paragon home gym programs

HOME GYM PHYSIQUE PROGRAMS

Paragon Home Gym Physique workouts are for those lifting at home, in a CrossFit Gym, or in a gym WITHOUT access to machines.

You’ll need a barbell, dumbbells, squat rack, bench, and resistance bands.

*Working out at a gym and have access to machines and cable machines? Peep our Full Gym Physique programs.

With our Home Gym Physique Membership, you’ll have access to 3 programs: 3-Day Home Gym Physique, 4-Day Home Gym Physique, and Strength/Metcon.

Ready to get started? Click here to join!


Home Gym Programs Overview

General Details

  • 60 min workouts
  • 3-Day Full Body Option
  • 4-Day Upper/Lower Split Option
  • If you enjoy cardio, you have the option of completing up to 3 potential sessions each week of Zone 2 / Zone 5 Cardio

Equipment Needed

  • Barbell
  • Dumbbells
  • Squat rack
  • Bench
  • Resistance bands

Workouts

  • Progressive Overload
  • Bodybuilding and strength training
  • Training cycles alternate between Hypertrophy, Strength, Metabolic Conditioning

Current Cycle: Hypertrophy

Hypertrophy = “muscle building.”

You’ll be lifting lots of reps, lots of sets, and catch a great pump from workouts. Hypertrophy is how you want to train most of the time if your goal is to look your best.

Whether you plan to chase fat loss, muscle gain, or any goal in-between, Hypertrophy training is an excellent choice to get ya there.

Just adjust nutrition accordingly:

  • Goal = fat loss (eat in a calorie deficit)
  • Goal = muscle gain (calorie surplus)
  • Goal = maximize health and look/feel your best (eat at maintenance)

Detailed Cycle Coverage

Paragon Co-founder Bryan Boorstein here to discuss the Hypertrophy Cycle for Spring 2023.

This 13-week cycle is part of the larger periodization model we follow at Paragon:

Current Phase: 13 weeks of Hypertrophy
Next Phase: 6 weeks of Strength
Final Phase: 6 weeks of Hypertrophy (with a metabolic / conditioning lean)

The main focus of the training periodization is to optimize strength and hypertrophy outcomes across the year, without having to sacrifice conditioning levels.

You can think of these phases on a spectrum, with hypertrophy being in the middle (the most well-rounded stimulus). Then strength is just slightly lower reps and longer rest periods. Metabolic is going to be slightly lighter weights with shorter rest periods.

Hypertrophy is the place we should live the majority of the time in the pursuit of optimizing body compensation (building muscle and/or losing body fat).

This is how it will look for the next 13 weeks:

  • Pre-cycle Intro/Deload week (April 10th)
  • 5-week Progressive Hypertrophy Phase
  • Mid-cycle Deload week (May 22nd)
  • 6-week Progressive Hypertrophy phase

When we discuss hypertrophy training, there are a number of important factors that play into optimizing the results during this 13-week cycle. We will delve deeper into this in the sections below.  


Equipment & Exercise Selection

As of this new cycle, Home Gym Physique is now a thing!

This means that within the app, the primary listed movement will always be a movement with free weights or other equipment compatible with a home gym setup.

We understand that there are certain “home gym hack” movements that tend to be exhaustive from the setup being too difficult. Specifically, the different leg extension and leg curl variations. For the most part, you won’t be seeing these movements anymore in the Home Gym Physique program.

Quads will be trained through different squat and single-leg movements. Hamstrings will be trained with different hinge pattern movements (RDL, Hip Extensions). Glutes will be trained with various “glute dominant” squatting patterns and bridges/thrusts.

There will also be certain banded movements included. For example, some of the glute kickback stuff would be productive, even with bands! We will also use bands for some pulldown variations, with plenty of pull-ups and rack pull-ups, per usual!

It’s important to understand that the selection of specific exercises is still important.

Home Gym Physique will continue to provide the “most optimal” movement choice for the goal of building more muscle.

So, how do we determine the definition of optimal?

