Jordan Peter Training Principles Review


Review of Jordan Peters Training Methodology


I undertook a 6 week gaining block of an upper/lower (4 days a week) based on the JP training principles. Using exercises that worked for me and being in a calorie surplus, I saw 6 weeks of consistent strength gains in the 5-9 rep range and the 10-12 rep ranges on all exercises. Slight deviations were taken from his baseline upper/lower split but i kept within the spirit of the programme (unless forced to change due to injuries).

Along with the strength increases on all exercises. I also saw an increase in weight and muscle mass (from a visual POV) (which I believe is more closely linked to nutrition though). My average body weight went from 225lbs to 236lbs (an 11lbs/ 5kg increase) in the 6 week block. While I noticeably gained size on my entire body, I also added some fat along the way. This is due to my love of cider and warm English bitter and while being in a surplus, I also wasn’t too strict about stopping the extra calories (from a piece of cake or something, while with the family).

Overall though I am really pleased with my results in a short timescale.


From reading the JP programmes there are several key principles by which his programmes are based:

  • Failure training (failure of form)
  • A top set (5-9 reps) & a back off set (10-12 reps) per exercise
  • Multiple exercises to hit the entire muscle per workout


The JP upper/lower programme sets out multiple exercises all using the main principle of 1 all out set, followed by a back off set. Without giving away too much of the programme, the rep ranges are in general 5-9 for the main sets and 10-12 for the back off set which is around a 10% reduction from the first set. The progression model is quite simple, once you top the rep ranges you move up the weight.

The JP programmes do a good job at setting various exercises that challenge the muscles in different ways and I only changed this due to various injuries (from my 20 plus years playing rugby) and where I just felt an exercise more in the targeted muscle. This is from experience and not against the JP principles. I also deviated slightly more with legs as due to my various lower back injuries as I am slightly limited in what I can do.

As an overview I followed the following:

Monday – Upper 1

  • DB Bench
  • HS Row – lats focussed
  • Incline HS Press
  • High row – Upper back focussed
  • Lat raises
  • Bicep work
  • Tricep Work

Tuesday – Lower 1

  • Hack Squat
  • Hamstring exercise
  • Single Leg exercise
  • Glute exercise
  • Abs
  • Calf work

Tricep Work

Thursday – Upper 2

  • BB Incline Press
  • Lats focussed exercise
  • Pec Dec
  • Upper back focussed exercise
  • HS Shoulder Press
  • Bicep work
  • Tricep Work

Friday – Lower 2

  • Hack Squat
  • Hamstring exercise
  • Single Leg exercise
  • Glute exercise
  • Abs
  • Calf work

The original JP programmes have an extra exercise in the sessions but due to time and fatigue from these sessions I dropped down to do 2 chest focussed, 2 back focussed, 1 shoulder focus and then arm work each upper session. That seemed to be the sweet spot for me.


As a baseline I ate the following everyday:

  • Pre -workout Coffee
  • Intra workout shake
  • Post workout 40g protein shake & 500ml lactose free milk & 50g oats (mixed in the shake)
  • Snack – 6 boiled or scrambled eggs with 2 pieces of bread and butter
  • Lunch – around 50g protein (either from chicken, beef or tuna) & around 125g rice
  • Afternoon Snack - 40g protein shake & 500ml lactose free milk & fruit
  • Dinner – varied every day but I always had around 50g protein (from different meats ), around 120-200g of carbs from either rice, potatoes, pasta etc.

I then said ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’ to cake or anything else the family offered me for a change. It should be noted that I didn’t ‘pig out’ just allowed myself in general to eat that little thing extra which on reflection I probably didn’t need on top of the other items.


I find reviews very subjective, its as much about enjoyment as it is about progress with some of these things as actually proving results can be difficult. Notwithstanding the above I really enjoyed this 6 week gaining phase and enjoyed getting heavier but more importantly stronger in the higher rep ranges. Each session I was adding reps or weight and having the two sets really gives you enough volume on an exercise as you can give it your all. I noticed that I was hungry most of the time after my workouts, which for me is a sign I was growing and was working hard enough.

Part of the beauty of this system is the simplicity of the principles but the variety of the exercises meaning you are making progress, not just on one main lift but across the board. I also managed to recover really well on this amount of volume/ frequency, maybe that is the calorie surplus playing its part but I’ve giving my all on Monday and being recovered enough to go again on Thursday.

I need to talk about the negatives as its fair to give a balanced view but there really haven’t been many. I think personally, the baseline programme has too much volume for me, but once I dropped an exercise (per session) it worked for me perfectly. The second thing I’d say is that maybe using an upper/lower, certain muscles (like traps) don’t get the attention they need but this can be levelled at most upper/lowers out there. The last negative is more to say that you need to experienced enough to know what failure (or form) really is and you do need a week or two beforehand to make sure you get your weights right for the reps you want to fail at.

