Tag Archives: Training program

Is your training right?

Does the training you enjoy conflict the goal you desire?
It’s a simple question and very easy to answer, let me explain by using myself as the example.
My goal is strength, with some extra size because everyone wants to look as strong as they are :).
Does the training I undergo match this goal?
For the strength neurological elements, yes.
For the mass gaining, no.
I find that cycling through periodised blocks of training is something I have been terrible at doing in recent years because personally the bodybuilding style of training bores me to tears, however there is only so strong I can get being the size I am, such a conundrum.
It is easy to fall in to the trap of doing what we enjoy and while there is not really anything wrong with that, it doesn’t always mean that we will get the results we desire and unless we’re willing to make the changes necessary to our training and perhaps even our nutrition, we’ll just have to settle with what we’ve got.
Be nice if there was another answer, there isn’t.
If you want a specific outcome you need to take a specific course of action.
As not to leave you without anything to test out in the gym I’m going to write out a nice simple routine that will indeed give you the mental stimulation of lifting heavy with the muscle building capacity of reps, you can also use this for fat loss too.
– 5 singles to a heavy weight for the day
– Back off to 60-80% of that weight
– Do either 5×5 or 1×20
– For strength do workouts 1 & 2 ideally twice per week, if you only have three days to train it would go 1-2-1, 2-1-2 and then repeat.
– For fat loss do workouts 1 & 2 on say Monday/Friday and add in workout 3 on Wednesday, for example.
Workout 1:
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Press (overhead, dip or bench)
C1 – Chin Up
Workout 2:
A1 – Squat
B1 – Press (overhead, dip or bench)
C1 – Row
Workout 3:
A1 – Bodyweight bear hug carry 100-400m
B1 – Farmers Walk 100-400m
C1 – Sprints 5-10×60 second sprints
It’s simple, effective, quite fun and will give you results, provided you’re nutrition is appropriate for your goal (mass gain = calorie surplus, fat loss = calorie deficit).

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A quote to think on

A quote from Dr. VM Zatsiorsky has always stuck with me:
“Train as heavy as possible, as often as possible, while staying as fresh as possible.”
Now this has multiple interpretations, today I will give you mine.
You can take from it what you will, however I’d encourage you to formulate your own.
To me this is a simple message –
Lift heavy, everyday if possible but always leave each session feeling strong, confident and ready for more.
Given the background of the good Dr being one of a weightlifting sports science one, it was in the interests of the Russian weightlifters/powerlifter to train as close as they could to the nerve without burning out.
High performance demands high intensity and high workload.
Now obviously there will be a point where a person needs a rest, the accumulation of volume/intensity coupled with high frequency will mean that physiologically you will eventually need to rest so the your body can adapt.
Personally I like the idea of training multiple times per day, multiple days in a row and learning to listen to your body.
I believe it was John Broz who said “How you feel is a lie.” or something similar.
Basically it means you can push through days where you feel sluggish because it’s in your head and your body can actually handle it.
Obviously this takes some time to achieve this level of awareness, however it is certainly something that is very real in the world of strength sport and performance, perhaps not so great for bodybuilding purposes but definitely for sport.
I’m sure you’d like to know how to apply this to your training.
Here is a list of movements you want to achieve:
Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Loaded Carry, Full Body
You might put the push/pull together, then have the squatting/hinging the day after, followed by a loaded carry day and then a full body movement day (clean & jerk or snatch for example).
Depending on your sporting needs you’ll plan what you need.
Now this isn’t for everyone.
I’d say pick a few movements and focus on them, work up to a heavy ish 1,2 or 3 for the day and the do some back off work if you feel up to it.
– Press ramp to heavy 2
– Back off 3-5x2x80% top weight
– Done
The high frequency will produce enough volume for the agains you desire, this is why you can have a fairly low volume on the day.
There is a lot of literature on training daily, if you want to know more look up John Broz, Dan John, Bulgarian/Russian weightlifting and make your own choice on giving it a go.

