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The Home Gym Upper Lower Split That Built Me! Personal Trainer Tokyo Titan

The photo on the left was me in my mid twenties. On the right is me now in my early thirties and this is the training program that built me. I'm Tokyo Titan, the certified bodybuilding-specialist fitness trainer and nutritionist, and today I'm going to share the training program that built me.

Note: Click the link below for a video covering the same content.

A word of warning: this training program is not for beginners. This is a high volume, high intensity training program for advanced lifters.

This program is designed entirely for use in a home gym. That's because for the past three years, this small home gym you can see behind me is where I've been doing my workouts. But you can run the same training program in a fitness gym. And all these exercises, at least besides the main lifts, can be swapped out. So you could replace a lot of these exercises with gym specific exercises.

This program incorporates DUPs, or daily undulating periodization. Basically, what this means is that in this program we have strength days and we have hypertrophy days. This style of training has been scientifically proven to build more muscle. This program also incorporates antagonizing supersets. Well, for the most part, they're antagonizing. This is not because supersets build more muscle or anything like that. This is just to save time.

Originally, this training program was entirely straight sets. Straight sets are the most effective way to build both strength and muscle. But this training program is extremely high volume, so if performed doing straight sets, that ends up being about three and a half hours per session spent in the gym. So in order to still have effective workouts but save time, this program incorporates opposing muscle supersets. If you have no time restrictions and you don't care how much time you spend at the gym, then I recommend performing this program straight sets. When performed using straight sets, there are a few minor adjustments I would make, but you can take the same program and perform it entirely straight sets. But by taking all these exercises and performing them in a opposing muscle supersets, you can take that three and a half hours that you would be spending in the gym per session and cut it down all the way to one and a half hours.

One very important thing to mention, mostly for safety, is that opposing muscle supersets aren't used for the squats and for the deadlifts. These lifts are extremely taxing on the body. Even with something like opposing muscle supersets which are designed not to interfere with the other exercise, it's still going to impact your performance. Only perform squats and deadlifts in straight sets, as performing them in supersets sets you up for a higher risk of injury.

This program that I'm showing you is the full program, but there are a lot of details and things happening in the background of this program that are just too difficult to explain in an article. This would just end up confusing a lot of people. For example, between weeks, the program manipulates sets, reps in reserve, some weeks you perform some sets to failure, some weeks you don't, and the Excel program I built all of this into programs in a deload and automatically calculates the weights and number of reps you need to use for the deload. Like I said, it's just too much to cover in an article. If you want the full, unfiltered program in all its glory to maximize your gains, then go check it out on the website.

Unfortunately, it isn't free, but it is extremely cheap and until the end of the year, so until December 31st, 2022, it's on sale, going dirt cheap. If you've been consistently training for the past two years and you're ready to take your training to the next level, go check it out. So without further ado, here is the 100% home gym training program that built me.

Lower Body Warmup

This is the warmup you'll be doing on lower body days. First up is bird dogs. For this one, do 10 to 15 reps on each side. A lot of the clients I've had over the years, they'll tend to try and sprint through this exercise and also the next warmup exercise. But the whole point of the warmup is priming your body so that you don't injure yourself, but also still lifting at your maximum potential. If you sprint through this, you're going to lose that effect. So make sure you do all of these movements controlled and in a nice, smooth motion.

The next warmup exercise is deadbugs. Again, you'll be performing 10 to 15 reps on each side. A very important thing to remember is that for this exercise you need to activate opposing diagonal limbs. So, for example, when you're working your left arm, you should be working your right leg. When first attempting this exercise, a lot of people accidentally do the same side of the body at the same time. So, for example, doing the left arm and the left leg at the same time. But remember, it should be diagonally opposing limbs.

The next warmup exercise is glute bridges. For this exercise, you'll be doing 15 to 20 reps. This exercise activates the glutes, which is going to be really useful when you're doing squats and also glute based exercises. Again, remember to do slow controlled motions.

The next warmup exercise is kneeling plate raises. For this exercise, you'll be doing 10 to 15 reps. You perform this exercise by kneeling down on your knees and sitting back on the backs of your heels while holding a plate. Lift yourself up off the backs of your heels so that you're upright on your knees, then lower yourself back down.

The last lower body warmup exercise is plate squats. For this, you'll be doing 10 to 15 reps. Alternatively, you can do goblet squats instead of plate squats. Either one is fine. With the warmup out the way, let's get into day one, our lower strength day.

