Ask: Strong legs, arms, abs, 30 push ups, plank for 5 mins, undetermined amount of single leg squats,  as proxy measure for strength and fitness.

Note: Isometric exercises are not necessarily good measures of strength. Correlation between plank time and ab hypertrophy is low. However, strong abs+fitness–> probably strong plank. Additionally, for balance, adding 12 pull ups  as goal (typical is pull up qty = 0.5x pushups).

Convention would advise 3×10 or 4×8 type set structuring,  but I think we can optimize over convention slightly.

Let’s start with set formats. Current knowledge puts 5-8 sets per movement as the optimal range of efficacy, while strong body of evidence for Daily Undulating (reverse, linear!) Periodization has empirically been shown to be one of the more effective schemes, especially for generalized strength, with the simplest implementation being alternating strength (~5 rep)and volume (~12 ) rep days. My theory behind the point of alternating days is to focus on different areas of neuromuscular and physiological adaptions afforded by high per-rep intensity lower volume strength workouts (neuromuscular adaptation) and lower per-rep intensity but higher metabolic intensity high volume workouts (hypertrophy, proper technique reinforcement). In general, the effort should be the same between workouts, but placed in different areas.

Writing a microcycle is a bit hard without knowing how many days per week are  involved, but a simple format would just be alternate every workout and ascend volume through the week. My personal favorite format for a workout is:

Main Sets, compound lifts

Accessory Sets, isolation movements

Burnout Sets, circuits and intervals

Imagine the workout them for the day is Squats and Bench. Early on, one is fresh and rested for the large compound lifts, i.e. a 5×5 (strength) squat / bench superset. The accessories build on that — 5×6-8 weighted single leg squats + 5×6-8 leg extensions to work the legs further but isolate the quads, and 5×6-8 weighted dips and 5×6-8 heavy tricep pulldowns to work the chest further but isolate the  triceps. While accessories/isolation tends to fatigue the muscles specifically, the body gets some rest before BURNOUT time. To finish out, a fun set would be as fast as possible: 20 squat jumps, 10 pushups, 18 squat jumps, 9 pushups, etc to 2 sqj 1 psu.

The next day, assuming enough recovery time from the squats, could be Deadlifts and Pullups, which would follow a similar Main Set / Accessory / Burnout structure, but this time with an emphasis on volume (e.g. 6 x 10 main), and so on. Days 3 and 4, to get fancy, could be Volume SQ + PLU, Strength DL + B, and so on. Alternatively, while beginning routine, time allowing, or just in expectation of advanced leg soreness, one could do a 3-day PPL bro-split, which would would add space per day for Arms! e.g. D1: B + Triceps,  D2: PLU + Bi, D3: SQ+DL.

Perhaps the point of this post more to expose nomenclature as a jumping-off point for subsequent googles.



Classic bro-split. With some things mixed up/distributed.


The idea is to cut effectively. The metabolic shift when cutting can reduce caloric deprivation efficacy for people with naturally slow metabolisms, while the energy deficiency can hurt those looking to preserve lean mass, especially for people with fast metabolisms, and people coming off of bulks. The plan is made for my friend (Aquadman) who is looking mainly to have visible abs, so the preservation of lean mass is somewhat secondary, but the theory is compound lifts for energy output and physiological stimulus, with a rotating high-intensity finish in order to add some spice.

Personally, while cutting, compounds and higher weekly lift frequency helps preserve lean mass. It’s completely anecdotal, but I’d guess the consistent stimulus keeps a muscle group from being in ignored by the body, while the compound lifts helps maintain a more anabolic hormonal balance.



This plan was developed for Ironvlad the Giggly and the Philibuster, two fairly light individuals who are training up for Muay Thai. The idea behind this is a simplistic 3-day/week periodized program to gain lean mass to develop functional strength for Muay Thai using barbells and dumbbells only–it is assumed that other more specific training will be done in the scope of the Muay Thai classes. The two individuals it’s intended for need to move up a weight class, so the idea is to split between large compound lifts in a strength rep/set scheme to build power and explosiveness and large compounds with accessories in a  hypertrophic rep/set schemes to help build lean mass. The mesocycle structure throws in some extra MUSCLE CONFUSION by changing movements and modulating intensity and volume through out the cycle. The gradual ratcheting of volume/intensity through the cycle, besides being a mainstay of periodization, is intended to take advantage of the bulk.


Essentially, the 1RM are establish on Week 0, which sets the weights for the next few weeks. Then a 6 week periodized mesocycle follows, with each cycle ending by re-establishing a (hopefully) higher 1RM. Obviously, the %1RM numbers and rep/set structures are guidelines, as the math they are based on is fairly generalized, and one sees a lot of variation day-to-day and person-to-person in response to volume/weight/bulking etc. And besides, sometimes your friends are watching and the cute chick you were staring at is vaguely looking in your direction wondering which of the sweaty, grunting, gym nerds is making so many noises and the random song that came on right before your set drops super hard and you deadlift your current 5RM for an easy 12 and you walk away like a light-headed, red-faced, veiny and skinless gorilla, so never let a prescribed rep number tell you what to do.

The structure of the lifts is 2 main movements, meant to be done at the rep and set and %1RM determined by the week number. This is then followed by 2 accessory super sets, which don’t really need to follow the mesocycle, though the recommendation is 4 x 6-10. The 2 accessory lifts vary through the week, and there’s a decoder ring which includes 2 versions for each accessory superset; the idea is to alternate between the  x.1 and x.2 versions one week to the next.

There’s also a little calculation section on the right which recommends the weekly intake, and daily recommended intake as per Ironvlad The Giggly’s BMR, activity, desired gains, desired time etc. Everything that’s green text in a green box is for user input, in order to calculate necessary intake.

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