May 31, 2013

Lifting with the Editor: Upper Body Day

Prevail Strength Coach Jacob Goodin

Sometimes people mistakenly think that because their trainer or coach prescribes them certain workouts, that trainer must do the exact same things in their own training.  While this is true in a very general sense because all of us at Prevail practice what we preach, each Prevail coach has their own unique style of training based on what they enjoy and their current goals.  Here is a small window into a single day of of my training along with a glimpse of how my overall program is structured.

The Program

I train 4 days a week using an upper/lower split, focusing on a single primary barbell lift followed by several assistance lifts to augment strength gains and bring up any weaknesses.  The primary lift gets the most focus and I plan out my sets, reps, and percentages carefully.  The assistance lifts are usually done for sets of 8-10 using as much weight as I can muster on any given day.  See below

Day 1 - Overhead Press + assistance work

Day 2 - Front Squat + assistance work

Day 3 - Bench Press + assistance work

Day 4 - Deadlift + assistance work

Day 3 - Bench Press

This week was a scheduled down-week for me, so I used lower percentages in my primary lift (bench press) and did less assistance work.  Here is a picture from my training log and a translation on the right in case it doesn't make sense.  I list the lift performed on a single line with the weight and reps below it.

At the top of the page I wrote down that my work sets for the bench press (as opposed to warm-up sets) will be 3 sets of 5 reps at 60%, 65%, and 70% of my 1RM, and that the actual weights used will be 120, 130, and 140 lbs.

A1) and A2) was a power/core circuit that I use to transition smoothly from my warm-up (not recorded) and into the main lift.  

B1) is the primary lift, and B2) functions as an active rest and to preserve shoulder health.

C1) and C2) are the first of my assistance exercises.  I super-set  high rep bench pressing and neutral grip chin-ups.

D1) and D2) are another push/pull superset, but this time using the suspension cables to add an intense stabilization challenge.  This helps recruit rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers.

E2) was just some random rows that I added in for fun.  E1) I scratched because I couldn't hold good shoulder position.

F1) was my finisher of the day, which is just a fun way to leave the gym feeling scorched and also increasing overall volume and work capacity.

Note: TRX is my abbreviation for the suspension straps

What Does this All Look Like?

Good question.  Everyone knows what a bench press and chin-up are and I was short-handed using the camera since my training partner Dr. Tom Walters was out of town, so here are a couple videos of the not so familiar lifts that I did today.

TRX Push-ups Feet-Elevated:

Barbell Complex: Shrugs/Rows/Overhead Press

BAM!  Another training session is in the books.  Remember that your training should always reflect your goals, strengths, limitations, and passions.  Stay tuned next time for some serious front squatting action featuring yours truly and my training partner Dr. Tom Walters of the Arthro-Kinetic Institute.

Jacob Goodin is a Prevail strength coach, Westmont College instructor, and Providence Hall High School head track and cross-country coach.  "Like" him on Facebook or go to to set up a training session today!

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