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Four Training Splits to Build an Athletic Body

The Power Primer

We’ve both been there. Your bar speed is explosive on every rep, and you’re adding strength regularly.

Your skin is tighter, shirt sleeves stretching, and muscles bulging as you’re building muscle and losing fat simultaneously.

You’ve got tons of energy, feel athletic, and are crushing your training.
Then WHAM. Like getting hit by a semi, your progress comes screeching to a halt.

Suddenly, your joints ache. Without four cups of coffee, you’re unmotivated, mentally foggy, and exhausted. You get through one or two easy warm-up sets and you’ve had enough–the gym is the last place you want to be. Suffice to say, your training sucks.

Except for the occasional finisher, brutal conditioning workout, or off day you should make constant gains and enjoy training. That’s why when your training takes a sharp dive off the deep end and your progress stalls it’s time to change.

Not just your grip or your stance. Nor a change from front squats to back squats.

No, I’m talking a monumental shift. A new training split. Yes, your long-term training principles should remain constant, but you need new methods. As long as you’re adding weight to the bar, moving like an explosive athlete, eating well, and sleeping enough then a new training split is what you need to build an athletic body.

The Power Primer, athletic body


And despite what some coaches say, there’s no one size fit’s all approach to training splits. A bodybuilder shouldn’t train exactly like an athlete, nor should a powerlifter train exactly like a weekend pavement pounder. Your training depends on your goals, energy system requirements, schedule, and individual differences.

That said, let’s review the best splits to help you build a stronger, shredded, and athletic body.  I’ll explain the good and the bad of each, giving you the knowledge to pick your next training split for an athletic body.

Either way, a new program is exciting—renewed motivation will have you attacking each workout with eye-splitting intensity.

Decide your goal, stick to sound principles, and pick the training routine that best fits your goals.

Upper Lower Training Split

Upper-lower training splits are a novel progression for total-body training splits to allow more recovery and training volume. Upper body and lower body days alternate for 4 workouts in a 7-day training split.

Pros: Upper-Lower training splits are a great progression from total body training and work well with most populations looking to gain size and strength concurrently. Upper-Lower splits allow greater training frequency for quicker learning and mastery while still using significant loading, aka big ole’ weights like a boss. Upper-lower splits offer a moderate training frequency and Moderate-high volume for gains hypertrophy.

Cons: There are unbalanced training times with upper body workouts taking much longer than most lower body sessions. Upper-lower training splits offer shorter recovery time between training sessions compared to body-part splits, which may hinder recovery if you’re not getting enough sleep, working on tissue quality, nor eating enough steak. 

Lower body training is brutal; doing it two times per week might be too much for the weak minded.


Monday: Upper Body (Push Strength Emphasis)

Tuesday: Lower Body (Squat Pattern Strength Emphasis)

Wednesday: Off/active recovery

Thursday: Upper Body (Pull Strength Emphasis)

Friday: Lower Body (Hinge pattern strength Focus)

Saturday/Sunday: Off

Total Body Training Split

Total body training splits are maximally efficient and train the body as a unit rather than it’s component parts.

Pros: Total body splits are maximally efficient for those short on time and looking for full body stimulation. High frequency of stimulation for muscles and moderate training volume suits many goals, such as fat loss, strength building, and muscular hypertrophy. Total body training is good for building an athletic body and allows movement training like sprints.

Minimized “fluff” forces workouts to focus on the essential, not 13 variations of lateral raises. Total body workouts are great for beginners, fat loss, and general health. It’s easy to integrate other training modalities around total body routines as most movements and muscles are hit during each workout.

crossfit, training splits, build an athletic body, athletic body, power primer, power primer 2, eric bach power primer

Cons: Low intra-workout volume will minimize metabolic stress related hypertrophy, so it’s not the best for your sweet, sweet biceps gains.

Plus, stronger lifters tend to struggle with recoverability from training legs 3x+/week. It’s a difficult split to train more than 3-4x per week without knowledge and self-awareness for auto-regulation.

Among all programs, these are the universal “best” for most busy dudes. They cover all your bases and eliminate the fluff. 



1.Power Clean 5×3

2.Bench Press 3×6

3.Lunge 3×8-12

4a.Farmer Walks 3×30 seconds

4b. Dips 3x 30 seconds timed set

Tuesday: OFF/conditioning


1.Push Press 5×3

2.Deadlift 4×6

3.Chin Up 3×8-12

4a.Plank 3×30 seconds

4b. Biceps Curl 3x 30 seconds timed set

Thursday: OFF/conditioning


1. Back Squat 5×3

2. Bent Over Row 4×6

3. Dumbbell Bench Press 3×8-12

4a. Kettlebell Crosswalk 3×30 seconds

4b. Hip Thrust 3×12

Saturday/Sunday: Off/Conditioning

3. Push-Pull Training Split

Push/Pull Training splits break training up by movement pattern. The movements on the posterior side of the body are predominantly responsible for pulling actions like deadlifts and chin-ups while the front/anterior side of the body is responsible for pushing actions like push-ups.

