- 5 sets of 5 reps
  4. Shoulder Press- 5 sets of 5 reps
  5. Calf Press (sitting or standing)- 5 sets of 5 reps
  6. Close-grip bench press- 5 sets of 5 reps
  7. Bar Curl- 5 sets of 5 reps

 

Split 5×5

This version of the 5×5 is more common, and consists of focusing on one or two muscle groups each day and using supplemental exercises.

Workout 1- Monday and Wednesday

  1. Squat- 5 sets of 5 reps
  2. Romanian Deadlift- 5 sets of 5 reps
  3. Leg Extension- 3 or 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  4. Leg Curl- 3 or 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  5. Standing Calf Raise- 5 sets of 5 reps
  6. Seated Calf Raise (or calf press on leg press machine)- 5 sets of 5 reps

-I like to alternate between heavy calf days like this and high volume calf days in which 2-3 sets are done for 20-30 reps-

Workout 2- Tuesday and Thursday

  1. Bench Press- 5 sets of 5 reps
  2. Deadlift or Bent-Over Barbell Row- 5 sets of 5 reps
  3. Shoulder Press- 5 sets of 5 reps
  4. Triceps Pushdown- 3 or 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  5. Bar Curl- 3 or 4 sets of 8-10 reps