Wendler's Conditioning Trials

TAGS: The 100-Yard Walk, Craig Rasmussen, programs that work, program, fat loss, Jim Wendler

The 100-Yard Walk

by Jim Wendler
from 2009 Holiday Tips: Training Insanity

I get many of my training ideas while daydreaming, which I do at work 98% of the time. The worst thing to do at work is work, so I avoid it at all costs. During one of my daydreams I began thinking about a brutal conditioning workout, one that would be extremely difficult but simple to perform.
We recently got a sandbag, which was primarily used as a prop until this workout. We’d often bring people to the weight room and show off the monolift, or the Competition Bench, the SS Yoke Bar...and the lonely sandbag in the corner. “Nobody puts baby in a corner.” Well, we had put sandbag in the corner, and I was Johnny Castle.

The idea was to take the sandbag over to the local high school and walk up and down the stadium steps, with the 175 pound sandbag on my shoulders. The total number of steps was 400, and the goal was to never take the bag off of my shoulders. Upon driving to the high school, I realized that I had to walk about 100 yards to get to the steps. This is normally not a problem. The problem is that I had to carry the sandbag.

While it was a huge pain in the ass, the walk wasn’t bad. I was fresh and excited to complete this challenge. I dropped the sandbag off my shoulders and started getting mentally ready for the trek. After a few minutes of visualization and confirmation that I’m the dumbest man alive, I cleaned the sandbag to my shoulders, pressed it overhead and rested it on my upper back.

The first half of the ordeal wasn’t bad. My neck was killing me and my upper back was sore. My lungs were fine, which surprised me - these are always the first to go out on me. About three-quarters of the way through, I could feel my legs start to wobble and shake - which I attributed to me being an idiot. I began walking faster and faster in order to get done quicker.

The last 20 steps were awful. I couldn’t see because of the sweat in my eyes, and my legs were shaking so badly that I thought I was going to tip over at any moment. As I got to the end of the stairs, I stepped down, gathered myself, let the sandbag fall off my shoulders...and I collapsed.

As I sat there exhausted and fulfilled, my goal reached and my training day over, I realized that I had to walk the damned sandbag back to my truck.

AJRoberts121614

Fat Loss for Dummies

by Craig Rasmussen
from the 2012 Programs that Work eBook

The typical gym dude focuses on barbell curls supersetted with triceps pushdown marathons four to five times per week… and not much else. I know that my own workouts sure looked like this when I first started weight training way back in the late 80s. I don’t get to visit the typical commercial gym too often these days, but each time I do, I feel like I have time warped back to the 80s—as I see most guys doing the same stuff I did over twenty-something years ago. For whatever reason, not much has changed, and it’s not their fault. They just don’t know any better. So, what’s a dude to do? I am going to show you how to do better based on several things that we have learned over the years.

First, let’s be honest, dudes: you could probably stand to lose some “L-B’s” of body fat (I should note that back in the 80s and 90s, we referred to guys most often as “dudes” in our vernacular instead of the currently in vogue term of “bros”). Many guys, myself most definitely included, tend to find ourselves in a perpetual “bulking” or mass-gaining mode. Why is this? Interestingly, for a lot of us dudes, the mirror often lies, and we will see a much leaner version of ourselves staring back at us. However, if we were to take an honest self evaluation, such as a body composition test or to take some simple photos with only trunks on, many may be very surprised and/or shocked with the results. It can be a real eye-opener when you learn that you are not nearly as lean as you think you are. In other words, that 14-15% body fat that you think you are sporting… it’s probably much closer to 21-22%. If you have taken this evaluation and have decided that it is time to get leaner, it is also time that you overhaul your training program and make it more suited to the task at hand.
I write training programs at one of the leading fat loss gyms in the world, and we have quite a few males who have come from the same place that you and I have. These guys are now typically middle aged and looking to shed some fat, stay strong, and still feel a bit athletic while holding on to their inner “dude.”

I am going to share with you what I feel are some of the biggest mistakes that I see most guys make—when left to their own devices—in regards to formatting their weight training programs for fat loss. Fixing these mistakes immediately will fast track your progress and get you to your fat loss goals. I am then going to share a snapshot of an eight-week training program that we have used with great success for dudes just like us.

