Complete Strength 12-Week Workout: Week 12

Welcome to the last week of the Complete Strength 12-Week Workout. Following your recovery week, you will now return to a full intensity week, with four sets of each exercise. Work hard and congratulations—you're almost there!
Program Week Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12
Workout Program Overview
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Intensity?
What Is Tempo?
Workout Participants Support Forum
Take the Stretch Test to learn where you are tight. Do the prescribed corrective exercises before your workout. Retake the test every six weeks to reassess your stretching needs. Your longterm goal should be to correct all of your tight areas so that you won't need to do any stretching before your workouts.
Sequence Exercise Muscles Reps Sets Tempo Intensity Rest
1 Barbell Squats Legs, Full Body 6-10 2-3 3010 -1 90 sec
2 Single-Cable Rocker Lunges and Shoulder Presses Shoulders, Legs 10-12 per arm 2-3 1010 -1 0
2 Single-Cable Bicep Curls Biceps 10-12 per arm 2-3 1010 -1 75 sec
3 Single-Arm Inverted Pull-ups on Smith Machine or Squat Rack Back, Core 10-12 per arm 4 1010 -1 75 sec
4 Dual-Cable Horizontal Chest Presses with Staggered Stance Chest, Legs, Core 10-12 2-3 1010 -1 0
4 Hold Single-Arm Planks Shoulders, Core 1 per arm 2-3 Hold 30 sec -1 90 - 120 sec
5 Gravitron Wide-Grip Pull-ups Back 10-12 2-3 1010 -1 75 sec
Exercise Overview
Barbell Squats Place a neck pad or neck cradle at the center point of a barbell positioned at shoulder height on a rack. Stand upright in front of the barbell so that it is resting across your shoulders and behind your neck, on the dip where your trapezius and deltoid muscles meet. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your toes at a natural turn-out. Hold the barbell on either side of your neck about one foot wider than your shoulders, with your palms facing forward. Lift the barbell off the rack and step back to give you room to squat. Slowly lower down toward a fully squatted position, pulling your weight down through your leg muscles as you descend (you might think of this as trying to sit on a stool right behind you). Keep your weight balanced between the balls of your feet and your heels as you go down. Keep your knees lined up over your toes throughout the movement—do not fall in or bow out. If you feel any knee pressure, shift your weight back more to your heels and let your hips ride back more to take some of the weight off of your toes. Push your chest out very slightly in front of you to counterbalance the heavy load on your heels. Your back should maintain a natural arch; do not over-arch. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, you will have reached the full depth of the squat. Reverse motion and drive up through your feet to return to the starting position. Do a total of 12 repetitions to complete one set.
Single-Cable Rocker Lunges and Shoulder Presses Stand with the cable system on your right, and the cable on that side in the low position. Place your feet wide, with toes turned slightly out to the side. Take the cable in your right hand and hold it at shoulder height. Lunge to the right toward the cable machine, bringing your hips back as you put your weight over your bent right leg. In your lunge your chest should stay tall while your weight is back on your heels. From your deep lunge, push off your right leg to bring your lunge to the left, while simultaneously driving your right hand up. Twist your body as you push the arm up, so that you are pushing up into an angled shoulder press; at the top of the press, your arm will be extended at about a 45-degree angle, and your bicep will be next to your right eye. As you press the cable, your lower abs should contract to give you core stability. Slowly bring the cable back down to shoulder level as you shift your weight back to your right lunge. Be sure to stay low at all times—do not straighten your legs or stand up as you switch the lunge from side to side. Do a set with one arm, then turn around to place the cable on your left side, and begin with the left lunge and left arm.
Single-Cable Bicep Curls Set a single handle on a cable machine in the low position and stand facing away from the machine with the cable in one hand, palm up. Next, bend your elbow on the arm holding the cable and bring your palm toward your shoulder in a curl. Keep your upper arm stable as you do so. As you curl, keep a tall posture with shoulders back and head up. As you start each curl, keep your belly button in to fire your lower abs. This will train your core to stabilize before lifting movements. When you have brought your hand as close as you can to your shoulder, reverse your motion and slowly lower your hand, straightening the elbow. Do a set with one arm, then switch hands and do the next set with the other arm.
Single-Arm Inverted Pull-ups on Smith Machine or Squat Rack On a Smith machine or squat rack, position the bar so that it is at chest height. With your feet hip distance apart on the floor, grip the bar with one hand, palm down. Hang from the bar with your body flat and your arm fully extended. Next, bend the extended arm to lift your body up until your chest is nearly touching the bar. Keep your body straight and flat as you do so. Think about pulling through the pinky side of your hand to help your back do the majority of the work. Once your chest is at the bar, lower yourself back to the starting position, again using your back and core to keep your body straight—no drooping. Do an entire set on one arm, then switch to the other hand and repeat. For an advanced version, try lowering the bar closer to floor so that your body is more parallel with ground. For a more advanced variation, do this exercise with your heels supporting your lower body on a flat bench several feet in front of the Smith machine. For an even more advanced version, do the exercise with your heels on a stability ball several feet in front of the Smith machine.
Dual-Cable Chest Presses with Staggered Stance Set both arms on a dual cable machine at just below chest height and stand with your back to the machine. Take one cable handle in each hand with your elbows bent behind you and your palms facing downward. Your elbows should be level with your back and hands in front of your elbows, with your elbows just about at right angles. Stagger your feet, such that one is in front of the other with both knees slightly bent. Press both hands forward, straightening your elbows until your fists are directly in front of your shoulders. Your hands should not meet in front of you so that you maintain a better shoulder retraction and stay working in the chest muscles. Focus on control as you press, and feel for work in the chest. As you punch, stay upright (it may even feel like you are leaning back if you have been leaning forward in your form up until now), stabilize through your legs and engage your center so that all of the push comes from your chest and shoulders, not your legs or hips. When your arms are fully extended, bend your elbows and pull them back to return to the starting position. Do an entire set with one leg forward, and then switch the forward leg for the next set.
Hold Single-Arm Planks Take up a push-up, or plank, position on the floor: face down with your weight on your hands and toes, hands under your shoulders, maintaining the natural 'S' curve of your spine. Stabilize your core and engage your butt muscles to ensure proper form. The closer your feet are together the more difficult the exercise; to make it easier, take your feet wide. Next, take your left hand off the floor and hold it lightly along your side while maintaining the plank position, with your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor. Continue to engage your core, keep your hips square, and do not tilt. Hold this position for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, bring your left hand back to the floor and switch sides, bringing your right arm up and holding it along your side as you maintain your plank position. Hold for 30 seconds on this side as well, and then return to the starting position.
Graivtron Wide-Grip Pull-ups Stand on the platform of a Gravitron machine and hold on to the grips at the top with your hands wide (about six to eight inches more than shoulder-width apart on each side) and your palms facing away from you. Step off of the platform and onto the foot rests, allowing your body weight to bring you down until your arms are fully extended. Lift yourself up until your head fully clears the Gravitron's grips and your shoulders are almost touching the grip bars. Keep your posture tall, shoulder blades retracted, and chest up in order to keep the work in your lats throughout. From the top, reverse position and lower yourself back down to starting position.