This introductory program is designed for those wanting to gain proficiency in the squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, row, and pull down. This is also a good time to make adjustments to body composition through effective dietary manipulation. See the Macros tab in the Coach’s Office for more dietary info.
Since it is very common to have difficulty properly executing some of the more challenging lifts, you will build up to them over the course of four weeks. For example, the deadlift is rarely done with good form on day 1. So instead, the lift is broken down into more manageable intermediate steps. In the first week, you’ll develop your hip hinge with Romanian deadlifts. Then you’ll move over to the rack (or set up on blocks) and deadlift starting from knee level. During the third week, you’ll lower the bar 2″/5cm below your knees and deadlift from there. Finally, in the fourth week, you’ll set the bar up on the ground and perform a full deadlift.
There are three weight training days and three active recovery days per week. The overall cycle lasts for four weeks and you can repeat it as needed. For weight training, you’ll practice all the basic movement patterns each workout.
Pro Tip: Ask yourself at the end of each week if you feel you really grasped the exercise movements you did during the week. If not, repeat the week as needed until it has nothing left to offer you.
Example: In Week 1 you do Romanian deadlifts 3x. You noticed that Day 3 was considerably better than Day 1, but you think you can still make further improvements. The same goes for a few other the other exercises. Go ahead and repeat Week 1. Move to the next week once you’ve mastered the skills in the current week.
Movement Patterns for Weight Training
- Horizontal Push (e.g., dumbbell bench press)
- Horizontal Pull (e.g., seated row)
- Vertical Push (e.g., overhead barbell press)
- Vertical Pull (e.g., wide-grip pull down)
- Hip Dominant (e.g., Romanian deadlift)
- Knee Dominant (e.g., front squat)
Weights begin light and slowly ramp up daily over the course of four weeks. The progression is, therefore, linearly structured for both weight increases (weight++) and exercise complexity (Romanian deadlift –> full deadlift).
The first time you encounter a new exercise you have not previously done, the app will assign an estimated working weight. Use the following procedure to correctly calibrate the weights for future workouts.
- Scan through your assigned weights.
- Locate the first set with the heaviest weight
- That set is your first “workset”.
- The target reps in reserve (RIR) for all your worksets is 1-4 RIR.
- Adjust the weight of your sets as needed, by either adding or subtracting weight, so that your remaining heavy sets fall in this RIR range.
- Your weights will be correctly calibrated the next time you encounter this exercise.
Note: Reps in reserve is how close you took the set to failure. For example, if you stopped the set at the point where you think you may have been able to do 2 additional reps at the very most, your RIR would be 2. RIR is used throughout the app’s training programs because not every set is taken to failure.
Also included in the program are three active recovery days per week. These days are devoted to low-intensity & low-impact cardio combined with flexibility/mobility. These light workouts can be modified so that they do not need to be done at the gym. Low-impact cardio (e.g., biking, swimming, elliptical machine, Stairmaster, etc.) is recommended.
- low-intensity steady-state cardio (up to 30 min)
- 15 min – flexibility/mobility
Cardio sessions call for elevating your heart rate up to around 130 beats per minute and keeping it there for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a way to monitor your heart rate, that’s not a problem. Use the following guide to find the right intensity.
- Low Intensity (<110bpm) — you have no difficulty carrying on a conversation while doing your cardio
- Optimal Intensity (~130bpm) –you have difficulty conversing but it is possible
- High Intensity (>150bpm) — you are unable to converse with others
Note: If you have not done any cardio at all before beginning this program, you can begin with 5 minutes and aim to work up to 30 minutes by the fourth week. If you already have a cardio routine, go ahead and use that in place of the default cardio suggestions.
Enjoy, and get Strongur!