When we look at the Sumo or Conventional Deadlift, we can see an easy example to demonstrate why exercise selection matters. 

These two movements are probably not the best choices for you to use in a hypertrophy phase. These exercises extend at three joints (ankles, knees, hips), which makes it extremely fatiguing, and also difficult to determine what muscles are actually receiving the primary stimulus. Is it the hams? The glutes? The low back? The quads? It’s kind of all of them, to varying degrees!

Instead, an RDL is a significantly better choice to target the musculature. It extends only at one joint (the hip) with a partial bend from the knees (but no ankle movement). This directs the loading much more acutely into the glutes and hamstrings.

The same idea can be extrapolated across all movements. For any hypertrophy cycle, the selection of exercises will take into account the stimulus provided by that exercise, as well as the overall fatigue cost associated with that movement.

As a general example, if our objective was to target the quads, we would select a heels-elevated back squat instead of a heavily loaded back squat.

This is as much about refining execution to make it more specific (like with the RDL example above), as it is about abolishing the notion of “just moving the weight from Point A to Point B.”

When we focus too much on just moving the weight (with whatever muscles can accomplish the job), we’re taking deep inroads into fatigue, while failing to provide a stimulus to the precise area where we want it to go.

This heel elevation will increase the range of motion at the knee and ankle while decreasing the movement at the hip (more quads, less systemic fatigue per unit of stimulus).

And remember that it is not “bullseye or bust” with these things. It’s a constantly evolving process of getting better at performing movements, through consistent execution of quality repetitions.

As always, the ability to work hard and be consistent over time will move the needle more than anything!


Progression Through A Training Cycle

At Paragon, we program with an “increasing effort” approach, purposefully working closer to failure each week.

There are a few great elements that this approach provides:

1. It makes progression an expectation each week. You need to add weight or do more reps to ensure that you get closer to failure than the prior week. It also has the side benefit of creating “mini wins” each week, in which you leave the gym feeling accomplished; that you did something productive!

2. It ensures you have a self-test each cycle. As you add weight or reps each week, you will inevitably butt up against failure in the final week. If you far exceeded your prior weeks’ performance in this final testing week, then you know you were sandbagging (and you adjust by increasing loads the next cycle).

A large part of this philosophy revolves around there being a different progression model for the demanding lengthened compound movements (squat, RDL, etc…), and the less demanding short overload movements (often isolation movements, but not always). For more about why this matters, check out this blog post about short versus lengthened overload movements.

As far as how this relates to progression, it mostly comes down to the fatigue cost of performing these exercises. Due to how fatiguing (and complex) the “lengthened” movements are, we will often begin cycles at around 5 reps from failure.

The lengthened movements will often progress like this:

  • Week 1 – 5-6 reps from failure
  • Week 2 – 4-5 reps from failure
  • Week 3 – 3-4 reps from failure
  • Week 4 – 2-3 reps from failure
  • Week 5 – 1-2 reps from failure
  • Week 6 – 1 rep from failure

We do not need to actually hit failure on these big movements to see maximal gains.

For the “short” movements, the fatigue cost is so low, we can often begin a cycle at ~2-3 reps from failure.

The short movements will often progress like this:

  • Week 1 – 2-3 reps from failure
  • Week 2 – 1-2 reps from failure
  • Week 3 – 1 rep from failure
  • Week 4 – 0-1 reps from failure
  • Week 5 – Failure + intensity techniques
  • Week 6 – Failure + intensity techniques

The specific intensity techniques are meant to help us “get more” from these less fatiguing movements, and the specific details of each will be explained within the body of the programming in the latter weeks of each training cycle!


Finding Failure

First, let’s define failure: We should assume that taking a set to failure means that you can no longer perform a rep with the same technique. This does not mean that you contort your body to achieve another rep. That is beyond failure because the intended musculature is no longer the one moving the weight. Your first rep should look the exact same as your last rep, just a slower grind through the concentric (lifting) portion of the rep.

