Lean Muscle Trainer Hero

Day 23:Back And Abs

s we get deeper into Week Four of my 12-Week Lean Muscle Program, you should be experiencing both a sense of accomplishment for what you’ve already achieved as well as a bit of lethargy before your workouts. This is where discipline really comes into play. You need to dig deep to make sure you get the most from every workout.

Today, we’re starting with seated rows. Notice that we’re on a unilateral machine that’s fairly vertical. Remember that “unilateral” means that the arms of the machine are not connected. While you can perform the exercise one-arm at a time today we’ll be performing them using both arms at the same time. Remember to squeeze your shoulder blades together before you begin each rep to drive the action into your lats.

The next exercise is bent-over Smith machine rows. You’ll grasp the bar at about shoulder width so that when you pull you’re able to drive your elbows back rather than flaring them. This forces the contraction into your lats. Hold that squeeze for a second before lowering the weight with control. You’ll perform a drop set for each of the 4 sets. That means choosing a weight where you reach failure at about 10 reps. Then you’ll reduce weight and immediately perform another 10 reps. Rest 2 minutes before your next drop set.

With seated cable rows, you’ll lean forward with each rep, as we did in previous back workouts. Take a look at my video to remind yourself of the range of motion on this move. Follow this exercise with neutral-grip lat pulldowns using a V-bar handle. Notice that you do not need to extend fully at the top so long as you feel a good stretch in your lats as you extend.

Today, we’ll also train abs. You can do this one of two ways: Perform the 4 abs exercises as circuit and then rest for 2 minutes between circuits. Or you can perform all sets for one move before going on to the next. The first move is lying leg raises, but this week we’ll use straight legs rather than bringing in the knees.

You can hold a slight bend at the knees but the point is to bring your legs more directly overhead. Next up for abs are twisting crunches. For this move, you’ll lie on your back with your hands behind your head and elbows flared. Raise your feet off the ground and keep them up for the entire set. Cross an elbow to the opposite knee. Then, without lowering your upper body, twist the other elbow to the other knee, and then lower. That counts as 1 rep. Perform these to failure, alternating the side you begin with. Finish off with straight crunches to failure.

You’ll perform V-ups, where you pike your legs as you raise your upper body with your hands extended overhead. As you come up bring your hands and feet together. Then perform crossover V-ups where you bring one hand and the opposite leg up and together. Extend your nonworking-side leg so it’s parallel to the ground and hold your nonworking-side arm out to the side for stability. Check out the video to see exactly how I perform this challenging move.


25+10 minutes

Upon waking perform 25 minutes of steady-state cardio followed immediately by 10 minutes of HIIT for 20 seconds on/40 seconds off


Unilateral Seated Vertical Rows

4 Sets/12-15 Reps

Rest 90 seconds between sets

Smith Machine Bent-Over Rows

4 Sets/10+10 Reps

Perform these as a drop set of 20 reps total and rest 2 minutes between sets

Seated Cable Rows

4 Sets/16-20 Reps

Rest 90 seconds between sets

Neutral-Grip Lat Pulldowns With V-Bar Grip

4 Sets/16-20 Reps

Rest 90 seconds between sets

Lying Leg Raises

4 Sets/Failure

Once you reach failure perform pulses at the top. Rest 1 minute between sets

Twist Crunches

4 Sets/Failure

When you reach failure perform regular crunches. Rest 1 minute between sets


4 Sets/Failure

Rest 1 minute between sets

Crossover V-Ups

4 Sets/Failure

Rest 1 minute between sets


25 + 15 Minutes

After legs training perform 25 minutes of steady-state cardio followed by 15 minutes of HIIT cardio sessions of 20 seconds on/40 seconds off


The second day of each week is one of the toughest on my 12-week program. That’s because you performed the hardest workout of the week the day before, and today you’re training the largest upper-body muscle group while you’re sore and fatigued. You’ve also burned significant calories without consuming more yesterday or today—remember that your intake stays the same on each weight-training day. Make sure to take your recovery supps and get plenty of sleep to help you get the most from this challenging phase of each week.


MICROPURE®WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE is my go-to protein at times of day when I want to get protein into my system quickly or don’t have time for a full meal. This product provides a high-quality, fast-digesting source of protein along with the digestive enzyme ProHydrolase®. The high-quality whey-protein isolate gets into your system quickly, enhanced by the inclusion of these digestive enzymes. Every scoop of MICROPURE WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE delivers 25g of protein for only 130 calories.

DOSE AND TIMING: You can take in multiple servings of MICROPURE WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE per day when you’re following my 12-Week Lean Muscle Program. I recommend that you get in 1 scoop as soon as you complete your morning cardio. You can also get in a serving about 90 minutes before workouts in addition to PRE-KAGED (taken 45 minutes before workouts). Keep in mind that this protein product is great to take with you for times when you can’t get in a whole food meal, but you need to get in protein quickly.

Join our Inner Circle

Unlock Exclusive Content and Connect with a Community Committed to Health and Wellness

Third-Party Tested

Banned Substance Free

Clean Ingredients

Non-GMO, Gluten-Free

Designed For Athletes

Trusted by 14,000+ Worldwide