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Human Kinetics

Building Muscle and Performance

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Building Muscle & Performance: The Program for Strength, Size, and Speed by expert trainer Nick Tumminello combines the most effective approaches and exercises to develop a high-octane, high-efficiency system for building muscle and boosting performance. 

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Book Description

Every weekend warrior has two goals: compete successfully and look great doing it. Enter Building Muscle & Performance: The Program for Strength, Size, and Speed by expert trainer Nick Tumminello.

By combining the most effective approaches and exercises, Tumminello has developed a high-octane, high-efficiency system for building muscle and boosting performance. Step by step you’ll learn the best exercises for increasing speed, explosiveness, athleticism, and endurance. Push yourself to the limits with strength and power lifts and progressions, power training drills, and cardio conditioning workouts. The results are challenging yet exhilarating. You will discover performance and physique that you never thought possible.

Building Muscle & Performance includes numerous exercises and ready-to-use programs. Detailed photo sequences depict every movement as well as variations to increase or decrease difficulty. You’ll find expert advice, equipment tips, and safety precautions. More important, you’ll find the results you’ve been looking for.

You no longer have to choose between a chiseled physique and athletic performance. Building Muscle & Performance delivers the best of both worlds: the muscle and the hustle!

Table of Contents

Part I Principles and Rationale

Chapter 1 Functional-Spectrum Training

Chapter 2 Building Muscle, Increasing Strength

Part II Exercises

Chapter 3 Cardio Conditioning

Chapter 4 Upper Body—Pushing

Chapter 5 Upper Body—Pulling

Chapter 6 Lower Body

Chapter 7 Core

Chapter 8 Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Part III Workout Programs

Chapter 9 Foundational Programming

Chapter 10 Performance Programming

Chapter 11 Muscle Programming

Chapter 12 Performance and Muscle Programming

Chapter 13 Customizing Programs for Personal Results


Nick Tumminello is the owner of Performance University International, which provides strength training and conditioning for athletes and educational programs for trainers and coaches all over the world.

As an educator, Tumminello has become known as the trainer of trainers. He has been named 2016 NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He has presented at international fitness conferences in Norway, Iceland, China, and Canada. He has been a featured presenter at conferences held by such organizations as the IDEA Health & Fitness Association, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and DCAC Fitness Conventions, along with teaching staff trainings at fitness clubs throughout the United States. Tumminello holds workshops and mentorship programs in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is the author of Building Muscle and Performance: A Program for Size, Strength & Speed (Human Kinetics, 2016) and Strength Training for Fat Loss (Human Kinetics, 2014), has produced more than 20 instructional DVDs, and is the coauthor of the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Program Design Essentials and Foundations of Fitness Programming. Tumminello is also a continuing education course provider for the American Council on Exercise, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Tumminello has been a fitness professional since 1998 and co-owned a private training center in Baltimore, Maryland, from 2001 to 2011. He has worked with a variety of exercise enthusiasts of all ages and fitness levels, including physique and performance athletes from the amateur to the professional ranks. From 2002 to 2011, Tumminello was the strength and conditioning coach for the Ground Control MMA fight team and is a consultant and expert for clothing and equipment companies such as Sorinex, Dynamax, Hylete, and Reebok.

Tumminello’s articles have appeared in more than 50 major health and fitness magazines, including Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Oxygen, Muscle Mag, Fitness Rx, Sweat Rx, Status, Train Hard Fight Easy, Fighters Only, and Fight! Tumminello is also a featured contributor to several popular fitness training websites. He has been featured in two New York Times best-selling exercise books, on the front page of Yahoo and YouTube, and in the ACE Personal Trainer Manual. In 2015 Tumminello was inducted into the Personal Trainer Hall of Fame.


The functional-spectrum training system not only allows you to train both your hustle (performance) and your muscle (strength and size) but also can be adjusted easily to emphasize a particular aspect of training. The programs presented here focus on improving overall athleticism and functional capacity.

Here are a few key points to remember when performing the exercises:

Speed Exercises

Perform each rep as explosively as possible.
If the exercise involves jumping, land as quietly as possible.
If the workout calls for throwing a medicine ball (outside or against a solid wall) and your training environment prevents you from doing so; simply choose an alternative, non-medicine ball exercise option from the Total-Body Power Exercises section of chapters 4 through 7. Perform the alternative exercise for roughly the same amount of sets and reps that were recommended for the original exercise.

Strength Exercises

While maintaining optimal technique, perform the concentric lifting portion of each rep as forcefully as you can; during the eccentric (lowering) portion, maintain good control.
Use a weight load that allows you to perform the indicated number of reps in the fashion described in the preceding point. In each workout, you ensure improvement in strength either by adding weight and performing the same number of reps as in the preceding workout or by performing more reps with the same weight.

Size Exercises

Focus on the working muscles in each exercise and maintain strict form without "cheating" by using additional movements or momentum.
Perform the concentric lifting portion of each rep at a normal tempo and maintain control during the eccentric (lowering) portion.
The set and rep numbers used for exercises in this section are undulated with three schemes. Regardless of the scheme you're on, use a weight load that leaves you unable to perform any more reps than indicated while maintaining proper control and technique.

Cardio Conditioning 

If the workout calls for a particular supramaximal interval training (SMIT), steady-state cardio, or metabolic conditioning protocol (MCP) that your training environment prevents you from performing, simply choose a comparable alternative exercise from chapter 3. Perform the alternative exercise for roughly the same amount of reps, rounds, or time that were recommended for the original exercise.
Only workouts A and C of each program involve a cardio conditioning component.

In the following programs, perform a, b, and c exercises as tri-sets and perform a and b exercises as paired sets. Perform all indicated sets and reps in a given tri-set or paired set before moving on to the next set. If necessary, rest a bit longer than indicated between sets in order to complete the designated number of reps with good control. This program emphasizes movement quality over quantity!

Before you begin each workout in the following programs, be sure to perform one of the dynamic warm-up sequences (of your choice) provided in chapter 8. To help you personalize these workouts to best fit you, refer to chapter 12.