How I Train

TAGS: angry coach, conditioning, Life, training

I figured I'd offer a write-up of how I'm training right now. The system I've been using for the past 5-6 months has been working really well for me, so I think maybe this will help some guys who are in the same boat as me right now.

BACKGROUND: I work a professional job now that's not physical and pretty much keeps me in an office from 8:45AM until 6 or 7PM. The trick for me is to stay consistent and not miss any workouts. If my schedule is clear after work, I train around 8:30PM. If I have something planned at night, which happens once or twice a week, I'll train first thing in the morning. I try to make sure this is an upper-body session, because I'm lifting too heavy to put that kind of pressure on my spine that early in the morning without warming up for nearly an hour – which I don't have time to do.

PROGRAMMING: For the past 20 weeks or so, I've been doing my self-designed "Block Training For the Regular Guy." My main exercises are the bench, squat and deadlift (I'll probably end up doing a meet in the fall), and the clean. I clean because it's a good warm-up for me for squatting and deadlifting. There are probably numerous reasons to disagree with this, but I don't care. It's been working great for me. I came up as an Olympic lifter, and I just like doing them, plus I can still clean enough for people to stop what they're doing and watch, which helps feed my ego a little. For my main lifts, I've been sticking to Prilepin's Chart for my rep numbers, starting with 50%, going up 5% per week, and finishing up with a week of taking maxes in all my main lifts.

From 50% to approximately 70-75% functions as my accumulation block, and it's a bitch. I rest 60 seconds between main lifts, I don't use a belt until I'm up over 80-85%, everything is done raw and I rest 45 seconds or so between assistance lifts. Mondays and Fridays are particularly brutal for this, as you'll see. There have been days where I've had to go lay down for 20-30 minutes before even leaving the gym, and I've had to really dig down to finish up.

ASSISTANCE WORK: For all my assistance work, I have my intensities pretty much nailed by this point, so the following is what I do. The first week, I'll do 20 total reps of whatever the exercise is. This usually translates to 8, 7 or 5. The following week, I'll up it, and I'll keep upping it by 5-10 total reps per week until I hit 50, at which point I'll up the weight pretty substantially and drop back down to 20 reps. This times out well, because by the time I get to a transmutation block, I'm on only 20 reps of each assistance exercise, which works well with the increased focus (and workout time) devoted to whatever main lift I'm working.

The number of exercises I'm doing may not look like much, but when you're into an accumulation block where you're banging out 50 reps of everything, doing weighted planks for 5-6 minutes, and busting your ass doing "conditioning" work twice a week, it adds up. There's built-in rest, but these can be rough sessions.

"CONDITIONING": I've been doing two things. First, I walk uphill on the treadmill every single day no matter what for 30-60 minutes, doing the heart-rate shit everyone talks about here. Then, on Wednesdays and Saturdays (my upper body days), I finish every workout with either the metabolic acceleration circuits Alwyn Cosgrove wrote about in an article here, hill runs, stair runs, Prowler sprints, treadmill sprints or something like that.

SQUATTING: I have absolutely nothing against box squats, so my decision to cut them out and solely free squat is psychological on my part. I only free squat now BECAUSE I did nothing but box squat for years unless I was doing a meet. Here's the thing, though: I did box squats because I thought it was easier than free squatting. I don't like thinking like that, so now I'm doing below parallel free squats exclusively, and I've gotten a lot stronger a lot faster. Plus, it's kicking my f-ing ass way worse than the same level of box squatting ever did.

With that said, here's what I'm doing, laid out day-to-day.

Monday:
1. Cleans
2. Squats
3. Romanian Deadlift
4. GHR's or Weighted 45-degree back raise
5. Weighted Planks or Hanging Leg Raises

Tuesday:
1. 30-60 minutes uphill Treadmill (early AM)

Wednesday:
1. Bench
2. DB Bench
3. Weighted Dips
4. DB Rows
5. Bent Rows
6. Conditioning (see above)

Thursday:
1. Treadmill

Friday:
1. Cleans
2. Deadlift
3. Squats (60% of Monday until I get to 80-85%, and then I cut these out).
4. GHR or Weighted 45-degree
5. Weighted Planks or Hanging leg raises

Saturday:
1. Bench (60% of Wednesday)
2. Military Press
3. Rope Pushdowns
4. Preacher Curl Machine (shut the f--k up)
5. Conditioning (see above)

Sunday:
1. Off or Treadmill

TIME: All of these sessions get me out of the gym in 70 minutes or less, even when I get into the transmutation and realizations weeks. This is important because I just don't have time to train anymore, and need to take full advantage of what I do have.

DIET: I've been doing a modified version of carb back-loading that has some carb deplete days (and weeks), some cheat meals, and some alcohol consumption. Even though I'm not blasting away on it 100% (it's more like 85-90%), it's still highly effective at getting you stronger and burning fat. I look better, I feel better, and my strength levels are going up faster than I thought they would. Thanks to Kiefer and Jesse Burdick for this. I'm not doing exactly what you guys said seven days a week, but I'm pretty much on the nose 5-6 days, and it's great.

PSYCHOLOGICAL SHIT: I took a couple of hits lately that I'm working my way through. My sister was diagnosed with stage IIE lymphoma, which has been hard to deal with. I've had to pull a lot of shit together over the past month as a result. I'm also newly single, which has been an interesting experience, too. Both have elicited major changes, and instead of affecting my training like it has in the past, having shit to deal with has made me take Dave Tate's advice and use training as a constant. As a result, my workouts have been awesome, especially since I'm so motivated to just get better in all aspects of life.

DIPPING: This is a big one. It's been about a month and a half since I quit, but I think I'm officially announcing the end of my 15 year love affair with chewing tobacco. It happens when someone you give a shit about gets cancer. This was hard as hell for about the first two weeks because it was an automatic thing for me to throw in a dip when I'm driving or working or talking on the phone, but now I'm sleeping better, training better and my mood is 1000x better – plus now, nobody is going to be disgusted by spit bottles all over the place. I'm also saving a shitload of money in the process. If you're addicted to this shit but you want your life to get better, just quit. You'll be happy as hell you did.

Anyway, this is what's been working like a charm for me. If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to clarify whatever you need.

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