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Beginner to Advanced: Phase 3 Overview

My detailed rundown on Phase 3 of the Beginner to Advanced training program

Beginner to Advanced: Phase 3 Overview

In Phase 2 of the program, you were introduced to basic split-style training with workouts designed to work half the body one day and the other half the next. In Phase 3, workouts will be divided into 3 groupings: pushing movements, leg exercises, and pulling movements. 

Over the following 3 weeks, this 3-day split will again allow you to add more exercises for each muscle group. Additionally, the weight you will be lifting will be increased or decreased to allow for greater intensity on heavier lifts and higher volume on lighter lifts. 

Workout 1: Push Day (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)

Exercise 1 – Bench Press

Targeted Muscles 

Pectoralis Major and Minor (Pecs, Chest)

Assistance Muscles 

Anterior Deltoid (Delt, Front Shoulder), Triceps Brachii (Triceps, Rear Upper Arm)

Bench Press Overview and Instruction

Set and Rep Scheme

3 sets of 6-8 reps

Rest Periods

2-3 minutes

To perform the bench press, lie face up on a bench press bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. 

Be sure to maintain five points of contact at all times: Each foot on the floor, and your hips, shoulders, and head on the bench. Additionally, retract your shoulder blades by squeezing them together. This will enable you to better stretch and engage the muscle fibers in your chest for better overall strength and impact. 

With enough weight to limit you to 6 to 8 repetitions loaded onto the bar, unrack the bar and slowly lower it toward your chest. Keep your wrists aligned with your elbows and your elbows out to your sides at roughly a 45-degree angle. When the bar just touches your chest, press back up explosively, driving the weight away from you until your arms are almost completely straightened. Repeat until you’ve reached 6 to 8 reps, rerack the bar, and rest for 2 to 3 minutes before beginning your next set.  

Exercise 2 – Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Targeted Muscles 

Upper Pectoralis (Pecs, Chest)

Assistance Muscles 

Anterior Deltoid (Delt, Front Shoulder), Triceps Brachii (Triceps, Rear Upper Arm)

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Overview and Instruction

Set and Rep Scheme

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Rest Periods

2-3 minutes

The Incline Dumbbell Bench Press utilizes the same muscles incorporated in the standard bench press, with greater emphasis placed on the upper pectoral muscles and using the anterior deltoids to a larger degree. 

To perform the incline dumbbell bench press, select a weight that will limit you to 8 to 10 reps. Lie squarely on an incline bench, which should be set at a fairly low angle. Hold the dumbbells just outside your shoulders with your elbows out to your sides and your feet planted flat on the floor. 

Forcefully press the weights up in an arc (coming toward each other at the top) until your arms are fully extended above your chest. Reverse the motion, being sure not to lower the dumbbells below chest level. Repeat until you reach 8 to 10 reps, then rest for 2 to 3 minutes before moving on to your next set.

Exercise 3 – Incline Dumbbell Flye

Targeted Muscles

Pectoralis Major and Minor (Pecs, Chest)

Assistance Muscles

Anterior Deltoid (Delt, Front Shoulder)

Incline Dumbbell Flye Overview and Instruction

Set and Rep Scheme

3 sets of 12-15 reps

Rest Periods

2-3 minutes

To perform the incline dumbbell flye, select dumbbells at a weight that will have you reaching failure within 12 to 15 reps, and set an incline bench at a 30-45-degree angle. Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and your back pressed against the pad. Begin holding the dumbbells with your arms straight up from your shoulders and the dumbbells directly over your upper chest. Your palms should face each other and your elbows should be slightly bent. This angle of your elbows should be maintained throughout the entire exercise. 

Slowly lower your arms out to your sides until your wrists come to about shoulder level or slightly above. Bring your arms back toward the midline of your body, focusing on using your pec muscles to draw them back together. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps, then rest for 2 to 3 minutes before moving on to your next set. 

Exercise 4 – Barbell Shoulder Press

Targeted Muscles

Anterior and Lateral Deltoids (Delts, Front and Side Shoulder)

Assistance Muscles

Posterior Deltoid (Delt, Rear Shoulder), Supraspinatus (Rotator Cuff, Back and Shoulder), Trapezius (Traps, Top of the Back), Triceps Brachii (Triceps, Rear Upper Arm)

Barbell Shoulder Press Overview and Instruction

Set and Rep Scheme

3 sets of 6-8 reps

Rest Periods

2-3 minutes

Set up the barbell on a shoulder press bench, or use a moveable bench with a 90-degree back and load the bar in a power rack or smith machine with enough weight to limit you to 6 to 8 reps. Plant your feet flat on the floor and unrack the bar using an overhand grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width on the bar. Bring the bar over and in front of your head to the start position under your chin and just above your upper chest. 

