Is a flexible, customisable, minimalistic, bodyweight strength training programme.
The programme is made up of a carefully planned mix of single-leg squats, basic gymnastic-inspired static-strength holds, traditional bodyweight moves and a few Kettlebell Swings.
Everything about the programme is designed to bring results to those who may lack a bit of consistency… so, most people then.
We have four monthly programme templates which we continually rotate — when the calendar month changes, The Strength Sessions moves on to the next month’s template. Each month, your job is to take the template, adapt it and make it perfect for your situation.
You can follow The Strength Sessions Programme in as little as 15-30 minutes a day. You can do full 60 minute sessions if you want, but only if you have a proven track record of consistent training!
Every move in the programme has been carefully chosen for it’s combination of effectiveness, ease-of-learning and convenience.
This is primarily a bodyweight programme — and you can start the programme at home with no equipment whatsoever.
However, there are some things that can’t be properly replicated without any equipment, so we use some equipment on things like Chin Ups and Pull-Ups where there is no decent long term alternate.
If you can’t do these things at home, that’s no problem — start the programme without them. But once you get hooked, hopefully you’ll be motivated and confident enough to get the few bits of equipment that I suggest!
The programme is suitable for absolute beginners and can scale up to keep all but the elite pretty well occupied for years.
KEY IDEAS BEHIND THE STRENGTH SESSIONS PROGRAMME
In training I’ve found a few things to be true:
If you focus all your efforts on just a few things at any one time, then you are far more likely to train with the necessary enthusiasm, focus and attention, and you are far more likely to be consistent enough with your training to get transformative results.
The busier your life, the more stresses you have and the less sleep you have, the fewer things you can focus on in any training period if you want to see good progression.
However, you don’t want to neglect everything for the long term. So we need a programme that rotates. The Strength Sessions will encourage your to periodise your training, so you can zoom in with laser like focus on a few key moves in any one month, but develop your whole physique nicely over the longer term.
Although the programme is customisable, everybody who follows The Strength Sessions follows the same programme template at the same time. That’s what gives us the community feel, whether you’re following the online programme, doing personal training, or dropping into few classes. After all, sometimes it helps having a bunch of other people suffering through the same stuff that you are!
MONTHLY TEST AND REVIEW
This is a new part of The Strength Sessions programme that I’ve intended to put in for some time. From now on, at the end of each month, we will have test and analysis week.
This means you’ll have selected a few key moves to use as your overall strength benchmark. We will take a week off from regular programming at the end of each month and try and beat our records on our test stuff.
Then we use the rest of that week to perform deep analysis on our training and habits, saying goodbye (for now) to the previous month’s programme and planning ourselves the perfect version of next month’s programme.
PROGRAMME ROTATION; NOT ‘VARIETY’ OR GIMMICKS.
We use the turn of each month to change the programme. We don’t do random stuff or variety for the sake of entertainment. Muscles don’t need confusion, they need overload. Variety is for the mind, not the muscles.
Most serious gym programmes would rotate exercises less frequently than we do, but I’ve found the monthly hook works nicely as a balance between giving enough consistency to see results and getting the valuable novelty and enthusiasm that comes with a programme switch.
If you miss workouts or waste sets, you miss out. That’s how this programme works. The Strength Sessions waits for no one. The great hope is that you plan your workout so well that you absolutely wont want to miss any of it and miss out on getting the full effect on offer from your months training.
Repeat after me: I understand that strength transfers, that I only have a limited recovery bucket, and that the best way to get better at everything long term, maybe to concentrate exclusively on just a few things in the short term, before switching my focus in my next training phase.
This simple concept is at the heart of this programme. It could revolutionise your entire training outlook if you let it.
HABITS OVER OPTIMAL TRAINING
The Strength Sessions is not necessarily designed to be a technically perfect programme, but the concessions are slight, and in my experience they make it more fun to follow. It’s not designed to be perfect, but it is designed to be hookable and doable… while still following scientific principles.
You could easily write a programme that looks better on paper, but could you actually write a programme that actually gets done, with more focus, quality and consistency? That’s my focus.
If you need a more complicated programme than The Strength Sessions, go and find that programme, stick with it and prove you can be consistent, and good luck to you.