Unless you’re a glutton for punishment and want to try legs four days per week, pair legs on pull days.

Pros: Push-Pull routines are suitable for intermediate-advanced trainees. Push-pull routines are an economical way to train and allow for flexible planning. Moderate training frequency is better for skill acquisition, meaning you’ll learn movements and exercises faster.
You can combine push-pull routines combine with other training splits to create hybrid programs like an upper-lower push-pull routine.

Cons: Push-pull splits are limited with athletic populations unless you break up upper and lower body sessions. In this case, it becomes difficult to maximize training efficiency. Push-pull routines are a bit advanced for beginners looking to maximize their gains.


Day One: Pull (legs/hamstrings, back, biceps, lower back)

Day Two: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps, legs/quads, abs)

Day Three: OFF

Day Four: Pull (legs/hamstrings, back, biceps, lower back)

Day Five: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps, legs/quads, abs)

Day Six: OFF

Day Seven: OFF

4. Intensive/Extensive Training Split


These are my favorite.


The intensive/extensive split bases training splits on the neural demands of a workout. For example, a heavy/explosive day is often followed by a metabolic/higher volume day.

This also corresponds with conditioning.

So, a workout focused on jumps, cleans, heavy squats, and sprints is neurally demanding as it drains your nervous system. Without ample recovery between intensive training sessions, you’ll feel like garbage and injury risk will sky-rocket.

Instead of back-to-back heavy, you’d want to make your next session higher rep, less intense (in terms of loading and explosive exercises), and focused more on the pump.

Three or four days of training per week works best.

Pros: Intensive/Extensive training splits are advanced programming strategy for athletes looking to take the next step. Great for building an athletic body and training movement skills like acceleration in coordination with resistance training. Intensive/Extensive splits offer a sound progression for developing greater levels of performance.

Cons: Intensive/extensive training splits are advanced and complicated to design. IF your primary goal is to look great naked, you’ll want to eliminate *some* of the movement training and focus more on higher-rep work for better muscle building. Workouts are longer in duration on intensive days due to neural recovery demands of intense exercise.

Get Athletic an Athletic Body:

This example uses a Push-pull split (mentioned above) with movement training if you’re a competitive athlete.

Monday: Speed work (before if competitive, conditioning if non-competitive athlete), Olympic lift+ compound push exercises

Tuesday: Metabolic/ change of direction (before if competitive, conditioning if non-competitive athlete), Pull Emphasis

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Speed work, Olympic lift+ compound push exercises

Friday: Metabolic focus, pull emphasis in weight room

Saturday/Sunday: Active Recovery

 training splits, build an athletic body, athletic body, power primer, power primer 2, eric bach power primer


Look Good Naked:

This is focused on keeping you athletic, but a bit more on body composition so you look hot.

Monday:  Olympic lift+ compound push exercises, Heavy and explosive. Light conditioning.

Tuesday: Pull Emphasis, high rep (8-15+) and hypertrophy focused. Hard conditioning.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Olympic lift+ compound pull exercises. Heavy and explosive, light conditioning.

Friday: Pull Emphasis, high rep (8-15+) and hypertrophy focused.

Saturday/Sunday: Hard conditioning 1x, active recovery


5. Primary Mover + Opposing Supersets

Also known as non-competing supersets or agonist, antagonist supersets these training splits work opposing muscle groups together. For example, a dumbbell bench press and a chest supported row.

Pros: Non-competing supersets are good for building muscle and achieving training balance.

You don’t want to be lopsided or injury prone, right?

Increased blood flow to antagonist muscle groups may improve performance and metabolic stress-related hypertrophy. Non-competing supersets are flexible and can allow for 3-6 days of training based on training age. Supersets are easily done to maximize training efficiency.

Cons: Difficult to integrate movement skills, but you can easily use jumping rope or sprinting as conditioning as a second workout.  A bit advanced for beginners and tough to recover from for older dudes.


Monday: Chest+ Back

Tuesday: Legs optional Shoulders, sprints

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Chest/Back, sprints

Friday: Biceps/Triceps

Saturday/Sunday: active recovery/off


Training Split Considerations:

Above all else your training must be specific to your goal. IF that means getting jacked and athletic, then stop wasting your time on useless body part splits.

