So now that you’ve gone from the Tin Man to Jackie Chan after reading our Mobility piece, you want to start pumping iron. I’m fired up for you. This part is a lot of fun. Where do you even begin, though? There are an infinite number of ways you can sling a weight around, and a million and one ways to mix and match a weightlifting program.
We try to keep it pretty straightforward. For starters, we categorize our lifts into 4 categories, and ensure that each category gets worked over the course of a week. These categories are:
Upper Body Pushing
Upper Body Pulling
A lot of people ask me “what about this body part or that body part?” Well, these four categories will hit just about every muscle in the body. There are, of course, times to isolate or focus on certain body parts, but the majority of our strength training will be built around these four movements.
With me so far?
Now, with each one of these movements, we’re going to be looking primarily at 2 variables:
Intensity: This is how much weight you’re using. In order to grow stronger, we’ll want to be increasing the intensity over time.
Volume: This is the total amount of sets or reps done over the course of a week.
I know exactly what you’re thinking: “If we use more weight, we won’t be able to do as many sets or reps!!!”
First of all, thank you for paying attention. Now, let me explain how we’re going make both Intensity and Volume fit perfectly.
We’re going to break our Main exercises, or Lifts, into two categories:
We’ll have 1 Main lift from each category: 1 Hinge, 1 Squat, 1 Push, 1 Pull. Our goal is to increase the Intensity (weight that we can handle) over the course a given 6 week cycle (we’ll discuss that later). Naturally, we'll be less volume in these main lifts, as the weight will be a little higher.
As far as Assistance work, we’ll have 1-3 exercises for each category. These are done after, or on a separate day, from our Main Lifts. The goal of these lifts is to use a weight (usually lower weight) that allows us to get the total volume in that our bodies need to adapt. More reps, lower weight.
The way we generally train at Experity is 3 days per week. We focus on getting our Main Lifts in on days 1 &2, as these are higher priority and more taxing. As we get toward the later days of the week, we'll naturally be more fatigued, which is why we put our lower intensity, lower priority Assistance work on Day 3.
So we did our heavy lifting earlier in the week, and by Friday we were ready to bring the intensity down, and do more sets/reps.
I know that this may be a little overwhelming if your new to exercise. All I have to say is; trust me on this. I’ve stolen these ideas from some VERY bright people.