21 Exercises for Injury-Free Mass?

I was wondering if anybody would check the article out and put the excercises into a two day a week program or an upper lower upper lower day program as I cannot seem to figure out what id needed an what is not… I also use a prowler… and I have bad knees so whatever is best on not overloading myself while gaining maximum size and strength. I ant to eventually go back to powerliftin and am using this to do so…

[quote]Tenac iousD wrote:
I was wondering if anybody would check the article out and put the excercises into a two day a week program or an upper lower upper lower day program[/quote]
Can you only train twice a week, or can you train four days a week?

I’m not really sure where the confusion is. If your knees are your problem area, injury-wise, you’re just going to do your lower body training in the 6-15 rep range using some, but not all, of the exercises from the knee-dominant and hip-dominant lists on page two of the article.

Even with the article’s info, you know what your knees can handle and what they can’t. That’s going to be an over-roding

You might want to read some of the Indigo Livespills. They seem to be loving Prowler work for serious leg training with minimal soreness due to the lack of eccentric stress.

Again, no matter what, work within what you can handle depending on your legs.

Well I am saying that I do not want to do a three day a week full body program because that would imply that I would have to do a knee dom lift three times a week which I feel might be a bit much… Bret said I could do a full body routine twice a week instead OR a four day a week upper/lower split so I hit upper twice and lower twice…
Thanks man! I appreciate the kind words. 2-4 sets of 6-15 reps is ideal.

Something like this:

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

  1. Pick one of the knee dominant lifts

  2. Pick one of the hip dominant lifts

  3. Pick one of the upper presses

  4. Pick one of the upper pulls

  5. Pick one core exercise

  6. Accessory

So an example would be: skater squat, 45 degree back extension, db incline press, inverted row, side plank, farmer’s walk

And What I am trying to decide is which of the excercises I would choose from the list. I feel that I am going to stick to reverse deficit lunges and bulgarian split squats as the knee dominants… any other exercises he mentioned in the list are fine for me pain free… I just cannot decide how to choose them because for example he says in the article that all three hip dominant lifts he listed have their place… how would I add all three into a two day a week program… I couldnt according to the outline he provided above for me… and I am trying to get as strong as possible on these lifts… so I do not know where to add in prowler work or bicep curls or what… and should I always go heavy (proper form of course) or what… Bret said in another reply email to me that I could alternate between hip dom and knee dom each workout day I was to do a three day per week plan… I do not see how I would progress on the lifts this way though becase I am changing the excercises…

Options I came Up with but are not sure if these are even right ways to do it… I really just need somebody to organize these for me so that I am optimizing strength and size


  1. Knee Dom- Bulgarian Split Squats 2x8
  2. Upper Push- Dumbbell Neutral Grip Flat Bench 2x8
  3. Upper Pull- Neutral Grip Inverted Row (Eventually Add Weight) 2x8
  4. Core- RKC Planks One Minute
  5. Bodybuilding Accessory- Prone Rear Delt Raise 2x12
  6. Functional- Prowler Push
  7. Hip Dom (In place of knee dominant)- Single Leg Dumbbell RDL 2x8
  8. Upper Push- Incline Dumbbell Press Neutral Grip 2x8
  9. Upper Pull- One Arm Rows 2x8
  10. Core- Side Plank- One Minute Each Side
  11. Bodybuilding Accessory- Hammer Curl 2x10
  12. Functional- Kettlebell Swings 2x20
  13. Knee Dom- Deficit Reverse Lunges 2x8
  14. Upper Push- Weighted Neutral Grip Pushups or Dumbbell Bench Again? Not sure?
  15. Upper Pull- D Handle Lat Pulldowns 2x8
  16. Core- Pallof Presses
  17. Accessory- Lat Raise in Scapular Plane 2x10
  18. Prowler Push
    NOTE: Then Next week I would Do Hip Dom, Knee Dom, Hip Dom, then reverse following week again?


  1. Knee Dominant- Bulgarian Split Squat 2x8
  2. Hip Dominant- Single Leg RDL 2x8
  3. Upper Push- Dumbbell Bench Neutral 2x8
  4. Upper Pull- Neutral Grip Inverted Row 2x8
  5. Core- RKC Plank for 1 minute
  6. Accessory- Hammer Curl
  7. Push Prowler
  8. Knee Dom- Deficit Reverse Lunge 2x8
  9. Hip Dom- Hip Thrust 2x6
  10. Upper Push- Incline Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench 2x8
  11. Upper Pull- D Handle Lat Pulls 2x8
  12. Core- Pallof Press
  13. Prone Rear Delt Raise 2x12
  14. Prowler
    Note: Problem with this is that not all of the accessory lifts can be used so it limits amount of shoulder work since no Lat raises are done and also for the hips since no 45 Degree Hypers Will be Done?

Four Day A Week
Monday (Upper)

  1. Upper Push- Dumbbell Neutral Bench 2x8
  2. Upper Pull- Inverted Row 2x8
  3. Core- RKC Plank
  4. Accessory- Hammer Curl
    Wednesday (lower)
  5. Knee Dom- Bulgarian Split 2x8
  6. Hip Dom- Single Leg RDL 2x8
  7. Prowler
    Friday (upper)
  8. Dumbbell Incline Neutral 2x8
  9. D Handle Pull Downs 2x8
  10. Pallof Press
  11. Prone Rear Delt Raise
    Saturday (lower)
  12. Deficit reverse lunge 2x8
  13. Hip Thrust 2x6
  14. Prowler

You sent Brett an email, he answered and you say "I do not see how I would progress on the lifts this way though becase I am changing the excercises… "

You asked here the same question and you told Chris “Well I am saying that I do not want to do a three day a week full body program because that would imply that I would have to do a knee dom lift three times a week which I feel might be a bit much.”

