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Peter Attia Exercise Routines – How He Trains & Why

Peter is a former time-trial cyclist and endurance swimmer.

For example, he’s one of small group to have swum the Catalina Channel in both directions (separate swims).

That’s in the range of a 10-hour swim, if you’re really giving it some.

The LA Times did a write-up here. Peter stopped training athletically around 2016 (at ~43 years of age), and now just exercises for health and well-being.

In this short clip from an interview with Lewis Howes, Peter explains that extreme levels of exercise he was doing, as you get into your 40’s, can be detrimental your overall lifespan.

And how once he realized this, he switched his training to optimize for longevity, and what it might mean to be a kick-ass 100-year old:

Specifically Peter’s training focuses on 4 key areas:

  1. Stability – training this daily
  2. Strength – 3-days/week
  3. Aerobic Efficiency – 3 hours a week, split between 3-4 sessions
  4. Anaerobic Performance – 2x per week


Good stability is key to healthy movement, athletic performance and reducing injury risk.

It comes primarily from our core (lumbopelvic region) and connects our upper and lower body together.

Allowing them to co-ordinate and transfer load efficiently. Peter has an upcoming video series which will cover more details around exercises he uses for improving stability.

In the interim, if you’re interested, you can check out content on YouTube around stability exercises.

Peter training using bands (via IG)


Whilst Peter’s weight-lifting is likely varied, he has written previously about his obsession with heavy squats and deadlifts.

Noting that he trains deadlifts with a hex bar rather than straight bar – to reduce risk of injury.

Two of his favourite squat/deadlift sets are:

  1. A thorough warmup of 7-10 sets ascending in weight, with a main set of 5 sets of 5 reps (5×5), followed by 4 sets of 10 reps (4×10), following by 3 sets of 20 reps(3×20).
  2. Ascending sets of 5 reps until failure (i.e. keep increasing the weight until you can’t get 5 reps), then dropping down to a “test” weight (Peter gives an example of using 315lbs on deadlift and 275lbs on squat) and going to failure.
    Then, drop to a second, lighter “test” weight (Peter gives an example of using 275lbs on deadlift and 225lbs on squat) and go to failure once more.
    He notes that failure occurs when form breaks, not when you fall under the bar.
    The goal is increase the reps of those test sets each week.

Peter is quick to point out that this should NOT be followed if you don’t know how to squat and deadlift perfectly.

For an education, he recommends Mark Rippetoe’s book Starting Strength.

Peter training an isometric deadlift (via IG)

Aerobic Efficiency & Anaerobic Performance

Training for aerobic efficiency involves exercising at a medium pace, such that your bodies energy needs can be provided by the oxygen you’re breathing.

When you exercise so fast that your body doesn’t have enough oxygen to keep up (and thus switches to its other 2 methods of energy production), that’s anaerobic exercise.

For these types of exercise, Peter often uses his Wahoo Kickr (+ Trainer Road).

Besides training on bikes, Peter also does Tabata or a boot-camp type workout.

On a bike you’ll tap into both aerobic and anaerobic capacity by cycling over a distance (aerobic), with interspersed sprints (anaerobic).

Left – Peter praising the Wahoo Kickr (via IG) | Right – Peter training aerobic capacity on the bike (via IG)

Final Words

Hopefully the above gives you a window into Peter’s exercise routines. I’ve also written about Peter’s supplements and diet:

If you’ve got any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Lastly, this seems like a good opportunity to mention Peter’s subscription service – with which I have zero affiliation – but am enthusiastic about.

For an annual fee, it gives you access to his detailed show notes & “Qualys” series, which are short (<10 minute) highlights from the back catalog of podcasts.

This is a great way to support Peter’s continued time spent on the podcast, as well as make sure you’re getting all the latest and greatest info.

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