1. Dudes Organize Their Training Like a “Bodybuilder .”

I certainly mean no disrespect to the competitive bodybuilding community by the above statement, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with bodybuilding as a competitive pursuit—I am a fan. There is certainly a lot to learn from bodybuilders. In fact, most dudes get our first exposure to weight training through bodybuilders via muscle magazines and the Internet. The problem is that most guys think that following the routines of competitive bodybuilders is the best way for the average person to train for fat loss. They will typically organize their training sessions in terms of the body parts or muscles trained. This is actually not very logical and not as productive as it could be since, in reality, your body works as an integrated unit—not as individual parts or muscles. By the way, have you ever wondered how it was decided that certain muscles get their own day while others don’t? It doesn’t really make sense to base how we allocate exercises to our training days simply by using muscle groups as the main organizing factor. It makes much more sense to base the allocation in regards to what the body does as it relates to basic human movements. If you think more in terms of training basic movements and the body as a whole (the way it actually works), you will actually train muscles as a by-product and get the results you desire. I really like a quote that I originally heard from strength coach Nick Winkleman of Athletes’ Performance who stated, “When we just train muscles, we forget movements, when we train movements, we never forget muscles.”

The other big problem with this approach is that time is a major limiting factor for most typical dudes. We all have extremely busy lives with jobs and families. Do you really have the time to dedicate to training that a professional bodybuilder (whose job is usually his training) would have? I don’t think so. In our experience at Results Fitness (as we are currently working with well over 300 clients multiple times per week on individualized programs), full body weight training routines done three times a week—based on a split of basic human movements—will work far better for most dudes in terms of fat loss training. This allows you to train with a higher frequency (you will actually hit muscle groups more often than typical body part split routines) and get better results. At Results Fitness, instead of classifying our exercises by muscle group or body part, we classify them simply based on what they are: basic movements. The classification that we use is as follows:
• Squat • Bend • Push • Pull • Single Leg Stance • Lunge • Core

We will then allocate these movements to training days, as you will see in the following sample program.

2. Dudes Think More is Better

More than likely, because of the heavy mainstream bodybuilding influence on general training as mentioned above, most dudes usually think that to get results, they must train on that good ol’ five to six times per week body part split routine with extremely high volume. They also often think that they must use multiple exercises for each body part with tons of sets. You must realize that you make gains while you are recovering from training, not during the actual training itself. There is usually no need for exercises that are redundant. Think about it, what the heck is the leg extension going to do for you that the squat doesn’t? The key is to focus on quality and not so much on quantity. As fitness expert Paul Chek has stated, “exercise is like a drug.” With the correct dose and the correct drug, you will get the desired response, and it all works. If you overdose or take the wrong drug, you can do more harm than good and not get the desired response. One of the reasons why a three times per week full body routine works so well is that you get a high frequency of training without overdoing it in terms of volume.

3. Dudes Do Too Many Single Joint Exercises

Is it a federal crime to do some biceps curls and triceps pushdowns? Nope, but when the volume/number of these types of exercises dominate your program, you will greatly diminish the effectiveness of your workouts, particularly when it comes to fat loss. If you focus your training on heavy, multi-joint (compound) exercises— such as squats, deadlifts, various presses, push ups, rows, chins/pull-ups, etc.—you will train much greater amounts of muscle overall, and this will lead to more calories burned during and after your workouts. As a general rule, the more muscle involved in an exercise the better.

But what if a dude’s goal is to also get bigger guns? Realize that spending the majority of your time and effort on getting stronger on chin-ups/pull-ups, various rows, and various types of presses will get your arms bigger faster than anything else. If you are unable to only do a single unassisted chin-up, what do you think will do more for your biceps size: those 25- to 30-pound curls or focusing all of your time and energy on working on that chin-up and getting to the point where you are doing multiple reps with an extra 25- to 50-pounds hooked up around your waist?

