Strength Training Split, High Rep, Part III

High rep upper body day comes around about once every week and a half. We incorporate this day because it works the muscle fibers differently than heavy days or medium rep days. It also varies the intensity on my body and fits in with our daily undulation program.


We are coming down to the home stretch of training. About four more weeks of hard training and a few extra days of diet and recovery in the final days before the show. My training is about to switch up soon as we transition into pre-competition training. In the meantime, I am about to deliver my upper body high rep strength workout and still have the corresponding conditioning, as well as the entire mid range rep series to deliver to you!


I generally start a high rep upper body (HRUB) day with a “band warm up.” This is a series of five exercises (20 reps per exercise) using a medium weight JC Band. I incorporate pulling movements first, followed by rotational work and finish with pushing exercises to prep my muscles for what’s to come.


On HRUB workouts, we often incorporate drop sets, supersets and complexes. To start the workout off, I perform two rounds of a push up drop set series. It’s killer and starts with decline pushups, followed immediately after with regular push ups and finished with incline push ups.

  • This is a great way to start strong and gradually reduce the difficulty of the exercise however your already gased so the intensity remains the same.
  • You will see in the video below that I have added a 20 pound weight vest to the exercise to again, add intensity.
  • When performing these reps, our goal is to perform until you feel as though you have about TWO “left in the tank.” What I mean by this is, complete almost to fatigue but move on to the next exercise before failure.


In between each round of the Push Up drop set, I performed a set of external shoulder rotations for shoulder health.


Following the pushups and external rotations came:

  • A superset of Medicine Ball vertical tosses (for shoulder endurance) 30 reps
  • With a drop set of neutral, wide grip Lat Pull Downs — 8-12 reps per drop
  • We did this superset for two rounds


Last, before conditioning, I finished with a Row Complex. This was created by Nick and includes three stances:

  • A standing row (6-10 reps)
  • A lat pull row (6-10 reps)
  • A combination movement row (6-10 reps) **Make sure to keep knees soft, not locked and maintain a neutral spine when hinging forward at the hips.
  • Use a split stance. These are unilateral so the opposite foot is forward relative to the arm pulling
  • Complete two rounds per side


So there you have a great upper body high rep workout full of challenging drop sets, supersets and complexes. Stay tuned tomorrow for my upper body interval conditioning!


11 responses to “Strength Training Split, High Rep, Part III

  1. Looking lean and mean Alli!

    Awesome workout. I’m going to try this one out myself.

  2. Alli -that’s great stuff -you’re amazing!
    can you apply an undulation program to a full-body program? how can a learn more about undulation and how to setup–any articles or books?

    thanks again

  3. Alli,

    Thanks for putting out this blog, i’ve learned a lot from it. And i love seeing that there are other women out there that have achieved the look i desire and who work out hard. It helps inspire me since i have no workout partners. Thanks!

    • Hi Kerry, thanks for the compliment! I am glad you are enjoying and LEARNING from this blog. Keep training hard and feel free to drop a note about your training anytime 🙂


  4. Pingback: Push Ups for Tough Guys… and Girls! « Nick Tumminello Fitness | Baltimore Personal Trainer | Men's Health Best Personal Trainer

  5. Hi Alli! I’ve been reading your blogs recently and are really impressed. I’ve been involved in the fitness field for several years now. Only thing is, when I met my boyfriend, things started to go down hill. I wasn’t working out as much and I gained a lot of weight. I weigh 195 and am 5’5 but no one would ever guess because it’s all proportioned well. Plus, I have a lot of muscle underneath, especially in my legs from years of soccer. I just got certified as a Personal Trainer but am embarrassed to walk into a gym and let them know I’m interested in working as a Trainer when I should be in better shape. I am looking to lose some serious weight immediately or all my hard work of trying to get a certification was just a waste. Not only that, my boyfriend is upset that I’m not going out there and at least trying to find employment. I don’t feel sorry for myself because I got myself to this point. I just don’t have the motivation sometimes. Somedays I’ll workout and others turn into lazy days. One of my big problems is portion control. I don’t eat fast food, but I do eat more then what I am supposed to. And chocolate is an addiction as well. My question is, do you have any advice on a diet or workout regimen for me where I can get a jump start on weight loss quickly? I know what foods are good and to eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. I just need something quick so I can at least start trying to live my dream as a Personal Trainer. Thanks for your help.

    • HI Reese,

      Thank you for writing, I’m very flattered you enjoy the blog and took the time to reach out.

      I think it’s great that you are pursuing your dreams and I’d love to help you if I can!

      What is your workout history and current training program if you are on one? As for diet, are you familiar with a carb cycle?

      Because of the nature of the forum, all the details would be beyond the scope of the blog but if this is something you are interested in pursuing further, I do offer consulting for motivated people such as yourself and we can talk further via email. 🙂


      • Hey Alli,

        I have been doing some circuit training. I made a few programs for myself and did one on Friday and haven’t worked out since. I’ve never heard of the carb cycle. Can you tell me more about it? I am in need of some motivation big time. Like I said, I can’t put myself out there and try to get a job looking the way I do. I mean, I don’t look like a slob, I look like I lift weights if anything, but I’m pretty sure there are women out there that would prefer to be trained by the ideal type. It sucks and I hate that I have no drive what so ever! Sometimes I wish I was single because those days were a lot better because I was more serious and I had nothing to hold me back. Actually, I should reword that because my boyfriend isn’t holding me back at all. He isn’t the one that needs to be in shape therefore it’s kind of hard when you don’t know someone who wants the same things as you. I showed him a picture of you and told him that I would love to look that way. I know it takes a lot of hard work!

    • Hi Reese,

      Carb cycling is a manipulation of certain carbs (typically oats, sweet potatoes and brown rice) in order to help promote fat loss.

      As far as the motivation goes, see if you can find a buddy, or even your boyfriend and start training. Use this as an opportunity to help motivate yourself and OTHERS. Afterall, that is a huge component to training others. Play the role, be the trainer! Get into a groove and see where it takes you. Also remember how difficult this is for you and that can help you relate to clients who come to you for training help. See yourself through this bump and you can help others!

      Also, it’s not all about attraction to an ideal physique when a client hires a trainer. Knowledgable on the gym floor, showing committment to the client, caring about their goals, connection in personality…they will want you!! There’s so much more to developing that relationship and being an amazing trainer!!! 🙂

      Again, I do offer consulting if you would like more help and information, but it is beyond the scope of this blog. In the meantime, Best of luck with your personal fitness goals as well as your business goals!!

      Alli 🙂

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