The Fouad Abiad Training Program!


Fouad Abiad is one of the world’s top professional bodybuilders. He won multiple bodybuilding contests during his career including the 2015 IFBB Europa Supershow and the 2015 Vancouver Pro.

If you want to train like Fouad Abiad then this article is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Fouad Abiad’s Chest Workouts
  • Part 2: Fouad Abiad’s Back Workouts
  • Part 3: Fouad Abiad’s Shoulder Workouts
  • Part 4: Fouad Abiad’s Leg Workouts
  • Part 5: Fouad Abiad’s Arm Workouts

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you how Fouad Abiad trains for his professional bodybuilding competitions.

Fouad Abiad trains 5 days per week using a traditional bodybuilding bro split. He has a separate training day for his chest, back, shoulders, arms and legs. Check it out:

The Fouad Abiad Training Split

  • Day 1: Chest
  • Day 2: Back
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Shoulders
  • Day 5: Arms
  • Day 6: Legs
  • Day 7: Off

This is usually called a bodybuilding bro split but Fouad Abiad thinks this is inaccurate. Check it out:

“It’s not a bro split… It’s a PRO SPLIT!”

Fouad Abiad likes this training split because he can perform many different exercises per muscle group and really attack each muscle with a lot of volume and intensity.

Fouad says that he tried other high-frequency training splits but nothing compares to the old-school 5-day bro split.

Now let’s take a closer look at how Fouad Abiad trains each muscle group to build as much muscular size as possible.

Part 1: Fouad Abiad’s Chest Workouts

Fouad Abiad trains his chest once per week. He uses a wide variety of exercises to train his chest including barbells, dumbbells, smith machines, hammer strength machines and cable exercises.

Here is one of Fouad’s typical chest workouts. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Chest Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Hammer strength incline press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Bench press (wide grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Incline smith machine press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Flat DB fly, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

For this workout Fouad attacks his chest with a wide variety of compound and isolation exercises. Throughout the workout Fouad really tries to feel his chest contracting against the weight.

Fouad says that a lot of younger bodybuilders make the mistake of throwing heavy weights around in the gym.

Fouad mostly sticks with sets in the 8-15 rep range because his goal is to fatigue his chest, not feed his ego. Check it out:

“I try and stay in the 8-15 rep range, anywhere in there. I try not to do anything less than 8 for chest, especially on the first exercise.

Unless you’re focusing on strength more than size I don’t think it’s necessary to go less than 8.

You can do sets of 6 reps if you want but coming in here and doing singles and doubles is not going to help you.”

Unlike a lot of modern day bodybuilders Fouad Abiad is not afraid to train heavy on the bench press. He often uses the flat bench press as his primary chest builder. However, when he does he sticks to the 8-15 rep range to avoid injuries.

Here is another one of Fouad’s go-to chest workouts. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Chest Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Bench press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Flat DB press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: 30 degree incline bench press (reverse grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Supine cable fly, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Push ups, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

This is another typical looking chest workout for Fouad Abiad. He gets in the gym, busts out some high-quality sets on 5 different exercises for his chest and goes home.

Fouad doesn’t like to perform a lot of high-intensity techniques like drop sets and forced reps.

He feels people who rely too much on these techniques are looking for a shortcut to building quality muscle tissue when the real answer is putting in the work over a long period of time. Check it out:

“Everybody wants it fast. I’ve trained for six months how come I don’t look like you? I’ve been doing this shit for 20 f*cking years.

It comes with time, man. I don’t have any secrets that you mother lovers don’t already have. It just takes a long, long time.”

Sometimes Fouad will combine his chest exercises and his shoulder exercises into a single workout.

This is something that he likes to do when he trains his quads and hamstrings on separate training days and he needs a way to condense the rest of his training split.

Here is one of Fouad’s chest / shoulder workouts. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Chest Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: Flat DB press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Incline machine press with bands, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Flat bench press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Flat DB fly with bands, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Reverse pec dec, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Machine overhead press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

For this workout Fouad uses resistance bands for a couple of his exercises. If you have never heard of resistance bands then you need to check out my article “Bands And Chains For Bodybuilding: The Ultimate Guide!

The bands are similar to giant rubber bands. You can use them on different free weight and machine exercises to make them more challenging.

We will see Fouad use bands in some of his other workouts – especially his leg workouts.

Even though Fouad is using bands he sticks with his higher rep ranges. He thinks it is a mistake for a bodybuilder to perform singles and doubles in the gym. Check it out:

“My workouts aren’t for strength anymore. I’m not doing singles or doubles or anything like that. I train for bodybuilding and I try to train smart as I’ve gotten older.”

