Posted by: draknor | August 5, 2011

Diet & Fitness: Workout Plan

The Workout Plan
I had met with my Chris, my personal trainer, at the end of July to come up with a workout plan.  The goal of this workout plan is basic strength training & conditioning.  Chris shared his process with me – 4 week cycles, 4 workouts/week, at least 48 hours recovery time between maximal exercise to allow for nervous system recovery.  I want a 3x/week workout schedule, so he recommended simply combining the two upper-body exercises to a single workout.  Here’s what we came up with…


  • Posterior Chain (eg. deadlift & variations thereof)
  • Vertical Press (eg. overhead/military press, thrusters, push press, dumbbell press)
  • Anterior Chain (eg. squats — front, back, box, etc)
  • Stationary Press (eg. flat/inclined bench press, dumbbells, floor press)
Working Sets (by week)
  1. 6 sets of 5 reps (2-3 mins rest between sets)
  2. 3 sets of 5 reps, 4 sets of 3 reps
  3. 2 sets of 5 reps, 3 sets of 3 reps, 3 sets of 2 reps
  4. 3 sets of 3 reps, 3 sets of 2 reps, 3 sets of 1 rep (or until fail) (3-5 min rest between sets)
By week 4, I should be hitting PR on the 1 rep sets.
For warm-ups (before the working sets), I do typically 12 reps bar-only (45#), 1 set of 8 reps, and 1 set of 6 reps).  I use these warm-ups to not only test & prepare the muscles for the working sets, but also to practice form and mentally prepare for using good form with the heavier sets.

For my first “wave” (set of 4 weeks), I used:
  • Posterior chain: basic deadlift
  • Anterior chain: back squat
  • Vertical press: Military press
  • Stationary press: Bench press (via plate-loaded machine)
And as I said, I’m combining the vertical press & stationary press workouts into a single day/session, doing the vertical press first (there’s not as much overlap in the muscles used in these two exercises as you might think).
I started this workout plan the week of August 1st, with the following schedule:
  • Monday: Posterior Chain
  • Tuesday: Vertical + Stationary Press
  • Thursday: Anterior Chain
I wanted to make sure to have >48 hours between posterior & anterior chain workouts.  On Wednesdays in August I am taking an intro trapeze class so I wanted to avoid doing the upper-body workout that day. (Since I’m not using maximal strength for the class, I was okay with not getting 48 hours rest after my Tuesday workout.)
So — how did week 1 go?
I’m pleased to say week 1 went very well — I was excited to get into the gym and start this new routine.  I had practiced all of these exercises with Chris over the past 4-6 weeks so I knew the basics of good form to keep and some idea of where to start with my lifting weight.
Week 1 Working Sets: (starting 5 reps to ending 5 reps)
  • Deadlift: 155 lbs to 185 lbs (before I lost my grip)
  • Military Press: 85 lbs to 105 lbs
  • Bench Press (machine): 118 lbs to 178 lbs  (I didn’t have a good baseline for this one)
  • Back Squat: 165 lbs to 205 lbs
I want to note that I was scared of doing the bench press alone (without a spotter), so I opted to use the Hammer Strength Horizontal Iso-Lateral Bench Press Machine(whew – what a mouthful!).On the deadlift, my grip is definitely the weak point right now.  I’ll be looking to strengthen that first.