SETTING UP MONTH 4...

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 makje sure 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

PLATFORM PISTOLS

Platform Pistols are the absolute easiest of all the squats. To learn that is. Get a low enough mat and they are plenty hard enough for most folks. You can get a massive mechanical quad, glute, hamstring strength stimulus with these. Pick a height you can master, master it, then go lower. Before long you'll be going all the way to the floor and you'll have amazing legs to reward you for your efforts.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

TOWEL-GRIP CHIN UPS

WARNING: YOU MIGHT FIND THESE RATHER TAXING.

Here we bring our improved grip strength from last month, pair it with our lust for Chin Ups after month off, and unleash fury with the towel grip Chin Ups. Choose your towel carefully, chalk your hands and go mad. If it's too tough, use the feet cheat or static holds and resolve to master them! We need tough stuff to strive for. It's what keeps us interested.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

BODY-ROW -- EXTRA STATICS

We work Body-Rows, just like last month, but with extra emphasis on holding longer, neater positions at the top of each rep. This is particularly important on these as it's the hardest part and our often too desk-orientated lives can make it super tough to get your shoulders all the way back -- but you want to be the person with healthy, strong, well rounded, good-looking shoulders, right?

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

DEEP PUSH-UPS

More direct Push Up practice this month. If you have the set up for it, we particularly want you doing deep reps, with your chest going below your hands. This may mean elevated hands of course, but that’s fine and will lead to better push ups on the floor in the long run.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

HANDSTAND WALKOUTS

These can be pretty brutal, but executed well look really good and involve a whole load of musculature. At the top, it’s your shoulders & triceps that do lots of the work, then we walk into an elevated feet, elongated plank position bringing in a serious ab strength challenge.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

BENT-ARM HANDSTAND PULSES

Bent-Arm Planche practice for chest, shoulder and triceps strength, but pulsing style, so we set up with perfect upper body position, then step in and out of more challenging positions for reps. Test your strength, retreat. Test your strength, retreat.

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

TUCK PLANCHE PULSES

Here’s your chance to edge towards take off on your Tuck Planche. We use these pulsing reps to get a glimpse of the future and give you hope. Set perfect arm and back position, then test that strength my easing in and out of more and more extreme positions!

>>> SEE THE FULL EXERCISE BREAKDOWN <<<

DISH

This works your lower abs big time. You set up a posterior pelvic tilt, lock it in and then challenge that position for a long hold. Another important drill that both makes your abs look great and transfers over into better form in other moves too.

>>> 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 pure-strength work, but as with all months, it works well with any and your individual exercise set-ups may dictate which works best for you.

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

PLATFORM PISTOL

DISH

WORKOUT 2 -- UPPER BODY STUFF

TOWEL-GRIP CHIN UP

HANDSTAND WALK-OUT

---

BENT-ARM HANDSTAND PULSES

TUCK PLANCHE PULSES

---

BODY-ROW EXTRA STATICS

DEEP PUSH-UP

EQUIPMENT / NO EQUIPMENT SPLIT

WORKOUT 1 -- EQUIPMENT NEEDED

TOWEL-GRIP CHIN UP

BODY-ROW EXTRA STATICS

WORKOUT 2 -- NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED

PLATFORM PISTOL

HANDSTAND WALK-OUT

---

BENT-ARM HANDSTAND PULSES

TUCK PLANCHE PULSES

---

DISH

DEEP PUSH-UP

GYMNASTIC / TRADITIONAL EXERCISE SPLIT

WORKOUT 1 -- TRADITIONAL MOVES

PLATFORM PISTOL

TOWEL-GRIP CHIN UP

---

BODY-ROW EXTRA STATICS

DISH

DEEP PUSH-UP

WORKOUT 2 -- GYMNASTIC HOLDS

HANDSTAND WALK-OUT

BENT-ARM HANDSTAND PULSES

TUCK PLANCHE PULSES

ALL IN ONE SESSION

PLATFORM PISTOL

TOWEL-GRIP CHIN UP

----

HANDSTAND WALK-OUT

BODY-ROW EXTRA STATICS

---

BENT-ARM HANDSTAND PULSES

TUCK PLANCHE PULSES

----

DISH

DEEP PUSH-UP

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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