If you don’t have a track record of consistent, successful training, if you don’t have the results, if you’ve never trained properly, if you no longer want to be distracted by silly HiiT classes and other fads, join The Strength Sessions and transform your body with proper, focused strength training as we rotate over and over again through our 4 programme templates, getting stronger and leaner month after month.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE STRENGTH SESSIONS
The Strength Sessions programme is delivered through a few different mediums:
It’s a gym class.
It’s also a virtual gym class.
It’s an online programme thing too.
Plus there will be a cool membership system that I haven’t made up yet.
The programme is designed to be carried out in a minimalistic, high frequency manner.
Each month, we may only ask you to do a few key moves, but it makes a nice well rounded programme over the long term. For many people, that’s the best way to train.
The gym class and the virtual gym class last 30 minutes and are designed to be done anything from 2-6 days per week.
For the online programme, all you need is 15 minutes a day, or 30 minutes every other day and you can get stuck in, plus there are longer options available for those with more time to commit.
The entire programme is designed to bring proper training method, periodised programme structure, and better focus to folks who might not have had it otherwise — that’s why I call it the perfect programme for imperfect people.
THE STRUCTURE — THE WORKOUTS ARE OVER IN NO TIME, BUT THE PROGRAMME NEVER ENDS!
The Strength Sessions programme is unlike most traditional gym programmes in it’s structure.
There are four monthly ‘programme templates’.
Each template adjusts to suit each individual: your logistics, your goals, your ability level, your time, your current focus etc
Each different template has slightly different exercises, angles, theme, technique and rep style to focus on different muscles/ techniques and to stop you getting bored or stuck working on the same thing all the time.
But the four templates work together as a cohesive whole, a programme of dreams, you might say.
Rather than give a four month programme out to individuals (something that just doesn’t get finished in real life), The Strength Sessions takes a different approach:
—> First we do month 1
—> Then we do month 2
—> Then we do month 3
—> Then we do month 4
But wait, the real genius….
Then we do it all again. Back to month 1, then month 2, then month 3, then month 4, then back to month 1, and on and on it goes.
(Every time I type that I’m more and more impressed with myself).
The programme never stops, never waits, and like your training should: it lasts forever.
We switch the programme template at the turn of each calendar month, whether you did one workout, or 30.
The Strength Sessions is designed to be an easy way of bringing method, technique, periodisation and consistency to those of you who don’t usually manage to see out a well managed programme.
So if, like me, you have never really finished a 12-16 week training programme, this could change everything for you.
That’s why we switch the programme at the turn of each calendar month, whether you did one workout, or 30.
(No I’m not recommending you only do one workout. Sorry).
EVERYBODY DOES THE SAME TEMPLATE AT THE SAME TIME
That’s what gives us the community feel.
Yes, you can customise your plan, but we all follow the same template at the same time — otherwise you’re not really following the programme!
There are beginner suitable options for all the drills, so it doesn’t matter if it’s Month 1 (Basics Month) or Month 4 (Rolling Squat Month), you start on the progressions you can handle of each month’s template and join in from there.
The programme waits for no man. Or lady.
I like to use a bit of loss-aversion in my programmes. Do your workout or the programme will move on anyway and you’ll miss out on that particular move for another few months. You wouldn’t want that, would you? 🤔
Most people, normal people, find a programme, or are given a programme, take it away, start strong, but then life (or injury or illness) gets in the way and it just never gets finished. So long term, just no planning gets done. No intelligent progression.
That’s why The Strength Sessions waits for no one. If you miss a week, you miss out.
Pick back up with the programme wherever we are.
That might not be technically a perfect programme — but it’s a hell of a lot better than a programme that never gets finished.
If you miss a week or two for whatever reason, tough luck. Get back with the programme. This loss aversion hopefully will work to make you more consistent and more realistic in your planning in the future.
EACH TEMPLATE CAN BE CUSTOMISED TO FIT YOU
At the turn of the month, I’ll announce it’s test and analysis time and you must switch your attention to testing your strength on your key benchmark moves and then to planning your next month.