No matter how #beastmode you go– you won’t be a stronger, leaner, and more athletic by spending half your time curling in the squat rack.

How much time will you dedicate to training? Regardless of how “busy” you are you still have 24 hours like the rest of us. I don’t say this to be a dick, but it’s true.
You have the time to prioritize training if you want your dream body. Regardless, weigh how committed you are and pick a training split you know you’ll crush. For most dudes, that means crushing a total body training split so they cover all their bases.

Remember, a so-so training split done consistently is better than the best training split done inconsistently.

Training Experience: How strong and experienced are you in the gym?

For most guys, they’re best off crushing total body or upper lower training splits to get strong, explosive and athletic. Still, make sure you’re varying training as you gain strength and experience to prevent plateaus and minimize joint stress.

Recovery: The body is an integrated system. Rather than looking at recovery based on how your muscles feel you must take into account everyday stress, the nervous system, sleep quality, and nutrition.

For example, for a the past few years I crushed training in a high-end performance facility. That meant tons of sprints, jumps, throws, coffee, and explosive demonstrations. All these short, high-intensity bouts added up quickly, and I had to dial back heavy lifting, sprints, and jumps.
Now that I train fewer clients, write more, and demo less, I’m more recovered and can train harder more often.

Stress is systemic, everything counts and should be factored into your training.

Your Training Split to Build an Athletic Body

If your current training isn’t helping your build an athletic body, then  you need to analyze your training, recovery, diet, and supplementation to fill in the gaps.

It doesn’t need to be complicated– find a program that fits your schedule, allows hard, athletic training, recover, and stick to it for the next 12 weeks. Then, reassess things once gains slow down and revisit this article to shock your body into new growth.

thePowerprimer athlete strong

>> Get The Power Primer here <<

Most lifters fall into the trap of endlessly pursuing one goal at the expense of all other training parameters.

That’s fine for elite athletes. But for the rest of us, we’re after the total package.

There’s no better tool to bridge the gap between the body you want and the athleticism you deserve than my latest program The Power Primer, 2.0.

I’ve I’ve created a Full Eight Months worth of programming to get you Strong, Shredded, and Athletic. This isn’t a program for athletes.

It’s for those of us that refuse to accept pathetic athleticism a the cost of building your best-looking body.

It’s time to bridge the gap between athleticism and aesthetics.

It’s time to unleash the Power Primer and build your leanest, strongest, and most athletic body to date.

Think about it.

For less than you spend on protein powder each month, you’ll have all your workouts expertly planned, organized, and guided by a custom video guide from now until 2017.

Get the Power Primer today.

1. Gould D, Petlichkoff L. Participation motivation and attrition in young athletes. In: Smoll FL, Magill RA, Ash MJ, eds. Children in Sport. 3rd ed. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics; 1988:161-178.

Creatine: What’s the Deal?

Hey guys, i’ve got some exciting stuff today. I reached out to one of my idols in the Fitness industry Tony Gentilcore a few weeks ago to write a guest post. I anxiously waited around my email, checking constantly and drinking vodka to pass the time– okay, not really vodka– until I got a response. Tony was a very down-to earth dude and was thankful to have my contributions.
I was pretty jacked, I might have even peed a little. Okay, joking again, that’s weird.

Anyways, I’d really appreciate it if you would head over to his site and check out the post and drop me a comment.

Ready? See you there.

Creatine: What’s the Deal?

Creatine. We’ve all heard about it, but what’s the deal? I get boat-loads of questions regarding the safety and effectiveness of creatine.

Does it make me look better naked? What are these crazy ethyl-ester pills and shiny Pre-workout jugs promising a Skin Searing Pump?

With all the products and information it’s no wonder there are questions.  I’m going to dig in and tell you what creatine is, how to use it, and what to expect.


Creatine Monohydate
Creatine Monohydrate

What is it?

Creatine is a natural amino acid most commonly found in red meat,but also produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. In the body creatine becomes a fuel source for short duration high-intensity activities such as weight training, sprinting and jumping where phosphocreatine is converted to ATP.

The amount of creatine consumed through the diet and produced naturally in the body are low; supplementation increases available levels.

Continue Here… Creatine: What’s the Deal?



Strong. Shredded. Athletic.




Bust through Plateaus with an Explosive Warm Up

Performing 2-3 sets of 1 exercise at the end of your warm up could dramatically increase your power and strength in your training session.

Crazy right?

I’ve already dove head-first into warm ups, you can find those here: Part 1 and Part 2, but there is one portion of the warm-up that will have a lasting impact on your workout.

I’m talking nervous system activation.

