Doing What Works

TAGS: loading cycle, size and strength program, Bloody Hard Work, Seeing the Sunrise, Justin Langer, retiring, surviving, thriving, I go You go, training age, training max, Ashley Jones, Olympic lifts, program design

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After almost 40 years in the fitness and sports performance areas, it is still the simple things that elude most people in their quest for results. Intensity is and always will be the key for those who have a training age from which to cope with the severity of workouts that will garner the best results.

I have just finished reading Justin Langer’s motivational book, “Seeing the Sunrise," which I highly recommend. For those outside of the cricket playing nations of the world, Justin Langer played 105 tests for Australia as an opening batsmen. He was known for his grittiness, work ethic, and powers of concentration, scoring over 7,500 runs and 23 centuries for his country during a glory period for Australian cricket. I re-jigged one of his phrases, after what I was doing wrong for my lower body:

THRIVING          SURVIVING          RETIRING

I was barely surviving doing modified traditional lower body lifting, having arthritis in both knees. So I have started doing medley conditioning with implements on our indoor track, over a distance of 30 meters, simply using three or four movements and selecting (where possible) those that allow for the maintenance of a negative shin angle, for 20-30 minutes, catching breath at the end of each lap and trying to do as many laps as possible in that time frame. So today was Prowler® push high handles, sled walking, and sled bear crawling. The next workout will be the tire flip device, five muscle snatches, and overhead and farmer’s walks. Not only was there no knee pain during or after the training session, but a few extra bonuses as well: the work had me breathing like an asthmatic warthog and the lactate burn through the quads and glutes was a masochistic enlightenment. Rather than having to retire the lower body, it is now a case of thriving.


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Call it what you wish—MetCon, EPOC training, BHW, anaerobic weight training, strongman circuits—the results will be the same. When you lift appropriate loads with a minimum of recovery you will produce an overload that will affect your metabolic conditioning levels and allow for specific conditioning to handle high levels of lactate and also the repeat efforts that are the hallmark of successful athletes in combat sports.

Below is a program I wrote some time ago, but is as relevant now as it was then. It is slanted to the Olympic lifts; if you are training with a partner then I would use an I-Go-You-Go session where you finish your set and I start mine with a minimum of rest between each, or just start each set with a one minute only break and attempt to bring this down to 30 seconds over time.

So the complete program if you are ready for it looks like this:

Ashley Jones

Your exercise selection will depend on your background, training levels, and equipment variation availability. Of course you can select any of the variations for the Olympic versions, either the power version of each or the starting position.

Something to take note of: BHW, is an acronym taken from a lecture by Steve Nance, former Wallaby strength & conditioning coach, and stands for Bloody Hard Work.

In keeping with the theme of the title of this article, I was asked recently to do a six-month size and strength block for a young man. Each program is a three-week loading cycle with the fourth week being a download and just two full body workout performed at 60 to 70 percent of estimated training max for four sets of six to eight reps. I include it here to show what works over time.

By the way, the young man gained a solid 10 kilograms over this time. BHW works.

6-Month Size & Strength Program

Program 1

Sets/Reps

  • First Exercise – 4 x 6
  • Second Exercise – 3 x 8
  • Third Exercise – 2 x 12

Monday – Shoulders

  • Bradford Press
  • DB Seated Shoulder Press
  • DB Standing Lateral Raise

Tuesday – Legs

  • Cambered Bar Box Squat or Front Squat
  • Safety Bar Squat or Back Squat
  • Leg Extension or Bulgarian Sprinter`s Squat

