This week is one of my favorite types of weeks- hypertrophy week! Hit a set of weight hard, rest a little bit, and hit ‘em hard again. In fact, I think the hypertrophy day is quickly becoming my favorite type of training day (I still love you 5X5!). On hypertrophy days, that minute of rest goes by all too fast for me, especially since I love writing notes in my training log in between sets. This day always requires a wrist watch! For the sake of objectivity, I’m going to compare this week’s (Week eight) results (just a sampling of the exercises) with a similar routine I performed on Week 3 of the program.


  Week 3 Week 3 Week 8 Week 8 Notes
Exercise Reps Weight Reps Weight  
Incline DB Press 15, 12, 8 30, 35, 40 12, 10, 10 40 lbs Seriously, this exercise never gets easier for me!
Hammer Chest Press 10, 9, 7 100, 110, 115 8,8,6 (6!) 130 lbs Little overzealous with the weight maybe?
Hammer machine low row 8,9,9 90 8,8,8 90 No improvement
Partial rep deads in power cage 8,8 135 8,8 145 Increase!
Seated DB Shoulder Press 12,8 25 12, 6 30, 35 Big improvement, but only got 6 out of 2nd set
Side Lat Raises 15,12 15 8,8 20 YEAH!
Standing barbell curl 12,8,8 40 8, 10, 10 50, 45, 45 Another big improvement!
Skullcrushers 8,8,8 50 10, 8, 7 40 Bad news, and my elbows are bugging me during this move. I listen to my body and lighten up.

Here is a sampling of the results for LOWER BODY HYPERTROPHY:










Exercise Week 3 Week 8
Front squat 75 lbs by 12 reps, 3 sets 90, 90, 100 lbs for 8 reps (25 lb increase- yessss!)
Reverse step DB lunges 35 lb DBs, 10,7,7 reps (yikes! 7!) 40 lbs, 3 sets of 10 (BIG improvement!)
Straight leg deadlifts 115 lbs (12 reps by 4 sets) 125 lbs (12 reps), 125 (12), 130 (12) 135 (8). Another big jump!
Seated Calf Raise 70 lbs, 12 reps 90 lbs, 10 reps

I’m definitely proud of the results above. The only thing I did NOT see an improvement on was on the lying leg curl and leg extension. I break even with last time, but I’m not that worried about it.  As the BBR mods will point out- a great strength training routine is not based solely on machine work, so since I’m seeing improvements on the barbell and dumbbell work, I’m happy! Another great moment was seeing an improvement on the seated calf raise…I really wasn’t even “trying” to see an improvement here, it just happened.  Oh- and the burn in my calves post workout felt awesome!!








My last day on Hybrid this week is the total body HIIT day. For the HIIT portion, I get reacquainted with an awesome, awesome cardio machine (and I rarely say that): the rowing machine.   The last time I did this was on week 1 of Hybrid. I’m wondering how I could have ignored it for so long.  I enlist the help of my fellow gym buddy (and avid rower) to make sure my form is right. He stays with me (probably for amusement?) for the majority of the routine, to make sure I do this right.  He complains that 95% of people do this wrong (who knew!?) and I want to be that 5% that nails it. 5 minutes of warmup and the usual HIIT routine. This doesn’t go as “fast” as the elliptical but each “sprint” is challenging as all get out. I feel it in my glutes, hams, everywhere- and that was an unexpected surprise!

I hit the  chin/bench/squat circuit but back off doing chins on sets 2 and 3 because I’m seeing diminishing returns on my investment here. Thanks to the great input from members on the BBR forum (and these members are awesome, and the moderators are first-class), I have some great ideas for acceptable chin subs.  This time, I pick inverted rows on the Smith machine.  When I first looked it up, I thought, hah, piece of cake (mainly because the Smith machine was involved), but not so! I’ve discovered a new use for the Smith. Gotta be proud of discovering new tricks in the gym!  I finish with 20 minutes of easy incline walking on the treadmill.

Another great week on Hybrid! Time to go eat! Please feel free to leave some comments below.

-Sumi Singh is a Personal Trainer in Austin, TX and an online diet coach. Her website is www.shailafitness.com




Sumi Singh is a diet coach, group fitness instructor,  personal trainer in Austin TX, and a mom.  She is an ISSA Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist, holds her personal trainer certifications from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and the International Fitness Professionals Association, holds a certification in pre-and post-natal exercise, and is a Les Mills Group Fitness Instructor. She writes for her online fitness blog at www.shailafitness.com, and is a contributing author on the BrinkZone.com.


She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Tufts University and a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University.  The strong science background gives Sumi a unique edge in being able to separate fitness fads and trends from effective approaches to fitness and nutrition.

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