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Train to gain

It seems that hitting momentary mechanical failure is equally if not more important tan the load you lift.
^^ A good study looking at 3x Fail x30% VS 3x Fail x80%.
In short, the act of hitting failure provide adequate stimulus to trigger muscle growth.
The growth was essentially the same in both groups, however the group that used a heavier weight got stronger as well (pretty logical).
So what does this mean for your training?
You can look at it one of two ways:
1 – Cycle your loads between 30-80% 1RM and perform 3 sets per muscle group to muscle failure each set (after a couple of warm up sets, obviously).
2 – You can take this data and combine to s strength program to add some extra oomph, so perhaps performing working sets at a standard weight, say 5x5x80% (leaving reps in the take and focusing on strength), followed by a back off set of the same weight or between the 30-80% mark for AMRAP to hit failure, triggering more growth stimulus.
Both options are viable, both will improve strength and size.
Another nice option is this:
W/U – 10-15 reps
Set 1 – 10 reps – tough
Set 2 – 8 reps – tougher
Set 3 – 6-8 reps – hardest set
Set 4 – reps to failure with previous load or reduce load by 20%
If you ever see someone who has any decent amount of size you’ll notice they’ve often blended training to failure with stopping just short, try it yourself and see how you do.

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How doing less helped me progress.

Yesterday we touched on who doing too much can hold people back, today we shall look at how the opposite can help you being to once again make headway.
MED, remember that?
Minimum effective dose.
Find what the bare minimum you can do and make progress form and do that until you no longer make progress, then perhaps add the next smallest amount and progress once again.
A simple thought that still adheres to the GAS/SAID principle.
It will allow you more time to recover, spend time doing other things you enjoy and for the average person, give you results while also having a life.
Sounds perfect, right?
That being the case, why don’t people do it?
Because as we discussed yesterday, too many think more is better and even more than that must mean even better still, not always true, sadly.
You will also find that when you take down how much you’ve been doing, you recover and allow the super-compensation element of GAS to happen, meaning gains.
Keeping in mind MED, how many times per week do you need to train to make progress?
Twice, that’s a great start.
Both sessions would follow a full body approach with limited moves that will give you the best bang for your buck.
Day 1 – Monday
A1 – Front Squat or Squat 10×5
A2 – DB Row 10×6
B1 – Press 8×6
B2 – Chin 8×6
C1 – Dip 50 reps in as few sets as possible
D1 – Loaded Carry 10min x Total Distance (famers walk, etc)
Day 2 – Thursday
A1 – Deficit Deadlift (any grip) 10×5
A2 – DB Press 10×6-8
B1 – Bench Press or Incline 6×6-8
B2 – BB Row 6×6-8
C1 – Curl 50 rep goal in as few sets as possible
D1 – Prowler or Sprints 10min x total Distance
Combine this with solid nutrition (plenty of whole foods and a calorie deficit or surplus depending on your goal) and three simple factors to progress and you’ll be laughing at the gains you make.
How to progress:
– Add weight where possible (fractional plates are good)
– If you can’t add weight, reduce rest
– Rest at it’s lowest, increase TUT (time under tension) with a slower negative portion of the lift
In each session aim to keep a good pace and finish within 45-75min, you’ll find the less you faff the better the workout you get.
Obviously over time you will potentially need to add more frequency taking training to 3 days per week, but the longer you can progress on 2 the better.
Funnily enough you will find that most elite lifters seem to find 4xP/W is their optimal limit because in each session they train HARD and create a deep ‘in road’ meaning they’ve stimulated growth, you need to do this too.
Remember, doing less can help your progress.

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A little bit about the split.

Morning All,
A lot of people use the term ‘split training’ but it doesn’t mean hat they think it means, or at least in the context of the way they set up their training. Obviously plenty of you know how splits are meant to be applied, however some don’t so it makes it a god topic of conversation.
Did you know that optimally you’ll hit each muscle group or movement every 3-5 days (so 2-3x per week).
^^ Some reading on the topic.
For example, if someone says to me that they’re doing a 5 day split, my mind will come up with one of these options, logical:
Day 1 – Chest/Back
Day 2 – Legs/Abs
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Shoulders/Back
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Repeat day 1 to start 5 day split again.
Or perhaps
Day 1 – Chest/Back
Day 2 – Legs – Quad focus
Day 3 – Shoulders/back
Day 4 – Legs – Hamstring Focus
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Repeat day 1 to start 5 day split again.
Here is what most people mean:
Day 1 – Chest
Day 2 – Back
Day 3 – Legs, maybe
Day 4 – Shoulders
Day 5 – Arms
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Off
Repeat bro split, for additional results starting sipping at the tren bottle, it’s the flavour of the month.
As you can see what they actually do is a 7day split, as the routine repeat every 7 days, where as the 5 day split examples above repeat every 5, thus allowing for more frequency of training, the whole idea of splits.
You also find Upper/Lower Splits also run over a typical 7day split, they usually look like this:
Day 1 – Upper
Day 2 – Lower
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Upper
Day 5 – Lower
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Off
Day 1 – Upper
Day 2 – Lower
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Upper
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Lower
Day 7 – Off
Make sense?
You have a lot of different training splits ranging from Full Body to Pull-Push-Legs, Push-Pull- Events or just a simple Push-Pull and so on. Them main take home from this this post is what the premise behind a ‘split’ actually is in terms of increasing the frequency of your lifts.
What is your current split?
Is it 3 day, 4 day, 5 day or 7 day?
Take a look and make sure it’s optimal for your goal.

