Split Session Strength

Split Session Strength is part of Jessica Smith‘s new Strong + Centered Series, which is made up of 6 DVDs/19 workouts total. Jessica has also created an 8 week rotation calendar using the Strong + Centered workouts. All of the workouts are available both on DVD and as a downloads. I have already reviewed Walk a 5K (The Fun Way), Stretch + Relax and Fusion Flow & Glow.

Split Session Strength contains 3 workouts: an upper body workout, a lower body workout and a core workout. They are all very challenging workouts. They are high rep, endurance level workouts so keep that in mind when making dumbbell weight choices. I just finished Caroline Girvan‘s Iron Series, so I was very optimistic about my weights. I had to drop to lighter weights in both workouts due to muscle burn out. They are excellent workouts and I really like that I am doing them after finishing more traditional weight lifting workouts (Iron Series). I think workouts like these are a great way to mix up your workout routine, hitting your muscles in new and different ways. But would I want to do these workouts all of the time? Definitely not. I much prefer traditional weight lifting. Plus, I’ll be honest, these were not very enjoyable. But they definitely did the job and are excellent workouts.

Upper Body Series is 35:53 minutes; 4 minute warm up and 45 second stretch. Equipment: one set of light and one set of heavy dumbbells. Jessica recommends 2-25 pound dumbbells. You also need a fitness mat. Optional is a step riser or pillow. Jessica does not share the weight of the dumbbells she is using. The weights listed in the breakdown below are what I used. This was a tough workout. Much tougher than I expected it to be. I finished it about an hour ago and my shoulders and upper back are still burning. This is a high rep endurance level workout. I knew that from previewing it so I already had lighter weights set out. Luckily I also had back up weights set out! I had to drop to lighter weights a few times. You get little to no rest between exercises and sets. Jessica definitely managed to work my entire upper body thoroughly and well. I finished with her core workout (at the bottom of this post) which also hits the shoulders and upper back. The two workouts work very well together. However you get very little stretching so I added on an upper body stretch from YouTube.

  1. Lay on stomach, bent arms are on mat beside you, hands just above shoulder level, raise arms off mat while also raising chest and pulling shoulders together, lower back to start
  2. Partial push ups (Jessica is on knees, only lower part way before raising back to top)
  3. Single arm chest press (lay on back w/ a DB in each hand, do a chest press with one arm) (25# DBs the first time and 20# DBs the second time)
  4. Repeat #3 on other arm
  5. Double arm chest press (25# DBs the first time and 20# DBs the second time)
  6. Single arm back row 1.5 reps (holding one DB in each hand, stand in split stance, do a single arm row, at top of row pulse DB down then back up, then lower to bottom of row) (25# DBs the first time and 20# DBs the second time)
  7. Same position as #6, in split stance, hinge torso forward and as you raise back up do a double arm row (25# DBs the first time and 20# DBs the second time)
  8. Repeat #6 on other side of body
  9. Repeat #7
  10. Alternate one hammer curl with one wide bicep curl (15# DBs)
  11. Repeat #1-9
  12. Lay on side with knees bent, resting on one hip and one forearm/elbow, your step riser/topper is on the floor in front of you and you are holding one DB in top arm, keeping arm mostly straight, raise DB from top of step to ceiling (one 8# DB the first time and one 6# DB the second time)
  13. Repeat #12 on other arm
  14. Same starting position as #1, raise chest and arms off mat and keep both elevated, pull elbows back into sides then raise arms into goalpost
  15. Narrow chest press (lay on back, a DB in each hand, do chest presses with palms facing each other and keeping elbows close to sides); add a pulse at bottom of press (18# DBs)
  16. Lay on back on mat with legs extended, rest one heel on top of toe of other foot, hold one DB in both hands, extend DB to ceiling, arms straight and angled on a diagonal so elbows are further forward than shoulders, do skull crushers; swap foot positions and continue skull crushers (one 20# DB the first time and one 18# DB the second time)
  17. In modified side straight arm plank with bottom hand on step topper and bottom knee on mat, hold one DB in top hand, keeping arm straight raise DB from thigh to ceiling (one 8# DB the first time and one 6# DB the second time)
  18. Repeat #17 on other side of body
  19. Holding one DB in both hands, halo DB around head (one 15# DB)
  20. Repeat #12-19

Lower Body Build to Burn is 45:50 minutes; 4:20 minute warm up (I think 1-4 below are part of the warm up, too) and 2:20 minute stretch. Equipment: one set of light and one set of heavy dumbbells. Jessica recommends 2-25 pound dumbbells. She does not share the weight of her dumbbells. You also need a fitness mat, one gliding disk, a square step with 2 risers (8 inches), and a sturdy high back chair. On #16 & 17 below, Jessica shows an alternate move if the one she is doing doesn’t work for you. This workout was hard. Much more difficult than I expected it to be. This was probably due to some of my weight choices. I should have used lighter dumbbells. And I did end up dropping to lighter weights when the exercises were repeated but they were still very challenging even with lighter dumbbells! I was definitely struggling through some of these exercises. Just like the Upper Body Series, this is high rep, endurance level work. You get little to no rest between exercises. Literally, you get just enough time to get in position for the next exercise. And if you do not have your workout space set up like Jessica’s (and/or need to change dumbbell weights between exercises) then you don’t even have that much time and you are rushing to get into position. That makes this sound like a fast paced workout but it is not. Fast paced between exercises, but the exercises themselves are done to a slow and controlled pace. This leads to maximum burn out. All of the exercises were challenging but especially the first 2/3 of the workout. And the ones that really fried my legs were the sliding deadlifts followed by the sliding single leg squat/side lunge. OMG. I was dying! I finished this workout an hour ago and my legs are still singing and feeling very fatigued. Just like the upper body workout, this had a short stretch. I needed more so I finished with a lower body stretch from YouTube.

