3 Day Adjusted Power Factor Home Workout


adjusted power factor routine
(March 2, 2016)

Question

Hi Blake,

I need a bit of help. When you have time, if you could just give me some ideas on how to restructure my simple home upper/lower split over time and also some variations of the Strength Factor routine, then I should be set for a while.

At home I have an adjustable bench, adjustable DB's, BB equipment with squat stands where I can squat, bench and military press. I also have an EZ bar where I can curl or use for triceps extensions. I have a chin/dip station with a dip belt for added resistance if needed. For cardio I have a jump rope and an elliptical, or I can go for a jog. I also have a leg curl / preacher attachment on my bench.

Sorry to bother you as I know you are very busy with other things. As you can probably tell, I am getting confused about what is the right program for me. I am not planning on getting ready for a competition so I typically don't like to do very many isolation exercises. I typically prefer upper/lower or full body workouts for the simplicity, it's just when I don't see the results I'm looking for, it makes me think that I need more volume or something so I go to a split type routine. But I have to say I have had my eye on Bill Starr workout you showed me ever since.

I am willing to do any type of program you feel would be best for me whether it is a split routine, full body or upper/lower. I typically workout 3 days a week due to work, school and family. My goals are to have a bigger and stronger upper body. Big, round shoulders and traps, very strong and lean, kind of like this picture you posted in this article.

By the way, thank so much for the meal plan you custom tailored for me. I love it, it's easy and fun. I am already feeling better about myself. Haven't lost any strength and I am losing body fat at the same time!

Thanks for all your help,

Nick

Answer

Hi Nick,

Thanks for the email.

The best way to go about this is to design a progressive workout that maximizes your time in the weight room, prioritizes your goals and tailored around your weekly schedule. You mentioned in earlier emails that you have a hard time performing full body workouts using heavy weight and compound movements (causing you to feel very tired afterward). This is understandable since full body, heavy compound oriented workouts take a lot of energy to perform.

You also mentioned that you want to develop a big upper body with rounded shoulders and traps. Keeping this in mind, we can develop a strategy that prioritizes your goals while “modifying” the original Strength Factor routine.

The original Strength Factor routine is as follows:

Monday (Heavy Day)

  • Back Squats 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Bench Press 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Deadlifts 5 x 5 ramping to limit or Bent-Over Rows: 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Incline Dumbbell Press 2 x 20
  • Calf Raises 3 x 30

Wednesday (Light Day)

  • Back Squats 5 x 5 using 50 lbs. less than Monday or Lunges: 4 x 6 ramping to limit
  • Good Mornings 4 x 10 or Stiff-Leg Deadlifts: 4 x 10
  • Standing Overhead Press 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Dips: When you can do 20 reps, start adding weight and drop the reps back to 8
  • Curls 3 x 15

Friday (Medium Day)

  • Back Squats 5 x 5 using 20 lbs. less than Monday
  • Incline Bench Press 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Shrugs 5 x 5 ramping to limit or Clean High Pulls 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Straight Arm Pullovers 2 x 20
  • Chins: 4 sets to failure

The trick here is to prioritize your main goal which is to develop the upper torso, mainly your shoulders. With that in mind, let’s modify this routine while keeping the central theme (5 x 5 strength training) in mind.

I know from previous emails you mentioned that you get discouraged with a routine once you stop getting stronger (which you said was 5 to 6 weeks into a routine) at which point you switch routines and start all over. Given this information, we can put together a program that:

  • Prioritizes your upper torso, mainly shoulders
  • Built around your current fitness environment (home workout)
  • Built around your daily schedule
  • Takes into account training plateaus
  • Allocates roughly an hour for each workout session

Let’s take a look at the modified version of the Strength Factor Training program.

Day 1 - Monday (Heavy Day)

  • Seated Shoulder Press: 5 x 5 ramping to limit (priority movement)
  • Back Squats: 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Barbell Bent-Over Rows: 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Bench press 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Seated side dumbbell laterals: 3 x 15 - 20
  • Calf Raises 3 x 30

Day 3 - Wednesday (Light Day)

  • Lunges: 4 x 6 ramping to limit
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlifts: 4 x 10
  • Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Dips: When you can do 20 reps, start adding weight and drop the reps back to 8
  • Curls 3 x 15

Day 5 - Friday (Medium Day)

  • Seated Arnold Press: 5 x 8 ramping to limit
  • Back Squats: 5 x 5 using 30 pounds less than Monday ramping to limit
  • Incline Bench Press 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Shrugs 5 x 5 ramping to limit
  • Straight Arm Pullovers 2 x 20
  • Chins: 3 sets to failure

If you take a look at the modified version, you’ll notice we prioritize shoulders in addition to the back. However, we kept to the overall theme of the main workout which is to build power and strength.

I really want you to concentrate on the first movement of the training cycle which is the seated barbell shoulder press. This is your “priority” movement.

What you want to do is approach this with a progressive style of training. That is, you don’t want to start at your maximum from day one. This will kill your gains and you’ll experience a plateau sooner than later. What we need to do is keep the warm up sets (sets 1 to 4) constant (static) using the same weight but adding more intensity to the one set that makes all the difference (the final work set).

