Paragon fitness members working out on row machine.

Cardio/Lift Hypertrophy Cycle – Fall 2022

18-Week Hypertrophy Cardio/Lift Cycle:

Hypertrophy = “muscle building.”  It’s how you want to be mostly training if your goal is to maximize your physique and look your best.

We are very excited for this hypertrophy cycle for both Physique and Cardio/Lift programs, as it will encompass 3 different 6-week cycles for lifting days.

  • 6 weeks: Glutes/Back focus (Sept 12 – Oct 23rd)
  • 6 weeks: Quads/Shoulders focus (Oct 24th – Dec 4th)
  • 6 weeks: Hamstrings/Arms focus (Dec 5th – Jan 15th)

New Cycles Begin Every 6 Weeks:

The Quick & Dirty About Cardio/Lift:

  • 60-75-min workouts

  • 5 days per week (3 lifting sessions, 2 cardio sessions)

  • Full gym and at-home options


Equipment Required: 

  • Cardio/Lift: dumbbells, barbell, squat rack, bench. Option to use machines/cable machines if you wish (but you don’t have to)

  • DB Cardio/Lift: dumbbells + bench (a minimum of 2-3 pairs of DB’s would be great!)


4 Options for Cardio Days:

  • Programmed interval/sprint work

  • Programmed steady-state endurance work

  • Sub in your own endurance or race training

  • Hop in a Peloton class

Already Have A Cardio Program You Love?

This is a super versatile program to have fun. We want to support you in your endeavors (whether that’s a 5k, a half marathon, riding your Peloton, etc etc), so think of this program as a template to use as a guideline to make your own.

Feel free to hit one or both of our programmed cardio days OR sub in your own cardio training. We also recognize that individuals love hitting group classes, riding their spin bike, doing Peloton classes, etc. Feel free to sub in those classes on the cardio days as well!

As always, we recommend making sure that you are getting in 2 rest days per week at a minimum.

Recovery is the secret sauce and vital to positive adaptation (whether fat loss, muscle gain, or improving performance…). Train hard, rest harder = where the magic happens

If you are training for a long-distance run/race, you may need to do cardio 3 days a week, rather than 2 days a week (like in this program) – totally fine! 

If you intend to do 3 days a week, this would leave us with 2 days to lift. We would suggest picking the full body day and combining the upper/lower repeating movements for your second day.

Day 1: Lower Body (Glutes + Hamstrings)


Weekly Repeating Movements:

  • Bent Knee RDL (Floating Deadlifts)

  • Hip Thrusts (Barbell or Machine)

  • Glute Med Kickback (Cable or Banded)


This day is a GLUTE focus by utilizing movements that also have a large contribution from the Hamstrings.

The training consists of one super demanding “Lengthened” movement (the RDL), with two “short overload” movements. These short movements will be less fatiguing, systemically.

The RDL is a movement that can be performed with a Hamstring bias or a Glute bias. This all depends on how much the knees bend. The objective is to stretch the glute at the bottom (not the hamstring), and a moderate amount of knee bend will facilitate a deeper glute stretch at the bottom.

The amount of knee bend will be individually dependent. If you use too much, you’ll feel the quads working more, and if you don’t use enough, you’ll feel the hamstrings working more (note: you should feel some hamstring, even with the proper amount of knee bend).

The Glute Medius Kickback is quite effective with bands or cables because both will be short overloaded. Just make sure that if you use a band, you set it up so that there is SOME tension at the stretch position.

When you kick back, the ideal path of motion is to come SLIGHTLY across your body at the front (to facilitate the stretch of the glute), and then abduct (away) at about 30 degrees from directly back (if you were to kick directly back, it would be the Glute Max as the primary mover; and the glute max is the target of the first two movements).

We also don’t want to go directly to the side, or that would be more Glute Minimus.

Day 2: Upper Body (Back Focus)


Weekly Repeating Movements:

  • One Arm Lat Pulldown (Cable OR Banded)

  • Pronated (Overhand) Row (pull line to chest; elbows in a “T”)

  • Y-Raise (Cable OR DB)

The BACK work today consists of two of the three grip/elbow positions mentioned above. The first movement is a single-arm movement for the lats that can be quite effective with bands or cables.

As stated with the kickback, just make sure there is SOME tension on the band at the stretch position. The lat pulldown should have resistance coming from high to low, and the hand position is neutral with the elbow driving down towards the waistline.

The second back movement is overhand, with elbows driving out, targeting the upper back. We usually advise doing bent-over row movements by pulling to the abs, where this is pulling to the chest line (to help facilitate the elbows driving out). A barbell, DBs, or machine row would be effective for this variation.

The Y-Raise is a bit of a mid trap and rear delt hybrid movement that is significantly less fatiguing than the prior movements. You won’t be able to use a ton of weight, and that’s ok! Try to make a “Y” at the top, like Y-MCA!

Day 3: Full Body


Weekly Repeating Movements:

  • Leg Press or Low Bar Back Squat

  • Chest-Supported Machine Row

  • Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat (Glute Dominant)


The first and third movements are EXTREMELY demanding lengthened overload movements. With the knowledge that we want to STRETCH the glutes at the bottom of the reps, the execution will be a bit different than when we want to prioritize quads.

We want to AVOID any ankle flexion (i.e. keep the shins as vertical as possible). If the knees begin to shift forward at all, this will begin to involve the quads more. To achieve this, you will place the legs high and narrow on the leg press.

For the Back Squat, we want the barbell placed across the shoulder blades (not on top of the Traps) in a low bar position. Rather than being more upright like we might be in a high bar back squat, we want to squat at more of an angle with chest forward. This change in positioning will shift which muscles we’re targeting!

The second movement utilizes the “semi-pronated” grip to target the rear delts, which are a large part of what makes the back “pop” from behind. Semi-pronated is halfway between neutral and overhand. Due to the unique hand position, Dumbbells are probably the best tool for most of you (unless you have a super rad machine row that has D-handles or semi-pronated handle sets, which many do these days).

The Split Squat is initiated with hip flexion, shins stay vertical the entire time, etc. Most people will find the Rear Foot Elevated option to be the most effective for glutes, as it sort of deloads the back leg and puts more of the load into the glute of the front leg.

Sample Workouts from Cardio/Lift & DB Cardio/Lift:

New Training Cycles Begin Every 6 Weeks:



Paragon's Story

“They say the best companies from solving a problem. Paragon Training Methods started w/ solving mine.”

– Paragon Founder, LCK 

Search for more

Our Workouts

Apparel + Merch

free workouts

Come Get Strong With Us!

Related Posts

Paragon Acclimation Program

Welcome To Our 5-Week Acclimation Program! The acclimation program was created as the solution to two problems: 1. To provide

Paragon Training Coach self testing with a dumbbell.

When It’s Time To Test

Self-Testing The final week of the cycle is used as a strength assessment “self-test” of sorts to, so we definitely

Want FREE Sample Workouts From Each of Our Paragon Programs?