The Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (3rd Ed.) defines strength as “the maximal force that a muscle or muscle group can generate at a specified velocity.” Nothing builds full body strength better than basic compound lifts performed in the 4- to 6-rep range. The program doesn’t have to be fancy and filled with the latest and greatest – minimalist programs will do the trick and get you out of the gym faster. Dial in your form and put in the work and maybe you’ll get as strong as your old man.
In this program, you’ll workout three days per week, each workout challenging your whole body. Spread these workouts throughout the week, say Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For those familiar, this program is loosely based on the Texas Method from Practical Programming for Strength Training by Rippetoe and Kilgore.
Each exercise is associated with a circuit letter, either A, B or C. Perform one set of A1 and take the recommended break before performing A2. Repeat until you have completed all suggested sets. If there is no number beside the letter, just take the recommended time between sets of the one exercise.
Read each line as: “exercise, sets x reps; tempo; rest period.”
The tempo is the 4 digit number and dictates the speed of each rep. Read as down phase, pause, up phase, pause. Therefore a tempo of 2010 is read as 2-seconds down, 0-second pause, 1-second up and 0-seconds pause.
For all exercises using the 5x5 protocol, work up to a sub-maximal weight and attempt to perform all sets of 5x5 with that weight. If you only get 4 or less reps in the later sets, use the same weight the following week and try to hit all 5 sets of 5.
Two Weeks to Strength Workout: Week 1
A1) Barbell Bench Press 5x5; 2010; 60-sec rest
A2) Barbell Back Squat 5x5; 2010; 60-sec rest
B) Conventional Deadlift 5x5; 2010; 3-min rest
C) Reverse Crunch 4x15; 2020; 60-sec rest
A) Barbell Back Squat 3x5 with 80% of Workout 1’s weight; 2010; 2-min rest
B1) Barbell Overhead Press 5x5; 2010; 60-sec rest
B2) Barbell Bent Over Row 5x5; 2010; 60-sec rest
C) Elbow Plank on Ball Stir the Pot 4x60-sec; tempo n/a; 60-sec rest
A) Barbell Bench Press work up to a heavy 3-reps; 2010; 3-min rest
B) Barbell Back Squat work up to a heavy 3 reps; 2010; 3-min rest
C1) Weighted Pull Up 5x5; 2010, 3-min rest
C2) Kneeling Rope Crunches 4x15; 2020; 60-sec rest