Day 1: Lower Body Strength Workout

First up is the squat. For this one. You'll be doing three sets of 4 to 6 reps. Some of you will want to perform the low bar squat to get more weight on the bar. If you're going to do the low bar squat, do it only on this strength day. But in general, I recommend just doing the high bar squat. It's much better for bodybuilding purposes.

Next is the deadlift for this one will be performing three sets of 4 to 6 reps. For the deadlift, you can perform either conventional deadlifts or sumo deadlifts. Either one's fine. Just remember, for the muscles they work, the balance does shift. Notice how I'm using an overhand grip? I strongly recommend using an overhand grip. It's much better for building up your forearm muscles. Also, you may have noticed I have a very slow, controlled descent. Again, this is much better for bodybuilding.

Next is a superset of front squats and dumbbell RDLs. For this, we’ll be doing three sets of 6 to 8 reps each. You may be wondering: “Really? Back squat and front squat on the same day?” I did warn you, this is high volume. This is an advanced training program. The front squat is great for building up your quads and also for building up strength. When finished with the front squat, carefully rack the barbell, go over, pick up the dumbbells and start performing dumbbell Romanian deadlifts.

This superset works the quads in the front squat and the hamstrings in the Romanian deadlifts. These are opposing muscles, so when you work one, it doesn't interfere much with the other one. This means that for the second exercise, you can lift close to your maximum potential even though you just finished the first exercise.

Next is a super set combining barbell hip thrusts with hang grip standing barbell calf raises. For these exercises you'll be doing four sets of 8 to 10 reps. The hang grip standing barbell calf raise is probably an exercise you've never done before. The reason for choosing this exercise in the program is because once you finish the barbell hip thrust, you can put the barbell down and with the same setup, go straight into the calf exercise. With calf exercises, make sure to pause for 1 second at the top of the lift and 1 second at the bottom. The pause at the top increases the effect, while the pause at the bottom stops you from using other muscles besides your calves.

Last for day one is a superset of Supermans and reverse crunches. For these exercises, you'll be doing four sets of 6 to 10 reps. For bodyweight exercises, a great way to increase the resistance is to slow down the exercise. Supermans are a great exercise for strengthening your lower back. Not many people actually train their lower back, but spending time on your lower back could help prevent injury. Once finished with the Superman, turnover and go straight into reverse crunches. The reverse crunch is one of my favorite ab exercises.

When people do ab exercises, they tend to accidentally engage their lower back, which can risk injury but also takes away from the effect of the ab exercise. However, with a reverse crunch, it's nearly impossible to engage your lower back, which makes it pair really well when you're doing a superset with a lower back exercise.

Upper Body Warmup

Next is the upper body warmup. First up is arm swings doing 15 to 20 in each direction. Arm swings are really great for getting the blood flowing. Plus, they're also really good for shoulder mobility. For bodybuilders, shoulder mobility is usually one of the first things to go. Despite being such a simple warmup exercise, arm swings are extremely beneficial.

Next is band pull aparts. For this exercise, We’ll be doing 10 to 15 reps. Pull aparts are really great for opening up your chest muscles, which is really good for the bench press.

Next is iso-pushups and for this exercise will be performing 3 to 5 reps. Notice how I pause between each phase of the pushup. This is an iso-pushup. Iso-pushups are great for activating the upper body muscles. Particularly for the bench press, this is a great warmup exercise.

The last warmup exercise is the Cuban press and we’ll be performing 10 to 15 reps. Now this is a warm up exercise, so you need to go very light. The weight you choose should be about one third of what you'd use in working sets. As a reference, the weight I'm using here is four kilograms. And again, throughout the warmup, we gradually move from general warmup exercises into exercises that are closely matching the movements of the body building exercises that we'll be doing.

Day 2: Upper Strength Workout

First is a superset of bench press and dumbbell rows. For this exercise, you'll be doing three sets of 4 to 6 reps. Unlike the other main lifts, the bench press isn't as taxing on the body, so you can easily combine it in supersets. Dumbbells have been used in this exercise to make the changeover in the superset quicker, but if you're performing this using straight sets, I actually recommend performing the bent over barbell row here for 4 to 6 reps. Particularly for the dumbbell row, people tend to rush through the movement, but make sure it's a nice controlled movement for better effect. Next is a superset of the bent over barbell row and the incline dumbbell bench press. For these exercises, you'll be performing three sets of 6 to 8 reps. In a small home gym like mine, you may have to move the equipment around between the two exercises.