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Unconventional 5×5

Everyone knows and loves 5×5, with good reason too.

The 5×5 routine was one that Reg Park used with great success, not to mention Bill Starr and a great many others.

As with anything everyone has their own unique tweaks that put in to play on this basic but brilliant program, each of which work well, here are some examples:

  • 5×5 at set working weight
  • 5×5 – 2×5 warm up (60-80% of working weight) 3×5 at working weight
  • 5×5 – 4 warm up sets to 1 all out set of 5
  • 5×5 – Friday Max out day, working to 1×5 all out, Monday 5×5 at 80% Fridays weight, Wednesday 2×5 at 70-80% Fridays weight
  • Typically the main aim is to hit 25 heavy reps, 80-85% of 1RM is typical.

There are countless more methods and today I would like to give you one that I utilise using extended sets, this will help you improve maximal strength and trigger hypertrophy.

Extended Set 5×5 – Using a harder movement with sub-maximal loading followed by an easier one movement. All total reps add up to the classic 25.

  • 5×2/3

For example:

A1 Extended Set – Front Squat/Squat – 5×2, rack then change bar position, Squat x3 at same weight.

Back Off Set 5×5 – As above, harder vacation of the lift followed by an easier one.

  • 5×2 + 3×5


A1 – FS 5×2 – B1 Squat 3×5 starting at same weight and increasing as necessary.

High Rep Back Off Set 5×5

  • 5×2 + 15


A1 – 5×2 – B1 Squat 1×15 at the FS weight.

^^ Not classic 5×5 but the 25 rep goal is still hit.

There is nothing magical about these rep/set schemes, they’re just options for you to try.



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How to structure a program for all around progress.

There are a lot of different ways to structure a program, typically because of the specific needs of the person it is for, however for those of you who want to achieve the following:

– Strength
– Fitness (improved CV/VO2 Max)
– Better Body Composition (lose body fat & increase lean muscle)
– Improve Mobility/Flexibility
– Aquire Skill
– Improve mental health

This simple structure idea will help you plan your workouts to achieve all of the above.

Program Design 101:

– Warm Up – 5min
– Mobility – 10min
– Strength &/or Skill Element – 20min
– Metabolic Conditioning Section – 15min
– Flexibility Enhancement – 10min
– Warm Down – 5min

Looks simple enough, doesn’t it.

Here is what a workout might look like:

– Skipping
– www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8QxbtcA5hU – Routine example
– A1: Deadlift, A2: Press 5-3-2-5-3-2-5 – Reps dictate the weight
– B1: Loaded Carry 20m, B2: 400m Sprint – AMRAP in 15min
– www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia5ZTVQnsBw -Routine example
– Foam rolling & short meditation

You will notice the workout is nothing special, however it covers multiple facets of fitness for those who want an all round package, rather than an ultra specific one.

How does it all work?

Skipping allows for a nice warm up and also some skill/coordination practice, as does the mobility routine example.

The strength is set in an example of a 5-3-2 wave to allow for muscle potentiation, both exercises hit the major muscle groups of the body. When the metabolic section beings you will gain more strength from the loaded carry along with power/CV/endurance/fat loss from the sprints.

Finally you have a nice example stretching routine followed by some gentle foam rolling and meditation to bring clarity of thought and lower the stress of life.

What is written above isn’t gospel, it’s an example, a good example mind you but ann example never the less. You can adapt it however you see fit.


