SETTING UP MONTH 2...

There are 4 main ways of laying out your programme structure. 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 that 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 section 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. 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 whcih 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 CONSTANT-TENSION SKATER SQUAT

Right, take the Skater Squat from last month, but switch focus from brute strength, to total control. Make each rep a little bit easier, but do more. Take out the pause at the bottom and exagerate the locked-legged top poisition. Then you have the Skater Squat constant tesnion style. Let's get one thing straight: whether you do or nbot, your legs LOVE high rep work. If you want them to grow or tone, there's little better than these. Your legs should be on fire and full of blood even after just one set. In class, we do 4. In training, I often do 5 before lying on the floor for a while, thinking about butterflies.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

TUCK PLANCHE HOLDS

These are another little gymnastic-strength hold that is sooo simple, yet so tough. It's very easy to find a very difficult position, with real strength needed from the chest, shoulders, triceps and abs, plus it has loads of fun progressions to work your way through (see the Planche Progression Ladder), hence the use of them on this programme.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

CHIN UP -- EXTRA STATICS (OR SPEED WORK)

Practice moves frequently; tweak the variables. A great way to keep progressing in your training. After standard Chin Ups in month 1, this month we want to practise statics with more weight than you can do Chin Ups with, and if you have a good set up, we want to practice speed reps. Same plane of movement, but much more explosive. This will really get you into the mindset of non-fatiguing training and becoming More-Athletic. Round here it's not so much about how much you can do, it's about how well you can do stuff.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

DEAD HANG STRENGTH -- BODY POSITION EMPHASIS

In Month 1, we simply build strenght-endurance on the hang. Get to the all important 2 minute mark. Next month, we make it more difficult to grip. This month, we make it more integrated by bringing in more ab strength. Work your way to holding a full L-Sit while hanging for time.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

HANDSTAND STRENGTH

You don't have to work on handstand balance to do The Strength Sessions programme, it depends if you're into it. I am. But I'm not sure I reccommend it. If you do, be patient! Anyways, I still like to include Handstand strength and position practice in the programme as it's so damn good for you. You'll need strong shoulders, great range of motion, strong arms, strong wrists and good pelvic control (important for body awareness and better training on all sorts of stuff). So get stuck in, persistently, diligently and carefully please!

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

BENT-ARM HANDSTAND

This sis sort-of the static-hold style of overhead press in our programme. Tricep strength. Shoulder strength. If you fancy, and have access, sometimes I like you to Overhead press instead of work your bent-arm handstand strength. the two go hand in hand. But, it's the Bent-Arm Handstand that we really focus on in the programme due to the convenience of it and the many progressions that we can strive to master.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

THE MODIFIED BACK-SUPPORT

A deceptively effective move for your posture and your upper back and arm strength. It's a little different to a real gymnastics back support move, but similar: your hands are behind you with staright arms as you strive to take most of your weight with the shoulders down, arms locked and perfect technique.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

GYMNASTIC STYLE LEG RAISE (SEATED)

These will help your L-Sits and give you killer abs. Control and quality is everything, Obsess over improving your position, getting your quads firing to master the lock out position at the top and then feeling your six-packy, sculpted tummy thingy control every inch as you lower your legs.

>>> 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 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

CONSTANT-TENSION SKATER SQUAT

GYMNASTIC STYLE LEG RAISE

WORKOUT 2 -- UPPER BODY STUFF

TUCK PLANCHE

STATIC / SPEED CHIN UP

----

DEAD HANG

HANDSTAND STRENGTH

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BENT-ARM HANDSTAND

BACK-SUPPORT

EQUIPMENT / NO EQUIPMENT SPLIT

WORKOUT 1 -- EQUIPMENT NEEDED

STATIC / SPEED  CHIN UP

DEAD HANG -- BODY POSITION EMPHASIS

WORKOUT 2 -- NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED

CONSTANT-TENSION SKATER SQUAT

TUCK PLANCHE

---

HANDSTAND STRENGTH

GYMNASTIC STYLE LEG RAISE

BENT-ARM HANDSTAND

GYMNASTIC / TRADITIONAL EXERCISE SPLIT

WORKOUT 1 -- TRADITIONAL MOVES

STATIC / SPEED CHIN UP

CONSTANT-TENSION SKATER SQUAT

---

DEAD HANG -- BODY POSITION EMPHASIS

GYMNASTIC STYLE LEG RAISE

WORKOUT 2 --GYMNASTIC MANOUVERS

TUCK PLANCHE PROGRESSIONS

HANDSTAND STRENGTH

----

BENT-ARM HANDSTAND

BACK SUPPORT

ALL IN ONE SESSION

TUCK PLANCHE PROGRESSIONS

CONSTANT-TENSION SKATER SQUAT

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CHIN UP -- EXTRA STATICS (AND/OR SPEED)

HANDSTAND STRENGTH

----

BENT-ARM HANDSTAND

DEAD HANG -- BODY POSITION EMPHASIS

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BACK SUPPORT

GYMNASTIC STYLE LEG RAISE

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.

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