Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Getting Jacked - Part 4 - Lift-Run-Bang Training - Week 1

This is probably the part everyone has been waiting for, and honestly, that I have been excited to write about.

Anyone that has gone through my articles here and/or read my e-books knows I don't deviate from my philosophical foundations of training.  Namely......

- Form your training around some basic lifts.  Squats, deads, overhead work, pressing, etc

- Have a progression plan

- Do some conditioning

- Believe in what you are doing

That's pretty much my bread and butter.  Lifting is really very simple.  If you load more weight on the bar, or do more reps with that same weight over time (progress), you are providing the stimulus to get bigger and stronger.  Diet (covered in part 3) matters, and so does recovery (covering later) as well.  

The LRB Recipe - 

Over the past few years I have played and tinkered with some things in my training that have worked very well, but because I get tunnel vision sometimes I lose focus on those things, and drift away from them and later wonder why I did that.   Kinda like nailing your ex.  You forget how crazy and unbearable she was when you haven't been around her in a while.  It doesn't take long to have an "oh yeah" moment when you're back in her presence.  You should know what I'm getting at here.

Training is like that for me at times.  I know all of the things that work, and work damn well for me and the majority of guys who use these principles.  However sometimes I find myself back in bed with my crazy ex wondering how the fuck I got there again.

Some of the things I have used that have worked really well again and again are the following principles/ideas...

A heavy light system - Where I would press heavy one week on close grip bench, then press for high reps the next week on incline.  This is what eventually moved my bench back in to the 420-440 range.  It allowed me to avoid too much overuse in my elbows and pec minors, yet still push the bench enough to find progression.

Heavy Squats and Deads every other week - Similar to the above, I really like squatting heavy one week and pulling heavy the next.  This has been something I have gone back to many times and reaped rewards for doing so.

Push / Pull / Legs - This has been my most productive split for years and when training isn't going well all I have to do is go back to it and things will start taking off again.  So why get away from it?  Because I'm stupid and do new and dumb shit sometimes.  

I wanted a way to incorporate everything I knew that worked damn well, but had never really sat down and figured that out.  Why?  Who knows.  Mainly because I knew what pieces and parts I want to use, but what I should have done was been smart enough to put all of that together into a template I could use constantly without thinking "I need to rearrange my training to cover X, Y, and Z."  However the last few weeks some lightbulbs really went off and I started to look at it all on paper.  I believe I was finally able to get everything into a single template that encompasses my complete training philosophy.     

Hypertrophy work?  Check

Injury Prevention?  Check

Maximal Strength Work?  Check

Conditioning?  Check

Progression Planning?  Check

I'm excited about this template so let's get down to bidness.  

LRB Template - Week 1 

The entire layout of the template covers 2 weeks, and it uses my longtime favorite layout.....


For the progression scheme simple use a 3-week wave of the strong-15.  Since you will be pressing, squatting, and deadlifting heavy every other week, a 3-week wave will last for 6 weeks.  Just don't overestimate your max for the love of God!  

Week 1 - 

Day 1 of week 1 is pressing work.  In the LRB template you will start with overhead work.  I will tell you why.  Because overhead work is largely ignored or thought of as an after thought by most guys, especially powerlifters.  I have been trying to make overhead work a priority for a long time but no matter what would always stick it in behind my bench and incline pressing.  The other reason I like overhead work first better is because it warms up the shoulders and adds some fatigue before you bench press.  And if you have ever done a full meet you will know that after taking three heavy squats, the shoulders are in fact not minty fresh.  Doing some heavy shoulder work first is a great way to simulate a bit of meet fatigue while putting the shoulders as a priority in your training plan.  And no one ever benched less with stronger shoulders anyway.

You will pick a BARBELL pressing movement on heavy pressing day.  You will not do a machine or a db movement (that happens in week 2).  Week 1 is all about heavy barbell pressing and that's that.  Pick an overhead lift you want to improve at over the next 6 weeks and stick with it.  Warm up to a weight you can do 3 sets of 5 with pretty easily.  Remember you need to progress over the next 6-8 weeks so don't get stupid the first week with the weight selection.  

