Training Update

Posted on by Ben Bruno

I am now two weeks into my new training phase, and since many of you have expressed interest in how I set up my own lifting, I thought I would give you the template I’m currently following. I say ‘template’ as opposed to ‘program’ because as I have mentioned several times before, I adjust my daily training from time to time based on how I’m feeling or what else is going on at the time. I am in the fortunate position of being in an environment where I am constantly surrounded by extremely knowledgeable coaches. As a new strength coach, my primary goal right now is to learn as much as I can. I am much more concerned with improving myself as a coach than I am with improving as a lifter. As such, if I am in the gym and one of the other coaches is doing something that I am not familiar with, or something that looks interesting, I do not hesitate to scrap my own workout for the day and jump in. Similarly, if I learn about a new technique or a new exercise, I drop what I was planning to do and try it out. In that sense, I am my own guinea pig. It may not be ideal from a lifting standpoint, but it has opened me up to some great learning opportunities, which at this stage of my life is far more important.

With that said, 90% of the time, I stick to my same basic outline. I generally train 4 days a week: 2 lower body days, and 2 upper body days.

Lower body changes:

Last phase, lower body days consisted of either rear foot elevated split squats (RFESS) or walking lunges and glute-ham raises (GHRs). I did RFESS one workout and walking lunges the next, then moved on to GHRs (on both days) before ending with some heavy sled pushes and/or reverse sled drags. This phase, I have kept the RFESS in the program, but I have been using the 1.5 “speed skater” rep scheme.

I have also switched out walking lunges in favor of reverse lunges from a deficit, which I am really liking. Other than those two slight changes, everything else is the same.

Upper body changes:

Last phase, I rotated between two workouts. Workout A consisted of 1 arm dumbell bench presses, light chin-ups or inverted rows (different variations), scarecrows, and sometimes a core exercise. Workout B consisted of weighted chin-ups (different grips), weighted pushups, band pull-aparts, and a core exercise. I also ended both workouts with some sled work.

This phase, I have replaced chin-ups with inverted rows to give my shoulders and wrists a little break. I suspect I will add chin-ups back into the mix a few weeks though, but it will likely be once a week rather than twice a week. Other than that, I am going to change 1 arm dumbell bench press to 1 arm incline dumbell bench press. I am loving the 1 arm press, and interestingly, my numbers have surpassed what I can handle with bilateral presses. More on this to come.

Lastly, I have swapped out sled work on these days in favor of the Airdyne. That crazy things looks innocent enough, but it is a killer. Mike Boyle suggested to me recently that I experiment with a lot of different workouts to develop an idea of what are solid numbers for the athletes, so that is what I’m doing. The first day of the week is more interval work (doing a lot of different work/rest combinations) and the second day is more steady state work (2 miles, 3 miles, 5 miles, etc.). So far, I’m enjoying it more than I thought I might. Sleds are great, but this is definitely a good change of pace.

As you can see, I haven’t made that many changes from the previous phase. That’s deliberate. I had good results, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I switched out a few exercises (some due to nagging aches, some due to hitting plateaus, and some due to boredom) but the overall structure is the same. I will take a few weeks to develop baseline numbers on the new exercises before setting new goals to reach by the end of the phase. I also have some exercises that I want to add back into the mix (hip belt squats and alternating incline dumbell press) and some things that I haven’t really done much that I want to try more (bottoms up presses, kettlebell swings, etc.), so things may change slightly moving forward, but this is where it stands right now. I will keep you posted.

I hope you all have a good weekend. I’m looking forward to watching some of March Madness. I picked Duke to win it all and they just lost last night so my bracket is a wash, but it’ll still be fun to see all the teams duke (pun intended) it out.

Also, check back soon for the next installment of Good Reads. It is already shaping up to be another great list. If you have anything you’d like me to look at, feel free to send me any links (Facebook messages are best).

With that I bid you adieu, but not before leaving you with one last image. This is my girlfriend Jessica Alba…she just doesn’t know it yet.

  • aspiringstrength

    looks solid man. I wish I had access to the equipment you do. Keep up the great work on the blog. I love what your doing here.

  • Anonymous

    Ben…do you do any vertical pressing? Obviously none was mentioned here, but I was just wondering if there was any past injuries or specific reasons that you don't. Thanks

  • Ben Bruno

    Aspiringstrength- Thanks!

    Anonymous- I do not usually do much overhead pressing. I will do it from time to time but typically it starts to bother my left shoulder, which I have injured previously.

  • Anonymous

    Ben,

    I like seeing what other coaches are doing.

    Funny I see many personal trainers who have lost their own "LUST FOR TRAINING". I like your program because it is short yet seems very effective.

    It time permits give us an idea on
    * sets and reps?
    * workout length? Time?
    * any plyo/med ball stuff?

    thanks
    Ray McCarthy CSCS