4. Dudes Neglect Lower Body Training

Squats aren’t simply a leg exercise, and deadlifts aren’t simply a back exercise. They are full body exercises that involve just about every muscle in the entire body. If you have a 315-pound bar on your shoulders or upper back, and you are getting ready to bang out a set of squats for eight reps, realize that your legs are not the only things involved in the exercise. Your shoulders, upper back, core, etc., are all very heavily involved. They need to be big enough and strong enough to support and move that load.
A lot of dudes think, “I get enough ‘leg’ work from running and playing hoops, so I don’t need to do squats, deadlifts, lunges, step ups, etc.” Sorry, but that’s just not the same thing! Understand that approximately 70% of your muscle mass is in your back, hips, and legs. If you omit these exercises, you are severely limiting your results. Dare to be different and dare to get better results. At our gym, you will see everyone doing deadlifts, squats, lunges, and various single leg exercises, thereby training “legs.” It is part of our culture here and one of the reasons that we get the results that we do.

5. Dudes Rest Way Too Long Between Sets

You know the scene at the local gym: guys taking five to ten minutes between sets of the same exercise, shooting the breeze with their buddies while discussing any number of topics and paying no attention to the time. This is not very effective if your goal is fat loss! Research and practical experience has shown us that shorter rest periods lead to maximal metabolic disturbance, possibly due to the hormonal influence that is set off by these shorter rest periods. It also allows us to increase overall caloric burn and total work performed in the time allotted for the training session. The key is being able to combine shorter rests without compromising the use of heavier loads in our compound exercises. How do we do this? Quite simply, we pair non-competing exercises with short rests (30-60 seconds) between them. As an example, we might use the following pairing in a program:
1A: Push Ups 2-3 sets 12 reps 60 sec. rest

1B: Reverse Lunges 2-3 sets 12 reps each 60 sec. rest This allows us to increase the actual amount of work density done in a specified time period—as opposed to doing each exercise one at a time with longer rests—which again leads to better fat loss results.

6. Dudes Think , “The Bench Press is More Than Just an Exercise, it is a Way of Life!”

I don’t think that there is any doubt that the bench press is the most overused exercise of all time. But, let me state this up front, there is nothing wrong with the bench press! I love the bench press (as most dudes do).

The problem is when the bench press becomes your entire workout each time, rather than simply a part of your training program. In other words, most dudes simply bench press way too often and with way too much volume. This creates massive imbalances about the shoulder girdle. You need to strive for some sort of balance in the amount of pushing and pulling movements that you perform. Since most guys have been doing way more pushing for such a long time, it is a wise plan to purposely imbalance your training in the other direction in performing more pulls than pushes. You need to include a lot of inverted rows, face pulls, dumbbell rows, and cable rows. Remember the fact that 70% of muscle mass is in the back and legs? This will do your shoulders a lot of good and help out with the fat loss process all at the same time. By the way, in looking at the push pattern from a fat loss standpoint, the good old-fashioned push up is probably a better choice than the bench press actually, as it involves a greater amount of muscle mass and integrates the core to a greater extent at the same time.
With all of that said, let’s take a look at what a sample eight- to twelve-week training program would look like.

The Dude Weight Training Plan for Fat Loss

Phase 1: 4-6 weeks

Day A Range of Motion, Activation, & Movement Preparation. (Dynamic Warm Up of 8-10 drills)

1A: Horizontal Cable Woodchops 2 sets 10 reps each way 0s Rest

1B: Ab Wheel Roll Outs 2 sets 10 reps 60s Rest

2A: Front Squat 2-3 sets 6 reps 60s Rest

2B: Single Leg Ankle Mobility 2-3 sets 8 reps each side 0s Rest

OR

2A: Hex Bar Deadlift 2-3 sets 6 reps 60s Rest

2B: Hip Flexor Stretch 2-3 sets 30s each side 0s Rest (Alternate using the front squat pairing and the deadlift pairing each workout day)

3A: TRX Inverted Rows 2-3 sets 10 reps 60s Rest

3B: Reverse Lunges 2-3 sets 10 reps each 60s Rest

4A: Push Ups 2-3 sets 10 reps 60s Rest

4B: Neutral Grip Face Pulls 2-3 sets 10 reps 60s Rest

Day B Range of Motion, Activation, & Movement Preparation. (Dynamic Warm Up of 8-10 drills)

