strength program phase1 image

Strength phase 1 – upper body / lower body split program

Following on from structural balance we introduce phase one of strength training. This phase consists of 2 workouts done alternately. Ideally this program should be performed 4 x a week.

In this program we introduce an upper and lower body split to maximise results. The premise of each session is to work up to a heavy set.

Workout A – Lower Body

Exercise A: Back Squat – Heels elevated

We like to introduce back squatting early in our programming as it is such a great exercise. The reps are kept high initially so that the movement pattern can be ingrained. Being the first exposure to squatting we have not placed it in a superset.

Key techniques:

  • Keep wrists and elbows vertically under the bar.
  • Ensure knees track over the toes.
  • Squat as low as possible with good form – all the way down so that the hamstrings cover the calves.

Some personal training clients take a while to master the squat technique so you need to be patient with the weight on the bar, sometimes starting with just a broom is enough!

Exercise B1: Horizontal Back extension

This is a progression from 45% Back extension, it also has great carry over for developing good hamstring and lower back strength.

Key techniques:

  • Hinging from the hips not the lower back.
  • Maintain a big chest with scapulars retracted.
  • Should feel most the work coming from the hamstrings.

Exercise B2: Seated calf raise

This is a great exercise for mobilising the ankle joint, ankle mobility or lack of is a common problem which can affect quality of movement especially in squats. We like to see a definitive 2 second pause at the end of the range to maximise the stretch through the Soleus muscle.

Download Lower Body

Workout B – Upper Body

Exercise A1 : Dumbbell Flat Bench Press – Neutral Grip

The reps have been lowered to 4-6 and tempo kept slow at 4:1:1:0 with a long 120 sec recovery. All of this is designed to maximise strength. We are looking for the weight to go up with every set in a progressive manner.

Key techniques:

  • Ensure scapulars are retracted.
  • Try to push through your feet to stabilise the body.

Exercise A2: Chin – Up – Neutral Grip

As with squats on the lower body, we like to introduce chin ups early with our personal training clients because it is such a fantastic exercise. If clients are unable to perform a single chin up then we start with doing isometric holds then slow eccentric lowers.

Key techniques:

  • Aim to drive elbows down and back.
  • Ensure shoulders touch the bar at the top.
  • Control excessive body movement by turning on glutes and abdominals.

Exercise B1: Seated behind the neck press

This can be a controversial exercise if done incorrectly. However so long as the client has good shoulder function then the behind the neck press is great at building shoulder mobility and strength.

Key techniques:

  • Ensure wrists are under the bar.
  • Keep the chest up and shoulders retracted.
  • Ensure full range of motion with the bar touching the upper back after every repetition.

Exercise B2: Seated row to neck – thumbs up

Great for helping develop good posture and healthy shoulders. The thumbs up places a different stress on the biceps.

Key techniques:

  • Keep the chest up.
  • Retract the shoulders with each rep and pause in the end range of the movement.

The ideal split for this program is to train Mon / Tue, then Thurs / Fri.

Aim to complete the program in 3 weeks, let us know how you get on!

Download Upper Body

If you would like additional support or to learn how you could benefit from a personal trainer, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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CoActive Health
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Chalfont St Giles,
Bucks, HP8 4NN
Tel: 01494 873531
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