The reason we're performing the incline dumbbell bench press here and not the flat dumbbell bench press is we just performed the flat barbell bench press, so performing it at an incline here will provide a different stimulus. Also, incline presses shift the focus more onto the pectoralis major, which is the muscle in the upper part of your chest. Targeting this muscle in addition to your overall chest creates an even better chest shape. If you're performing this as a superset, leave the belt on to save time. But in general, you shouldn't be using a belt when you're doing the incline bench press.

Next is a superset of the barbell overhead press with weighted pullups. For these exercises, you'll be performing three sets of 6 to 8 reps. For the barbell overhead press, make sure to pause for 1 second at the bottom of the movement when the barbell is at your chest. Too many people bounce the bar straight back up, getting in cheat reps and essentially losing the effect of the exercise. Once you've finished the overhead press, you need a quick changeover, taking off the lifting belt and putting on the dip belt, which has the weights attached to it. Weighted pullups are a great exercise for building not just back strength, but overall upper body strength.

Next is a superset of dumbbell side raises with behind the back barbell shrugs. For these exercises, you'll be performing three sets of 8 to 10 reps. Side raises is also another exercise that people tend to rush just to get more weight up in the air. Keep a controlled movement. If that means going a lighter weight, then go a lighter weight. Shoulders aren't very strong, so it's perfectly fine using a light weight. Barbell shrugs are a great way for building up your traps, particularly when you have the barbell behind your back. To maximize the effects from the exercise, make sure you pause for about 1 second at the top of the movement. This loads up the traps even more than if you just rush through it.

Last is a super set of dumbbell skullcrushes and concentration curls. For these exercises, you'll be doing 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps. With the skull crushers, make sure you keep your elbows parallel to your hands. Your elbows will try to go outwards so that you engage your shoulders more to make the exercise easier, but keep them in parallel. With the concentration curls, you want to place your arms so that the part just below your elbow is resting on the middle of your leg. Gripping the dumbbell tightly, bring it up across your chest. The concentration curl is a very stereotypical bodybuilding exercise, but the reason it's on the strength day and not the hypertrophy day is because by doing one arm at a time, you can really focus on that arm, which allows you to put more weight on it.

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Lower Body Hypertrophy

First is squats. For this exercise, you'll be doing three sets of 8 to 12 reps. I know, squats twice in the same week. I did warn you, this is an advanced program. But by performing squats twice with the first time in a strength range and the second time in a hypertrophy range, we’ll achieve even more growth. For the strength squat day, while I do recommend doing a high bar squat, by all means, feel free to do a low bar squat. But for the hypertrophy day, you need to be doing a high bar squat. The high bar squat is much better for bodybuilding purposes.

Next is a deficit deadlift with three sets of 8 to 12 reps. The deficit deadlift is one of the best ways of building up your hamstrings. By performing this exercise while standing on a plate, your hamstrings have to go through a much wider range of motion. While true for all deadlift variations, especially for the deficit deadlift you want to make sure you have impeccable form. Otherwise, you could very easily injure your back.

Next is a superset of Bulgarian split squats and Romanian deadlifts. For these exercises, you'll be performing three sets of 12 to 15 reps. The Bulgarian split squat is such an effective exercise because it's a unilateral exercise. Plus also, this kind of movement isn't done very often, so it also provides a stimulus your muscles aren't used to receiving. A quick tip: if you're struggling to balance, keep your eyes focused on a non-moving point in the room. It'll be much easier to keep your balance.

Next is a superset of the landmine pull through and dumbbell calf raises. For these exercises, you'll be performing four sets of 15 to 20 reps. This action isn't really a pull through, but it does work the same muscles as a cable pull through and it uses a landmine, which is why I call it the landmine pull through.

This is a great free weight glutes exercise. To make sure you're getting the full effect of this exercise, really focus on engaging the glutes and how it feels in the glutes. For the dumbbell calf raise, prepare a plate you can stand on with the front half of your foot and keep your heel off the ground. Using the plate makes sure you don't accidentally engage your heel muscles, which puts more of the load on your calves. It also has the added benefit of slightly increasing the range of motion, which is going to help you build more muscle in the long run. And again, for more effect, make sure you pause for about 1 second at the top and the bottom of the movement.

