Today was squat day.
Even though the main goal of this program is progressing the bench press, I don’t want to lose strength in the other big lifts (squat and deadlift.) It is usually best to have one main goal; because of that I will only be squatting and deadlifting once a week. I usually squat 2 to 3 times a week and at one point I squatted everyday for 45 days. So the low frequency is odd to me but I don’t want to burn myself out on squats and not be able to hit my bench numbers the next day.
I did 3 sets of 3 on high bar squats and I chose high bar for a couple of different reasons. I’m not nearly as strong with a high bar squat as low bar so this gives me a chance to work on the technique and build strength in this style of squat. Also, because it is a lighter load it’s less systemic stress on my body, which hopefully will allow full recovery for my next bench press day (AKA Wednesday.)
Here’s day 2 of the program.
High Bar Squat: 3×3
Bulgarian Split Squat: 3×8
Donkey Calf Raise: 4×20 (Raised the weight every set)
Ab Wheel Roll Out: 3×10 (Best ab exercise ever!)
Hit a fairly easy 3×3 at 275 today and it felt good. Looking forward to the speed bench day tomorrow! Getting better everyday.
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Day one of the program here!!!
Today I started my 20in30 program that I have been working on. I’m trying to add 20 pounds to my bench press in 30 days because unfortunately my bench press is woefully sub par.
So, today was my first day and I feel pretty good afterward. Hit my numbers for the day which is really important because today was my “intensity day.” Now contrary to popular belief this has nothing to do with HIIT or how many ounces of sweat I lost. Intensity in the weight room refers to the amount of weight lifted. So today my goal was to lift a heavy weight for low repetitions. This could be compared to the Westside or Conjugate method of a “Max Effort Day” but instead of a 1 rep max (1RM) I worked up to a 3RM and then took 90% of that for 3 sets of 3. I can’t take credit for this idea because Travis Mash of MashElite.com uses it all the time in his programs.
Since this was my intensity day I didn’t want to do a ton of benching volume (to be explained later this week) mainly because I have a volume day scheduled later in the week. So I did some direct arm work instead. I have avoided direct arm work for around 2 years and it’s time to get some horseshoes! My triceps are fairly weak and I believe that is contributing to my poor bench press performance so I attacked those suckers using Kris Gethin’s DTP method. DTP is a pyramid scheme. I’m using his method to add size to my arms. It utilizes extremely high volume and low intensity and I need some actual muscle growth in my arms because a bigger muscle has the potential to be a stronger muscle.
So without further adieu,
Super Set 1
Bench Press: Work up to 3RM – Then take 90% of the 3Rm for 3×3
Cable Row: 1 set of 10 for every set of bench press, including warm ups.
Super Set 2
Hammer Curls: Sets of 50, 40, 30
DB Tricep Extensions: Sets of 50, 40, 30
Super Set 3
Cable Curl w/ Iso Hold: 3×20
Cable Tricep Pushdown W/ Hold: 3×20
So I hit 195 for a solid triple and did 3 sets of 3 with 175 for bench press. It took me around 10 or 11 sets including warm ups so I did 10 or 11 sets of cable rows.
I’ll try and post again with tomorrow’s workout, make yourself better and live human.
Today I want to talk about program design! Programming is simply your plan of attack when you walk into the gym, your garage or living room to workout. Most people love to talk about exercise selection, set, rep schemes, and how many days to show up in the gym; while those are important, I want to focus on a bigger and more basic picture.
There are some basic movements that we should all be able to do as humans whether for athletic performance or everyday life. It would be remiss of me to say that I came up with this idea but Dan John (well known strength, discus, and football coach) preaches this constantly and I completely agree with him. Dan John is constantly looking for the simplest approach and I appreciate that. It is not necessary to kill yourself doing 30 different exercises, especially if you are a beginner. Just walking in the gym is frightening enough. Choosing to do a smaller number of exercises gives you the opportunity to master the movements, allowing greater strength gains and lowering the risk for injury. If you want to learn more about Dan John you can go to his website at danjohn.net or you can even read several of his articles over at tnation t-nation.com/all-articles/authors/dan-john
The next logical step that I should take is to tell you what exercises to do, right? Well, not quite. Instead I would tell you and challenge you to work these movements, not exercises, into your routine programming. They are:
- Upper body Horizontal Push
- Upper Body Horizontal Pull
- Upper Body Vertical Push
- Upper Body Vertical Pull
This might seem like a lot but you don’t have to do it all in one day. One of my favorites splits looks something like this.
- Horizontal Push
- Horizontal Pull
- Vertical Push
- Vertical Pull
This is a list of exercises that fit into each of these movement categories. Unsure of how to do them? Searching on YouTube always yields results, even if they aren’t always the best explanations, it will get you started. Technique WOD by Barbell Shrugged is a great resource. Hopefully I will be able to do exercise tutorials in the future but I need to focus on being a consistent writer first!
||Bent Over Row
||Barbell Back Squat
||Barbell Military Press
|Incline Bench Press
||Leverage Machine Row
||Seated Barbell Press
||Neutral Grip Chin-Up
|Dumbbell Bench Press
||Seated Cable Row
||Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
||Leverage Machine High Row
||Bear Hug Carry
Hopefully this helps you think about your training and the organization it requires. Excellent programming is not easy and while there are many general rules and guidelines it is also extremely personal. Experiment on yourself. The gym is a lab, and for goodness sakes, live like a human and do some basic human movements!