The Elite Trainer Files

Here are some excerpts from the new book The Elite Trainer: Strength Training for the Serious Professional by John Paul Catanzaro. Visit www.TheEliteTrainer.com and pick up your copy today!

Sequence Rotation

Most successful strength training plans will vary loading parameters on a regular basis. Exercise sequence is one such variable that can be altered between programs or within them. As an example of altering sequence within a program, here is a method to train the elbow flexors by rotating the order of exercises among workouts.

Loading parameters:

  1. 3 x 10-12 (Beg), 4 x 8-10 (Int), 5 x 6-8 (Adv) @ 4-0-1-0, 90s
  2. 3 x 12-15 (Beg), 3 x 10-12 (Int), 4 x 8-10 (Adv) @ 3-0-1-0, 75s
  3. 2 x 15-20 (Beg), 3 x 12-15 (Int), 3 x 10-12 (Adv) @ 2-0-1-0, 60s

Note:

Beg – less than a year of training experience
Int – 1-2 years of training experience
Adv – more than 2 years of training experience

Sample elbow flexor exercises:

  1. Seated preacher close-reverse-grip cable curl
  2. Standing wide-grip barbell curl
  3. Incline hammer curl

Each exercise is different in several regards:

  1. Position of flexion: 1. contracted, 2. midrange, 3. stretched
  2. Body position: 1. seated, 2. standing, 3. lying (incline)
  3. Arm position: 1. forward, 2. in-line, 3. behind (torso)
  4. Grip orientation: 1. pronated, 2. supinated, 3. neutral
  5. Grip width: 1. close, 2. wide, 3. mid (shoulder-width)
  6. Training implement: 1. cable, 2. barbell, 3. dumbbells

Rotate the order of the exercises every workout, but the parameters for that position (A, B, or C) stay the same. You will need to adjust the loads accordingly to maintain the prescribed rep bracket. Cycle through a full rotation four times, and then change the routine altogether. Below is a 12-workout rotation for an advanced trainee.

Workout 1, 4, 7, 10

  1. Seated preacher close-reverse-grip cable curl: 5 x 6-8 @ 4-0-1-0, 90s
  2. Standing wide-grip barbell curl: 4 x 8-10 @ 3-0-1-0, 75s
  3. Incline hammer curl: 3 x 10-12 @ 2-0-1-0, 60s

Workout 2, 5, 8, 11

  1. Incline hammer curl: 5 x 6-8 @ 4-0-1-0, 90s
  2. Seated preacher close-reverse-grip cable curl: 4 x 8-10 @ 3-0-1-0, 75s
  3. Standing wide-grip barbell curl: 3 x 10-12 @ 2-0-1-0, 60s

Workout 3, 6, 9, 12

  1. Standing wide-grip barbell curl: 5 x 6-8 @ 4-0-1-0, 90s
  2. Incline hammer curl: 4 x 8-10 @ 3-0-1-0, 75s
  3. Seated preacher close-reverse-grip cable curl: 3 x 10-12 @ 2-0-1-0, 60s

Program Rotation

The more experienced a trainee is, the greater the intensity of training and thus more time between workouts is required for recovery. After a couple years of continuous training at an advanced level, it may be necessary to rotate between two programs. After another year or two, rotating between three or four programs will ensure sufficient recovery between sessions.

Below is an example of a rotating scheme for the legs. Allow a minimum of 4 days between workouts.

Leg Workout 1
Back squat, step-up, semi-stiff-leg deadlift, seated calf raise

Leg Workout 2
Front squat, split squat, glute-ham raise, standing calf raise

Leg Workout 3
Deadlift, lunge, good morning, one-leg calf raise


Two-Day Unilateral Training

Day 1 – Whole Body
A1. Front-foot-elevated cable split squat: 3-4 x 8-10 @ 4-0-1-0, 90s
A2. Standing one-arm dumbbell press: 3-4 x 8-10 @ 4-0-1-0, 90s
B1. Single-leg good morning: 3 x 10-12 @ 3-0-1-0, 75s
B2. Side-lying dumbbell external rotation: 3 x 10-12 @ 3-0-1-0, 75s
C1. Hanging side flexion: 3 x 12-15 @ 2-0-1-0, 60s
C2. Seated dumbbell wrist curl: 3 x 12-15 @ 2-0-1-0, 60s

