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Back to Strength Focus + Weekly Workouts

Happiest of Sundays to everyone! Hope you’re having a lovely Labor Day Weekend! Sullie and I hopped in the car and headed down to Georgia to hang out with my grandmother for a few days.


Judging from this SnapChat I posted this morning (follow me @JenDeCurtins), I think it’s safe to say all parties are happy we’re here! 🙂

Okay, I’m looking forward to sharing this week’s workouts with you. I decided last week that I want to spend a few months really getting back to some serious strength work. While I love circuit/CrossFit type workouts (and will always include them in my overall mix), I really miss lifting (and the results that come with it!). So I’m going to do a little experiment and spend the next 2-3 months re-focusing on lifting 3-4 times per week. I’m still figuring out exactly what that’s going to look like so I’ll keep you posted as I put my plan together.


For this week, I did three days of total body with a different lower body focus every day. Day #1 was lunges, day #2 was squats and day #3 was deadlifts. I included chest, back, bis, tris, shoulders and abs into most days as well. Due to time restraints, it usually works better for me to do total body a few days a week versus specific body parts on different days but we’ll see how it all shakes out.

Here’s a look at my first week of “back to strength.” It’s supplemented with running and yoga (as always!).


4 mile run


Strength…I named this workout “You Push and You Pull” from this Purity Ring song. I designed the workout around pushing and pulling movements with cardio and lunges mixed in.

Push and Pull Workout

*Set of abs at the end of workout.


Strength + hot  yoga

3 rounds:

12 dumbbell chest flies (#20)
12 DB tricep kickbacks each arm (10#)
12 DB bicep curls (15#)
12 DB OH strict press (20#)
12 barbell back squats (115#)
12 pull ups

*Set of abs at the end.


3 mile run + hot yoga


Strength…ladder workouts are one of my favorite ways to get through strength work. I like that you start heavy with higher reps and work down to lower reps. So as you get tired, the rep count is decreasing. The way these workouts go is 10 reps of everything then 9, 8, 7 working down to 1.

3 ladders workout

*Set of abs at end of workout.


Hot yoga


4 mile run

What’s your current workout focus? Do you enjoy strength training? Tell me how I can help you better understand and enjoy strength work.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Exa September 6, 2015, 11:34 am

    What is a typical “set of abs” after your strength workout? Thanks!

  • Linda September 6, 2015, 12:10 pm

    I feel like we are walking the same path! Or climbing! 😉
    Had the opportunity to go to the Perform Better 3 Day Seminar last month and came back with a whole new focus. Had to take a few weeks off for minor surgery but am adding more focus on lifting as well. Looking forward to seeing your new workouts. And, will definitely hit a yoga class this week or next! Are you familiar with Dan John? If not, you will love him! danjohn.net

  • She Rocks Fitness September 6, 2015, 3:44 pm

    I am currently taking a week off from working out and it feels amazing. When I decide to get back into it, I too am going to start focusing on more strength workouts. Like you mentioned, I like the results that come with it.

    • Jen September 7, 2015, 9:33 pm

      Good for you! It’s so important to recognize when your body needs you to take it easy.

  • Remi September 6, 2015, 5:20 pm

    I struggle to understand the best way to do strength training. 5 sets of 4-6 reps of heavy weight, or 3 sets of 12 reps of a “lighter” weight… In your opinion, which way have you found the best results in?

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun September 6, 2015, 5:36 pm

    Some great strength workouts! I really need to get back to adding more of these into my routine. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Jen September 6, 2015, 8:36 pm

      You’re welcome! Enjoy!

  • Rachel September 6, 2015, 5:53 pm

    I’m going to have to try the “You Push & You Pull” workout. Looks fun!

    Like you, I always prefer to do total body lifting workouts. The base of all my strength sessions is some sort of squat or lunge exercise, a hip dominant exercise like deadlifts or KB swings, a push and a pull upper body movement, and then core and 1-2 glute isolation exercises. I never feel like I have left a body part untouched when I follow that formula!

