SETTING UP MONTH 1...

There are 4 main ways of laying out your programme structure, all laid out for you to choose from below. Simply pick the exercises you will do this month and then put them into a structure that works for you. Make it practical, make sure it inspires you and make sure you're 100% sure you can get it done!

STARTING POINT -- THE MONTHLY ANALYSIS

EVERY MONTH IS A FRESH START -- That's a big part of The Strength Sessions programme.

START BY LOOKING AT YOUR GOALS -- strength, self-dicipline, habit installation or whatever they may be.

ANALYSE THE MONTH JUST GONE -- Did you do what you wanted to do? Did it work? Can you do better? Can you enjoy it more?

PLAN YOUR MONTH -- Using the steps below.

CHECK YOU'RE READY TO GO -- You know you're ready when you know what's what and you're itching to get started.

CHECK OUT THE DETAILED MONTHLY REVIEWS -- To get really good at end of month analysis and habits, check out the psychology and habits articles.

LAY OUT THE TRAINING WEEK

Having been through the steps above, you should now be ready to lay out your training week. When are you going to train? What times? Where? Then you can keep this in mind while choosing your exercises, sets, reps and training splits in the sections below.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT EXERCISES

SELECT THE EXERCISES YOU ARE GOING TO WORK ON THIS MONTH FROM THE LIST BELOW -- Look at the alternatives suggested in the exercise breakdowns if there's any reason you can't do any of them.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO ALL THE EXERCISES -- you won't neccessarily do better doing the full programme than you would by doing only part of it. You'll do better being ruthlessly consistent and putting maximum effort in every time you train. So don't fall for that trap, prioritise the first exercises on the list when you select which ones to include in your programme.

BUT STAY BALANCED, WATCH OUT FOR BEING TOO PUSH-ORIENTATED -- it can be difficult to stay balanced on a minimalist programme, especially if you don't have any equipment. If that's you, be mindful not to include too many pushing exercises and nothing that requires you to practise bringing your shoulders and scapula backwards. At the very least, rigourously apply some Band Pulls and Rows in your warm up.

DON'T BECOME A DABBLER -- The other thing I like you to remember is that you don't want to just leave exercises out because you feel like it. You should have a good reason not to include any particular exercise. The idea isn't that you only train your legs or your gymnastic moves every other month. That would be dabbling. The exercises are designed to change every month, but with similar moves that freshen it up while still training the same muscles and patterns of movement. Look at the suggested alternatives if you need to leave an exercise out, and make sure you are building your programme with view to mastering a handful of the progressin ladders.

MISS THE STUFF YOU DON'T HAVE THE STUFF FOR -- But resolve to acuire it in due course. I understand you might not want to go to the gym or buy any equipment straight away, but once you prove to yourself that this is for real and you can stick at it, then it may well be worth investing in a few bits of kit that will allow you to develop a much better body.

THIS MONHT'S 8 SKILLS

THE DEAD-START SKATER SQUAT

These -- like any squat -- work quad, glute, hamstring, inner/outer thighs and stabaliser muscles. The Dead-Start Skater requires you to pause at the bottom of the rep, before powering back up. Probably my favourite squat of all the worlds squats for serious leg development. We can get a hell-of-a-lot of tension in the leg musculature with minimal learning time, equipment and injury risk. These really are the business. Strive to master them and you'll have great legs, always.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

THE KETTLEBELL SWING

These are all about your hamstrings, back, arse, and your grip, and your abs (big time). They will make you strong, powerful and durable. Or, they will kill you. Please, oh please, oh please, do two things for me: firstly, don't duck them. They will do you so much good. But if you don't learn them properly, they may do you so much bad. We don't deadlift on The Strength Sessions programme, so these are all the more important. Master them, or at least resolve to bring them into your programme as soon as you can.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

CHIN UPS

I have a real penchant for Chin Ups. I have serious feelings for them. If you do one move to develop impressive guns, make it these. one move to make you wanna stay lean, make it these. One move for your upper body, make it these.

