My Current Training Style

When I first started lifting weights when I was about 13 years old, I alternated upper and lower body days. Then when I met my husband when I was 19, I started going to the gym for the first time. He had me training with a bodybuilding type split(1-2 muscle groups a day) that I stuck with for the next 8 years or so. I got great results with that program over the course of those years(especially as I got stronger, lifted heavier, and ate more!)

In October of 2010, I discovered CrossFit, stopped doing my bodybuilding routines, and began following the workouts on the CrossFit mainsite. I absolutely loved it from the start and continued to do it for a little over a year. It definitely changed the way that I train, and I am so thankful for that!  I then slowly transitioned more towards powerlifting and less met-con workouts because I realized that I really enjoyed lifting heavy, being able to rest between sets, and actually breathe during my workouts!

Because I loved training heavy for low reps so much, I decided that I really wanted to focus more on getting stronger. So I followed a CrossFit strength bias program for a while and then did Wendler's 5-3-1 powerlifting program for a few months. After that, I transitioned to an upper/lower body 4 day split, which I have continued up to now.


So here's what my current program consists of:

I mostly follow an upper/ lower split, training 4 days a week. Mondays and Fridays are upper body, and Wednesday and Saturdays are usually lower body. I pretty much only use compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, presses, rows, and pullups and very rarely do any isolation exercises. I mostly keep my reps in the 3-10 range. I like to start my workouts with one main lift that I go heavy with for low reps(3-6), then I increase the reps with each exercise to get a mix of strength as well as hypertrophy.

I usually do either straight sets(same weight for all sets), work up sets(same number of reps, while increasing weight each set), or reverse pyramiding. With reverse pyramid training, you do your heaviest sets first(after the warmup sets), then decrease the weight with each set after that while increasing the reps. I like this because you are able to do your heaviest sets when you are most fresh.

On lower body days, I always start my workout with some type of explosive/power movement, such as box jumps or hang snatches or cleans. Then I move into my strength exercise, which is either squats, front squats, or deadlifts. I keep the rep range between 3-6 for my main lift, for 3-5 sets, with 2-3 minutes rest between sets. I then pick one glute or hamstring exercise, such as RDLs or glute bridges and then one quad exercise, such as lunges. On those exercises I aim for 8-12 reps. I finish with a core movement, like ab wheel rollouts or hanging leg raises.

My upper body days usually consist of one exercise each for shoulders and chest, and 2 exercises for back(one of them always being pullups). My main strength lift for upper body is usually the barbell overhead press, bench press, or barbell push press. For the rest of my upper body workout, I like to perform supersets for opposing muscle groups and aim for 6-12 reps.

As far as core work/ab training goes, I add in 1-2 abdominal exercises to the end of my workouts 2-3 times a week.

I don't do any traditional cardio besides walking my dog, but I do incorporate "finishers" at the end of my stength training workouts. These are basically short(5-10 minutes)conditioning or "met-con" type workouts that I do 2-3 times a week. They usually consist of things like jumping rope, burpees, sprints, swings, Farmer's walks, and battle ropes. I rarely do the same finisher more than once. It keeps things fun and interesting!

Here are a list of my favorite exercises that I use for each muscle group:

Back: pullups, 1 arm rows
Chest: DB chest press, pushups on handles
Delts: 1 arm DB overhead press, handstand pushups
Quads: squats, lunges
Hamstrings: RDLs
Glutes: hip thrusts, walking lunges
Abs: ab wheel rollouts, ball pikes

I love the way I currently train because I feel like I get a good mix of strength, power, and also conditioning. I've combined aspects of powerlifting, bodybuilding, and CrossFit into my current training style. I jokingly call it "Powerbodyfitting"! My goal is not only look like an athlete, but to feel and move like an athlete; therefore, it makes sense to train like an athlete!  (While in the process of writing this blog I came across this article that tells you how to do just that! Check it out: http://www.jmaxfitness.com/2012/07/19/how-to-exercise-like-an-athlete/) I feel good, I look good and most importantly, it's fun to me!

Comments

  1. Lindsay... that little bit of variation that we did on the upper body workout and man I could feel it for three days.
    On Monday I started changing a few more things up...I backed off on my squat to 100 lbs. but squatted very deep and then moved right into RDLs and walking lunges with 35lb plate overhead.
    I did the one arm dumbell presses yesterday and my shoulders hate me today! And took your suggestion of doing at least one pull up in between sets. I do what I can on my own and bought a resistance band, not a real thick one, just a little assistance, and continued.
    These minor changes result in significant sore muscles! That's good, I shocked 'em.
    Love the finisher idea..that works for me.
    Thanks again.
    Sally

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    Replies
    1. Nice job! I really like this type of training-you should give it a try, for sure! Good job at the pullups-keep working on them and pretty soon you'll be bangin' them out like nothin! ;) Glad you put some of my tips to use-hope they work for ya!

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  2. Um you just explained basically my whole mentality towards working out as well as your routine is SO SO SIMILAR TO MINE! Except.. I have been throwing in conditioning days (crossfit style) and following a 3 on 1 off schedule...so this makes me feel like if i keep pushing it I will be able to look as amazing as you do!!

    Can't wait to read that article!

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    1. Yeah, I was doing a conditioning/Strongman workout on Saturdays for a while since I couldn't do 2 leg days. Now I'm changing things up a bit so that I can do CrossFit on Fridays.
      As long as you keep on training hard and heavy-you'll be looking amazing, for sure!

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  3. This is so interesting! I like how you've adapted your training over the years, and your current split sounds similar to mine. I did the BB-style split for a while, but I got bored and decided a change was necessary!

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    1. Change is always good! I love training more like an athlete. If I ever get tired of this routine(which I don't think will happen!), I would go back to more of a powerlifting routine. I just love the heavy weights!

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