The bottom line is Fouad Abiad uses very simple workouts to train his chest. He picks 4-5 “meat and potatoes” exercises and trains heavy in the 8-15 rep range.

He sometimes uses tools like bands but he almost never uses high-intensity techniques like forced reps and drop sets. Instead he prefers to focus on performing as many high-quality sets as possible before leaving the gym.

Part 2: Fouad Abiad’s Back Workouts

Fouad Abiad is known for his unbelievable back development. When he turns around on the bodybuilding stage it’s “lights out” for his competition!

Fouad trains his upper back once per week with a wide variety of pulldown and rowing exercises. Fouad usually stays away from deadlifts because they are very difficult to recover from but he sometimes includes deadlifts as well.

Here is a very normal looking back workout for Fouad Abiad. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Back Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Nautilus pullover machine, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Hammer strength 1-arm row, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Barbell bent over row, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Seated cable row, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Standing cable pullover, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Fouad Abiad says that he mostly focuses on rowing exercises for his upper back and it shows in this workout.

Here is Fouad describing his back training philosophy:

“This is how I structure my back workouts: 1 or 2 pulldown movements and then right into the rowing exercises.

Rows are my bread and butter for a big back. Rowing movements are what’s going to separate you onstage from the rest of the guys.

When you’re standing up there with a nice thick back, that’s going to win you the show. Pulldowns are not going to win you the show!

Rows, deadlifts – the hard back exercises are going to win you the show.”

Many other bodybuilding coaches like John Meadows also like to focus on heavy rowing exercises for the upper back. As they say, “success leaves clues.”

Here is another upper back workout from Fouad Abiad. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Back Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Lat pulldown (wide / pronated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Hammer strength pulldown (supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: T-bar row, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Smith machine bent over row, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Seated cable row (medium / supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Fouad Abiad follows a similar strategy for this back workout.

He starts with a couple of pulldown exercises to really loosen up his shoulders and stretch out his upper back. Then he transitions into his heavy rowing exercises to really fatigue as many muscle fibers as possible. Check it out:

“My coach John Meadows will start his exercise with a rowing exercise, usually a meadows row. For me, I always start my back workout with a pulldown exercise of some sort.

I feel starting with a  pull down allows me to stretch out my back, loosen up everything, loosen up my shoulder joint. That way when I get to the rowing stuff everything is ready to go.”

Finally let’s look at one upper back workout where Fouad performs some heavy deadlifts.

He is normally not a huge fan of the deadlift because the exercise is so difficult to recover from. However, he does use this exercise in some of his workouts to mix things up. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Back Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: Hammer strength pulldown (supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Conventional deadlift, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Assisted pull up machine (wide / pronated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: T-bar row, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Cable pullover, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Fouad says something really interesting during this workout: he thinks wide grip pulldowns are overrated.

Everyone performs wide grip pulldowns to make their back wider but Fouad says it is  a waste of time.

Instead you should focus more on narrow grip pulldowns and underhand grip pulldowns because these exercises give you a much better contraction in your lats. Check it out:

“Myth: you have to use a wider grip for a wider back. If your grip is too wide you can’t activate the lat properly.

You have the lats and the teres major / minor. Underneath that you have the lat that runs down to your hip. If your grip is too wide you are only going to get that teres major / minor area. You’re not going to hit your lower lats all the way down to the hip.

As a bodybuilder you want that taper all the way down to the hip. The narrow grip lets you activate the lats all the way from the top to the bottom.”

Is Fouad Abiad right? Are wide grip pulldowns a waste of time? I’m not sure but I do know that it is essential for you to experiment and find the exercises that work best for you.

Fouad gets a much better contraction in his lats using a narrow / underhand grip and that is what he focuses on.

If you have an exercise that is not working for you then you need to get rid of it in favor of something else!

Part 3: Fouad Abiad’s Shoulder Workouts

Fouad Abiad uses a very interesting shoulder training strategy. He likes to pre-exhaust his side and rear delts with different isolation exercises before moving onto his heavy overhead pressing movements.

Here is one of Fouad’s go-to shoulder workouts. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Shoulder Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Reverse pec dec, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Machine overhead press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Machine lateral raise, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Cable front raise, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Cable overhead press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

For this workout Fouad starts off with the machine reverse pec dec. He says this is one of his all-time favorite exercises for isolating the rear delts. Check it out:

For rear delts I like the reverse pec dec the most. It puts me in a perfect spot. I get the most feel out of it.

It’s a good way to start the shoulder workout because it loosens up the joint, gets everything warm, gets the blood moving before you get into your heavier pressing movements.”

