Brooke Erickson's Training Program

Erickson uses bodybuilding as a weapon against adversity. She carves her physique with iron and might. See how the weight room saved her life.

The weight room is a home for failure. Each set and rep tests our resolve, forces us to ask big questions of ourselves. Brooke Erickson's fails frequently as she pounds the hard-rubber floor of the weight room, but she fails to succeed. She beats back negativity and drives her physique toward championship status.

Brooke Erickson's Fitness Program

Watch The Video - 14:46

Brooke's Training Phases

"The biggest thing for me is to never feel like I'm stuck in a rut, to never do something so much that it's no longer fun," Erickson said. "Training, going to the gym: It shouldn't be something you dread. It should be something you enjoy."

Each of the four phases has its own effect on the body. The strength phase is clearly intent on making you stronger. The hypertrophy (growth) phase helps build mass though more repetitions. The power phase (Brooke calls it the "Having Fun" phase) doesn't include a rep range; she just goes all out. Her de-load phase includes light weights to help the muscles relax, tone, grow and rest.

Erickson trains 6 days per week, 2 hours per
day when she's preparing for competition. She
works on a Lower/Upper, Lower/Upper split.
She works troublesome body parts twice per
week (she does shoulders 3 times per week).

You won't find any blasé blah endurance cardio in this program. Erickson is a HIIT woman. Her high intensity interval training works on 30-second-to-1-minute splits: sprint for 30, walk for 30.

Brooke never uses Sundays for workouts. She has three young children, so quality time with them takes precedence. In the off-season (about 3-4 months per year), she will also take Wednesdays off, but in season it's just a lighter day (like abs, biceps, cardio).

"On Sundays I do nothing," Erickson said. "The only thing I do is play with my kids. I devote that to family. That's family time."

A lot of the typical excuses for failure sound like ancient Greek to this stalwart American.

"A plateau to me just means your body has adapted. A lot of people see it as a complete obstacle when really it's not. It's usually very simple to overcome a plateau. It just takes adjusting something. If you're patient and you adjust something, typically within two weeks you still see a difference."

Dropset Of Questions!

We're going to hit you with 5 questions. Answer the first question in 10 words. Drop 2 words from each subsequent answer. Let's rock!

1. A friend can't commit to fitness. Convince her! (10 words)
    Transformation isn't a future event; it's a present day activity.

2. When was the last time a workout made you puke? (8 words)
    I don't puke because I value my calories.

3. How can children avoid obesity? (6 words)
    Play more and eat less junk.

4. MacGyver Training: Create an exercise from a tree, a medicine ball and a pair of wrist straps! (4 words)
    Hanging weighted knee raises.

5. You get to speak on World Television. What do you say? (2 words)
    Watch me!

Brooke's Training Philosophy

I believe when you walk into the gym, you should have a purpose. Whether it's something as simple as losing 5 pounds or training for a competition, having a goal will provide direction and focus.

The biggest challenge is making the time. The second-biggest challenge is making the best use of that time. I know what my goal is every time I walk through the gym door and the only person who can hold me accountable to that goal is me.

Day 1: Back/Shoulders
    • Pullups Pullups


      4 sets of 8-10 reps, 45 sec rest







Cardio: Repeat 8x

* I typically use dumbbells that are double in weight and raise them as high as I can, and then focus on controlling the negative motion. From there I like to jump over to do leaning dumbbell side lateral raises at a lesser weight and burn my shoulders out. I don't focus on the number at this point; I focus on the pain and pushing myself to the max.

One thing I stress when doing side lateral raises is to make sure my hand position on the dumbbell is correct. I like to keep my pinkie fingers slightly tilted upward and use an eccentric grip on the dumbbells to create a natural forward rotation of the weight. This works for me to ensure I'm engaging my lateral deltoid.

Day 2: Legs

I like to train legs twice per week. I will do more quad-specific exercises on one leg day and hamstring/glute specific exercises 3 days later. I am a big believer in the basic squat; it has changed the shape of my legs.


Working Sets:

Day 3: Biceps/Triceps

I do more maintenance on my biceps and triceps, but I still push it to make sure I am training with high intensity.


    • Barbell Curl 21s Barbell Curl 21s

      Barbell Curl 21s

      3 sets of 7 reps When performing 21s, 7 reps are performed in the lower half of the motion, then 7 reps are performed in the upper half, and the set is finshed with 7 complete reps.
    • Incline Biceps Curl Incline Biceps Curl

      Incline Biceps Curl

      4 sets of 8-10 reps

Triceps: Go heavy or go home!

Cardio: Repeat 8x

Day 4: Back/Glutes


Glutes Triset:**

**Lately glutes have been a focus muscle group of mine. I've been adding an "extra" glute day and my results have been fantastic. I keep the step as high as possible to maximize the full range of motion at my glute/ham tie-in and always push through the heel all the way through the range of motion. It isn't necessary to have a lot of weight in these exercises; it's my personal preference to do so, but this routine is more for toning.

Day 5: Legs/Glutes



Day 6: Shoulders/Back - Again!

Yes, I work my back 3 times per week! It's been a recent focus of mine to improve my back thickness and width. I try to train for my sport, so it's important to me to always be thinking how I can improve my V-taper. Every other week I will train shoulders 3 times - one of those shoulder days is typically added to my Thursday routine and it's a high-volume workout. I keep that routine to basic exercises and I do a lot of reps.



Cardio: Repeat 8x

Day 7: Rest!

Enjoy the day with my family doing something active!