You'll work your grip, you'll work your arms, you'll work your lats and you'll work your abs, and don't worry, if you can't do them, we include so many cool ways to build up to them in this programme. Pick the one that you fancy, and are ready for, and get yourself on the road to your first real Chin Up and a serious physique improvement.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

DEAD HANG 2 MINS

NEWS FLASH!!!! YOUR ARMS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO GO OVER YOUR HEAD!

Thus, the fundamental benefit of hanging training. To hang well, you need healthy shoulders, good range of motion in your thoracic spine, a strong, functional grip and probably somehthing to hang off. You want all of these things, but this is one of the most neglcted areas of training in fitness -- so let's practice them a lot!

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

BASIC PUSH UP

There's a reason that Push Ups are used all the damn time in any programme where people don't find them too easy. Two actually: 1) They are really bloody convenient -- and we are ALL about that. 2) They are a real compound move that work a LOT of muscle bits in one go: Your chest, your triceps, your shoulders and your abs. That's why we work on them directly 3 months out of 4 and have a whole progression ladder dedicated to mastering them.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

L-SIT STATICS FOR TIME

These are like the very first move you take on when you start to do any kind of gymnastics strength work. I love them because they're so practical and so scaleable. If you're super advanced, you can do them on the floor, but if you're not, we can scale them right back to absolutely basic level. Whichever level you're at, as long as you push yourself, you'll get a serious tricep, abdominal, hip flexor and scap retractor stimulus.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

HOLLOW BODY HOLD

Finally an ab exercise!..they yell.

Now, not only is the Hollow Body Position a fundamental gymnastics position, with many carry over 'skill transfer' benefits, but yes, it's one bloody god rectus abdominus exercise in it's own right. Proper position is everything, master it, then progressively increase the difficulty.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

BENT-ARM PLANCHE STRENGTH

I love this move for two reasons...firstly, the first time I saw it, I thought it was the coolest thing I've ever seen. How on earth can you do a push up with both feet off the floor?! Now of course I know it's just brute strength and a manipulation of body angle, but I try to remember my initial impressions when I'm experiencing the rather uncomfortable side of it... struggling to breath and not crash on my nose. The second reason, is that I find them so damn good for heping the non-strong develop strength for push-ups while not doing push ups. They can be a game changer, and that's why we use them.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

NOW DECIDE ON YOUR TRAINING FREQUENCY

You will now have chosen your exercises, and will have defined both the number and duration of your training sessions. Next, you must decide how frequently you will do each exercise. You could do the same for each exercise, or train the ones you are prioritising (or have the equipment for) more often, and the other stuff less frequently. Pick a practical system that apeals to you.

NOW CHOOSE YOUR SET AND REP RANGE

There are 3 options:

Strength-Endurance: 12-15 reps per set or a 15-20 second static hold. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets (feel free to train non-competing stuff in-between if you want to)

Mid-Strength: 8-12 reps per set or 10-15 second static hold. Rest 60-120 seconds between sets (feel free to train non-competing stuff in-between if you want to)

Pure-Strength: 6-8 reps per set or 6-10 second static hold. Rest 3-5 mionutes between sets (feel free to train non-competing stuff in-between if you want to)

This month is ideal for mid-strength or pure strength, as Month 2 is particularly well suited to strength endurance.

DECIDE ON SETS AND REPS

You can complicate this process when you're ready, but first we want to make it super simple to get started and be consistent. That's at least 80% of the importance here as far as your results are concerned.

For each exercise in your programme, I'd like you to do 6-10 good work sets of work per week. If you only do something once per week, you may drop just under that, but fear not, you may well still make progress, but it's probably not optimal.

If you train it once per week: do 4-6 sets, whatever you can handle.

If you train it twice per week: do 3-5 sets per workout.

If you train it three times per week: shoot for 3 sets per workout.

If you train it 4 times per week per week: shoot for 2-3 sets in each workout.

If you train it 5-6 times per week: just do one or two really good sets each workout.