Last is a superset of pullup Supermans and side planks with arm raises. For these exercises, you'll be performing four sets of 15 to 20 reps. For this variant of the Superman, you want to make sure you keep your feet on the ground, otherwise you're not going to be able to perform the full 15 to 20 reps. This exercise is great for both strengthening the lower back, but also recovery, as it really gets the blood flowing throughout the back.

Once finished with the Superman, quickly turn on your side and start performing the side planks. Adding the arm raise to the side planks further requires your obliques to stabilize your torso and prevent it from moving as your arm ascends and descends. Many people assume this is an ab exercise, but it's actually an obliques exercise. These are the muscles that are located on the side of your body. The obliques have the very important role of stabilizing your torso, so working on your obliques not only further reduces the risk of injury, but it also further stabilizes other exercises like the squat that deadlift, potentially making them even stronger. For more balanced development, you should be working your abs and obliques once a week each.

Day Five: Upper Hypertrophy

First is a superset of the bench press and chinups. For these exercises, you'll be doing three sets of 8 to 12 reps. In terms of the grip. I recommend using a standard grip for the bench press for more balanced muscle development. Chinups are a really effective upper body exercise, plus also being body weight, it makes it really quick to change over when they are used in a superset.

Next is a superset of dumbbell flies and T-bar rows, and for these exercises, we'll be doing three sets of 12 to 15 reps. The dumbbell fly is easily one of my favorite chest exercises. It's really good for bodybuilding because you can really feel those muscles engaging and really feel that muscle mind connection. Once finished with the flyes, you will need to quickly put down the dumbbells and get the bench out the way so you can move your barbell over for the T-bar row. The T-bar row is one of my favorite back exercises. It does require a landmine, but it's well worth the investment, so make sure you look for a good one.

Next is a superset of the Arnold press and the lat pulldown. For these exercises, we'll be doing three sets of 12 to 15 reps. The Arnold press, made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is one of the most effective bodybuilding shoulder exercises you can do, as it hits all the shoulder muscles from a wide range of angles. You can perform shoulder press variants standing up, but performing them sitting down allows you to lift more weight, which puts more load on the muscles and achieves more muscle growth.

For the lat pulldown, you will need some kind of cable pulley system. I highly recommend the one I'm using. Make sure to check out this video which talks about this product in more depth. This is a fantastic pulley system for a small home gym. I highly recommend it. Go watch the video.

Next is a superset of the band side raise and dumbbell shrugs. For these exercises, you'll be performing three sets of 15 to 20 reps. If you thought you couldn't do effective shoulder training with bands and look cool while doing it, you clearly have never done the band side raise. This is an amazing exercise. It feels great. It looks great. If you aren't doing this exercise, you need to be doing it.

By putting the band through the legs, we're actually doing an Egyptian side raise. This variant puts the body on more of an angle, which puts more load on the shoulders. For some people, even the red band might be too much resistance at 15 to 20 reps, so you may need to go and get a thinner band than this. Once you're finished with the band side raise, put the band down. Pick up the dumbbells and start doing some dumbbell shrugs. This exercise is a staple for bodybuilders. It works the traps and will help build a bigger, more muscular-looking back.

Last is a superset of cable pushdowns and dumbbell curls, and for these exercises, you'll be doing four sets of 15 to 20 reps. For most people, I actually recommend using the rope attachment and not the bar attachment. The rope attachment allows you to achieve a larger range of motion, which is going to help you build more muscle in most cases. I never use the bar attachment, which is why I've used it in this case for novel stimulus. Once finished with the cable tricep pushdown, pick up the dumbbells and start doing some dumbbell curls.

This is 15 to 20 reps, so you may need to go quite light compared to what you normally use for bicep exercises. Keep a firm grip and avoid using your torso to swing the dumbbells up. At such high reps, you'll really feel the burn in your biceps, but because this is not something you normally do, this will help you achieve more muscle growth.

Day six and seven you rest, and then the next week, you do it all over again.

For an effective fitness training routine, contact Tokyo Titan!

I am Tokyo Titan, an internationally-certified bodybuilding specialist personal trainer and nutritionist. Using bodybuilding techniques, together we will create the body that you want in a short amount of time. Lessons are provided in two formats: online and in-person at my private gym in Ota-ku, Tokyo, a few minutes walk from Omori-machi Station on the Keikyu Line. Customers can choose either lesson style or a combination of both to suit their preferences and schedule. As a bilingual Japanese native English speaker, I can provide lessons in either Japanese or English, allowing customers to train both their bodies and their language skills at the same time. For more information, inquire today!

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