    • Jen September 6, 2015, 8:35 pm

      Let me know what you think!

  • Erika White September 6, 2015, 8:27 pm

    I know that this was a post that focused on strength training…BUT could you please write a post that focuses on things newly trained yoga teachers should do to be successful?

  • Emily @ My Healthyish Life September 6, 2015, 8:33 pm

    Going to try that ladder workout this week! I love the concept of ladder workouts but don’t do them enough.

    • Jen September 6, 2015, 8:37 pm

      I do too! They can be brutal!

  • Sarah September 6, 2015, 9:44 pm

    That is such a cute picture! Is your grandmother petting Sullie with her cane? Haha.
    I am so overwhelmed by strength training. I understand the importance of it so I do my best. I either incorporate a circuit of machines into my workout after my cardio at the gym, or I do your dumbbell arm workout (I think it was featured as a summer arms thing on your blog awhile back) paired with lunges/squats/pushups/planks/situps at home. But I think all this is only going to take me so far. I can say that those pictures you posted look nothing like what my strength training looks like. Perhaps it’s time to consult with a personal trainer. 🙂

    • Jen September 7, 2015, 9:37 pm

      I think it certainly helps to have some experience with workouts programmed by someone else before working out by yourself. Whether it’s with a personal trainer, in a class, or even in videos, some inspiration on movements and structure can be a huge help!

  • Michelle September 7, 2015, 7:12 am

    Hi Jen! I rarely comment, but love your blog! This post really hit home with me. I’m taking a week off from running due to travel and some pain due to running :(. The more I run the more my hip flexor and knee bother me. I shy away from strength because it doesn’t give me the endorphin high that running does. But when my body gets creaky it’s a good reminder that I need balance in my workouts. When you started diversifying your workouts did you miss the long run high? How did you start to enjoy strength training?

    • Jen September 7, 2015, 9:43 pm

      When I started strength training, I did group classes like BodyPump once or twice a week. The group energy really helps! I also enjoy strength training because I vary my strength training workouts a lot. My favorite strength workouts involve something to get my heart rate up like burpees, so I feel like I’m getting some cardio too. It feels strange at first to cut down on your running in favor of strength training because you feeling like you’re skipping a huge part of your workout routine, but adding strength and yoga into my weekly workouts has made me perform and feel much better.

  • jill conyers September 7, 2015, 9:10 am

    Lately my workouts have been a combination of hot yoga and strength training alternating with my love for HIIT and barbell workouts.

    • Jen September 7, 2015, 9:43 pm

      Sounds like a good balance to me!

  • Cassie Tran September 8, 2015, 12:48 pm

    I am SO OUT OF SHAPE. Thanks for the motivation!

  • Laurie September 9, 2015, 6:25 pm

    I really enjoy reading your blog!! Love the workouts you posted this week–I think I am going to try the strength circuit for my Friday workout & definitely the Ladder another time 🙂

    • Jen September 9, 2015, 10:27 pm

      Thank you!! Let me know what you think!

      • Laurie September 11, 2015, 1:54 pm

        I loved it! Thank you for posting, it was great–I switched pull ups for rows since my squat rack is also where the pull up band is 🙂

  • Erin September 11, 2015, 11:46 am


    I just wanted to thank you for these strength workouts. I did the push/pull one on Tuesday (I was a noodle), and 2nd strength workout you posted this morning. Planning on trying out the ladder workout Sunday! I agree that focusing more on strength training is definitely how I see the quickest results–I need to make myself re-commit to them!

  • tara September 11, 2015, 12:34 pm

    i like this ! i too am looking to get back to strength after long training for a half marathon. seems like i have a better body and weight when i do more strength ! so why not do that rather than waste 2 hours running ! my questions are….what is the difference between what you are calling strength training and something like HIIT, crossfit, etc ? i like total body too not just upper or lower. i was sorta thinking any strength workout that included like burpees, jump rope, etc was sorta crossfit/HIIT-ish ? not that it really matters what you call it but i’m curious.

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