I understand the sentiments of those that don’t necessarily feel comfortable with projecting their “reps from failure” very accurately and worry that you might short-change yourself.

The model described above (increasing effort week to week; adding load or reps) is very effective at ensuring we ultimately get to “failure” at the end of each training cycle. 

This approach is a “fail-safe” of sorts.

As you add weight or reps, you will get closer and closer to failure, and ultimately you will feel what “tough reps” feel like towards the end of the mesocycle.

In the final week of each mesocycle (before deload week), even the demanding “lengthened” movements will be taken right up to the point of technical failure. This then provides you the tools to re-assess your effort and weight selection as you head into the subsequent mesocycle.

To provide a little general context around “failure,” I want to introduce the term “Maximal Concentric Intent.” This means you are trying to lift every rep as fast as possible (control the descent… explode the ascent). This is performed without launching from the bottom, but to assertively try to move the weight quickly.

*Note: while we want to lift as quickly as possible in a controlled manner, we recommend doing a controlled 2-3 second descent. For Example in a Back Squat you would take 2-3 seconds to get to the bottom range of motion, and then QUICKLY stand back up.

Think about the difference between flooring the gas pedal on your car versus pressing it confidently to pick up speed quickly.

If you lift every rep by confidently pressing the gas pedal, you will eventually feel the concentric speed slow, even though you are exerting maximum effort. This first “slower” rep is usually 3-4 reps from failure (a great place to begin week 1 of the cycle).

This video by Jeff Nippard is extremely well done, and he demonstrates what failure looks like on a number of different common movements. You can see how the rep speed slows despite the hardest effort to move the weight.


How to Build Up to Working Sets

The reps may differ, but this is a common way we will conduct our repeating movements:

RDL or Back Squat (or any large compound movement) you may want to do the OPTIONAL sets. For a less demanding movement, you can probably do just 1-2 warm-up sets and then get into work sets.

Warm-up sets:

OPTIONAL 30-50% of working weight x 10-15 Reps
50% of working weight x 8-12 Reps
75% of working weight x 4-6 Reps
OPTIONAL 85-90% of working weight x 1-2 Reps

It’s important to understand that the “warm-up” sets are low-fatiguing. The earlier sets of higher reps are meant to be a super easy effort in which you are just beginning to prepare the muscles for the work ahead (Less than 50% of the weight you’ll use for your first working set).

As the weight increases, we continue to prepare (but not fatigue) by lowering the reps. Even the final warm-up sets are for lower reps than the work sets (and with less weight). This will allow the body to feel the heavier load, such that there is a psychological and physiological adaptation that occurs, ensuring that the “work sets” don’t feel overwhelmingly heavy.

If you are stronger, you may need 1-2 additional preparatory sets. If you are not as strong, you may need fewer prep sets; but the principles all still apply!

You also will not need nearly as many warm-up sets for smaller muscle groups. For curls, shoulders, and triceps, we usually just implement one “feel it out” set, then jump into work sets.


Rest Periods Between Sets

Rest periods are ALWAYS important.

Science is overwhelmingly in agreement that more rest is better than less rest. Every study in the last half decade has shown better hypertrophy resting 2-3 minutes between sets when compared to 60-90 second rest.

Most importantly, we just need to make sure that neither the cardiovascular system (breathing) nor local muscle fatigue will be limiters in our ability to do the best possible set each time.

Below are the general guidelines:

  • (Warm-up sets don’t need as much rest, but work sets definitely do!)
  • Compound Lower Body Movements = 2-3+ minutes
  • Compound Upper Body Movements = 2+ minutes
  • Isolation work (arms, lateral raises, etc..) = 60-90 seconds

There is no rule here. It’s just important to match the intended effort level and let that dictate how much weight and/or reps you achieve. This is the best way to manage the accumulation of fatigue and provide yourself with the best opportunity to exceed performance in the assessment weeks.


Testing Week at the End of A Cycle

Throughout the first 5 weeks of a training cycle, we have increased weight and/or reps week to week to meet the demand of “getting closer to failure.”