I really hope I don’t have to point out what the problem is.

Well I do not appreciate what you are saying as I am confused on what Bret said so am seeking guidance and I have knee pain so that is why I do not want to do a knee dominant excercise I just felt Bret wasn’t thorough in explaining it or I just didn’t get it so was looking for somebody to take the excercises and put them in a routine for me that is all

Wow, just wow.

Only YOU can determine that, as they are YOUR knees.

Follow Brett’s program, in the email. Figure out how YOUR knees will handle it and move on.

No one here can tell you to choose an exercise over another. That is why Brett sent you the email.

Figure it out BY DOING IT.

As an example, I had three surgery on my right and two on my left knees. I never hack squat because it hurts like hell. but that is me, you will not know until YOU try it.

Knee Dominant exercise: Dumbbell deficit reverse lunge, dumbbell Bulgarian split squat, dumbbell skater squat. Just pick one. I like the dumbbell Bulgarian split squat. I don’t like skater squats due to the lower back being bent the way it is. You? Now do 2-4 sets, 6-15 reps.

Next, etc.

Don’t care if you don’t “appreciate” it. They answer is right in front of you. Stop saying “yeah but” and give it a try.

Thanks for your help man and I wasn’t saying yeah but I just maybe didn’t explain myself properly… I was under the impression that you had to alternate the lift each time between the three in order to hit each bodypart properly I did not know that you use the same excercises each time

Start with the same exercise. Nothing is stopping you from changing.

That’s the beauty of good programs. It let’s you use common sense and experience.

Good luck with the knees.

oh ok thank you. I was under the impression that we had to include all of the three somehow so that they didnt cause imbalances because there is limited shoulder work and he talks about the hips workouts all being important… but I will start off with the two day per week full body routine and then move to the upper lower split… It just seemed that the lifts in the bodybuilding accessory section were a little different and if I wanted to do the hammer curls i would be missing out on the shoulder work… That is why I asked and I was also wondering if the prowler would be best used as a means of recovery or more of a max effort push thing… I was thinking

Bulgarian Split 2x8
Single Leg RDL 2x8
Dumbbell Neutral Grip Bench 2x8
Weighted inverted Rows 2x8
RKC Planks for One Minute
Prone Rear Delt Raise 2x12
Prowler for Recovery

AND Same on Thursdays…
All I really needed was guidance on how to add in certain excercises for their size and strength gains not because I am wishy washy… For example someone could say, "Dont add in the prowler the same days that you train becuase It may put too much stress on the knees, I would rather not learn thru trial and error as I have already had to take four months off from the gym due to knee probs and do not want to re screw them up… I know to an extent that this is going to be trial and error but just was looking for some guidance, maybe someone to say, hey you should think about doing higher sets of the bodybuilding accessory prone rear delt raise and then switching it to the dumbbel hammer curls on friday so you could train both and not let the biceps lag… or something like that

I am sorry I am not trying to be an ass haha I just didnt get it earlier and still need help on where to add in the bodybuilding accessory work how to use the prowler as I couldnt find enough on the indigo forums

Right now, just follow the template you received in the email. Keep it simple. If you can only 2 days a week, what you have up there is fine.

The first 4-6 weeks, start easy. This is not about PR’s. It’s about finding what your knees can handle. Remember, lots of time, the pain comes the next day, so to start, don’t over do it. Progression without pain. Once 2x8 gets easy, move to 3x8. Add some weight, go back to 2x8, etc… and so on.

Start with two days of prowler and keep it “recovery” mode. Lighter weight and get the blood going. You should be able to do 10-12 tracks and get a real good sweat going.

Most importantly, your knees are the guide, not your ego.

And don’t forget R.I.C.E.

After 4-6 weeks, we can re-evaluate.

Listen to your body.

Out of curiosity, what exactly is wrong with your knees? Just saying you have bad knees doesn’t really help for answering if an exercise will be a problem. Like JFG said, listen to your body. But at the same time, don’t wimp out and use bad knees as an excuse. My left knee will ache if I do certain movements or have taken time off. But given time, it will adjust and accommodate to the stress being placed on it. If you’re knee aches after a workout every so often, take some anti-inflammatories, and ice it down. Be sure to also warmup properly, that makes a huge difference in my knees and shoulders feeling like shit the entire workout or feeling solid.

I have had interior knee pain for four mnths now and doctors do not know what is wrong I have had self myofascial release done, massage, ART, done mobility work to the point where the coach said I was moving much better, but still pain… same for the elbow, shoulder, and lower back…

When I get better, I just wnna get strong and big but with less overall injury risk… and I want to be able to do this for a long time and not be one of those lifters who talks about the big three and then when they are 40 they cannot walk without pain and take ibuprofin to get thru the day… I will probably go back to powerlifting after awhile but I do not see why I cannot be strong as hell and get big with these excercises…

My trainer for a while was a national record holder powerlifter and bodybuilder and he assessed my form in the big three and said it is not that bad…