Strength Training Split, High Intensity, part I

As I mentioned in my last post, I was going to deliver to you, over time, my training and transformation from Fit to Figure. To lay the foundation, I will provide you with the series of workouts based on the undulating system for my strength and conditioning.
Remember, both upper body (A) and lower body (B) days are undulated. Upper body has three different workouts as does lower body for a total of 6 different workouts before we ever repeat.
The following layout is our strength and conditioning pairing for heavy days:
Workout 1A: Upper Body
STRENGTH (Strength Workout): 4-6 sets x 4-6 reps per exercise
CONDITIONING (Maximum Intensity): Up to 8 minutes max in time. Short term, high intensity, anaerobic intervals.
The purpose of this “Strength” day is to:
  • Improve motor unit recruitment (turn more muscle fibers on)
  • More muscle fibers means more muscle growth
  • Heavy weights create an extended EPOC (long term fat burning)
  • Stimulate the Central Nervous System (CNS)
  • The CNS is the boss of the entire body
  • Strong CNS = strong body

My 1A Workout: Upper Body

1a: Dumbbell Bench Press, 5 sets x 6 reps
1b: Dumbbell Bent Over Row, 5 sets x 6 reps per side

2a: Dumbbell Push Press, 5 sets x 5 reps per side
2b: Body weight Chin Ups, 5 sets x 4-5 reps

(Note: Rest 60-90 seconds between each exercise. The push/pull combination allows each muscle group extra rest between activity while the other is being worked.)

Check out the two videos below displaying exactly how I do the second push/pull combination: Push Press and Chin Ups.





Check back tomorrow for Workout 1A’s conditioning component, a four minute Upper Body Tababa Interval created by Nick…it’s brutal and sure to smoke you if the effort and intensity are there!

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5 responses to “Strength Training Split, High Intensity, part I

  1. Alli, thanks for a wonderful blog. I did your upper body strength and conditioning workout this morning. A couple questions: I train alone on weekdays, so no spot. I got 7 reps using 40 lb DBs on the flat bench. When I attempted to knock it down to 5 reps, using 45 bl DBs, I struggled so much just getting them up that I could only do 2 more reps. Should I stick with the lighter weights and get 7 reps? Also, do you perform a separate cardio session on the same day you do this workout. Loved the conditioning portion and was surprised how it elevated my HR. Thanks!

    • Kathleen, thanks for your post. I’m glad you gave the workout a try! A few thoughts for your heavy, low rep days…

      If you are unable to get a spot on heavy DB flat bench, you could try changing up the equipment. For example, do you have access to Free Motion (FM) equipment? On the days you need a spot for heavy chest press, the FM variation of the chest press machine is a great one and would be a safer alternative. If you want to continue with the dumbbells and still cannot find a spot, I would try to really control the eccentric portion (lowering of the weight) of the exercise using your 40lb DB. If you slow down your tempo, that is a good way to add intensity. Great work using the 40’s and striving for the 45’s! I too would have a bit of difficulty if I didn’t have my trainer for a spot on heavy days.

      Glad you liked the Tabata too! Keep me posted on your training and progress. I hope these thoughts helped!

  2. Thanks for your feedback, Alli. I will try slowing the tempo as you suggested.

    Yes, seeing your Tabata video gave me the guts to try it. I might not have done so if I only had print instrux or still shots to rely on. Looking forward to more! Best of luck in your training/dieting! When/where will you compete?

    • Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad the video helped better explain the tabata or further inspired you 🙂 I will be posting most of my additional info in video form.

      I am training for a show on Nov 13th. It’s in Washington DC. It is OCB’s Yorton Cup.

      Do you compete as well?

  3. I competed as a natural bodybuilder in 1996. There was no “figure” at the time and I sure didn’t have the dance/gymnastics skills for “fitness.”

    LOL, that should give my age away just a little. I will be in the gym till I’m 90! What’s cool is getting stronger as I age. That’s really what drives me most. It’s no longer a vanity thing–although, sure, that’s always part of it. 🙂

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