We don’t want to actually go to the point of failing something like a squat or an RDL. When you look at the failure spectrum, it can be ambiguous for a large compound movement like a squat.

  • First, you might fail to maintain the exact same position as a prior rep (regarding torso/knees/hips).
  • Second, you might sacrifice position by leaning forward more at the hips.
  • Third, you might let your knees shoot back, letting the butt/hips rise too fast.
  • Fourth, you might actually fail a rep (or round your back and let the bar roll forward over your head).

We would encourage you to look at failure as the first example.

When positioning is compromised in any way… when a rep looks different than the prior reps, that is a failure. Taking this approach to big compound movements will keep the stimulus where we want it and reduce injury risk.

If you compromise position, you are in effect asking other muscles to help! You’re saying “my quads can’t do this anymore.”

So if you then bring the hips/glutes in to help, you are working beyond failure for the muscles you are attempting to target. This is basically causing increased fatigue costs and increased risk of injury for almost no return.

One other related concern is in regards to resting at the top of the rep. Much like execution, which needs to be standardized from rep to rep, we need to do the same for resting at the top of reps.

If you are able to increase your squat reps because you stood there at the top, with your joints stacked, for an extra few seconds, that is not an identical performance to the prior week. For this reason, we encourage a “one breath” rule on any of these movements where there is a resting place.

Hopefully, this can help cement the way you should be thinking about failure as it relates to these big demanding compound movements.


Sample Workouts

*In our app, movements have links to movement videos and our Youtube channel


The Repeating Movements

Note that the specific days and orientation of the movements will look different on the 3-day program

Monday:

  • Barbell Hip Thrust
  • Front Foot Elevated DB Split Squat – Quad Dominant

In Part A, the Hip Thrust is all about the glutes! Setup those shins mostly vertically, and ensure the torso is horizontal at top of the rep (that the bench isn’t too high). When you thrust, think “thrust toward my feet,” as this cue engages the glutes more effectively!

Part B is the Quad Dominant Split Squat. The front foot elevation generally facilitates a deeper amount of knee flexion (knee over toe) than the other variations. Remember to think about riding the escalator down (i.e. the exercise is moving forward and backward, not up and down).

When biasing the Quads, there are really 2 main points of performance:

1. Try to get as much ankle flexion as possible (i.e. drive the knee over the toe as much as possible during the descent).

2. Keep the torso mostly vertical. If we lean forward, it lengthens the glute more (not that is bad, per se, but it becomes slightly less quad-biased, by limiting the stretch on the hip flexor and quad).

Because this is a single-leg movement, we will be using plenty of glutes to stabilize the pelvis (even though it’s a quad execution style)


Tuesday:

  • One Arm DB Row (lat focus)
  • Flat Barbell Bench Press

The Part A Row is performed with a “lat focused” execution, meaning we want to use a neutral grip and keep the elbow traveling in tight to the torso during each rep.

As usual with single-limb movements, we want to make sure we split the rest. So instead of doing the Right arm, Left arm, then rest for 2-3 minutes, it would be prudent to take 1-2 minutes of rest between each arm. This ensures that neither arm is short-changed.

Because the row (and all back movements, basically) are “short overloaded,” we will start the cycle much closer to failure, and quickly progress beyond failure with partial reps, and other intensity techniques to enhance the stimulus!

Make sure you see the “points of performance” in the app, as it will help you get the most out of this awesome exercise!

Part B is the chest press movement for the cycle.  

As you’ve likely seen in our feed and demo videos, we encourage DB pressing with a semi-pronated grip (half between “palms forward” and “palms facing” each other). This technique allows the elbows to travel at about a 45-degree angle to the torso (instead of out like a T), and provides a better path of press for the chest muscles while keeping the shoulders healthier!  

If you are using the barbell for your bench, make sure the elbows travel at a similar angle!