DON'T FORGET TO PICK YOUR PROGRESSION METHOD

As laid out here. Remember we choose from 3 methods:

  1. STEADY STATE -- Where sets, reps and difficulty stay the same for the whole month.
  2. THE PRACTICE SET AND RECORD SET METHOD -- Where you go for a record on one set each day.
  3. THE COMPLETE-THE-SETS METHOD -- Where you pick a tough goal just out of your reach and try to hit it.

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT SPLIT

Once you've chosen the exercises you're going to work on and defined your sets and reps, you need to decide whether you'll do all of the exercises in one workout, or break them up into a split.

I've broken up the main 8 moves into different splits to make it easy for you to set up your month. Take the one closest to your preferences, tweak it so it suits your logistics and so that you're completely confident you can get it done.

  1. DO IT ALL EACH WORKOUT -- but have longer workouts or higher frequency
  2. UPPER/LOWER SPLIT -- on different days, or for twice in one day training.
  3. TRADITIONAL/GYMANSTIC -- on different days, or for twice in one day training
  4. GYM/HOME -- particularly good for those who want to train frequently but can't guarantee getting in the gym enough.

THE UPPER /LOWER SPLIT

WORKOUT 1 -- LEGS

DEAD-START SKATER SQUAT

KETTLEBELL SWING

WORKOUT 2 -- UPPER BODY STUFF

BASIC PUSH UP

BASIC CHIN UP

----

DEAD HANG

L-SIT HOLDS

-----

BENT-ARM PLANCHE

HOLLOW BODY HOLD

EQUIPMENT / NO EQUIPMENT SPLIT

WORKOUT 1 -- EQUIPMENT NEEDED

KETTLEBELL SWING

BASIC CHIN UP

DEAD HANG

WORKOUT 2 -- NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED

DEAD-START SKATER SQUAT

BASIC PUSH UP

L-SIT HOLDS

-----

BENT-ARM PLANCHE

HOLLOW BODY HOLD

GYMNASTIC / TRADITIONAL EXERCISE SPLIT

WORKOUT 1 -- TRADITIONAL MOVES

BASIC CHIN UP

DEAD-START SKATER SQUAT

----

BASIC PUSH UP

KETTLEBELL SWING

WORKOUT 2 -- GYMNASTIC HOLDS

DEAD HANG

L-SIT HOLDS

-----

BENT-ARM PLANCHE

HOLLOW BODY HOLD

ALL IN ONE SESSION

BASIC CHIN UP

DEAD-START SKATER SQUAT

----

BASIC PUSH UP

KETTLEBELL SWING

----

DEAD HANG

L-SIT HOLDS

-----

BENT-ARM PLANCHE

HOLLOW BODY HOLD

EXTRA NOTES ON CREATING THE PERFECT TRAINING PLAN

IT MUST INSPIRE YOU

You know you've got a good plan for the month when you KNOW you can get it done and you're excited about the way you've set it up. Take ownership of that and you'll be more likely to follow through.

IT MUST BE PRACTICAL

The goal of The Strength Sessions is to help you become someone who ruthlessly executes, someone who never misses their training. So don't screw yourself with a silly plan you're never going to follow through on.

YOU CAN USE THE MINIMUM-PLUS APPROACH

Consider having two main exercises for each month, that you will not miss...no matter what, then lay out how you'd do the extra stuff if you feel like it...MAKE SURE YOUR PROGRAMME IS PRACTICAL. Even just two exercises performed relentlessly will produce serious results compared with the dabbling most folks waste time with.

NOTHING CAN STOP YOU -- EXECUTION IS EVERYTHING

Once you've finished your plan, print it, sign it, and let nothing get in your way. Next time we come back round to this month, you'll be delighted with how you've gotten better at each move.

COPYRIGHT -- MORE-ATHLETIC LTD -- 2018 -- WHATEVER

MORE-ATHLETIC BODY

--> TRAIN WITH US.

--> GET BETTER RESULTS.