Workout Routines

Bad-Ass Workout of the Week: Big and Strong

Build size and strength simultaneously with this full body routine. We assess this high-volume workout from one of our readers.

Bad-Ass Workout of the Week: Big and Strong

Sometimes, our fans can teach us a thing or two, which is why each week Muscle & Fitness will be selecting a Bad-Ass Workout of the Week, submitted by one of our knowledgeable readers. Then our training experts will explain why we chose the workout, how how to make it even more bad-ass, and what training style it works for.    

This week, Dan Trink, Director of Training at Peak Performance, assesses this routine from our Facebook fan Aaron Ray. Let us know what you think, and show off your own workout at If we think it's worthy, we'll post it on the Muscle & Fitness website.


This split is designed to build size and strength simultaneously.  The first part of the week is devoted to strength, and is based on Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 progression model.  The second part of the week is devoted to hypertrophy, and is a combination of Arnold's antagonistic supersets, pre-exhaustion, and intense finishers. I also train calves three days a week, and hit them hard.  So here it is: *note: My split is layed out to incorporate pick-up basketball on Thursday evenings.  I have had an "unhappy triad" knee injury and surgery, and do not want to play basketball on fatigued legs. This is why I have not separated upper body days with a leg day.

Monday: Strength

Standing Military Press  - (based on 5/3/1)
Squat - (based on 5/3/1)
Standing Calf Raises - 3 x 12 (perform 2 drop sets on last set)
Seated Calf Raises - 3 x 12
Leg Press Calf Raises - 3 x 12 (perform 2 drop sets on last set)

Tuesday: Strength

Bench - (based on 5/3/1)
Deadlift - (based on 5/3/1)
Superset: Weighted Planks - 3 x 30 sec.
Toes to Bar - 3 x failure
Superset Paloff Press - 3 x 30 sec. (each side)
Suitcase Deadlift - 3 x 10 (each side)

Wednesday: Size (Shoulders, Arms, Calves)

Tri-Set:Bent-over Lateral Raises  - 3 x 15
Side Lateral Raises - 3 x 15
Front Raises - 3 x 15
Dumbbell Shoulder Press - 20 reps - pyramid to 8 reps - than back up
Superset: EZ Bar Preacher Curls  - 3 x 15
EZ Bar Lying Triceps Extensions  - 3 x 15
Superset: Cable Curl  - 3 x 15
Cable Overhead Triceps Extension - 3 X 15
Dumbbell Curls - 1 set - Start at 20 rep weight, and run the rack down
Tricep Pushdown - 1 set - Start at 20 rep weight, and run the rack down
Leg Press Calf Raises - 20-25 reps, and perform as few sets as possible to reach 100

Thursday: Size  (Chest & Back) 

Superset: Flat Dumbbell Flyes  - 3 x 15
Straight-arm Lat Pulldowns  - 3 x 15
Superset: Incline Dumbbell or Machine Press  - 3 x 15
Pull-ups - 3 x 15
Superset: Decline Dumbbell Press - 3 x 15
Barbell Bent-over Row  - 3 x 15
Lat Pulldowns  - 1 set - Start at 20 rep weight, and run the rack down

Friday: Size (Legs)

Superset: Leg Curls - Choose weight that allows 20-25 reps (do dropsets to hit 100)
Leg Extensions  - Same technique as leg curls
Superset: Romanian Deadlift - 5 x 15
Leg Press - 5 x 15
Hack Squat - 1 x 20 ( 2 rest pauses)
Leg Press Calf Raises - 30 reps, pyramid up to 10 reps, then back 
Seated Calf Raises - Same technique as leg press calves

NEXT: See What Our Expert Said >>



Aaron, you’ve managed to name drop Jim Wendler and Arnold Schwarzenegger before you even get to the actual workout. This screams (in Arnold’s Austrian accent) “bad ass”. Your training around an injury called an “unhappy triad” which, I can only assume, occurs when a three-way goes wrong during a weekend in Vegas. Your goals  to put on both strength and size - which, let’s face it, is why we all started lifting weights to begin with - are solid and are very much in line with the big movements you are using such as squats, bench press, military press and deadlifts.

I love finishers to increase volume during hypertrophy phases and you’ve picked some really intense ones here. Calves respond well to high volume training so blasting them often certainly makes sense. You’ve definitely picked your gurus well, as Wendler knows how to program to get stronger and no one has explored the world of mass building to the extent of the Austrian Oak.


Combining a Wendler program and an Arnold program is sort of like combining sardines and a protein shake -- their both delicious and will help you reach your goals, but maybe they don’t belong together in the same blender. The best way to avoid progress is to chase too many strength qualities at once. So my recommendation would be to follow 5/3/1 for a few training phases THEN switch to a hypertrophy program based on Arnold’s principles. This will help you avoid becoming a Jack of All Trades, Master of the Pink Dumbbells (which, I believe was the title of a Schwarzenegger comedy in the late 80s).

It is also going to be very difficult for you to get stronger with this amount of volume in your program. It just doesn’t allow for the intensity you need for the big lifts. And speaking of the big lifts, when you do switch over to a mass building phase, be sure to keep those as the foundation of your program. Flyes or 100-rep leg curls should rarely be the first exercise of the day.


If you are looking to get bigger and stronger (but not at the same time), like painfully effective finishers, have puny calves that need a little extra attention and are suffering an injury after a big weekend in Vegas, elements of this workout could work well for you.   Just make sure you stick with big lifts to start each workout (even Arnold would front squat before banging out donkey calf raises) and manage your total volume if you are looking to add serious load to your lifts.


Dan Trink, CSCS, is a strength coach, personal trainer, fitness writer and nutritional consultant. He is also the Director of Training at Peak Performance in NYC. You can find out more about Dan at or on Facebook at www.faceboook/trinkfitness.