The Bookend Workout


What is Bookend Training?

Just like a bookshelf where you might find two identical, solid props to hold your literary collection in place, Bookend Training employs the same exercises at either end of the workout program for a particular muscle group, with other different exercises in between the two “ends.”

Bookend Training is a training principle that is used when writing a workout program where you are looking to maximize blood flow and muscle fiber recruitment (building muscle). Every muscle group has a foundational lift, or exercises that allow you to maximize strength in that muscle group.

For instance the squat is the foundational exercise for legs, and typically is one of the first exercises you want to perform when training. Bench Press is the foundational exercise for chest. Barbell Military or shoulder press for shoulders, Lat Pull downs, Bent Over Row or Pull Ups for back, and so on. The other exercises are categorized as auxiliary lifts to emphasize one muscle, or parts of the muscles differently.

So with Bookend Training the concept is to start with a foundational exercises for a specific muscle group. Once completed you move onto the auxiliary exercises which still target the muscles you are working, and then finishing off the muscle group with the same foundational exercise you started with.

Why does it work?

Research has shown that because of the load (weight and force) that foundational exercises put on the muscles worked, you can significantly recruit more muscle fibers when you also finish off with the same movement once the muscles are fatigued after the auxiliary lifts are performed. In a sense, its similar to the overload principle that takes place when you do extended set training.

What this means is that by doing this technique your muscles work overtime to recruit more muscle fibers during and after your training is finished.

My advice is to attempt to use the same weight when you perform your final set of your workout as you did with that same exercise when you began your workout. Pretty challenging when you think about that way!

Do the workout program below each week for a total of 4 weeks to maximize your results from this technique.

Day 1
Exercise Sets Reps Muscle
Barbell Incline Bench Press On Bench 3 8 Chest
Dumbbell Bench Press On Bench Both Arms 3 10 Chest
Laying On Incline Bench Dumbbell Flys Both Arms 3 12 Chest
Standing Mid Cable Flys Both Arms 2 15 Chest
Barbell Incline Bench Press On Bench 2 15 Chest
Standing Bicep Curl Barbell Both Arms 3 8 Arms
Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curl One arm 3 10 Arms
Cable Concentration Bicep Curl 3 12 Arms
Standing Bicep Curl Barbell Both Arms 2 15 Arms
Hanging Leg Raise 2 6 Abs
Laying on Ground Abdominal Crunches Hands by Head 1 60 Abs
Hanging Leg Raise 2 60 Abs
Day 2
Exercise Sets Reps Muscle
Barbell Squat 3 6 Legs
Machine Leg Press Both Legs 3 10 Legs
Barbell Reverse Lunge 3 10 Legs
Seated Machine Leg Extension Both Legs 3 12 Legs
Prone Machine Leg Curl Both Legs 3 12 Legs
Barbell Squat 2 15 Legs
Standing Calf Raise 3 6 Legs
Seated Calf Raise 2 15 Legs
Day 3
Exercise Sets Reps Muscle
Standing Barbell Military Press 3 8 Shoulders
Standing Dumbbell Upright Row Both Arms 2 10 Shoulders
Standing Cable Side Raise One Arm 3 12 Shoulders
Standing Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise Both Arms 3 12 Shoulders
Standing Barbell Military Press 2 15 Shoulders
Standing Barbell Shrugs 3 6 Shoulders
Standing Dumbbell Shrugs 2 12 Shoulders
Standing Barbell Shrugs 2 15 Shoulders
Bent Over Cable Crunch 2 8 Abs
Reverse Crunch/ Leg Lifts 3 25 Abs
Bent Over Cable Crunch 2 15 Abs
Day 4
Exercise Sets Reps Muscle
Barbell Bent Over Wide Grip Rows Both Arms 3 8 Back
Pull-Up/ Chin 3 10 Back
Seated Cable Row 3 12 Back
Seated On Bench Cable Lat Pulldowns One Arm 3 15 Back
Barbell Bent Over Wide Grip Rows Both Arms 2 15 Back
Barbell Close Grip Bench Press with bands 3 8 Chest
Standing Cable Triceps Extension Both Arms 3 10 Arms
Standing Both Legs Over Head Tricep Extension Both Arms 3 12 Arms
Barbell Close Grip Bench Press with bands 2 15 Chest

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