The central nervous system is your body’s computer, the central processing unit. It controls all the activities of the body.
The nervous system is the key to unlocking gains in the gym. Muscles leave much to be desired, as it’s is theorized that voluntary muscles contract at about 30% of their total ability.


We’ve all heard stories of superhuman strength where someone lifts a 3,500 lb car off a loved one. This is due to adrenaline up-regulating the nervous system to maximize muscular strength. These extraordinary feats show the power a fully engaged of the nervous system.

Note: Before going further, it’s important to note I’m not talking about creating a life/death experience in a warm up to jack up your strength.

So if we are only using say, 30% of our potential muscular strength, what would an extra 4-5% percent do for sports performance or workouts in the gym?

And what if our muscles contracted faster, getting to maximal activation faster?

Neuromuscular Readiness

Performing an explosive warm-up before your main exercise of the day will ignite your central nervous system (CNS) and maximize your strength.


Using explosive movements prior to your heavy training will prepare and teach your body to move with maximal velocity and force due to the increased rate of firing from the previous exercise.

Power= Force X Distance

The faster you can contract the muscles the more muscle fibers recruited, and the stronger are. It’s vital that these exercises are not performed to fatigue, rather short duration (5-8 reps), maximum intensity, and plenty of rest.

Practical Application

A good warm up should  wake up your muscles and central nervous system to  maximize performance during your workout. The activities in your explosive warm up should mimic the body positions and movements in your training, and explosive movements that mimic those patterns are best.

Based on your major exercise of the day, select a matching explosive movement pattern:

Main Exercise:                     Explosive Movement:

Bench Press                             Clap Push Up, medicine ball chest pass

Shoulder Press                        Overhead medicine ball slam/ throw

Squat                                         Vertical jump, box jump

Deadlift                                     Broad jump, kettlebell swing

Photography by Ryan Dial
Photography by Ryan Dial

Perform 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps after your warm-up — directly before the start of your training session. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets, focusing on maximum intensity on each rep.


Wrap Up:

What good is all that strength if you can’t generate it quickly? An explosive warm-up will help shatter strength plateaus, sprint away from your competition, and build more muscle. Implement the simple movements warm-up movements for explosive growth!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotmeteor/210180257/”>Hot Meteor</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

The BEST way to Burn Body Fat

19 years old. There I was, plastered on the floor with a lowly 65 lbs on the barbell beside me. My lungs ached, forearms screamed, and legs felt like jello.


In my post-workout daze I said “Are you shitting me? I can deadlift 3x my bodyweight and 1/3 of my bodyweight just made me it’s little bitch. There is no way this should be difficult. But it was.” 

A new method The BEST way to Burn Body Fat was born.

It’s been 5 years since I first used them, but my first experience with barbell complexes still rings loud and clear. Barbell complexes are arguably the most efficient method to rapidly boost conditioning and strip body fat.

You see, although I base most workouts around multi-joint barbell exercises combining them all into a series was something new. In most cases, the more familiar you are with an exercise the less effective it is for fat loss and body composition changes.

The hard to swallow fact is, traditional cardio is a piss-poor method for fat loss. Most people become very efficient on the treadmill or elliptical quickly, leading the body to adapt and become more efficient. To give it to you straight, the things you suck at are probably the best for losing fat.

I have yet to train anyone who breezes through barbell complexes and hasn’t shed flubber. The best part is, they only take 10 minutes at the end of your workout.

For barbell complexes the only equipment needed is space to move, a barbell, and possibly a few weights. Regardless of strength levels I’d recommend starting with an empty barbell. Speed and full range of motion are more important than weight. In addition, adding too much weight will hinder your recovery and conflict with the remainder of your intelligent programming. Move as fast as possible through each exercise without putting the bar down. Your heart will be pulsating through your t-shirt, your lunges will scream, but damn you will be glad you did these.

Here are three of my favorite barbell complexes


  1. deadlift 4×12 rest 0
  2. hang clean 4×12 rest 0
  3. Military press 4×12 rest 0
  4. front squat 4×12 rest 60-90 sec

“The Olympian” 

Bach Performance Athlete Raven Cepeda performs complexes only 10 minutes per week to stay lean while bulking for a powerlifting meet
Bach Performance Athlete Raven Cepeda performs complexes only 10 minutes per week to stay lean while bulking for a powerlifting meet
  1. Hang Snatch 3×10 Rest 0
  2. Push Press 3×10 Rest 0
  3. Hang Clean 3×10 Rest 0
  4. Front Squat 3×10 Rest 0
  5. Front Squat Reverse Lunge 3×10 Rest 0
  6. High Pull 3×10 rest 60-90 sec

**Note: If you don’t know how to properly perform these exercises avoid this sequence. Never perform exercises without proper training, but even more with overhead lifts such as the Olympic lifts.

