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 Jake Blackford – a firefighter in northwest Colorado. 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.


Monday – Biceps

Cheating barbell : 5/8-12 
DB preacher:5/12-10-8-8-8(RP)
EZ-bar curl w/chains: 4/6-8
Incline hammer: 4/8-12
Concentration curls4/8-12
TRX curl4/5 to failure

Tuesday – Chest

Incline flye: 5/12-10-8-8-6
Decline flye5/12-10-8-8-6
Flat flye5/12-10-8-8-6
Incline Barbell w/chains: 5/5
DB incline: 5/failure
Decline barbell w/chains: 5/failure
Dips w/chains: 5/failure
Flat barbell w/chains: 5/5  
Flat alt. DB press: 5/failure
TRX Suspension press (any variation): 4/failure
Svend press: 4/failure

Wednesday – Circuit (3 rounds)

Hanging knee raise: 1/15-20
Weighted plank: 3/failure
Decline abs: 1/15-20
Barbell squat: 1/15-20
Romanian deadlift: 1/15-20
3-4-5’s: 1/failure (Three deadlifts a clean then a shoulder press that’s one rep)
Plate swing: 1/12-15
Tire flip: 1/60 yds. 
Box jumps: 1/failure
Sledge hammer swing: 1/20-25 (20-25 for both grips left on bottom & right on bottom)
Tire pull 1/400ft: (I use a 100ft section of retired fire hose)
TRX suspension training:  1/failure (I try to do four diff movements to failure)
Sprints 4/40yds: (I do this after the 3-4 rounds of the circuit)

Thursday – Back

DB bench row: 5/10-8-8-8-10
Lat pull down: 5/failure
Weighted pull-up w/chains: 6/15-12-10-8-8-8
Wide grip barbell row w/chains: 5/8-12(BD)
Deadlift w/chains: 5-6/8-12(BD)
Rev. E-Z bar row: 4/12-15
*These last four exercises I do in a circuit at the end 3-4/failure
DB back flye
T-bar negative pull-up
T-bar row
TRX pull

Friday – Shoulders/Forearms

Standing over head barbell: 5/6-8
Light Arnold press: 5/failure
Seated DB lat raise: 6/15-12-10-10-8-6(BD)
Seated DB rear delt: 6/15-12-10-10-8-6(BD)
Rev. Shrug: 5/6-8
DB shrug: 5/failure (RP)
Alt DB front raise: 4/10-12-14-16
Upright row: 50(LSP)
Barbell wrist curl: 4/12-15
Rev. E-Z bar: 4/15-20
Plate squeeze w/chains: 3/failure

Saturday – Triceps/Biceps

Triceps (morning workout)
E-Z bar press: 5/8-12(RP)
Rope press down w/ chains: 5/failure
Weighted bench dips: 6/8-10-12-14-16-18(BD)
DB skull crushers: 5/12-10-8-8-6 (Palms face each other)
Kickbacks: 5/failure (Both arms at same time)
Last three triceps' exercises in circuit 3/12
Close grip dips
DB behind neck press

Biceps (evening workout)
Alt. DB curl: 4/6-8
Barbell preacher w/chains: 5/8-10(RP)
Incline curl: 5/8-12

BD = (Birthday set – after completing regular sets rest 30 sec. then rep out your age. Shed weight to accomplish)
RP = (Rest pause at the squeeze of each rep I give a one-two count)
DS = (Drop set shed weight to failure)
Failure = (Go till no more is possible…while keeping good form)
LSP =  (Least sets possible)


Ok, so I know it’s my job to discuss why the workout is bad ass. But first I must discuss why you, Jake, are a bad ass. First off, you’re a Wildland Firefighter. Bad ass. Secondly, you welded your own 20 pound sledge hammer. Bad ass. Lastly, you are training with tractor tires, railroad ties, logs and a retired fire hose. I think we are going to put a Jake Blackford statue at the entrance to the Bad Ass Hall Of Fame — which will now be located in remote Colorado.

You’ve got some pretty cool ideas going on in your workouts. I’ve never seen the “3-4-5s” lift before. Pretty inventive. Plus things like the “birthday set” keep workouts fun and interesting. You’ve included the Svend press (which involves lying on a bench and pressing two forty-five pound plates together to train your pecs) which proves that a) your doing exercises named after famed strongman Svend Karlsen and b) you don’t mind that, if a set goes to failure, your face gets smashed. Double bad ass. 


Well, Jake, I’ll give you credit for calling yourself out for not having a leg day. But, truthfully, you have no excuse. A guy who welds his own sledgehammer can certainly come up with a way to get some squats, deadlifts and lunges into his routine. And please, don’t tell me that ‘hiking’ is a substitute for a leg day — or I’ll have your Bad Ass Membership Card revoked. Unless this is an ‘arms specialization phase’ you may be overdoing it with the curl, kickback and press down variations. Your rep ranges are also all over the place.

It seems to me that you have your conditioning covered so why not go into more of a relative strength phase by decreasing the number of exercises, increasing the number of sets, reducing the number of reps and increasing the loads. By increasing your strength relative to your size you could see a lot of benefits that carry over to your job. Finally, while variety definitely has it’s place, don’t think you have to change things up every week or every workout. Perfecting technique and solidifying movement patterns are keys to progressing your training.


If you like variety, want some massive guns and aren’t afraid to break out the power tools to build your own equipment, you may have found the training program of your dreams. If you are looking to build strength, are training in a more traditional setting and realize that you do have some muscle groups located below your waist (no, not THAT muscle, you sicko), you may want to give a more tried-and-true program a shot.


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.