Putting it all Together…

Posted: July 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

I was eating lunch with a friend the other day and he was showing me a picture of some cool tree he saw somewhere.  At least, he was trying to show me.  This guy had his face buried in his smartphone while he was describing the tree to me WITH WORDS.  He had the actual nerve to try and prose me to death while telling me about this tree that “I have never seen before.”  Well, great.  But if you’ve never seen it before, how the heck am I supposed to know what it looks like?  Let alone try to draw some sort of picture in my head of something “beyond my imagination.”

He just wasn’t getting the confused look on my face so I finally had to just ask,  “what does it actually look like?  Can you show me the picture please??”

It was ridiculous.  I hope you guys don’t know people who obliviously talk your ear off and never get to the point.  It was frustrating to say the least.  By the way, have you guys digested everything I wrote in those last four entries?  It was pretty easy to get through and laid out exactly what to do when you get to the gym right?  Oh… really?  Well.  You see… this tree was like nothing you’ve ever seen before! and…

My bad.  See. Whu-ha-happened was…

So if you’ve read the series I just completed, consider this the abridged version with pictures and stuff you can actually like, do.  And if this is your first time here, you lucked out and don’t have to peruse through all those words to figure out what I was really trying to get at.  But don’t get me wrong! The ‘why’ matters.  A lot of what was said earlier will tie into the future content of this blog, so it definitely matters.

But if you’re looking for a ‘when I get to the gym tell me exactly what to do start to finish’ type of post, you’re welcome.

After you make your grand entrance into the gym (hopefully it looks like this) and put your stuff away and get out onto the actual gym floor, your first priority is to get your  body warm.  This is where the bulk of your mobility work happens.

Foam rolling is a good place to start as it’s magical and channels the mystical power of a thousand elves.*  Or if that’s not the way it works, whatever.  It will loosen things up and help you move a little better.

Here’s a post by Tony Gentilcore (Smart dude alert) going over a pretty all encompassing warm up.  You could actually read the whole thing (what I recommend) or just skip straight to the videos (what most of you will do).  Either way, this will give you a great combination of mobility drills and loaded carries to get you going before a workout.

Tony Gentilcore – The Perfect Warm Up?

So that warm up isn’t easy and if you feel like going home after it I don’t blame you.  But you now know what it should feel like to really be ready to move.

The structure of your strength training program is going to depend on how many times a week you can get yourself in the gym.  If its 3 or less, it will serve you better to split your workouts into separate full body days.  If you’ve got the time to get in 4 or more times you can break up your program into lower body and upper body days.

The reasoning here is that if you have limited time (3 days or less) you want to get in as many of the basic movement patterns as possible.  If you have more time (4 days or more) you can target each pattern with a couple more exercises.

Since most people don’t have that much time I’ll go over a basic whole body split program.

With most of the people I work with, I’ll have them alternate through two different full body workouts making sure they do each workout at least once a week.  I’ll have them continue this until they’ve done each workout 4 to 6 times.  This should take  between 4 to 6 weeks, at which time I’ll write up another phase for them.

The goal through each phase is to make sure each successive workout is slightly more difficult than the last.  Doing so will ensure that progress has actually taken place over the 4 to 6 week period.

The workouts will usually look something like this:

Workout 1 (or any other cool name you can think of like… ‘Domination’)**

A1) Deadlift  4 x 6
A2) Push ups 3 x 8
B1) Reverse Lunge 3 x 8/side
B2) Bent Over or TRX Row 3 x 12
C) Paloff Press 3 x 5/side

Workout 2 (‘Pwnage’)

A1) Front Squat 4 x 6
A2) Neutral Grip Pull Up 3 x 6
B1) Step up 3 x 8/side
B2) Standing Overhead Dumbbell Press 3 x 8
C) Cable Chops 3×5/side

-note that exercises paired together (ex. B1 and B2) should be alternated.  So in workout 1 you’ll do one set of reverse lunges and then one set of rows and then back to your second set of lunges and so on.  This really is a time saver, but sometimes its hard to get just one piece of equipment let alone two.  So if all else fails just do the exercises individually.

In order for ANY program to work you need to make sure you’re picking the right weight for the prescribed amount of sets and reps.  If a protocol calls for 3 sets of 8 reps, you need to pick a weight that you can do no more than 3 sets of 8 with.  If you can get to that 8th rep on the last set, increase the weight you’re using.  If you can’t get all 3 sets of 8 in the next workout, keep the weight the same until you can do all 3 sets of 8, then increase weight accordingly.

This should give you a pretty good idea of what you should be doing in the gym.  You can add in whatever cardiovascular work you want like jogging or step aerobics or whatever this is.  This is where you will also add your sport specific training (practicing/playing your sport) or extra endurance training for specific events.  Just make sure all of these things are  complimentary to your strength training and not prioritized over it.

*this may actually not be scientifically proven… yet.
**just don’t use real people names like ‘Fran’… that’s just stupid. kidding. sorta.

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