Wednesday – Back

  • Chins
  • Bent Over Row
  • Pulldown to Chest

Thursday – Chest

  • Incline Bench Press
  • DB Bench Press
  • Dips

Friday – Hamstrings/Lower Back

  • Good Morning
  • Romanian Dead Lift
  • Back Extension

Program 2

Sets/Reps

  • First Exercise – 4 x 6
  • Second Exercise – 3 x 8
  • Third Exercise – 2 x 12

Monday AM– Shoulders

  • Bradford Press
  • DB Seated Shoulder Press
  • DB Standing Lateral Raise

Monday PM – Legs

  • Cambered Bar Box Squat
  • Safety Bar Squat
  • Bulgarian Sprinter’s Squat

Tuesday AM – Back

  • Chins
  • Bent Over Row
  • Pulldown to Chest

Tuesday PM – Chest

  • Incline Bench Press
  • DB Bench Press
  • Dips

Wednesday – Hamstrings/Lower Back

  • Good Morning
  • Romanian Dead Lift
  • Reverse Hyper

Thursday AM – Legs

  • Front Squat
  • Back Squat
  • Bulgarian Sprinters Squat

Thursday PM – Shoulders

  • Military Press
  • Seated Press Behind Neck
  • DB Front Raise

Friday AM – Chest

  • Incline DB Press
  • Close Grip Bench Press
  • Low Incline DB Flyes

Friday PM – Back

  • DB One Arm Row
  • Close Grip Pulldown
  • DB Pullover

Saturday – Lower Back/Hamstrings

  • Dead Lift
  • Reverse Hyper
  • Single Leg Back Extension

Program 3

Sets/Reps

  • First Exercise – 3 x 3
  • Second Exercise – 4 x 4
  • Third Exercise – 5 x 5

Monday – Shoulders

  • Push Press
  • Military Press
  • Trap Bar Shoulder Press

Tuesday – Legs

  • Overhead Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Back Squat

Wednesday – Back

  • Bent Over Row
  • Weighted Chins
  • Seated Row

Thursday – Chest

  • Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Barbell Floor Press

Friday – Lower Back/Hamstrings

  • Power Snatch
  • Power Clean
  • Clean Pulls

Program 4

First Three Days Sets/Reps

  • First Exercise – 3 x 3
  • Second Exercise – 4 x 4
  • Third Exercise – 5 x 5

Monday AM – Shoulders

  • Push Press
  • Military Press
  • Trap Bar Shoulder Press

Monday PM – Legs

  • Overhead Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Back Squat

Tuesday AM – Back

  • Bent Over Row
  • Weighted Chins
  • Seated Row

Tuesday PM – Chest

  • Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Barbell Floor Press

Wednesday AM – Lower Back/Hamstrings

  • Power Snatch
  • Power Clean
  • Clean Pulls

Second Three Days Sets/Reps

  • First Exercise – 4 x 6
  • Second Exercise – 3 x 8
  • Third Exercise – 2 x 12

Thursday AM – Shoulders

  • Bradford Press
  • DB Seated Shoulder Press
  • DB Standing Lateral Raise

Thursday PM – Legs

  • Cambered Bar Box Squat
  • Safety Bar Squat
  • Leg Extension

Friday AM – Back

  • Chins
  • Bent Over Row
  • Pulldown to Chest

Friday AM – Chest

  • Incline Bench Press
  • DB Bench Press
  • Dips

Saturday AM – Hamstrings/Lower Back

  • Good Morning
  • Romanian Dead Lift
  • Back Extension

Program 5

 Monday AM - Shoulders

  • 3 x 3 Push Press
  • 4 x 4 Cambered Bar Press
  • 5 x 5 Trap Bar Press

Monday PM - Shoulders

  • 4 x 6 Bradford Press
  • 3 x 8 DB Shoulder Press
  • 2 x 12 DB Lateral Raise

Tuesday AM - Squat/Quad dominant

  • 3 x 3 Overhead Squat or Band Box Squat
  • 4 x 4 Front Squat
  • 5 x 5 Back Squat

Tuesday PM - Squat/Quad dominant

  • 4 x 6 Cambered Bar Box Squat
  • 3 x 8 Safety Bar Squat
  • 2 x 12 Bulgarian Single Leg Sprinter`s Squat

Wednesday AM - Back

  • 3 x 3 Wide Chins
  • 4 x 4 Bent Over Row
  • 5 x 5 Seated Row

Wednesday PM - Back

  • 4 x 6 Weighted Chins (supinated grip)
  • 3 x 8 One Arm DB Row
  • 2 x 12 Pulldowns to Chest

Thursday AM - Chest

  • 3 x 3 Band Bench Press
  • 4 x 4 Incline Bench
  • 5 x 5 Close Grip Bench Press

Thursday PM - Chest

  • 4 x 6 Incline DB Press
  • 3 x 8 Flat DB Bench Press
  • 2 x 12 Dips

Friday AM - Hamstring/Lower Back

  • 3 x 3 Power Snatch
  • 4 x 4 Power Clean
  • 5 x 5 Deadlift

Friday PM - Hamstring/Lower Back

  • 4 x 6 Good Morning
  • 3 x 8 Romanian Deadlift
  • 2 x 12 Back Extension

Program 6

Monday AM - Shoulders/Legs

  • 3 x 3 Front Squat superset Standing Military Press
  • 4 x 4 Back Squat superset Seated Press Behind Neck

Monday PM - Shoulders/Legs

  • 4 x 6 Cambered Bar Box Squat superset Seated DB Shoulder Press
  • 3 x 8 Leg Extension superset DB Lateral Raises

Tuesday AM - Chest/Back

  • 4 x 6 Incline DB Bench Press superset Hammer Low Row
  • 3 x 8 Flat DB Bench Press superset Hammer High Row

Tuesday PM - Chest/Back

  • 3 x 3 Barbell Bench Press superset Bent Over Row
  • 4 x 4 Incline Bench Press superset  Weighted Chins

Wednesday AM or PM - Olympic

  • 3 x 3 Power Snatch
  • 4 x 4 Power Clean
  • 5 x 5 Deadlift
  • Loaded Ab work – Suitcase Deadlift, Shovel Lift, Turkish Get Up, Zercher lift

Thursday AM - Shoulders/Legs

  • 3 x 3        Front Squat superset Standing Military Press
  • 4 x 4        Back Squat superset  Seated Press Behind Neck

Thursday PM - Shoulders/Legs

  • 4 x 6 Cambered Bar Box Squat superset  Seated DB Shoulder Press
  • 3 x 8 Leg Extension superset  DB Lateral Raises

Friday AM - Chest/Back

  • 4 x 6 Incline DB Bench Press superset  Hammer Low Row
  • 3 x 8 Flat DB Bench Press superset  Hammer High Row

Friday PM - Chest/Back

  • 3 x 3 Barbell Bench Press superset  Bent Over Row
  • 4 x 4 Incline Bench Press superset  Weighted Chins

Saturday AM or PM - Glutes/Hamstrings/Lower Back

  • 4 x 6        Good Morning
  • 3 x 8        Romanian Deadlifts
  • 2 x 12     Glute Ham Raise
  • 3 x 25     Rollouts (or unloaded ab work or your choice)

 REFERENCES

Langer, J. Seeing the Sun Rise 2008. ISBN: 978 1 74175 403 2. 

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