“The Widow Maker”

  1. Overhead Press 2×10 Rest 0
  2. back squat 2×10 Rest 0
  3. reverse lunge 2×10 Rest 0
  4. hang clean 2×10 Rest 0
  5. front squat 2×10 Rest 0
  6. bent over row 2×10 Rest 0
  7. Romanian deadlift 2×10 Rest 0
  8. Front Squat lunge 2×10 Rest 0
  9. biceps curl 2×10 Rest 0
  10. front squat hold calf raise 2×10 Rest 90-120 sec


Will you step up to the plate and make 10 extra minutes for Complexes?

Complexes are a great method to dramatically improve your body composition and conditioning without stripping your hard-earned muscle. This isn’t for the faint-hearted or de-conditioned. It’s not for novices or those extremely out of shape. Don’t even try these if you aren’t experienced or coming back from an injury, this isn’t for you. It’s brutal.But if you follow this routine twice per week for four weeks you’ll see ridiculous improvements in your conditioning while stripping off layers of body fat.

What are you waiting for, stop wasting time and get Real Results.

Have you ever performed complexes? Share your favorite workout below!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredpolin/4560294699/”>jaredpolin</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>


Surviving Cheat Day

It was Saturday. Gorgeous, about 70 degrees and radiant sunshine. I spent the morning at the gym, training clients and blitzing a short workout. On the way home I ran some important errands and made it home by noon– Not bad for a Saturday! Everything I needed to do for the day was completed and the day was only half-way through.

photo from Buy-Beer.com http://www.buy-beer.com/bbq-beer-chicken/beer-butt-buddies2/
photo from Buy-Beer.com

Even better, I had most of the day to eat and drink whatever I wanted….Cheat day had arrived.

There is nothing wrong with a cheat day, mentally they provide a break from a strict diet and let you relax and unwind. Physically cheat days can provide a much needed refueling for the body and boost various hormones such as T-3 and T-4 that can be down regulated if you are constantly dieting.

Cheat days kick ass. In disciplined dieters they improve compliance and provide a mental and physical break from dieting– As long as they’re kept within reason. Unfortunately, reason wasn’t present yesterday. Two pizzas, chicken wings, plenty of beer, a trip to a vodka bar, and hefty forth meal left me in a greasy stupor.

I drank like a fish and ate like it was going out of style.

Where do all of those calories go?

Eventually carbohydrate storage reaches capacity, leaving excess sugars to saturate the blood stream and  join the party around your love handles. If alcohol is involved that will halt all fat burning even further, promoting further fat storage. Eeeek. That’s the perfect storm to blow up quicker than a Kardasian wedding.

The Solution

There is a way to minimize the damage on these gluttonous days as I learned from Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Body. The goal isn’t to burn massive amounts of calories on cheat cheat; instead, prepare your body to receive and utilize the excess sugars you’re consuming.

Ideally, you will take more of these excess sugars and calories and have them pushed into your muscles rather than your waistline.


Glute-4 Activation.

What is Glute-4?

Glute 4 is a protein responsible for insulin related glucose transport into cells. Muscular contractions stimulate muscle cells to translocate to the surface of the muscle, making them more receptive to insulin and stocking the muscles full of glycogen from those carbs you just ate.

Cool, so what do I do?

As close to your delicious meal, whether it be pizza, doughnuts, or whatever else you are craving you must force major skeletal muscles to contract to stimulate glute-4 translocation. And it doesn’t take nearly as much activity as you think.

Here are a few good options:

1.Bodyweight squats 20 reps. Quarter squats are fine, full are better
2.Push Ups (or wall push ups, you can do these in a bathroom stall, oh boy!) 20 reps
3.Band Pull aparts 20 reps
4.Isometric Quadriceps extension: lock your leg and flex as hard as you can for 20-30 seconds. This one can work (or use other muscles) while you are seated if you are out to eat. This way people won’t think you are as weird as me.

**You can do these things in private if that makes you feel more comfortable, but you probably shouldn’t care so much what others think, especially as it pertains to your health and lookin good neeeked 

These exercises take all of a minute or so to perform as close to your cheat meal as you can, as well as 60-90 minutes post-meal. This way you are activating the biggest muscles in your body to be more receptive to the surplus of calories floating around in your blood stream to lead to bigger muscles, rather than a bigger waistline.

Wrap Up

So there you have it. It’s not necessarily a good thing to go as crazy as I did and eat/drink 10,000 calories . Just know there are strategies to minimize the damage while maximizing the fun, even while trying to look your best


Ferriss, Timothy. The 4-Hour Body. New York: Crown Archetype, 2010. 100-120. Print.


