Courbes à venir 2.2C: Upper Body Push-Pull

CaV 2.2C Upper Push Pull2

Choose your own path. What do you feel needs work today?

Challenge: Perform 3 rounds of the 3 parts of each workout in under 45 minutes.

Warm-Up: 5-7 quick and intense minutes on the stairmaster, followed by 1 round of a hollow-circuit.

The workouts in CaV 2.2C are the upper body workouts from Phase II/II of ‘Curves Ahead’ (courbes à venir), a program for increasing lower body, posterior chain and upper body strength.


A. Br.Neuro Tri-Set Upper Body: Back, 3 rounds
A1: Supinated Close-Grip Cable Lat Pulldowns, 8-12 repetitions
A2: Dumbbell Walk & Shrug, 60 seconds
A3: Bodyweight/Light Dumbbell Prone Y-Position Isometric, 20 seconds
*Rest only after completing A1-3; modulate resistance such that time and rep targets met.
[rest 90-120 seconds]

B. Br.Neuro Tri-Set Upper Body: Biceps, 3 rounds
B1. Standing Dumbbell Hammer Curls, 8-12 repetitions
B2. Standing Barbell/EZ Shoulder-Width Curls w/explosive concentric, 30 seconds
B3. Standing Barbell/EZ Curl Isometric at 90 degrees, 10 seconds
*Rest only after completing B1-3; modulate resistance such that time and rep targets met.
[rest 90-120 seconds]

C. Br.Neuro Tri-Set Inner Unit Core Breathing: Core, 3 rounds
C1. Reverse Crunches, 8-12 repetitions
C2. Plank Elbow to Knee Tap & Slide, alternating, 10 repetitions/side
C3. Side Plank w/optional top leg elevation, 15 seconds/side
*Rest only after completing C1-3; modulate resistance such that time and rep targets met.
[rest 90-120 seconds]

Alternate BNSx3/Quads/Back/Quads

Q.1 Br.Neuro Tri-Set Lower Body: Quadriceps, 3 rounds
-combination weighted and bodyweight
Q1.1: Lateral Step Goblet Squat w/resistance band, unilateral, 8-12 repetitions/side
Q2.1: Reverse Lunge and Front Kick, unilateral, 20-30 seconds/side
Q3.1: Isometric Wall Squat w/90 degrees of shoulder flexion, 7-12 seconds
[rest 90-120 seconds]

B. Br.Neuro Tri-Set Upper Body: Back, 3 rounds 
-combination weighted and bodyweight
1: TRX Inverted Row w/feet elevated, 8-12 reps
2: Standing & Bent-Over Dumbbell Speed Rows, 30-60 seconds
3: Standing Kettlebell Goblet Grip Pull-Apart Isometric, 7-12 seconds
[rest 90-120 seconds]

Q.2. Br.Neuro Tri-Set Lower Body: Quadriceps, 3 rounds
Q1.2: Front Elevation Lunge, 8-12 repetitions
Q2.2: Lateral Resistance Band Shuffle, 30-60 seconds, 15 sec right, 15 sec left.
Q2.3: Isometric Wall Squat w/quadriceps emphasis, 7-12 seconds
[rest 90-120 seconds]

How We Arrived Here

Further Reading

Each workout stands apart from an otherwise straightforward strength training program, notwithstanding the significant influence of Bret Contreras’s (1) excellent posterior chain progressions, by containing at least one Bruney Neuro Tri-Set (2). Neuro-sets have 3 exercises performed as a superset with no rest until all 3 are complete (ok, very minimal rest in moving from point A to B). The first exercise is performed slowly in both concentric (~up) and eccentric (~down) portions. The second is an explosive movement and the third an isometric hold.

The contrasting tempo in a neuro-set is designed to sequentially activate slow twitch motor units, followed by fast and rounded out with a brief, intense isometric contraction. While Bruney envisioned these type of sets being performed with kettlebells, courbes à venir has adapted the style with a more traditional dumbbell-barbell gym environment in mind. Many of the principles of the neuro-set are commonly used and can be found in the concept of finishing sets (see German Body Composition Intermediate A2 and B2), although the Bruney neuro-set gives a larger and more formal context to utilize tempo contrast.

  1. Strong Curves. Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis. Victory Belt Publishing 2013.
  2. Neuro-Mass: The Ultimate System for Spectacular Strength. Jon Bruney. Dragon Door Publications 2013.

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