Here’s how I want you to progress for the first 6 weeks:

Week 1 to 6: Sets 1 to 4

Set 1: 5 reps: Use about 30% of your max. This is going to seem very light but the goal here is to “get into the groove”. You have to remember that under no circumstance do you want to expend any more energy than you need for those sets building up to your final work set. Rest 1 ½ minutes before doing your next set. Use this time to stretch your chest and shoulders and shake out the kinks (shake your arms and shoulder area).

Set 2: 5 reps: Use 40% of your max. Again, this is going to seem very light but like set one, the goal is to get into the groove. Rest 1 ½ minutes before doing your next set. Again, use this time to stretch your chest and shoulder area and shake out the kinks.

Set 3: 5 reps: Use 50% of your max. Rest 1 ½ minutes before proceeding to your next set.

Set 4: 5 reps: Use 60% of your max. Rest 2 minutes before proceeding to the final set. Stretch for the first minute and rest for the next minute.

Week 1 to 6: Set 5 (Work set)

Week 1: 5 reps: Use 65% of your max. It’s going to seem like it’s not that heavy but we need to “work up” to the heavier weights.

Week 2: 5 reps: Use 70% of your max.

Week 3: 5 reps: Use 75% of your max.

Week 4: 5 reps: Use 80% of your max.

Week 5: 5 reps: Use 85% of your max

Week 6: 5 reps: Use 85% to 90% of your max

This is a simple progressive style of training that “ramps” up your workloads. You see, by performing at 85% of your maximum at week 1, you’ll eventually stop progressing sooner than later (by about week 3). This is where most trainers get caught up in a training plateau. Start off light and ramp your way up to the heavier weights.

What do you do after week 6? Start the cycle over. However, the weights used will be slightly heavier than the weights used for the first 6 weeks. This includes your first warm up sets. This is a basic progressive training cycle that helps you avoid training plateaus.

Take a one week break before doing the next cycle.

Let’s use an example.

Let’s say your one rep maximum in the seated shoulder press is 185 pounds. This is what your training cycle will look like:

Training Cycle 1

Week 1 to 6: Sets 1 to 4

Set 1: 5 reps: Use about 30% of your max. 55 pounds.

Set 2: 5 reps: Use 40% of your max. 75 pounds.

Set 3: 5 reps: Use 50% of your max. 95 pounds.

Set 4: 5 reps: Use 60% of your max. 110 pounds.

Remember, keep this weight constant for the entire training cycle (1 to 6 weeks). Don’t add any more weight to these sets!

Week 1 to 6: Set 5 (Work set)

Week 1: 5 reps: Use 65% of your max. 120 pounds.

Week 2: 5 reps: Use 70% of your max. 130 pounds.

Week 3: 5 reps: Use 75% of your max. 135 pounds.

Week 4: 5 reps: Use 80% of your max. 150 pounds.

Week 5: 5 reps: Use 85% of your max. 155 pounds.

Week 6: 5 reps: Use 85% to 90% of your max. 165 pounds.

Now, let’s say after week 6, you’re new one rep maximum in the seated shoulder press is 205 pounds. Your next training cycle will look as follows:

Training Cycle 2

Week 1 to 6: Sets 1 to 4

Set 1: 5 reps: Use about 30% of your max. 60 pounds.

Set 2: 5 reps: Use 40% of your max.80 pounds.

Set 3: 5 reps: Use 50% of your max. 100 pounds.

Set 4: 5 reps: Use 60% of your max. 125 pounds.

Remember, keep this weight constant for the entire training cycle (1 to 6 weeks). Don’t add any more weight to these sets!

Week 1 to 6: Set 5 (Work set)

Week 1: 5 reps: Use 65% of your max.135 pounds.

Week 2: 5 reps: Use 70% of your max. 145 pounds.

Week 3: 5 reps: Use 75% of your max. 150 pounds.

Week 4: 5 reps: Use 80% of your max. 165 pounds.

Week 5: 5 reps: Use 85% of your max. 175 pounds.

Week 6: 5 reps: Use 85% to 90% of your max. 185 pounds.

For weeks 7, do either a double or triple to help determine your strength increase. Never perform a double or triple during your training cycle, only at the end! Once you’ve determined your strength increase, take a week off from training and repeat the cycle (using the same type of progression with the new weight).

These logs will help:

Monday - Day 1 Log

Wednesday - Day 3 Log

Friday - Day 5 Log

This is how you structure a basic progressive, priority type training cycle.

I sent you a custom meal plan a while back. The meal plan was designed for your body type, weight, age, and gender. Follow this diet and weight training plan and I’m confident you’ll stop running into training plateaus.

As for cardio, always perform it at the end of your workouts. Remember, your priority here is to get stronger in the one exercise that will make the biggest difference, which is the seated barbell shoulder press. Don’t take anything away from focusing all of your energy for that exercise.

I hope this helps Nick,

All the best and good luck.

Blake

As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.



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