Day 1 - Pressing (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps) - Heavy
Overhead Work - Barbell Variation - Pick One
Standing Press / Seated Press / Press Behind Neck / Push Press - 3 sets of 5 @ same weight

After overhead work you will bench.  I don't care if you use a close grip or medium grip or whatever.  Just use that grip throughout the training cycle.  As you can see, the strong-15 method is used.  Working up to 3 progressively heavier singles.  No back offs.  Again, leave room for progression over the next 6-8 weeks.  The first couple of weeks the last single should still have some pop to it.

Bench Press - 5,4,3,2,1,1,1

Assistance Work - Pick one for shoulders/traps
Upright Rows / Db Cleans / Hang Pulls - 5 sets of 8-10

Assistance Work for Triceps - Pick one
Pushdowns / Overhead Extensions / Bench Dips - 5 sets of 15-20 / AMAP on bench dips

Day 2 - Legs - Heavy

For heavy leg day there is only one exercise to use of course and that's heavy squats.  Again, the strong-15 progression scheme is used.  This workout should be a man maker so make sure you have a solid pre-workout meal an hour or so before hand.

Since this is a heavy leg session you are going to follow up squats with hacks or some kind of plate loaded squat machine for some extra work on the quads.

Squats - 5,4,3,2,1,1,1

Hacks/Machine Squats (Hammer, Strive, something plate loaded, etc) - 4 x 6-10 to a top set

After this we'll finish things off with heavy leg presses.  Work up to a single top set of 10+ on these.

Leg Press - 4 x 10+ to a top set

And to finalize, we'll finish with some 1-legged work because this shit is great for injury prevention and keeping things balanced.  You can stay right there on the leg press or get up and hit some 1-legged squats or lunges of any kind.  Don't add weight for the bodyweight stuff.  Use this time to focus on ROM, mobility, stretching, and balance.

Single Leg Work - 1-legged leg press / 1-legged squats / lunges (any kind) - 4 x 10-20

Day 3 - Back - Hamstrings - Biceps - LIGHT

This will be a "light" day.  The light days in LRB aren't really"light" per say, but the focus on movements where you can use less weight than the main variation of that movement.  For example pause squats or front squats will be used on the light leg day.  This doesn't mean you will go "light" but the fact is most guys can't use as much weight on those as they can their back squat.  However on all of the movements that come after the main one, you will in fact lighten up usually, and hit higher reps.

Pick one - Romanian Stiff Legs / Cleans (hang or power) / Dynamic Romanian Shrugs / Elevated Stiffs - 3 sets of 5 same weight

Dynamic Romanian Shrugs are a movement I came up with where you do a Romanian deadlift, then explode upwards onto the toes into a shrug.  Again, the key on these is to not go as heavy as fucking possible right out of the gate.  Leave a little room to grow into.

After the initial movement we will go into some back/lat work.  In the light week, it behooves you to pick a machine / Db / Cable based movement.  The light week is also about not destroying recovery ability, and machines, cables, and db's tend to wreck you less than barbell movements.  Second, you need to use the light days to think more like a bodybuilder than a powerlifter.  The difference?  Making the muscle work (bodybuilder) and moving the weight through space (powerlifting).  Medium weight + higher reps + food = a lot of growth.  A lot of growth = a bigger you = a bigger strength ceiling.  So take that approach on light days.

Pick one - Lat Pulldowns / Cable Rows / Hammer Row or Machine Rows / Db Rows  - 5 sets of 12-20 to a top set

After lats/back we're going to throw in a hamstring/glute/low back type of movement.  Again stay with the theme from above.

Pick one - Hypers / Glute Ham Raises / Leg Curls (seated, 1 legged, lying, etc) - 4 sets of 15-20

To finish pick a db or machine curl.