How to Estimate Your Percent Body Fat

body fat percentage chart for men and women

Hey! This is one of my first blog posts from the early Bach Performance days. If you’ve found this post, I’m betting you’re looking to get lean and shredded.

With that in mind, I have a free workout for you. Grab it here, and enjoy the post!

Hook me up with the Free Fat Loss Program, Eric!

Whether you have access to body composition measuring tools or not you should have a good idea of your body fat percentage. With that being said below is a post regarding what you can expect to see in the mirror based on several different body fat percentages.

Body fat measurements are the superior method in determining body composition and weight loss.  Body fat percentages are very self-explanatory; they are simply the percent of fat that your total weight is comprised of. For example, a 200 lb male with 15% bodyfat would have 30 pounds of fat on his body. The remaining 170 pounds would comprise of bone, muscle, organ tissue, water, blood, and everything else.

Consuming fat and having baseline amounts of body fat and is vital to the human body for performing essential bodily functions. Body fat provides insulation and protection for vital organs, produces hormones, aids in digestion, maintains body temperature, and promotes healthy cellular function.

There are many ways which health and fitness professionals use to measure body fat percentages. There are circumference measurements, bio electrical impedance (BIA), skinfold measurements, ultrasound, bodpod, hydrostatic weighing, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), X-Ray, and MRI.

As with any test there is variation and error in body fat percentages, with even the best tests still having a percent error ranging from 1-3%. Most of these tests require skilled technicians, consistent testers, algorithms, and environmental variables, and some pocket change in order to perform the tests. As you see lots of variables must be accounted for in order to get an accurate reading of your body composition.

Picking out a professional facility and well-trained technicians is a great option and will give you the most accurate results but this is not always feasible. For that reason, I will provide some descriptions of different body fat percentages and what you can expect to see in the mirror at these body fat percentages.

Want to Simplify your Fitness and start making progress today? Click Here.

Essential body fat is typically 3-5% for men and 10-12% for women. In terms of obesity males reaching 25% body fat and females reaching 32% body fat qualify as obese by most standards.

How to Estimate Your Percent Body Fat

Below are descriptions of various body fats and what you can expect to see in the mirror:

20% Body Fat: No visible muscle definition, poor separation of major muscle groups unless extremely large and developed.

15% Body Fat: Some moderate muscle separation begins to become evident; specifically in the deltoids as they shoulders do not hold much fat. In most cases the abs are not yet visible.

12% Body Fat: The chest, back, and abs all gain some definition. There is an outline of the abdominal muscles and a 2-4 pack may be visible.

10% Body Fat: A 6 pack is visible when flexed. Deeper more pronounced muscle separation in the arms, chest, legs, and back.

7-9% Body Fat: 6 pack abs visible at all times. There is visible separation between quadriceps muscles and back musculature is clear. The serratus anterior (those wicked cool lines on the side of your ribs) should be visible  Arms should be visibly vascular most of the time.

5-7% Body Fat: Competitive male body builders often are in this range. Lower abdominals and legs are both vascular and well-defined. Striations appear in large flexed muscle groups, especially the chest.

body fat percentage chart for men and women
body fat percentage chart for men and women

These descriptions are by no means an end all, as everyone has unique muscular development. These percentages also only take into account subcutaneous fat, the fat that sits directly underneath the skin and not the visceral fat which sits around the organs.

Hydration status also plays a huge role in many tests such as the skin fold because subcutaneous fat holds water. In most cases body fat percentage is underestimated, so swallow your pride and be conservative with your estimations.

Knowing your body fat percentage is a great way to set body composition and FAT loss goals while giving you a tangible picture of what you can expect to see. For best results see a qualified professional and follow pre-testing protocols, but if this is not an option use these descriptions to get a good idea of where you are.

Hook me up with the Free Fat Loss Program, Eric!

Top 10 Tips to Add Muscle

tips to add muscle, high performance exercises

I’m going to keep this simple and straight forward.  If you’re not building muscle, you’re probably missing the basics.

1. Eat Big to Get Big

You can’t put 60 miles worth of gasoline and drive 120 miles can you? Providing your body with the essential calories and nutrients is rule #1. You will be working hard in the gym, you not only need to provide enough calories to fuel your workout, but you also need a caloric surplus in order to gain weight. For each meal aim for 1-2 fistfuls of protein (30g or so), 2 fists of vegetables, healthy fats, and carbs such as sweet potatoes or rice. Track what you eat using a site such as livestrong.com and consider reading up on carb cycling to maximize muscle and minimize fat.  Supershakes are a convenient and easy way to pack your body full of quality nutrients for muscle growth.