After the reverse pec dec he performs his first overhead pressing movement and a variety of exercises for his front, side and rear delts.

Here is another shoulder workout where Fouad uses the pre-exhaust strategy. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Shoulder Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Seated machine lateral raise, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Cable upright row (dual handles), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Smith machine military press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: 30 degree prone rear delt DB raise**, 3-5 sets of 20-40 reps
  • Exercise #5: Cable front raise (rope handle), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

**Perform through the bottom half range of motion only.

Here is the training video for this workout:

Fouad performs this shoulder workout with short rest periods and relatively high rep ranges.

He even uses as many as 40 reps on his partial range of motion rear delt raises! This is an exercise he learned from his bodybuilding coach John Meadows.

Here is Fouad describing this exercise:

“The partial DB lateral raise is an exercise I learned from John Meadows.

John does his lateral raises with a partial range of motion and extremely heavy weight where you only do the bottom half of the movement.

All you’re trying to do is activate the delt and bring it back down. When you do heavy partials you’re not doing sets of 10 reps, you’re doing sets of 30.

Doing this with the heavy dumbbell 30 times will fry your side delt!”

Every once in a while Fouad Abiad will start his shoulder workout with some type of overhead press. This is a little unusual for him but he is not afraid to mix things up to challenge his body. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Shoulder Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: Seated DB overhead press, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Standing DB lateral raise, 3-5 sets of 20-40 reps**
  • Exercise #3: Smith machine behind the neck press (medium grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Reverse pec dec, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

**Perform through the bottom half range of motion only.

Here is the training video for this workout:

Why is Fouad so careful about starting his shoulder workouts with the overhead press?

The truth is Fouad is already a very advanced bodybuilder. His primary goal is to stay healthy and avoid injuries in the gym. As you get older you are at a much greater risk for various types of injuries, especially to the shoulder joint.

Here are Fouad’s thoughts on staying healthy:

“Some people like to start their workout with the press. I’m not trying to put up record-breaking numbers on a military press or anything like that. I’m trying to build muscle.

I start here, warm up the muscle, get everything activated, then if I can do a press next I will or I might do more isolation and do the press last.

It all depends on what I’m doing that specific week.”

If you are looking for a solid shoulder training plan then you may want to copy Fouad Abiad’s workouts.

He doesn’t do anything super fancy in the gym. He just performs some quality sets on several different exercises to hit his shoulders from all angles.

Part 4: Fouad Abiad’s Leg Workouts

upper lower

Fouad Abiad trains his legs using a wide variety of routines. On some workouts he performs heavy squats right away in his workouts followed by relatively easier machine and isolation exercises.

On other workouts he likes to pre-exhaust his legs with exercises like leg extensions and leg curls. Here is one example of Fouad Abiad using the pre-exhaust strategy for his legs. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Leg Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Machine leg extension, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • Exercise #2: Machine squat, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • Exercise #3: Lying leg curl, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • Exercise #4: Machine hack squat, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • Exercise #5: 45 degree leg press with bands, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • Exercise #6: Dumbbell stiff legged deadlift, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Fouad Abiad believes the key to building big legs is to use heavy weight AND high reps. He performs most of his sets in the 10-20 rep range.

He thinks the quads and hamstrings just grow better when you really up the rep ranges and try to fatigue as many muscle fibers as possible. Check it out:

“When it comes to training legs the secret is heavy weight and high volume. It’s not one or the other. Go as heavy as you can for as high a volume as you can.

You’re looking at 15-20 rep ranges on leg press, leg extensions, maybe even squats. The only exercise where I use lower reps is squats. 

If you are paying attention then yo probably noticed that Fouad uses resistance bands on the leg press. In fact Fouad says that the leg press is his favorite exercise to use resistance bands on.

The bands make the leg press feel heavier at the top vs the bottom and give the exercise a completely different feel. Check it out:

“The leg press is my favorite exercise to use bands on. The bands create tension through the whole range.

The bands just put a lot more stress on the quads and give the exercise a totally different feeling.”

Here is another workout where Fouad ends up going heavy on the banded leg press. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Leg Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Lying leg curl, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • Exercise #2: Back squats, 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: 45 degree leg press with bands, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • Exercise #4: Machine leg extension, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Once again Fouad starts his leg workout with leg curls. This is a trick that he learned from his bodybuilding coach John Meadows.

Many professional bodybuilders pre-fatigue their legs with leg curls because this exercise really warms up your knees and pumps a ton of blood into your hamstrings.

If you have lagging hamstrings than this can be a great way to increase your hamstrings activation with the rest of your exercises. Check it out:

“I like to start with lying leg curls. THis is something I learned from John Meadows. It’s also something that Ben Pakulski does.

