By Chris Wilson, Head Strength Coach
Life today is hectic. I’m sure you would agree.
If we could squeeze a few more hours into our day, we would and still feel like we didn’t get everything accomplished. To make things even more challenging on top of our job(s) and family, we also need time to move and sweat.
Lifting weights and exercise is an important part of my lifestyle and if you’re reading this, yours too!
For one reason or another, I am finding myself cramped for gym time that makes my previous full-length workouts impossible. Those old college days offering hours of freedom to exercise are gone for most of us.
I have a solution for you. Below you will find a hardcore total body workout that can be done in less than a half hour that still delivers the muscle mass you’re after.
When a lack of the customary training time in the gym becomes evident, it should never become an excuse for procrastinating or missing workouts completely. Don’t become one of the statistics.
Do what I call Slam Training (brief and brutal workouts which take no more than 20-30 minutes).
Here is a slam training routine for behemoth muscle bulk and power that will maintain your existing level of development, until you can once again return to your previous optimum workouts (and even if you can’t).
Within the structure of this workout, I suggest that you use four basic exercises – Barbell bench press, Barbell bent over rows, Barbell back squats and 45º (machine) Leg presses.
It seems the best sequential order of doing the exercises is to begin with the Bench press, next do the Squat, follow it with the Rowing and finish up with the Leg press. Performed in this manner, you are able to partially rest the upper torso while working the legs and then let the legs grab some needed rest as you do the upper body exercise(s).
You don’t have time for long rests between sets and exercises; neither can you afford as high reps as you might like. So work with five or six reps each set with no rest or as little as possible.
Begin the series or exercises by doing 5-6 reps in the barbell bench press with about one-half of your usual exercise poundage; without a pause, do 5-6 reps in the barbell back squat with approximately two-thirds of the usual exercise poundage.
Be sure to squat down only as far as knee and lower back integrity and flexibility will allow. Move on to the barbell bent over rows, again for 5-6 reps with one-half of the usual exercise poundage. Still with no rest, blast out 5-6 reps in the 45º Leg presses (on a machine) with two-thirds of you regular exercise poundage. This completes the first series!
There are five more series to go and so you may take a breather, but it must be only long enough to change weights for each proceeding series.
Series two: Increase poundage ten to twenty percent on each exercise, doing another 5-6 reps of each.
Series three: The weight jump factor follows that of the above series (2).
Series four: On this series, increase the poundage so that the absolute most weight can be used in each of the four exercises for 5-6 maximum repetitions.
Series five: Decrease the poundage used in the above series by ten percent and do 5-6 continuous reps.
Series six: Again reduce the poundage used in series five and do as many “burn-out” repetitions as you possibly can, to complete failure.
Going through a single series of the four exercises, and preparing the weight jumps when either moving up or down will take about two and a half minutes. On your limit sets (series four), it may take a bit longer, but you can still finish the six series in 20 minutes.
Always rest the total body one or two days between workouts!!!
By Chris Wilson, Head Strength Coach
Let’s get right to it!
There is a lift LOTS of guys struggle with improving at the gym that can be extremely frustrating and defeating…
The Bench Press
These guys work as hard as any of the other guys in the gym but feel so inferior, especially when one of them asks, “So how much can you bench?” They embarrassingly mumble “My max is 205 pounds.”
If they weigh 225 pounds but struggle to rep out their own body weight, it’s as if they can hear people chuckling throughout the gym at them.
This ‘strength technique’ I’m about to share with you is for the guys who are getting sick and tired of justifying their weakness in the bench press and being the laughing stock of the gym.
With this training technique, you will have a shot at increasing your bench in only 6 weeks!
So you SUCK BIG TIME when it comes to bench press…
Don’t feel like you are alone as I can relate to you (as well as many other guys) with regard to a having a weak bench press at some point in our training.
Back in the day, I could do full barbell back squats with 315 pounds for 15 reps without much of a warm-up easier than I could bench press 225 pounds for ten reps.
Basically I could easily rep out my body weight PLUS 100 lbs on squats but only hit my body weight for like 10 reps. Compared to other guys with big benches, I felt like a failure.
I just wanted to feel the same kind of confidence while lying under the bar that I felt while standing under it.
If there is a positive to my bench press weakness it is that I have researched nearly every bench press routine known to mankind over the years. I know what works and what is monkey crap when it comes to bench press routines.
Here is a 6-week bench press routine, which will give you the most amount of gain factor in the least amount of training time.
It is called ‘Flashpoint Bench Pressing’.
This training technique uses a fixed poundage percentage of a maximum un-fatigued single-effort. The percentages of maximum and corresponding poundage increases only once every seven days, over the next six weeks. Here is an outline of the six progression training levels that many bodybuilders in both the amateur and pro ranks will use in their quest for upping bench press power.
Do this workout on Monday and Friday or…Tuesday and Saturday
The point is to have 3 days off in the middle of your bench days.
Level One (Week #1)
After a couple of light specific warm-up sets perform 5 sets of ten reps with 65% of current un-fatigued maximum single effort (MSE).
Level Two (Week #2)
5 sets x 8 reps with 72% MSE
Level Three (Week #3)
5 sets x 6 power reps with 79% MSE
Level Four (Week #4)
5 sets x 4 power reps with 86% MSE
Level Five (Week #5)
4 sets x 3 power reps with 93% MSE
Level Six (Week #6)
1 set x 2 power reps with 100% MSE
NOTE: Always be sure to do a couple of light specific warm-up sets at each level of training.
By Chris Wilson, RKC, CPT, CSN
Not any one training schedule works for all lifters. That’s a FACT.
Some guys have super busy schedules and have limited time to devote to working out while others can easily adjust their schedule to meet their training needs.
Below you will see 13 different training frequency options. Look them over carefully, study them for a moment and then decide for yourself which one makes sense in your life.
Options 1-10 are based on body part split routines (more bodybuilding) and options 11-13 are based on total body workouts (more powerlifting/powerbuilding). In order for these options to make sense in your life, you must first decide what type of training routine meets your needs.
How to Choose the ‘Right’ Training Option
Choose a training frequency option (for example 2-On/1-Off, 1-On/1-Off repeat frequency) which best accommodates:
- Your current daily lifestyle,
- Recovery ability tolerances (localized muscle and central nervous system),
- Major and minor muscle grouping preferences (body part splits), and
- Number of training sessions dedicated to select muscle groups.
If you may want to focus extra time and attention on a particular lift like the bench press or squat in order to make faster progress with that lift, you will want to immediately focus on options 11-13.
Options 11-13 are broken up into 3’s – Workout A, Workout B and Workout C. To make this simpler, you will see WOA, WOB & WOC in the charts. Remember, it is up to you to decide what specific exercises you want in each workout. This is simply a template to help you stay on track with your training and is based on a schedule that works best for you.
Lastly, for options that don’t show all 7 days of the week (options 1, 2 & 4), it is assumed that you then REPEAT the cycle. So, for example, Option 1 has Day 1-4 listed, on Day 5 you would then repeat the cycle with the Day 1 workout.
So let’s dive right in…
13-Dynamic Training Frequency Options
OPTIONS 11-12-13: Abbreviations: WOA, WOB, WOC symbolizes muscle group(s): WORKOUTS A, B, and C