To summarise, the principles of the JP programming have massively improved my last 6 weeks. Strength has gone up and so has my weight, others have noticed and I’ve received a fair few complements which has been nice. Avoiding the qualitative side of things, the numbers don’t lie, each session I was pushing more tin and am really happy with this progress. As my final word, I am going to de-load for a week or two but will 100% be running this again and endorse it for others.

Highly recommended, i’d like to send a thank you to @Andrewgen_Receptors for stopping me programme hopping and stick to something and picking something really good.

@TrainForPain @cdep89 @aholding88 @throwawayfitness

Link to my log if you want to read the detail of the last 6 weeks.


Excellent writeup, thanks for the tag.

Agree with criticisms and accolades; i haven’t run the upper lower, but I’ve done the Full Body variant as well as the PPL (and modified PPLA) split and enjoy them thoroughly. Traps dont get enough direct attention in his programming so i just add in a set or two on pull days using the same principles.

I love DC training but this is far more sustainable for me. Weights have been consistently going up as I’ve been running this program for a few (?) months while in a deficit. Granted, I’ve got some anabolic help on that front too. Regardless, i enjoy this program and strongly recommend it to anyone who is sufficiently experienced to be able to safely train to failure.


Great write-up dude. I did top-set back-off on the main movements for the second half of last year and really enjoyed it. In all the time of overthinking during my injury layoff and plans to cut down my volume due to the intensity I like to train at, the programming I’m preparing myself is actually very close to this (incorporating top-set back-off on other movements). I don’t think the programming itself is overly unique in any way, which is actually a good thing… it shines in its simplicity. I feel lots of people can get a ton of progress on it - especially if they’ve been doing higher volume for a while.

The best thing about this has been you finding something you can stick with and stopping asking yourself all those questions. It’s great to see you just knuckle down with some real focus. That is a testament to your own growth as much as it is to the program that’s helped you get to that point.


Great write-up and it’s awesome to see you nailing a program you enjoyed!


Great write up an pleased to hear you made some decent progress running this. I haven’t read the details of the actual program (just this write up) but it sounds very similar to many old school Upper lower splits. Hard set with a second back off hard set, hit the muscle with different exercises.
What do you think males this different from any other old school program ??

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What this writeup and even book doesn’t cover is JPs methods of adjusting training frequency and program to match recoverability needs (self-regulation).

  • Optimal recovey = Full Body 3x per week
  • Less optimal = upper/lower or push/pull
  • Even less optimal = PPL
  • Worst recovery = bro split

He goes into detail on these things in some of his free videos, the content of which really ought to have been captures in his book - yet here we are.

But personally, I just really like the balance and straight-forwardness of it. It really shouldn’t be that much different from traditional programs, but it still feels that it is for some reason.


I’m going to be honest here, i’ve never seen a programme with a main set and a back off set before (apart from a 531 variant). I’ve been lifting for 20 years give or take and not seen it. I’ve previously done traditional BB routines, 531, rugby sport focused ones, Dogg Crapp and Meadows ones and made progress on all of them. I guess this wasn’t a sales pitch of ‘this is the best thing ever’ more of a this is a methodology i’ve really enjoyed and that worked.

The JP prgorammes are varied in their exercises and splits which is why i tried to focus on the principles which i think work quite well.

Long term maybe switching from a high volume to a higher intensity programme is key to long term growth, 6 weeks of one and then 6 weeks of the other or maybe or maybe everything works with the right nutrition.


This is kind of funny, because I can’t think of one either, but it’s how I did most my lifting for like 20 years before I discovered the Internet.

Fortitude undulates volume but is always high intensity.

  • Month 1: 1 set per exercise
  • Month 2: 2 sets per exercise
  • Month 3: 3 sets per exercise
  • Reset

Personally, with an FFMI of ~27, I find this method (or similar) to be the most effective in growth. Every dude I know who is bigger than me does this as well.

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There’s a current boom for it but it’s been around forever. It’s great because it works, but it’s no more special than any other method really.

I love reverse pyramid-type training so it’s absolutely perfect for someone like me right now.

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Yeah i grew up on 3 sets of 10 for everything until i started training just for rugby and then ended up on 1-5 reps mostly of sport training but years behind American sports training.

I have been using your arm supersets in my training as well recently. Very much enjoying them.


You beat me to this. @rugby_lifting said 20 years and I was thinking I was doing this kind of training 30 years ago when I just started. Must have read it in a magazine. LOL


When I first started in 2008, I trained with my dad in our garage doing pyramid style training, where the weights went up and the reps went down with each consecutive set. We trained 5 days a week on a bro split. I caught up to my dad’s weights pretty quick and I was pretty jacked for a 7th/8th/9th grader. We did essentially the same program my grandpa did with my dad back in the 80s to build strength for baseball. We were both very competitive, so we were always trying to beat the logbook every week. I would love to find one of our old training notebooks!