2. Progressive Overload

To build muscle you must follow the laws of progressive overload. You must continuously work to add weight to the bar, increase the speed you move the bar, increase the number of reps, or decrease rest periods each time you set foot in the gym. Give your body a reason to grow by challenging to a new level every chance you get (within reason), repeating the same workout pound for pound and word for word will not help yield the gains you are looking for.


3. Stick with Compound Exercises

Mixing in endless amounts of curls, leg extensions, calf raises, and lateral raises will do little more than delay your recovery and hinder your progress. Stick with squats, deadlifts, presses, bench presses, chin ups, dips, hip thrusts, and rows to build a well rounded physique. Major structural exercises like these will work the most muscle mass and stimulate the biggest release of testosterone to fuel your muscle growth. You don’t need gimmicky machines, cable crossovers, and shiny new equipment to get the job done; they are often a waste of time. Pay your dues with a barbell, kettlebells, dumbbells, and your own bodyweight to move your body the way it was built to move.


4.  Train Heavy

Training heavy is becoming a lost art in many gyms. I see so many people training every exercise at 12-15 reps chasing the pump that it makes me sick. Most individuals tend to follow body part splits with crazy high volume and rep ranges that only work for beginners and/or steroid users. Most drug free lifters make phenomenal gains by putting more weight on the bar and focusing on rep ranges between 3-8. Anything over 8 reps really begins developing endurance unless you can handle significant weight for reps. Bottom Line: If you add 50 pounds to your squat or a deadlift in a year you will be bigger, add weight and see magic happen!


5. Get In Get Out

Workouts are meant to stimulate, not annihilate the body. Get in a solid warm up and try to complete your workout in 45 minute or less. You are in the gym to work out and see results, not socialize in-between sets on the preacher curl. Get in, get out, eat, and repeat.

6. Sleep 8+ Hours

You need to recovery to grow, and optimal growth and recovery comes with getting 8+ hours of sleep per night. Sleeping well and long will increase your testosterone naturally while giving you more energy and making you more efficient throughout the day. Turn off the TV and get some sleep

7. Foam Roll

Staying healthy and recovering from workouts is absolutely vital to making consistent progress in the gym. Foam roll troubled areas such as the shoulders, pecs, IT bands, calves, and piriformis to improve movement quality. Pick up a foam roller or use tennis balls, baseballs, softballs (ouch), medicine balls to break up scar tissue. If you are financially able try to get a deep tissue massage once per week.


8. Incorporate SOME higher reps into your training

The emphasis on your training still needs to be on lower repetition multi-joint exercises to build muscle. However, increasing reps on occasion to 10-15 reps will increase your muscles ability to store glycogen and water. This will add volume to the muscle and increase their size. This is known as non-functional hypertrophy. If you goal is solely aesthetics and not strength/power mix 1-2 exercises per workout with a higher volume. Just be aware this can compromise your performance on big lifts!


9. Keep a Workout Journal

Writing down your workouts and tracking your progress is incredibly important to make consistent gains in the gym. How in the heck will you know when you have a new PR, or when you increased your reps by 5 on your squat from 2 months ago? Keeping a detailed workout journal will show you exactly what has worked in the past and what has not. Your workouts will improve and so will your knowledge of how your body reacts to different workouts.


10. De-load every 6-8 weeks

De-loading the muscles and nervous system every month or two will keep you healthy and mentally fresh in the long term. Muscle building is not an overnight ordeal, it takes years to build and smart programming. Take a complete week off on occasion, drop your intensity, or your volume for a week to allow joints, ligaments, and the nervous system to health up.

The Top 10 Tips to Add Muscle

Lift heavy, eat, sleep, repeat to get the gains you want. By taking these tips and focusing on 1 at a time until it becomes common practice will bring your training and physique to where it wants to be.
And if you’re looking for a program to get rollin,’ I’ve got you covered here.

Get Your 12 Week HFT Mass Program Today

5 Essential Nutrition Habits

Below are 5 essential habits via the Precision Nutrition System. These wicked-awesome 5 habits are pretty Kick-Ass! Why?!

Food for Life distributes food on an internati...
Food for Life distributes food on an international basis produced solely from vegan and lacto-vegetarian ingredients. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, they are easy to follow, especially if you looking to lose body fat ( NOT GAIN lotza MUSCLE) and optimize body composition without the work of calorie counting and spending countless hours logging and tracking your food choices (which is still a good idea).

Enough with my blabbing, here is the list.

1.)Eat Slowly and Stop at 80% Full. It takes 20 minutes for brain signals to kick in, take your time and enjoy your meal.2.)Eat Protein dense foods with each meal.

