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TOPIC: Two day full body strength training routine

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October 21, 2011 6:17 AM
I was recently asked via email for some suggestions about a 2 day strength training routine. I generally don't get into specific programming since that's what my customers pay me for and it wouldn't be fair to them. Plus, I'd prefer most people understand the fundamentals rather than being handed a cookie cutter approach. That way they can adjust and modify things based on their individual needs.

That said, I did write up some specific suggestions in this instance and thought I'd share them here:

You could do a lot with 2 hours of strength training per week. Each session should focus on full body. I'd likely have an A session and a B session and simply alternate each time that you train. In each session you should hit each major movement pattern. These are:

Squat movement
Hip hinge movement
Press
Pull
Core

Examples of each are:

Squat movement: barbell squat, front squat, goblet squat, rear foot elevated split squat (RFESS), lunge variations, step ups, single leg squats, etc.

Hip hinge movements: conventional deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, kettlebell swings, hip thrusts, suit case deadlifts, glute bridge, romanian deadlifts (RDL), pull throughs, rack pulls etc.

Press movements: barbell bench press (incline, decline, flat), dumbbell bench press (same), pushups (modified or not depending on your strength), standing overhead press, push press, etc.

Pull movements: barbell rows, dumbbell rows, cable pulldowns, cable rows, pullups, head supported dumbbell rows, inverted rows, rack chins, etc.

Core: Planks (front and side), pallof presses, reverse crunches, rollouts, etc.

I like this model:

Workout A:

Primary squat movement (such as barbell squats) - 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps
Secondary hip hinge (something single leg such as single leg RDL or Hip Thrust) - 2-3 x 8-12
Heavy Pull (such as barbell or cable rows) - 3-5 x 6-8
Light Push (maybe single arm db bench press or pushups or maybe single arm push presses) - 3 x 8-15
Core (something like planks)

Workout B:

Primary hip hinge (conventional deadlift for example) - 3-5 sets of 4-6 reps
Secondary squat movement (such as a lunge variation or RFESS) - 2-3 x 8-12
Heavy Push (such as bench press) - 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps
Light Pull (maybe pulldowns) - 3 x 8-15
Core (maybe pallof presses on this day)

You can google or youtube any of these exercises to get an idea of what they are. But I STRONGLY suggest using only those that you're confident with in terms of execution. Get instruction if you can from a qualified professional. Or find good instructional videos online at least.

And even then.... start very conservatively in terms of load lifted. You want to groove proper motor or movement patterns. It's very easy to botch form when you start out too heavy and habits are learned and engrained most in the initial stages of learning a lift. Once they're engrained, it's very hard to fix. So again, be conservative. Focus on movement quality. After you have things in order and are comfortable, then, and only then, should you start to focus on progressively lifting more weight over time.

You needn't lift to failure. Once you're comfortable with the movements, you'll want to work your way up to weights with each movement that make the prescribed rep ranges difficult to complete with good form. If the rep range is 6-8, for instance, you'll want to be getting at least 6 and at most 8 with a rep or so left "in the tank."

And once it comes time to focus on progressively getting stronger, you'll want to add weight slowly... maybe 5 lbs... 10 at most. And that doesn't mean that you must increase the weight lifted each week. But once you're able to hit the high end of a prescribed rep range for a session or two, you'll want to consider increasing the load.

I could write a book about the remaining intricacies, but this should be enough to get you started in the right direction. And please keep in mind that nothing presented above is written in stone. Everything is modifiable as long as a few fundamental tenets remain constant such as good form... and by that I mean great form, progressive overload, sufficiently heavy loading of the primary muscles once you're confident in form, etc.
October 21, 2011 6:22 AM
Great write-up as always Steve. =)
October 21, 2011 6:24 AM
thanks, I've wondered about this for a while. Where do I send my donation?
Muchos thank you's
  6886610
October 21, 2011 6:25 AM
Thanks
October 21, 2011 6:26 AM
What is the schedule? AXBX or ABXABXX?
October 21, 2011 6:28 AM
QUOTE:

What is the schedule? AXBX or ABXABXX?


Was this supposed to be funny? I missed the humor somehow.
October 21, 2011 6:29 AM
QUOTE:

What is the schedule? AXBX or ABXABXX?


In this case, the individual asking the question only had 2 days per week to strength train. So in her case it'd be each session done once per week spaced out as far apart as possible. Monday and Thursday or whatever.
October 21, 2011 6:29 AM
That was a serious question. OP said it was a two-day routine so I wanted to know when workouts A and B were executed unless I misunderstood the post.
October 21, 2011 6:30 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

What is the schedule? AXBX or ABXABXX?


In this case, the individual asking the question only had 2 days per week to strength train. So in her case it'd be each session done once per week spaced out as far apart as possible. Monday and Thursday or whatever.


Oh ok, I misunderstood. Thanks for clarifying.
October 21, 2011 6:32 AM
QUOTE:

That was a serious question. OP said it was a two-day routine so I wanted to know when workouts A and B were executed unless I misunderstood the post.


And to add to what I said above... in most cases I wouldn't stretch this beyond 3 days per week. So week 1 would be ABA and week 2 would be BAB... so on and so forth.

But that's why I typically don't get into saying "do this" and "do that" for "this number of reps" and "this number of sets." There are endless ways of structuring things while maintaining the core tenets of good programming.
October 21, 2011 6:36 AM
Good Stuff Steve! Thanks for the post!
  1567115
October 21, 2011 6:49 AM
SAVE!!
Thanks Steve :) I'm currently working on building strength training into my current exercise schedule.
October 21, 2011 7:01 AM
Bump, thanks Steve
  5936591
October 21, 2011 7:05 AM
bump & thanks for sharing your expertise
Edited by crux On October 21, 2011 7:09 AM
October 21, 2011 7:05 AM
haha, that looks familiar! thansk again steve :-)
October 21, 2011 7:05 AM
Thank you!! bigsmile
  11208382
October 21, 2011 7:08 AM
Thanks Steve
October 21, 2011 7:15 AM
bump
October 21, 2011 7:19 AM
You're welcome guys. I'm still working on an in-home strength training article, so please be patient. Not finding as much writing time as I had hoped for.
October 21, 2011 7:20 AM
QUOTE:

You're welcome guys. I'm still working on an in-home strength training article, so please be patient. Not finding as much writing time as I had hoped for.


Mountaineering comes first bro. =)
October 21, 2011 7:23 AM
QUOTE:
Mountaineering comes first bro. =)


Ha! I wish that were the case. I've started doing some backpacking with a heavy pack in prep for a traverse we're doing this winter. But I don't get out nearly as much as I'd like or as much as I should.
October 21, 2011 7:26 AM
Great info. Thanks.
  5356208
October 21, 2011 7:38 AM
Thanks for posting, Steve. I always look forward to your posts.
October 21, 2011 7:49 AM
bump
October 21, 2011 7:52 AM
Thanks for sharing!
  9952580

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