Thursday, 7 March 2013

Progressive Strength Template

Sometimes simplicity is the key when it comes to training.  Here is a basic template which has been tried and tested and is producing some good results already.  Nothing revolutionary here I'm afraid just a simple system which if used correctly will enable you to make gradual progress at your own pace. Assistance exercises can be altered and other days can be added in for extra assistance work, however this is a basic 2 day per week programme which covers quite a lot of the basics without needing to be too over complicated.  This programme has been written for a member of my Thunder-Ducks class who also trains 2 more times per week.  The Thunder-Ducks classes consist of lower and upper body lifting and programmes for these are rotated every 4 weeks.  This lifting programme is to compliment the classes, however can be used on its own.  It would also go well if combined with added conditioning or sprint sessions.  Here it is......

Session 1

Deadlifts - Warm up - 3 sets of 3 reps @ 30-40%
    Ramping Sets - 55% x 1, 65% x 1, 75% x 1
    Working Sets - 5-6 singles @ 85% and above     

(N.B. These could be all done at 85% or taken to a new PR (100%+), remember push the boundaries, then build the foundation, then push the boundaries again etc. I would advise phasing a new weight in gradually over time by initially just performing it for your last single, and then next week your second to last single, and then your third to last single etc.  Just play the singles by ear, take advantage of the times you feel strong, and keep it conservative when you arent feeling your best.  Remember that getting 5 singles on a weight, where you previously could only get 4 singles is still progress.)

    Rep Sets - 5 sets of 5 reps @ 70-75%                    

(N.B.  once you can get all 5 sets of 5 at 75%, then increase by 5kg and start the progress of building up to 5 sets of 5 reps again)

Bench Press - Warm up - 3 sets of 3 reps @ 30-40%
    Ramping Sets - 55% x 1, 65% x 1, 75% x 1
    Working Sets - 5-6 singles @ 85% and above     (see notes above)

    Rep Sets - 5 sets of 5 reps @ 70-75%                    (see notes above)

Assistance 1 - Glute Ham Raises - 3 sets of 10 reps
Assistance 2 - V- grip Inverted Rows - 3 sets of 15 reps @ 1012 tempo
Assistance 3 - Ab wheel (kneeling) - 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Session 2

Squats - Warm up - 3 sets of 3 reps @ 30-40%
    Ramping Sets - 55% x 1, 65% x 1, 75% x 1
    Working Sets - 5-6 singles @ 85% and above
    (see notes above)

    Rep Sets - 5 sets of 5 reps @ 70-75%          
    (see notes above)

Military Press - Warm up - 3 sets of 3 reps @ 30-40%
     Ramping Sets - 55% x 1, 65% x 1, 75% x 1
     Working Sets - 5-6 singles @ 85% and above        (see notes above)

     Rep Sets - 5 sets of 5 reps @ 70-75%                     (see notes above)

Assistance 1 - Supinated Grip Chin Ups - 3 x 10 reps @ 3011 tempo
Assistance 2 - Tricep Dips - 3 sets of 10 reps @ 3010 tempo
Assistance 3 - Dumbbell Side Bends - 3 sets of 20 reps @ 2010 tempo

Note on Avoiding Over-Training

I am largely convinced that most time people say they are over-trained, they are in fact under-trained, under conditioned, not eating properly, not undergoing at least some attempts at a recovery protocol.  However this note is simply to recommend that you use your 'common sense' when using this template.  If you try and hit a new 1RM every single session when performing the singles, then you will probably start to burn out your C.N.S, and you will also probably spend a lot of time practicing compromised form and technique.  This will lead to bad habits and most likely some form of injury.  If however you use your B-R-A-I-N and learn for yourself which days are ok to push the weights a little and which days are ones where you need to reign it in a little bit.  You are making progress if you increase your Total volume of work performed at a given weight.  One way of measuring this would be to add up the total weight of all your single reps added together.  This is a valid Method of Progression, and one which will take the focus from always being on whether you lift a heavier top set than the previous week.  If one week you perform 3 singles at 225kg, 1 single at 235kg and 1 single at 245kg, and after a few weeks you perform 5 singles at 245kg then granted your max weight hasn't increased, but you have built the work capacity to repeat your previous 1RM 5 times which, I would put money on, is actually no longer your 1RM and you are capable of lifting significantly more. Without knowing it, you have actually turned your previous 100% effort into a lift requiring merely 90-95% effort meaning you should be then ready to test yourself again and lift a new 1RM, before starting the cycle all over again.  This may seem like common sense to many, but what is very evident when observing and reading about many people's training habits, is that common sense isn't always so common.

Any questions, feel free to email  If trying the programme, please be sure to let me know how you get on.......

P.S. This programme works best when the athlete/trainee has been taught how to lift with good form and understands the mechanics of at least the main 4 lifts involved (squat, deadlift, bench and military press). I would advise all undertaking a new programme both get checked by your GP before doing so and also to enlist the help of a qualified coach. If you choose not to do so, then understand you do this at your own risk.

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