Press the bar straight up overhead until your arms are fully extended but not locked out. Slowly lower the bar back to the start position. Repeat for 6 to 8 reps, then rest for 2 to 3 minutes before beginning your next set.

Exercise 5 – Smith Machine Upright Row

Targeted Muscles

Deltoids (Delts, Shoulder), Upper Trapezius (Traps, Top of the Back)

Assistance Muscles

Biceps Brachii (Biceps, Front Upper Arm)

Smith Machine Upright Row Overview and Instruction

Set and Rep Scheme

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Rest Periods

2-3 minutes

The Upright Row is unique among shoulder exercises in that few incorporate all three heads of the deltoid to the same degree. Using the Smith machine enables you to focus more on contraction of these muscles during the movement. 

To perform the Smith machine upright row, load the bar with a weight that limits you to 8 to 10 reps. Stand in the middle of the Smith machine, holding the bar with an overhand grip across the front of your thighs. Your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Your hands should be about hip-width apart for regular upright rows and wider than shoulder-width for wide-grip upright rows. 

Lift the bar up to upper chest height while keeping your elbows higher than your wrists at all times. Pause for a moment at the top then slowly lower the bar back to the start. Repeat until you reach failure between 8 and 10 reps, then rest 2 to 3 minutes before continuing with your next set.

Exercise 6 – Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Targeted Muscles

Lateral Deltoid (Delt, Side Shoulder)

Assistance Muscles

Anterior and Posterior Deltoid (Delts, Front and Rear Shoulder), Trapezius (Traps, Top of the Back)

Dumbbell Lateral Raise Overview and Instruction

Set and Rep Scheme

3 sets of 12-15 reps

Rest Periods

2-3 minutes

To perform the dumbbell lateral raise, select a weight that will limit you to 12 to 15 reps. Just like the dumbbell flye, because this is a single-joint movement the amount of weight you choose will be fairly light. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart while holding two dumbbells at your sides with neutral grips. 

Slowly raise the dumbbells up and out to your sides keeping your arms straight with a very slight bend in your elbows. When your arms reach just above parallel with the floor, pause in this position for a second before slowing lowering the dumbbells back to the start. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps, then rest 2 to 3 minutes before moving on to your next set.

Exercise 7 – Close-Grip Bench Press

Targeted Muscles

Triceps Brachii (Triceps, Rear Upper Arm)

Assistance Muscles

Pectoralis Major and Minor (Pecs, Chest), Anterior Deltoid (Delt, Front Shoulder), Anconeus (Rear Elbow)

Close-Grip Bench Press Overview and Instruction

Set and Rep Scheme

3 sets of 6-8 reps

Rest Periods

2-3 minutes

To do the Close-Grip Bench Press, load the barbell with enough weight to reach failure in 6 to 8 reps. Lie face up on a bench press bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, your hands shoulder-width apart. 

Unrack the bar and slowly lower it to your lower chest, keeping your elbows as close to your sides as possible. At the bottom of the movement, your elbows should be a little lower than your shoulders. Press the bar back up to the start position. Continue until you’ve reached 6 to 8 reps, then rest for 2 to 3 minutes before continuing on to your next set.

Exercise 8 – Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension

Targeted Muscles

Triceps Brachii (Triceps, Rear Upper Arm)

Assistance Muscles

Anconeus (Rear Elbow)

Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension Overview and Instruction

Set and Rep Scheme

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Rest Periods

2-3 minutes

The Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension is an isolation exercise targeting the triceps muscles. While all three heads of the triceps are involved, due to arm position this movement stretches the long head of the triceps meaning an increase in power and better targeting of that head of the triceps.

To perform the dumbbell overhead triceps extension, choose a weight that will limit you to 8 to 10 reps. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands and place it over your head. Once secure in position place the dumbbell behind the back of the head/neck and use both arms to evenly extend the dumbbell upward until the arms are completely straight and locked. Keep your head in a neutral position throughout the lift.

Once in extension slowly return to the starting position. Repeat until you reach 8 to 10 reps, then rest for 2 to 3 minutes before continuing to your next set.

Exercise 9 – Triceps Pressdown

Targeted Muscles

Triceps Brachii (Triceps, Rear Upper Arm)

Assistance Muscles

Anconeus (Rear Elbow)

Triceps Pressdown Overview and Instruction

Set and Rep Scheme

3 sets of 12-15 reps

Rest Periods

2-3 minutes

To perform the triceps...

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