Thursday:

  • B-stance DB RDL
  • Heels Elevated Back Squat w/ Pause (complete each rep with a 2-3 second pause at the bottom “lengthened” position of each rep)

The B-Stance RDL in part A is another one we haven’t seen for a while, but always highly requested!

When performing your reps, it would be prudent to try and get the most out of each rep, by slowly lowering the weight under control. Pause briefly at the point of most tension (the bottom for each of these exercises), and then ascend purposefully, attempting to keep the tension on the muscle (and avoid compensating by letting other muscles contribute).

Remember that the RDL is meant to descend only as low as the hips are still moving backward. If we continue descending by dropping the torso, we are training the low back and note the glutes/hamstrings!

The RDL can be performed with DBs, trap bars, Cables, or barbells, and you can also opt to do a “rear foot elevated” variation if you prefer!

Ya’ll are in for a treat in Part B!

Pick your tool, either a Heels Elevated Back Squat or a Foam Roller/Slider DB Squat. You could also elevate your heels on the foam roller squats for extra quad stimulus!

The goal is to set up in the most quad-dominant fashion possible. This means we want to drive the knees over the toes as we descend and mash the hamstrings into the calves at the bottom of each rep.

We will be pausing for 2-3 seconds at the bottom.

But be careful to ensure you don’t pause by releasing tension on the quads. This is often seen by sitting down and back as you pause. Instead, try to keep sending the knees as far forward as possible, and pause where the knees can no longer travel more forward (before they begin to travel backward; which essentially shifts the tension to the glutes/hips more).

We want to make sure you are pausing at the bottom, but with all the tension still on the quads. If you’re doing it right, you should feel a massive stretch through your quads during each pause.


Friday:

  • Neutral Grip Pull-ups
  • Superset Movements:
    • Face Down DB Y-Raise
    • DB X Lateral Raise
  • Rest 2-3 min

The Part A Pull-up is meant to be performed with a neutral grip, to facilitate elbows driving straight down. The neutral grip seems to be much more joint-friendly, while also allowing for slightly more weight to be used, increasing tension on the muscle! The neutral grip will also slightly bias the lats, which is perfect in combination with the Y-Raises in part B (which will hit a lot of the upper back and rear delt musculature).

Because the Pull-up (and all back movements, basically) are “short overloaded,” we will start the cycle slightly closer to failure, and quickly progress into various intensity techniques to enhance the stimulus!

The Part B superset is one of my all-time favorite delt sequences (and also happens to appear verbatim in Bryan’s program this cycle, as well).

The Y-Raise movement can be done chest-supported (face down on an incline) or bent over to emulate the same torso position. Start with the arms in front and down and initiate the movement path to raise to a “Y” at the top.

This move will target some lateral delts, but mostly rear delts and mid/lower traps (big muscles of the middle upper back). It also happens to overload short (hardest at the top of the rep, as you make the “Y” with your arms).

The second part of the superset will target more exclusively the lateral/side delts. The DB Lateral X Raise will accentuate the lengthened position of the movement more. The idea is to select a DB weight that is approximately double what you would usually use for 15 reps of a standard DB lateral raise (so if you usually use 10 lbs for 15 reps, you would use 20+ lbs for the X Raise).

The intent is to push the arms out to the side (not to raise them up, like a full lateral raise). So with this heavy weight, you will drive out until you’ve completed about 60% of the normal ROM for a lateral raise.

That will be the “full rep” ROM that we target in this exercise.


Ready to Join the Fun?

@paragontrainingmethods = fun and effective bodybuilding and strength training workouts (you can do from home or at a gym) that will help you build muscle, achieve your goals, and look d*mn good in 45-60 minutes a day.

Whether your goal is:

  • to run AND lift
  • workout 3 days per week
  • lift from home
  • enjoy things you love (CrossFit, Olympic lifting, Peloton)
  • or just look/feel your best

We have amazing hypertrophy workouts with progressive overload that will get you there! 

Click here to read more about our Paragon workouts!

LCK and Bryan from Paragon Training Methods

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– Paragon Founder, LCK 

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