- "Simple Strength Training Routines for Advanced Results"
- "Examining the Suggested Strength Ratios of Muscle Groups"



Getting big and strong should be very simple and easy. Train hard, heavy, and frequent. Make sure your food intake is adequate to supply the extra energy demands and allow for growth. Finally, get sufficient rest (sleep) and follow a proper recovery schedule.

What follows is a very simple program that I am sure will be effective in adding lean muscle mass and strength. The exercises are basic and heavy, BUT/ that is what works. Trust me, you need to train consistently, 3 to 4 days/week. Follow the program for 3 weeks then change some exercises, the exercise order, or the repetition number to keep improving. My clients have gained an average of 9 lbs. when using this program in combination with correct supplementation!


perform a general warm-up and light warm-up sets for the muscles to be exercised

follow with some light stretches for the muscles to prevent injury

rest 3 minutes between all sets


Leg press: 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions (the final rep should be the last rep possible)

Leg curl: 3 sets of 8 - 10

Leg extensions: 3 sets of 8 - 10

Standing calf raise: 3 sets of 8 - 10

Abs and low-back extensions: 3 sets of 15 (rest only 30-60s between sets)


Flat chest press (barbell, dumbbell, or machine): 3 sets of 8

Front pulldown or pull-up: 3 sets of 8

Incline chest press: 3 sets of 8

Seated row: 3 sets of 8

Chest fly: 3 sets of 8

Wide-grip seated row: 3 sets of 8


Shoulder press: 3 sets of 8

Standing cable lateral raises: 3 sets of 10

Triceps parallel bar dips: 3 sets of 8

Narrow-grip barbell curl: 3 sets of 8

Triceps pressdown with an angled bar: 3 sets of 8

DB curl: 3 sets of 8

Follow the program in this daily order, regardless of the number of workouts per week. If you work out 3 times a week, each workout will be done once. If you work out 4 times, pick up the next week where you left off. And finally, make sure you get enough rest and energy. Don't be afraid to take some time off after 3-4 weeks to avoid overtraining because getting sufficient rest is one of the most important principals of the "simple training" program. 

I'd love to hear how the program goes should you choose to meet the challenge.


Muscle balance refers to the relative strength of 1 muscle group to another. The muscles can be either ANTAGONISTIC or CONTRALATERAL. 


-the quadriceps and hamstrings OR the triceps and biceps

-each acts in opposition to the other (extension vs. flexion)

compares the left and right sides

Some strength coaches and researchers believe there should be certain strength ratios between muscle groups for optimal performance and injury prevention. In theory, the greater the strength of the prime mover (i.e. the biceps in the biceps curl), the greater the stress on the antagonist muscle (triceps) to provide stabilization, BUT/ research has not shown any specific strength ratios corresponding to injury prevention or increased performance. In fact, a large range of values have been observed in healthy, injury-free athletes so these ratios may not truly determine injury risk.

One must also consider the athlete's gender, the activity, the body's position in testing, and the testing movement speed. As the movement increases in speed, the difference in force output between antagonistic muscles will decrease (because all muscles produce less force at higher movement speeds). We must also remember that a test of muscle strength in the seated position may not be truly indicative of the muscle's performance in an action such as sprinting. 

THEREFORE, use ratios merely as GUIDELINES, not as rigid standards. In fact absolute strength may be more important. Again, in THEORY, weak individuals with "normal" strength ratios may still be more susceptible to injury than strong individuals with a "poor" strength ratio. This theory would hold true if absolute strength is necessary for performance and injury prevention, rather than a relative strength. 

 Specific strength ratios (a summary of numerous studies)

NOTE: the studies were performed at slow movement speeds

  (slower than the average weight training speed of movement)

Ankle (calves vs. anterior tibialis) --- 3:1

(i.e. "normally", the calves are 3x's stronger than the anterior tibialis)

Knee (extensors [quadriceps] vs. flexors [hamstrings]) --- 3:2

It is common for many athletes to have much stronger quadriceps but the hamstrings are very important for optimal sprint performance and for maintaining the integrity of the knee joint. Almost everyone should increase their commitment to hamstring training.

Hip (extension vs. flexion) --- 1:1

Hip extensors are the gluteal and hamstrings. These provide the drive in sprint push-off. Hip flexors bring the knees to the chest in sprinting.

Shoulder (flexion [anterior deltoid] vs. extension [posterior deltoid]) --- 2:3

Shoulder (internal rotation vs. external rotation) --- 3:2

Note: internal rotation is aided by the pectoralis and latissimus dorsi muscles.

Elbow (flexion vs. extension) --- 1:1

Biceps and triceps strength should be roughly equal, however the triceps may be stronger just because it composes more muscle mass.

Lumbar (flexion [abdominals] vs. extension [low-back]) --- 1:1

Your core strength training should be focused to develop equal strength in your abdominal muscles and low back muscles.

With respect to training programs and muscle balance, include priority training and extra work for weak muscles (i.e. train them first in the workout). As well, incorporate priority training and extra work if there are contra-lateral strength imbalances. I believe the areas that would benefit most from an emphasis on muscle balance training are the upper back and the lower body. 

Most individuals emphasize training of the anterior upper body, thus overdeveloping the anterior deltoids and chest. This may lead to improper posture (upper back rounding forward) and injury development (due to the strength imbalances in throwing, etc.). I suggest every trainer should incorporate additional upper back movements such as "shrugs", "wide-grip seated rows" (emphasizing the shoulder blades coming together), and "posterior deltoid lateral raises".

And finally, there should also be a distinction made between upper body strength and lower body strength. For most individuals, training focuses on the upper body. Compare your squat and your bench press, if the squat is not roughly 1.5x's greater than performance in the bench press, your lower body development and athletic performance may be suffering.



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