Pick one - Machine or Db Curls - 3 sets of 10-15 to a top set

That's week 1 down.  Week 2 I will write about next, but I want to get as many questions out of the way about week 1 as possible before we venture into week 2.


  1. Thanks for laying out this program- looks like a great template for progress.

    At this point, I have difficulty advancing my squats if I only do them once per week. Currenty my squats run about 1.8x bodyweight for a set of 5 on my heavy day and 1.5x bodyweight on volume day. At what point in your experience should a trainee move toward a once weekly progression like yours or 531? 2x bodyweight? 2.5? Any rule of thumb would be appreciated.

    Thanks- Darrell

  2. How would you change this to make it a 2x/wk routine?

  3. Soup - I wouldn't. I have templates for twice a week. This split shouldn't be bastardized because it is meant to cover several areas of training.

    We can talk about variations of a twice a week heavy/light split down the road tho.

    Darrell - If you know you need to do squats more than once a week to make progress then you've already answered your question.

  4. Thanks. I was afraid of that, but kind of expecting it after looking at the template.

  5. It's very doable and I've already done a heavy-light split over two days a week.

  6. Paul, silly Q, is this done say mon-wed-fri or three days on, one off?



  7. Paul, man oh man, this rocks my socks brother, simple, easy to follow, just in time for me to be looking for some size/ strength gain.

    ive got a serious dilema though... i do not go to a gym due to financial problems / transportation, i do have my own free weights, barbells, cable machine, db's etc at home but no power / squat rack. recently ive been squatting as much as i can over head press safely to be able to shoulder up before and after each set, as i do NOT want to stop squatting altogether due to lack of equipment.

    i realize that safety comes first however and always keep that well in front of my mind. but my drive is too strong to NOT do some sort of leg training.. so on th e leg day, is there any advice u can or would give me as to what to do to remedy this? db's squats? what? idk because im totally in the dark aside from doing it how i have been.


    what is a "top set" i know that has to sound like a moronic question but i had to ask to make sure im going to follow this template as closely as possible.



  8. When you say leg day is a man maker in week 1, I'm assuming you wouldn't be picking the first phase of a strong-15 given that tends to be a lighter period?

  9. Warm up until a final "top set".

    In other words, 50x10, 60x10, 80x10, 100x10 <- top set. This is about where you would end because adding more weight would not enable another set of 10.

    As far as squats go, one thing you can do is to put the bar in the bench racks, get under it and raise it from there, then walk it out past the bench. Again, it's not ideal but until you get a squat rack or some kind of racks it will work. To save space just get some Olympic squat stands. These work great.

  10. Ok great thanks so much

  11. Anonymous - Mainly because of the hacks and leg presses that follow. There is a lot of work that will go into this day. Just be prepared for it.

  12. Paul, could you just discuss briefly where this program fits in the world in comparison to Big/Strong-15 and Ultimate Beastdom?

  13. I think they all have their place depending on where you are at/what you need in your training.

    Remember the big-15 is really just a progression template. It can fit into virtually any routine.

    The strong-15 is a powerlifting specific template.

    I feel like this template covers about everything you need in training. I can run this template for everything from powerlifting to bodybuilding to strongman.

  14. Thanks. Looking forward to the rest.

  15. Thoroughly enjoying this so far - still a long way to go - Legs day was Squats, Leg Press, One leg squats (probably to be Squats, Front Squats and One leg squats when I'm at home)
    Today was Back - Romanian Shrugs, Fat Man Rows, Band Leg Curls and Dbell curls (very limited by equipment at home)
    I think the Inverted Fat man rows might make way for single arm rows so I can ramp the reps up.
    Thanks for this Paul - looking forward to the next installment

  16. Nice job. Should have it out today Geoff.

  17. What do you think of Rack Chins ?

  18. Paul,

    Substitutions for leg press/machine press/ hacks? I only have bands, rack, bars, weights, and Olympic dumbbell handles.