  1. Stand next to chair holding chair back for balance, stand on one leg, raise other knee in front of you then hinge forward, extending leg straight behind you
  2. Remain hinged forward with leg raised behind you, bend knee and pulse heel toward glutes; keep knee bent, point toe and pulse toe up to ceiling
  3. Still standing one one leg, other knee is bent and raised behind you, raise and lower bent leg to side (hydrant style)
  4. Repeat #1-3 on other leg
  5. Place step beside chair, balance on one foot on the step holding the chair back for balance, bend knee on step and lower other toe towards ground, pulse once, then raise leg bringing the knee in front of you; keep foot behind you with toe pointing to ground and bend knee pulsing leg down and up
  6. Repeat #5 on other leg
  7. Stand in front of chair with chair seat behind you, raise onto toes and extend arms straight in front of you, lower into squat and pulse up and down (remain on toes the entire time)
  8. Repeat #5 & 6 holding one DB in the hand that is not holding chair back (working leg side) (one 25# DB)
  9. Repeat #7 holding one DB in both hands; still raised onto toes, lower into a partial squat then raise back up (one 25# DB)
  10. Repeat #8 & 9
  11. Sliding single leg deadlift (stand in split stance with sliding disk beneath toe of back leg, hold one DB in both hands by one bell, hinge forward into single lead deadlift while sliding back leg behind you then slide back leg in slowly, returning to start) (one 30# DB the first time, one #25 DB the second time)
  12. Single leg squat (stand with disk under one foot holding one DB in both hands, lower into single leg squat while sliding other leg out to side) (one 30# DB the first time, one 20# DB the second time)
  13. Repeat #11 & 12 on other leg
  14. Stand in front of chair with chair seat behind you, legs are wide and toes turned out, hold one DB in both hands, lower into wide plie squat and pulse down; changes to 3 pulses then rise (one 30# DB)
  15. Repeat #11-13
  16. In high kneeling (on knees with body straight front knees to shoulders), holding one DB in each hand, lower glutes toward heels while hinging torso forward then return to start (20# DBs)
  17. Repeat #16 but keep torso upright (no hinging forward), torso is also leaned back slightly (20# DBs)
  18. Lay on back, one knee is bent with foot on floor close to glutes (the heel of that foot is also raised so you are on toes), other leg is extended straight with heel on sliding disk, raise hips into bridge while sliding leg in toward glutes then slide heel back out, lowering hips; keep hips raised, pulse hips upward with little heel slides
  19. Repeat #18 on other side of body
  20. Lay on side, bottom leg is bent on front of you at 90 degrees, top leg is extended straight and slightly behind you, raise and lower leg leading with heel; point toe and pulse leg upward
  21. Lay on side, upper body is propped on one elbow, top leg is bent with foot on mat, bottom leg is extended straight with toe flexed, raise and lower straight leg; point toe and pulse it upward
  22. Repeat #20 & 21 on other leg
  23. Repeat #16-19
  24. Repeat #21 except add a DB to inner thigh (one 10# DB)
  25. Repeat #20
  26. Repeat #21 & 20 on other leg

Core Bonus is 16:03 minutes. Equipment: fitness mat. This was a very good core workout. Jessica works your entire core, front to back. I had just finished her upper body workout (above) before coming to this and my shoulders and upper back were already fatigued, so I really felt #6 in my upper back and shoulders. It just continued the upper body workout fo me! And I really liked that!

  1. Lay on back with knees bent and toes on mat, hands are behind head, shift onto one hip, raise leg of that hip off mat, bring knee in while crunching upper body and bringing opposite elbow to knee; remain raised in crunch and pulse knee and elbow toward each other
  2. Repeat #1 on other side of body
  3. Reverse crunches (lay on back, knees bent and feet raised, hands behind head, lift hips off mat); add an upper body crunch, bringing elbows to knees
  4. Circle crunch (lay on back with legs extended straight on mat and hands behind head, crunch to side then rotate to the front and circle to the other side)
  5. In elbow knee plank, rotate hips side to side; raise onto toes and continue rotating hips
  6. Lay on stomach, bent arms are on mat beside you, hands just above shoulder level, raise arms off mat while also raising chest and legs, open arms out to sides bringing hands back to glutes with thumbs raised to ceiling, hold briefly then return to start
  7. Repeat #1-6

3 thoughts on “Split Session Strength

  1. Good morning to you!

    I have to say that I am LOVING the Fierce workouts!! 🥰 Yesterday I did Day 4 booty/glute (and added a 10 min slider from Sydney to finish off the booty burn plus a 10 min ab segment from Pamela reid) and today I did Day 8 chest/shoulders (and added a 20 min dumbbell HiiT from Heather as a finisher). Both workouts really fatigued me in a great way. They were fun, varied and had good pacing. If you lift heavy, they are on par with some of Caroline’s workouts. I am quite pleased so far!

    Like

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