For each monthly template, there will be a number of options for you to choose from to suit your goals, focus, logistics and anything else relevant that I should have written here:
—> Zero Equipment option
—> The class programmes
—> Plan your own
—> 2 day alternates
—> Equipment day / non-equipment day option
As the month turns, I’ll encourage you to commit some time to setting yourself up for the best possible months training.
Over time I’ve found this monthly review to be very powerful. Some months I’ve done it. Some months I haven’t. The months I do it are always my best training months.
THE FULL ONLINE PROGRAMME
If you pick one of the pre-set templates, then life is as simple as you like — pick the template that suits your logistics and setup, do those workouts and get on with the rest of your miserable existence.
If you like to get a little more nuance and to plan your own training in a little more depth, then this is how the full online programme works:
There are 7 categories in each month’s training template.
Every category will have a number of progressions for you to choose from depending on your strength, and also suggested alternates for when needed.
Each month, you run through the quick criteria to set up your perfect months training in line with the overall theme / template:
—> Choose your workout time
—> Choose where you’re gonna work out
—> Choose which of the 7 categories you will include – and how many sets of each (where’s your priority?)
—> Choose your structure
—> Choose your volume / intensity (how many sets and how hard) for each category
—> Choose your set and rep scheme / progression method
—> Choose your exact progressions for each month
—> Choose how to layout your programme
Then get on with it, make it happen and show the world what a dedicated, athletic machine you are.
THE STRENGTH SESSIONS IS DESIGNED TO BE THE PERFECT PROGRAMME FOR IMPERFECT PEOPLE
I’ve based this programme on scientific training principles. But, over and above that, I’ve based it on the habit forming ideas and techniques.
If you’ve trained for years, always been an athlete and never missed a workout, you might like The Strength Sessions, but it wasn’t really designed for you.
If you’re a little too busy, don’t always sleep perfectly well, enjoy your training but struggle for enough consistency to finish a programme and get the results you like — hopefully you’ll find The Strength Sessions structure can give your the focus, method and accountability that will transform your body, the way these methods have mine.
The central concept of this whole programme is that focused, minimalistic strength programmes are POWERFUL. Do less than you think you could, but put all your effort into doing it with intensity, perfect technique and ruthless consistency and you’ll be amazed at the results you can get.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF MINIMALISTIC STRENGTH PROGRAMMES… MINIMALISM WORKS.
When you do it right.
Training is about stimulation, recovery, and rhythm.
You train. You recover and adapt (and hopefully get stronger). Then you train again.
Leave it too long and your body won’t bother holding onto those new adaptations. Do it too soon, and you won’t have recovered/adapted yet, and wont be ready for the next workout.
How much you should train, therefore depends on what you can adapt to, what you can recover from, and what you can GUARANTEE you can be consistent with.
Fortunately, you really don’t need a lot of exercises to completely transform your body.
Get fundamentally stronger at just two or three big compound moves like single-leg squats, Push Ups and Chin Ups and your physique could be completely transformed in 6 months. Training isn’t about time and variety. That’s a infomercial / big-box gym style fitness industry trick. Training is about stimulation and progression. Away from elite athletes, that really doesn’t take a lot of time.
There’s no real point doing a heroic workout, then not repeating and building on that workout for another 9 days. You’ll be better off than if you didn’t train. But you won’t get the sort of progressive results you really could be enjoying.
In order to get the best results from your strength training, you need to do the same thing (plus about 1%) within a certain window of time. If you jump between random workouts at random intervals, what is your body supposed to spend its limited adaptive resources on?
Most normal folks who aren’t complete gym rats, don’t do this — they don’t train with consistency, overload and rhythm.
That’s why I’m a big proponent of minimalism. When you try and do less stuff, it’s easier to workout with the necessary intensity and consistency, and that’s what really matters.
The way The Strength Sessions programme is laid out, hopefully you’ll find it easier to zero in on just a few key things at any one time, knowing that strength transfers, that its easier to maintain than to build and that the things you’re neglecting now can take priority in future months.
Variety is for the mind, not the muscles.
GET STUCK IN
I hope that lays out the programme philosophy somewhat. The actual exercises and structure of the programme will be available soon, or if you’re keen to get stuck in, the virtual classes and the gym class (hopefully when you read this) are always on. Peace.