It helps you to warm up your knees and it helps you to get your hamstrings firing during heavy compound movements.”

Fouad Abiad keeps it simple in his leg workouts and it shows in these workouts.

He doesn’t use any fancy high-intensity tricks like supersets or giant sets. He just gets in as many high-quality sets as he can and calls it a day. That is the Fouad Abiad way.

Part 5: Fouad Abiad’s Arm Workouts

Fouad Abiad trains his arms once per week on their own separate training day. This is a strategy that almost all top bodybuilders use at some point in their bodybuilding career.

Fouad usually likes to perform 3 exercises for his biceps and then 3 exercises for his triceps. However, he sometimes mixes things up and performs his arm workouts using bicep / tricep supersets.

Here is a very normal looking arm workout for Fouad Abiad. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Arm Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Standing barbell curls (narrow / supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Machine preacher curls (supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: 75 degree incline DB curls (supinating grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Cable pushdowns (narrow / pronated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Machine dips, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Seated overhead cable triceps extensions (mid-pulley), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Fouad Abiad almost always starts his arm workouts with standing barbell curls.

He says that this exercise is his favorite bicep movement and the absolute king of biceps exercises. Check it out:

“To me the standing barbell curl is the bread and butter of bicep exercises. I know it’s not some extravagant exercise that someone created from nothing but this exercise works. Standing barbell curls is #1.”

For the rest of the workout Fouad Abiad uses a wide variety of exercises to challenge his biceps and triceps.

I really like how he uses specific exercises to target the long and short head of the biceps, as well as all 3 heads of the triceps. For example Fouad’s preacher curls are perfect for targeting the short head of the biceps and his incline curls are perfect for targeting the long head of the biceps.

Here is another one of Fouad’s normal arm workouts. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Arm Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Standing barbell curls (supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: 75 degree incline DB curls (supinating grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Machine preacher curl, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Straight bar cable pushdowns (pronated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Seated overhead cable triceps extensions (mid-pulley), 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Rope cable pushdowns, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Fouad sticks with some very similar biceps exercises for this routine. His triceps routine is a little more interesting: he uses a variety of isolation movements to target the long, lateral and medial heads of the triceps.

Throughout the workout Fouad really pays attention to his technique to keep as much tension on his arms as possible. Check it out:

“Form, technique, and moderate weight in the 10-15 rep range has made my arms grow more.

Lifting as heavy as possible works for bigger bodyparts like chest and back but it’s counterproductive for smaller muscle groups like biceps and triceps.”

Every once in a while Fouad Abiad will train his arms using supersets. In other words he will perform one set for his biceps, rest 30 seconds, perform one set for his triceps, rest 30 seconds and then perform another set for his biceps.

Alternating back and forth between sets for opposing muscle groups is a great way to train. It was a favorite strategy of Arnold Schwarzenegger and many strength coaches including Charles Poliquin.

Here is one of Fouad’s superset arm workouts. Check it out:

Fouad Abiad Arm Workout #3

  • Exercise A1: Straight bar cable press down (pronated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise A2: Standing alternating DB curl (supinating grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise B1: Seated machine overhead extension, 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise B2: Standing barbell curl (reverse grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise C1: Ez-bar cable pushdown (supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise C2: Machine preacher curl (supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps, 30 seconds rest

Here is the training video for this workout:

At the end of the day Fouad Abiad doesn’t take his arm workouts too seriously. These workouts are never going to be as taxing as his back or leg workouts. Check it out:

“No matter how hard I try to make an arm workout, it just doesn’t. It’s two small muscle groups.

No matter how hard you make an arm workout it just doesn’t compare to a hard back or leg workout.

There’s something about completing a tortuous leg workout that makes you feel like a man. Training arms is just fun.”

If you are looking for a solid arm workout then look no further than Fouad Abiad’s arm routines.

He does a great job of picking exercises to target the different parts of the biceps and triceps to cover all of his bases.

Conclusion

Fouad Abiad uses a very simple but effective bodybuilding training program. He trains each muscle group once per week using a lot of volume and relatively heavy weights.

Fouad likes to train heavy when he can but his first priority is always feeling the target muscle working and maintaining perfect form on every exercise.

If you have above-average recovery ability then I highly recommend you try Fouad Abiad’s training program. His simple training style may be just what you need to start moving in the right direction again.

Here is a great quote by Fouad Abiad to pump you up even more:

“Don’t let anybody talk you out of doing what you want to do in life. Keep your eyes and ears open, pay attention to what you’re doing and don’t be delusional. Be realistic with your goals and attack them with everything you’ve got!”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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