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Three simple things for a better body

There are a multitude of exercises you can do to build the best body you possibly can and this can become very confusing for a lot of people. It can even end up discouraging them from working out because there is too much choice.
Todays post is to give you some classic exercises and options on using them that you don’t often see done all too often in commercial gyms.
You will also find a workout structure down below as well.
1 – Double Dumbbell Clean & Press
Aim for 50 total reps, 5 sets of 10 is with <60 seconds rest a killer, or perhaps 100 reps, so 10×10 if you’re really sadistic but this is not advised.
Alternatively you can just try and hammer out as many sets of 10 as you can with solid form in a 45min time period, if you hit 100 reps you will probably want to add weight.
2 – High Rep Back Squat
Add this in to your workout a minimum of twice per week, stating at a target of 50 reps, do as many reps as you can each set and as many sets as needed to hit 50 reps total. Then add a rep each workout until you hit 2x25reps, then add weight and start again.
As above you could simply take the option of doing multiple sets of 10 until you reach a certain goal number in 45min, 100 is a good target, then add weight.
3 – Loaded Carry
Pick up something awkward to hold on to that matches your bodyweight, such as a sand bag (ideally), you might set out a 10m track for example and count the number of times you successfully complete it without dropping the bag or heavy awkward object you’re carrying in a certain time limit.
This is the hardest of the three options, it would be a good idea to have at least 2 awkward objects to carry, ideally three, that way you can have 3x15min time periods to carry those objects as far as possible.
– Bear Hug Carry
– Farmers Walk
– Overhead Hold Walk
^^ Those three work well together.
If you were to use those three exercises and do one per work you’d find you probably get more results than the endless crowds doing 9 different types of isolation exercises for the arms/abs/chest etc.
You might have a 3 on 1 off rotation that looks like this:
Day 1 – High Rep Back Squats
Day 2 – Double Dumbbell Clean & Press
Day 3 – Loaded Carries
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Repeat
This will make you strong, lean and incredibly fit if you keep the rest periods to a minimum, just keep a keen awareness of strict form.
Boring and repetitive but extremely effective.

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A no fuss, 3 exercise workout to produce results in 150 reps or less.

This program structure is ideal for gaining strength, lean muscle and losing fat.
Hopefully you will have the option of training a minimum or 3 times per week. In an ideal world you would be able to train 3 days on, 1 day off, however, regardless of what options you have, say only two days per week, this training method can still work very well for you.
Here are the basic guidelines to follow.
– 3 Lifts per workout only (ideal all compound lifts)
– 25-50 reps per lift
– 3-10RM loads (this will allow for some variety)
– Perform as many sets of reps as needed with your chosen RM load until you hit your target reps for the day
– Rest as needed but try to keep it to a minimum
– Pull Workout, Push Workout, Leg Workout
Here is an example of how the three days in your first micro-cycle (three day period) might look:
Day 1 – Legs – 50 Rep Target – 6RM Loading
A1 – Squat
B1 – RDL
C1 – Weighted Barbell Front Rack Lunge
^ You might end up doing 8×6 on each with some extra reps as the start because you feel strong, for example.
Day 2 – Push – 50 Rep Target – 7RM Loading
A1 – Overhead Press
B1 – 30 Degree Incline Press
C1 – Weighted Dip
^ Perhaps 6×7 and one odd set of 8 because you felt strong, or 4×7 and then odd reps until you hit your target, either way just make sure you hit 50 reps per lift.
Day 3 – Pull Day – 50 Rep Target – 10RM Loading
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Barbell Row
C1 – Weighted Chin Up
^ Maybe 5×10 on all?
Day 4 – Rest
As you can see the main aim is to get in the volume of 50 reps, it doesn’t matter really how many set you do or even if you hit say 6 reps each set so long as you get all the reps in. You will notice the 50 rep volume is on 6-10RM loads, if you want some heavier days you can use the 25 rep target and the 3-5 RM loads, you’d probably end up doing say 8×3, 6×4 or 5×5 etc. .
The simple focus on compound lifts and basic volume will help you get stronger and build more lean muscle. It’s worth tracking all of your lifting so that you can see what RM loads you’ve used and which ones you haven’t. It’s good to do 2-3 mini cycles (3 day blocks) on the same RM loads then change it up.
It was mentioned above that you can do this if you only have three days per week free, which it is. You will do well do do 2-3 weeks on each RM load.
If you have only two days you would simply run through the Legs-Push-Pull order in sequence, meaning your weeks might look like this:
Week 1 – Legs/Push
Week 2 – Pull/Legs
Week 3 – Push/Pull
Then the cycle repeats back to Legs/Push, which could be a good time for a new RM load to be used.
It’s simple, effective and results producing.

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