Thursday, May 7, 2009

Building Strength While Reducing Bodyfat Percentage - By Steve Baldwin


Hi Steve, I am 40 years old. 6'3" 250 lbs. I would like to gradually get down to about 220 lbs. My present routine is as follows:

Trap Deadlifts 1 x 405 x 4-8 reps
Seated Rows 1 x 315 x 4-8 reps
Reverse Chins 1 x bw + 45 x 4-8 reps

Bench Press 1 x 315 x 4-8 reps
Trap Military 1 x 185 x 4-8 reps
Parallel Dips 1 x bw +45 x 4-8 reps

I am not doing any cardio. I have cut my calories. Any suggestions?


Hey John...Thanks for the question. You have a very good level of strength.

That's great! An excellent goal for you might be to try to maintain or even better increase your present level of strength while you reduce to 220. I have a client who has lost 40 lbs (202 to 162) since the second week of October (17 weeks). During the same period he has dramatically increased his strength in all the major lifts. I would estimate that he gained approximately 10 lbs of lean during this period. So the net effect of his efforts is more on the order of 50 lbs.

His routine is similar to yours in that it is based around getting stronger on basic compound exercises. His routine differs from yours in that he does specific work for areas that I feel need emphasizing (low back, neck, hamstrings, external rotator cuff muscles, calves, posterior shoulders etc.)

While specifically working these areas is not essential to becoming stronger, I feel that it is justifiable to emphasize them to ensure balanced development in an attempt to avoid injury. Progression on the basics is the bottom line. You must stay injury free to optimally progress. I don't think that adding assistance work to address these areas is going to lead to overtraining for most people.

I believe in doing a moderate amount of cardiovascular activity (3 times per week/30 minutes per session) per week for general health and to help promote leaness over time. Again if done correctly I don't think this amount of work will result in overtraining.

As far as nutrition goes, my client (31 years old) consumed five 4 hundred calorie meals per day with an emphasis on complex carbohydrates, moderate protein and relatively low fat. I hope this helps and I hope you reach your goals.

Sincerely, Steve


Dear Mr. Baldwin, I just turned 40 in July and was wondering if you could recommend a good routine for me to continue to get strong. I am about 5'10" and 200lbs. I've been lifting for around 17 years. I can no longer lift 5 days a week for my recovery time is not the same any more. I want to get stronger and add some more cardio time to my routine to improve my cardiovascular shape without doing so much I lose some strength.

Thank you,
Bill Getchell


Hello Bill... Thanks for writing. Your gym sounds fantastic (the gym Bill trains at has a power rack, dumbbells up to 110 lbs., and a lot of Hammer Strength machines). Bill, you might consider strength training twice per week using an A and B workout. I like the following program:

Full Barbell Squat - Leg Press
Leg Curl - Hip & Back machine
Toe Press - Seated Calve Raise
Dumbbell Bench Press - Standing Barbell Press
Chin - Machine Pullover
Machine Shrug - Machine Row
External Rotation - Rear Delt Raise
Crunch - Dumbbell Side Bend
Neck Work (Posterior) - Neck Work (Lateral)
Forearm Work - Forearm Work

I like to change rep goal ranges for my clients every few weeks. You might consider something like this;
High rep phase - lower body - 15-20 reps
(4 weeks) upper body - 12-15 reps

Medium rep phase - lower body - 12-15 reps
(4 weeks) upper body - 10-12 reps

Low rep phase - lower body - 10-12 reps
(4 weeks) upper body - 7-9 reps

Take each set to muscular failure and strive for personal records at the end of each respective goal range phase.

Three 30 minute (moderate intensity) cardiovascular workouts should compliment the above just fine. The total strength and cardiovascular work for the entire week should take about 3 hours. Of course if your strength and cardiovascular levels do not improve to your satisfaction there are a lot of options for modifications. Good luck with your workouts.

Regards, Steve


Mr. Baldwin, I currently train with weights about once every 5-7 days. My workout consists of squats, nautilus pullovers, db presses, and nautilus lower back. I try to add in two aerobic workouts a week. After months of experimenting with this capacity I think this is what my body can handle. If I add more work either to my weight workout or in the week, I tend to run down, get sick,...A lot of folks in the gym tell me my workload isn't great enough. What do you think? Thanks.



Hi Joe ---- I think your basic workout plan is great. The squat, pullover and press are some of the hardest exercises to do and consequently some of the most productive.

Regardless of what your gym buddies say, the bottom line is your rate of improvement. If you continually add weight and reps (in perfect form) to those basic exercises you should enjoy excellent results.

If you get bored or stall using one workout you might alternate an A and B workout. Your present workout does not provide any work for your biceps and forearms. Some form of upper back work (chins, rows, lat pulldowns) would address this.

I would also provide work for the posterior shoulders (rows), external rotator cuff muscles, hamstrings and neck (some of the information in the above two answers should be applicable to you also). I don't think working these relatively small muscles will retard your progress. If you find it too much to do all of these every workout you can alternate assistance moves every other workout. I hope this is helpful.

Best of luck in your training,

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