Day 2 – Whole Body
A1. One-arm barbell deadlift: 3-4 x 8-10 @ 4-0-1-0, 90s
A2. Kneeling one-arm cable pulldown: 3-4 x 8-10 @ 4-0-1-0, 90s
B1. Single-leg back squat: 3 x 10-12 @ 3-0-1-0, 75s
B2. Seated arm in front dumbbell external rotation: 3 x 10-12 @ 3-0-1-0, 75s
C1. Reverse cable woodchop: 3 x 12-15 @ 1-0-X-0, 60s
C2. Seated reverse-grip dumbbell wrist curl: 3 x 12-15 @ 2-0-1-0, 60s

Unilateral (one-side-at-a-time) training will help to correct a muscular imbalance and even out left-right discrepancies. It is important that you start with the weaker side first while you are fresh, rest 10 seconds, then train the other side. The stronger side is not always the dominant limb. Generally, a 1:1 ratio of work between both sides will be sufficient to allow the weak side to catch up. However, if there is a significant difference (e.g., 10% or more in strength or greater than 3 cm in circumference), more work should be assigned to the weaker side (Zatsiorsky, 1995).

Implement this routine early in the training year. It can be used on trainees of all levels as outlined below.

Beginner: 3 days in 7 (e.g., Monday – Day 1, Wednesday – Day 2, Friday – Day 1, Monday – Day 2, Wednesday – Day 1, Friday – Day 2, and so on)

Intermediate: 3 days in 6 (e.g., Monday – Day 1, Wednesday – Day 2, Friday – Day 1, Sunday – Day 2, Tuesday – Day 1, Thursday – Day 2, Saturday – Day 1, and so on)

Advanced: 4 days in 7 (e.g., Monday – Day 1, Tuesday – Day 2, Thursday – Day 1, Friday – Day 2, Monday – Day 1, Tuesday – Day 2, Thursday – Day 1, Friday – Day 2, and so on)


Advanced Body Composition Program

In this four-day routine, each workout is performed once a week (e.g., Day 1 – Monday, Day 2 – Tuesday, Day 3 – Thursday, Day 4 – Friday). After 4 weeks, switch to a new program.

Day 1 – Whole Body
A1. Front squat: 5 x 6-8 @ 3-0-X-0, 90s
A2. Close-neutral-grip chin-up: 5 x 6-8 @ 3-0-X-0, 90s
B1. Back lunge: 4 x 8-10 @ 2-0-X-0, 75s
B2. Standing one-arm dumbbell press: 4 x 8-10 @ 2-0-X-0, 75s
C1. Cable woodchop: 3 x 10-12 @ 1-0-X-0, 60s
C2. Standing rope pressdown: 3 x 10-12 @ 1-0-X-0, 60s

Day 2 – Whole Body
A1. Snatch-grip podium deadlift and shrug: 5 x 6-8 @ 3-0-X-0, 90s
A2. Lying cable curl: 5 x 6-8 @ 3-0-X-0, 90s
B1. Dumbbell step-up: 4 x 8-10 @ 2-0-X-0, 75s
B2. Swiss ball tiger bend push-up: 4 x 8-10 @ 2-0-X-0, 75s
C1. Barbell jump: 3 x 10-12 @ 1-0-X-0, 60s
C2. Seated rope row to neck: 3 x 10-12 @ 1-0-X-0, 60s

Day 3 – Whole Body
A1. Rear-foot-elevated back split squat: 5 x 6-8 @ 3-0-X-0, 90s
A2. Close-grip pull-up: 5 x 6-8 @ 3-0-X-0, 90s
B1. Barbell hack squat: 4 x 8-10 @ 2-0-X-0, 75s
B2. Incline 30-degree neutral-grip dumbbell press: 4 x 8-10 @ 2-0-X-0, 75s
C1. Reverse cable woodchop: 3 x 10-12 @ 1-0-X-0, 60s
C2. Seated one-arm dumbbell triceps extension: 3 x 10-12 @ 1-0-X-0, 60s

Day 4 – Whole Body
A1. Bent-knee deadlift: 5 x 6-8 @ 3-0-X-0, 90s
A2. Seated preacher one-arm offset-grip curl: 5 x 6-8 @ 3-0-X-0, 90s
B1. Glute-ham raise: 4 x 8-10 @ 2-0-X-0, 75s
B2. Incline 60-degree bench press: 4 x 8-10 @ 2-0-X-0, 75s
C1. One-leg calf raise: 3 x 10-12 @ 1-0-X-0, 60s
C2. Seated dumbbell lateral raise: 3 x 10-12 @ 1-0-X-0, 60s

About The Author

John Paul Catanzaro, BSc Kin, CSEP-CEP, is a CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist with a Specialized Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health Science. He owns and operates a private gym in Richmond Hill, Ontario providing training and nutritional consulting services. For additional information, visit his website at www.CatanzaroGroup.com or call 905-780-9908.

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