‘Twas the morning before Christmas…
and I met for a lower body workout with a friend who is an offensive lineman for a Division 1 football team. I got tired just from loading, unloading, and reloading all of his plates.
I asked him about his off-season training program, and he gave me a peak at it. He shared how he gets super-strong in the spring but, by the end of the football season, he is entirely beaten down.
I told him that I suspected such a cycle would be mentally and emotionally difficult. He confirmed.
That reminded me of a dude I know who actually ran 75 miles a day for 18 days.
I remember a previous trainer of mine who lifted lots and competed in CrossFit, built up a fantastic lot of muscle and a great physique, only to complete running events in which he racked up thousands of miles over a few weeks.
Seriously. He once ran 75 miles a day for 18 days. That’s nearly 3 marathons per day. For almost 3 weeks.
It shouldn’t surprise you that he returned in a uniquely depleted state, having burned off what little fat he previously had stored and then most of his muscle, too.
I was freshly aware of how liberating it is to be “training for life” rather than training for a specific sport.
[Totally not knocking training for a sport, by the way. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as training with one result in mind and then getting after it with all you’ve got, proving yourself in one culminating event. That’s just not what I’m writing about today…]
Anyway…I got to thinking about how I can train whatever I want. however I want, because I have no long-term goal aside from health. I can set short-term goals for any vanity trait or athletic feat, reach it, scrap it, and set a new one–because I don’t have the next Olympics looming in the distant future.
I am always trying to create THE PLAN–the one that gets me stronger, faster, better conditioned, leaner, more cut, etc.
ALL. IN. ONE.
So what if Pat (and science) say that some of these goals are mutually exclusive?
I’ll admit that I haven’t necessarily gotten all of these things, but I have been doing a program for 6 months (SAY WHAT?!) that has allowed me steady progress without plateaus or injury.
I thought maybe you’d be interested in the structure of it, so that you could use this as a template to experiment. [I do understand, though, that this might totally not be your thing. I get that. Feel free to skip ahead to the Sweaty and the P.S.!]
Ok, so here it is, in all its glory. I’m gonna call it the “Better-Maker.” Because it makes you “better.”
- Pick four HEAVY movements: a squat, a hinge, a pull, and a push
- Pick four COMPLEMENTARY 6X6 movements: a different type of each movement above squat, hinge, pull, and push
- Pick a few secondary CIRCUIT movements: this is where you throw in lots of variety and work on little weaknesses
- Set up your program like this:
- 4 days per week, lower body/upper body split
- Pair your heavy squat with your 6×6 hinge, followed by a 3-4 rounds of 3-4 other lower body exercises
- Pair your heavy hinge with your 6×6 squat, followed by a 3-4 rounds of 3-4 other lower body exercises
- Pair your heavy pull with your 6×6 push, followed by a 3-4 rounds of 3-4 other upper body exercises
- Pair your heavy push with your 6×6 pull, followed by a 3-4 rounds of 3-4 other upper body exercises
- Include carries and crawls for your warm-up and/or finishing circuit
- After a sufficient warm up, do 2 x 2-3 RM on your heavy movement, followed by 2 x 5-6 RM of the same. Increase your weight as often as possible.
- Then, do 6×6 of your complementary movement: Complete 6 sets of 6 reps with controlled rest. Start with 30s and decrease the rest intervals by 3-5 seconds as often as possible until you hit 15s. Then, increase weight and go back to 30s rest.
- Lastly, go speedily through your circuit, doing 8-15 reps with as little rest as possible.
- 4 days per week, lower body/upper body split
- Makes changes within the framework to keep making progress and to beat boredom.
An example of The Better-Maker Day 1 looks like this:
BB Back Squat: 2 x 2, 2 x 5
BB Sumo Deadlift: 6 x 6 w/ 20s rest
Leg extension x 12, Farmers carry x 30 strides, Plyo lunges x 30
What do you think?
Do you like the freedom and flexibility of building your own program?
Do you prefer when your workout is spelled out for you?
Sometimes I like the flexibility and sometimes I despise it. I vacillate between wanting to use my brain and wanting to just use someone else’s.
Pat is really good at giving you workouts that you can just open and do. Super straightforward, no BS.
So, if that’s your thing, sorry to have wasted your time with these framework nonsense. Go HERE instead.
And, don’t worry, I’ll give you a simple SWEATY for today, too.
As many rounds as possible in 5 minutes:
10 Super(wo)man raises
10 plyo lunges
10 squat jumps
10 laying leg lifts
P.S. Like when the workout is just prescribed, no thought necessary? Prefer to invest all your workout energy for brawn and protect the brain for other ventures? Here’s the link you’re gonna want