Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Filtering by Tag: Pull-Ups

Back to Basics: Strength Day 4


The warm-up shouldn't take you more than about 5-10 minutes to complete, especially once you become familiar with the exercises and sequencing. Watch the video to get an idea of how each exercise is done.

Quadruped Shoulder Series x 240 reps
Open/Close x 15 reps
Scarecrow x 15 reps
Scapular Retraction x 10 reps
Quadruped Torso Twists x 10/side
Face Pulls with Scapular Retraction x 15 reps
External Rotations x 10 reps
Overhead Squats x 10 reps
Leg Swings x 48 reps
Scorpions x 8 reps
Fire Hydrants x 20 reps


Back (or Front*) Squat - all sets are 5 repetitions
40% of "working weight"
50% of "working weight"
60% of "working weight"
Working Set 1
Working Set 2
Working Set 3
Working Set 4
Working Set 5

Overhead Press - all sets are 5 repetitions
40% of "working weight"
50% of "working weight"
60% of "working weight"
Working Set 1
Working Set 2
Working Set 3
Working Set 4
Working Set 5

Snatch Deadlift** - all sets are 5 repetitions
40% of deadlift "working weight"
50% of deadlift "working weight"
60% of deadlift "working weight"

Deadlift - 5 repetitions
Working Set 1

*Front Squats - When starting this program, it is great to back squat 3x/week to build up your strength. However, I really like the front squat for a number of reasons, including preparing your body for Olympic Lifts down the road, improving posture, and most importantly, making your back squat that much better. Once you are able to back squat your own body weight 5x5, I recommend you start front squatting 50% of your 5x5 back squat on Strength Days 2 & 4, in place of back squats. So, if you are 180lbs and can squat 180lbs 5x5, start front squatting 90lbs on Strength Days 2&4, increasing in weight the same way you would with the other lifts by adding 5 pounds to the next workout, every time you successfully lift 5x5.

**Snatch Deadlift - Just read at how great this variation to a classic is. What's nice about this setup is that you probably won't be deadlifting as much with a snatch grip versus a clean grip, so as your traditional deadlift increases (clean grip), your snatch deadlift can increase accordingly based on the percentages. For example, if you are deadlifting 200lbs, your snatch grip sets will be 80, 100, and 120lbs. As your deadlift climbs to, say, 260lbs, you will then be lifting 105, 130, and 155lbs with the snatch grip. The snatch grip deadlift forces you to squat a bit deeper since your hands are further apart so you will get a bit more activation and stretch in the posterior chain and legs preparing you for the heavy set of clean grip deadlifts.

Each exercise has anywhere from 1-3 warm-up sets with 40, 50, and/or 60% of your "working sets" weight. All "working sets" weight stays the same for all working sets. I usually round to the nearest 5-pound increment for my warm-up sets. This is where 2.5lb. weight plates come in handy so that you can micro-load your barbell with 5 total pounds.

A set of squats (180lb. "working weight") would therefore look like this:

40% - 70lbs. x 5 reps
No rest
50% - 90lbs. x 5 reps
No rest
60% - 110lbs. x 5 reps
90 second rest

180lbs x 5 reps
*90 second rest
180lbs x 5 reps
*90 second rest
180lbs x 5 reps
*90 second rest
180lbs x 5 reps
*90 second rest
180lbs x 5 reps

*There is no set rest time between warm-up sets (besides the time it takes you to load your barbell), however, the following guidelines should be followed for the working sets:

  1. If you complete all 5 repetitions with ease and no break in form, take a 90 second break before the next working set.
  2. If you struggle with one or more repetitions to reach 5, take a 90-180 second (1.5-3 minute) break prior to starting your next working set. Do not be in a rush to start the next set, as your body requires time to recover from the previous set's effort. Your central nervous system also needs time to recover.
  3. If you miss one or more repetitions, which means you either fail to lift the weight at all, or substantially break form to complete (not recommended), then rest for 5 minutes before attempting the same weight again.

If you complete all 5 working sets with the same weight then you increase your weight by 5 pounds for the next workout you complete this exercise.


Romanian Deadlift (RDL) - 3 sets of 5 repetitions completed the same as the strength lifts. Use the same weight for all 3 sets. If you get 5 reps easily, rest 90 seconds between sets. If you struggle to get 5 reps with the given weight, rest 3 minutes between sets. If you miss a rep or break form to complete a rep, rest 5 minutes before the next set.

Dumbbell Swings/Push Press - 3 sets of 6-12 repetitions per arm.

Pull-ups - Here you can essentially aim for max repetitions (3 sets). If your goal is to train for hypertrophy/strength gains, I recommend adding weight via a weight belt to keep your repetitions lower (6-12 range). This is the dip belt that I haveThese should be done strict, no kipping. Trust me when I tell you that there is nothing like having a weight belt hanging in front of your genitals to prevent you from kipping to get more reps!

You will notice that I do not have single-muscle and/or single-joint accessory exercises (bicep curls, tricep extensions, etc.). The main strength lifts across all 4 strength days cover essentially every muscle in your body. Coupling that with some of the accessory work to aid in strength and growth, muscles like your biceps and triceps get plenty of work. For example, during a bench press or overhead press, although your are primarily pressing with your pectoral muscles of your chest or deltoid muscles of your shoulder, your triceps are heavily involved in the movement. By doing these exercises, your triceps will get stronger and grow.

Remember that these exercises/lifts are here to aid your main lifts. All of your focus and energy should be focused on your strength work. If, however, you wish to complete the accessory exercises, do not be as attached to previous workouts' numbers and wish to increase numbers. For example, you may have pressed 40lb. dumbbells for 8 reps on the incline press, but as you get stronger and push your bench press numbers higher, you may be more fatigued by the time you reach the accessory work, forcing you to either get fewer reps or drop the weight of the dumbbells a bit.

