We know you're anxious to get in the gym and move those big weights. That’s why you skimp on mobility work and stretching (or skip it entirely): so you can get to the fun part of your workout. After all, the “rule” in training programs is to put the most explosive and heaviest lifts at the front of the session because they require the most energy, right?

But what happens then? You pull a muscle, strain a joint, or miss a rep as a result.

Instead, by moving the hardest, riskiest lifts to the last part of your workout, after you’ve prepared your body with easier exercises, you can build muscle and strength more safely.

Try this six-week program and we guarantee you’ll never bench press first again. Trust us: Your joints will thank you for it.

How it works

After years of putting together training routines—and using ourselves as guinea pigs—we eventually came to a surprising realization: Squats felt better if they were done after a hamstring exercise.

Even better, we learned that we could cut back on warmup time if we moved them back even further, so instead of spending 10 minutes stretching our hip flexors just to be able to squat deeply with good form, we could simply do an exercise like split squats beforehand and simultaneously stretch the hips while training the quads. Now, that’s what we call a win-win.

The same principle applies to heavy barbell pressing. If you start your routine with dumbbell presses and medicine ball throws instead of all that big weight, your shoulders and elbows will be better prepared to bench a heavier load. You may be wondering if you’ll still have the energy to do barbell lifts if they come last in the workout—and, to be honest, you may have to use 10–20% less weight, maybe less. But you’ll still get stronger over time. And getting strong while staying safe is the only way to make long-term progress. 

Directions

Perform each workout (Day I, II, III, and IV) once per week, resting a day between each session. Exercises marked “A” and “B” are alternated, so you’ll do one set of A, rest, then B, rest again, and repeat until all sets are complete for the pair.