1A: Side Plank 2 sets 20-40 sec. hold ea. 0s Rest

1B: Prone Jackknife 2 sets 10 reps 60s Rest

2A: Bench Press 2-3 sets 6 reps 60s Rest

2B: Figure Four Hip Stretch 2-3 sets 20s each side 0s Rest

OR

2A: Chin-Ups 2-3 sets 4-6 reps 60s Rest

2B: Leg Lowering Drill 2-3 sets 6 reps each side 0s Rest (Alternate using the bench press pairing and the chin-up pairing each workout day.)

3A: 3-Point DB Rows 2-3 sets 10 reps each side 60s Rest

3B: Cross Over Step Ups 2-3 sets 10 reps each side 60s Rest

4A: DB Overhead Presses 2-3 sets 10 reps 60s Rest

4B: Swiss Ball Leg Curls 2-3 sets 10 reps 60s Rest

Phase 2: 4-6 weeks

Day A Range of Motion, Activation, & Movement Preparation. (Dynamic Warm Up of 8-10 drills)

1A: High to Low Cable Woodchops 2 sets 8 reps each way 0s Rest

1B: TRX Fall Outs 2 sets 8-10 reps 60s Rest 2A: Back Squat 2-3 sets 5 reps 60s Rest

2B: 1/2 Kneeling Ankle Mobility 2-3 sets 8 reps each 0s Rest

OR

2A: Deadlift 2-3 sets 5 reps 60s Rest

2B: Quadruped T-Spine Rot 2-3 sets 8 reps each side 0s Rest (Alternate using the back squat pairing and the hex bar deadlift pairing each workout day)

3A: Single Arm Cable Rows 2-3 sets 12 reps each side 60s Rest 3B: RFE (Bulgarian) Split Squats 2-3 sets 12 reps each side 60s Rest 4A: T-Push Ups 2-3 sets 6 reps each way 60s Rest 4B: Neutral Grip Face Pulls 2-3 sets 15 reps 60s Rest

Day B Range of Motion, Activation, & Movement Preparation. (Dynamic Warm Up of 8-10 drills)

1A: Kettlebell Windmills 2 sets 5-8 reps each side 0s Rest

1B: Prone Pike 2 sets 8 reps 60s Rest

2A: Close Grip Bench Press 2-3 sets 5 reps 60s Rest

2B: Prone Piriformis Stretch 2-3 sets 20s each side 0s Rest

OR

2A: Neutral Grip Pull-Ups 2-3 sets 3-5 reps 60s Rest

2B: Leg Lowering Drill 2-3 sets 6 reps each side 0s Rest (Alternate using the close grip bench press pairing and the neutral grip pull-up pairing each workout day.)

3A: TRX Inverted Rows 2-3 sets 12 reps 60s Rest

3B: Single Arm Single Leg RDL 2-3 sets 12 reps each side 60s Rest

4A: Barbell Overhead Press 2-3 sets 12 reps 60s Rest

4B: Swiss Ball Leg Curls 2-3 sets 12 reps 60s Rest

Notes: Use this program three days per week on non-consecutive days, e.g. Mon/Wed/Fri or Tue/Thus/Sat. You can choose to do it only two days per week, but you will need to extend it over six weeks instead of four weeks if you do this.
Alternate the A and the B program each training day. For example, weeks 1 through 3 will look as follows: Week 1: Monday - Workout A / Wednesday – Workout B/ Friday - Workout A Week 2: Monday - Workout B / Wednesday – Workout A/ Friday - Workout B Week 3: Monday - Workout A / Wednesday – Workout B/ Friday - Workout A

About Craig:

Craig Rasmussen is a program design specialist and performance coach at Results Fitness in Newhall, California. Results Fitness has been named one of America’s top ten gyms by Men’s Health magazine multiple times.
Craig has been featured in several national publications including Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Muscle and Fitness, and Runner’s World. He is a competitive powerlifter and Craig also coaches our powerlifting team at Result’s Fitness.
Craig Rasmussen is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. For more information, please visit: www.resultsfitnessuniversity.com.

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