I use 90 second breaks between each set. I complete all sets of an exercise before moving on to the next exercise. I do not super-set. For example:

Dumbbell Swings/Push Press x 6-12 reps
90 second rest
Dumbbell Swings/Push Press x 6-12 reps
90 second rest
Dumbbell Swings/Push Press x 6-12 reps

Questions/Comments/Concerns? Make sure to comment below!

P90X3 The Challenge Coaching, Advice, and Complete Review

Welcome to P90X3's Chest & Back equivalent. Plain and simple push-ups and pull-ups, although this time around, the intensity is cranked up by shortening the breaks and having you choose a goal from the beginning. Do you have what it takes to stick with your numbers throughout?

Read More

Team Fitness for Life Home Gyms

Lately I've been discussing the benefits of working out at home, and I have even shown you my own home gym setup. I put the word out to my Challenge Group for anyone interested in sharing their home gym to send me pics, so that my readers can get an idea just how versatile and unique people's home gyms can be.

Not only that, but understand the dedication involved for many of these gyms to double as other functions in the home. One of the themes or goals of my blog lately, has been to show people that almost anyone can find a bit of space in their home to exercise. The great thing about working out at home, is that even though you may not have a multi-million dollar facility, you also don't need to pay to rent their equipment. You can build your own gym over time and build something great!

John S.

Here are a few photos of my gym - just in a small spare bedroom (no I didn't choose the awesome paint colour and wallpaper!). Started with just the resistance bands for p90x in 2011-12 and a pull up bar (have since upgraded to beachbody pull up system). I purchased the med balls, gymnastic balls, and SelectTech 552s in Dec 2012 to have ready for X2 in January. Just added the SelectTech1090s and bench this week! All in about $1400 but thats just 2 years of gym membership here and I will have it all forever! Also have a fan, and the TV has built in DVD player, use the black bookshelf as a tabletop to "Write it down"

Jeff T.

Here is my workout area. Nothing special. I did all of Insanity/Asylum vol 1 & 2 in my living room. Then moved everything else outside when I started P90X

Jason T. (Part 1)

I'm 6'4" so I need quite a bit of space to maneuver around. Our old living room was too cramped so I moved the kitchen table back and sort of worked out between the kitchen and computer room in the hallway. Trust me, there were plenty of times I cracked my hands and head on those low overhangs you see there lol.

Jason T. (Part 2)

Here's my (current) basement setup. As much as I hate to say it, I'm planning on replacing that awesome orange carpet with some rubber flooring soon. Hopefully early next year.

Dan M.

Sister's old room. Bowflex bench, Power Blocks adjustable dumbbells, EZ curl bars, and workout mat.  Very steak and potatoes.


Brenda M.

My home gym is my living room so I need a system where it can be tucked away easily. Everything is in my living room except the pull-up bar and chin-up assist.
Inventory: dumbbells (2, 5, 10, & 15s), medicine balls x4, resistance bands x6, agility ladder, rumble roller, roller, TV, DVD player, Audio player, yoga mat, push-up stands, Insanity, Asylum Volumes 1&2, P90X, P90X2, Power 90, 10 min. Trainer, TurboFire, T25, T25 Gamma. not pictured - pull-up bar (for doorway) and chin-up assist. I  also workout at least 2 times per week at work! There, it is a classroom, DVD/projector and a yoga mat!


Brent G.

I workout in the 3rd car garage area of my house. I love it in this room. I have a large rug for cushioning and my TV is an old one with a built in DVD and VHS player. My other gear includes stability ball, bowflex select tech dumb bells, a couple free weight dumb bells, homemade medicine ball, yoga mat, ab roller, and the pull up bar hangs in the door frame. This room also holds all my other "toys". You can see my skis and my bicycles hang up behind the main picture.

Greg H.

Fridge has water bottles & shakers ready for pre workout & post / recovery shakes .
A Years worth of workouts already to go, beside the TV,
Love my garage, man heaven !

Robert G.

Here is my area. I think it's taken me like 4 years or so to get all the equipment I have. I still need to buy some heavier weights but maybe next year. Oh and I remember trying to sell the TV I use for the longest time but glad I never did.

Andrew B.

I started into fitness about 12 years ago.  I was overweight so I got a treadmill.  After losing a lot of weight it was time to bulk up.  For that I got a bowflex.  When I progressed beyond that I started to lift free weights.   Recently I have been getting into Beach Body programs to add dynamic training to my workouts.  This was a good excuse to buy a lot of fun equipment (pull up bar, bands, medicine balls, etc...).

Gary W.

Larry N.

Another interesting tidbit about my home gym that my wife and I put together. We actually met in a commercial gym, training at 4am. I figured anyone dedicated to their workouts like I am is worth dating! We are still together 17 years later!

Scotty C.

My home gym doubles as a living room. I had to modify the pull-up bar because my door frame is wider than all pull-up bars on the market, some PVC pipe, foam covering to ensure that it doesn't destroy my door frame and tape to hold it all together. Bowflex 1090's, 1 rumble roller, 1 foam roller, 4 medicine ball, 2 stability balls, a bench, resistance bands, e-z curl bar with 2 35's, 2 25's, 4 10's, 2 5's, and 2 2.5's, Tony Horton PowerStands, yoga mat and jump mat, I use both for yoga, because yoga mat on carpet doesn't work, and an Indo Board.

Scott N.

I converted one of the guest bedrooms into my home gym. It's a gradual work in progress and it gets the job done. Buddha's there for encouragement:)