Women- 1 Palm (20-30g)

Men- 2 palms (40-60g)

–This will support positive nitrogen balance, leading to better muscle development, body composition, and metabolism.

3.)Eat Vegetables with each meal. ½ cup raw= 1 serving, aim for 10 servings between fruits and vegetables per day. 2 palms per meal!

–These are filled will all kinds of good shiznit, such as phytochemicals, fiber, and anti-oxidants. Fight cancer, fill up on good stuff, and be healthy!

4.)For Fat Loss, eat most carbs after exercise. Keeping carbs low until aftr exercise will promote burning stored fat before/during exercise.

–Keep carb choices slower digesting, such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, oats, quinoa, and whole wheat if you tolerate them.

5.)Eat healthy Fats Daily. Get roughly 30% of kcals and include healthy fats during each meal.

Get 1/3 from each type of fat, saturated, mono-unsaturated, and poly-unsaturated by varying your sources between lean meats, fish, nuts, and healthy oils.

For more information regarding Precision Nutrition check out my review of their level 1 certification below:



Berardi, Dr. John, and Ryan Andrews. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. second. Precision Nutrition. INC, 2012. 345-351. Print.

Activity Specific Warm Ups

Today I had my first officially published article through ACE Fitness, one of the most well respected fitness organizations around. BOOOOOOOOOOOYAHHH! So first, thanks for reading and your support of my blog, as feedback I receive is vital to improving myself as a trainer and writer.

But Anyways, this is an article I put quite a bit of effort into researching, writing, editing, and developing as I see it as a very under-utilized and lack luster piece of most programs.

Activity specific warm ups are important!  They safely prepare the body for activity, rev up the nervous system, and get you mentally in-tune to destroy your next training session. Whether you’re an elite athlete or someone just starting a fitness routine having a planned warm up is vital to having your best quality workout and staying injury free. Without further ado check out the link below and please let me know what you think.

Thanks for your support!


Exercises to avoid: Adductor Abductor Machine

Stop spending your workout with this awkward machine in hopes of a nice set of thighs or glutes.

Photo Credit: deansomerset.com

Sorry, your attention should be elsewhere. If you’re looking to maximally develop these areas learn to squat, lunge, deadlift, sprint, and move optimally rather than wasting your time.

Although this wonderful device provides resistance for both adduction (bringing the legs together) and abduction (spreading the legs apart) it neglects to train the muscles of adduction and abduction as stabilizers, their primary role. Although they provide a burn” to the inner and outer thighs it serves no functional purpose and will not further “tone or shape” a muscle.

These machines are useless.

Although they provide a burn” to the inner and outer thighs it serves no functional purpose and will not further “tone or shape” a muscle. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reduction. Contrary to belief you can’t change the shape or tone of your muscles– your insertion points aren’t going anywhere. If you want to a muscle to show visibly the issue isn’t muscle shape, but subcutaneous fat covering the muscle.


The adductor muscles are responsible for adducting the leg away from midline at the hip-joint. These muscles have multiple functions beyond simple adduction as you see below:

  • Adductor longus: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor brevis: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor magnus: hip extension, hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor minimus: hip adduction
  • Pectineus: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Gracilus: Hip adduction, hip flexion, knee flexion


As stated in described by their group name, the abductors abduct, or move the legs away from midline in the body.These muscles have multiple functions beyond simple abduction as you see below:

The Muscles responsible for abduction include:

  • Gluteus Medius: Hip abduction
  • Gluteus Minimis: Hip abduction, hip internal rotation
  • Tensor Fasica Latae : Hip abduction, hip internal rotation

Isolating these muscles services little purpose, as there are few instances these muscles work as a solo-primary mover in exercise. Muscles that control abduction and adduction must work synergistically to keep the femur (upper leg bone) in proper alignment and maintain frontal plane stability. Neglecting these functions with purely isolated training leaves the body open for knee injuries due to poor stability/mobility in the hip and knee and flexion based back injuries.

Opt For These instead:

All lower body unilateral exercises and variations including: deadlifts, Lunges, Squats (any variation), step ups, sprinting, banded shuffle walks, hip thrusts, bird-dogs, fire-hydrants and banded monster walks.

Training the adductors and abductors is NOT a bad idea, but using the “Yes-NO”machine is a waste of time. Muscles DO need to function in isolation, but overpowering their ability without training them dynamically is recipe for injury.

Plus, I’m not sure this is how you want to see your co-workers during lunch. Avoid the adductor abductor machine, it has no place in your routine.

Yes-No Machine Is sending mixed messages. 
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