Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My 12-Week Training Plan

"Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Matthew 10:28

I recently finished a 12-week training plan that I developed myself using the knowledge I've gained in the last few years. In the past, I have followed programs written by other strength coaches. Some of them worked well and others didn't. But during that process, I learned more about my body and how it responded to certain training programs.

One problem I've noticed about many training programs is that they don't focus on all areas of strength, health and fitness. For example, there are plenty of training programs that are strictly designed to increase strength or build size. But they rarely, if ever, address other areas of strength (endurance, explosive strength, speed strength, relative strength, etc.), conditioning (cardio) or even overall health.

Many programs will plan an elaborate training program focused on weights but neglect conditioning. Some will even suggest not performing any sort of conditioning exercises while following the training plan.

So I decided to take the knowledge I have from all the books I've read and from my own experience and develop a 12-week plan that focused on raw strength, metabolic conditioning, strength endurance, explosive strength and overall conditioning. I achieved an increase in all of those things in the last 12 weeks - a feat that is not easy to accomplish.

Here's how my training program was organized:

Monday: Full-body Max Strength Training + Explosive Strength + Metabolic Conditioning Finisher (these workouts took about 1 hour from start to finish with a training partner)

Tuesday: General Physical Preparation (GPP) - This typically included a bike ride, some rope climbing and some other bodyweight exercises for fun and recovery from Monday's workout. Although I never performed many sets of the exercises (2-4), some of them were tough. Rope climbing is a strength workout in itself. These workouts varied in intensity depending on how sore or tired we were from Monday's training.

Wednesday: Metabolic Conditioning (I used a variety of short, but intense workouts that were different each week. I used ideas from Ross Enamait, Mountain Athlete and others). These workouts typically took less than 30 minutes and most were 15-20 minutes.

Thursday: Full-body Max Strength Training + Explosive Strength + Metabolic Conditioning Finisher (these workouts took about 1 hour from start to finish with a training partner)

Friday: Bodyweight Training for strength endurance and conditioning (I used Craig Ballantyne's Bodyweight 100-500 for these workouts. CLICK HERE to learn more about Craig Ballantyne and Turbulence Training). They ranged in length from 6 minutes to 43 minutes depending on how many exercises and reps I had to complete during each workout.

Saturday: Interval Training (Metabolic Conditioning). This included various sprint workouts ranging from 800m intervals down to 20-30 yard sprints.

Sunday: REST

Overall, this plan worked very well. I increased my strength in all the core exercises, I became leaner and much more fit, and I became more explosive with my box jumps and explosive exercises like power cleans.

I'm currently testing my 1 repetition maximum (1RM) in all the core lifts that I trained during the 12-week program. The main lifts used throughout the program on my full-body training days included:

Front Squats
Bench Presses
Barbell Rows
Overhead Presses
Weighted Chins
Power Cleans

I will be testing my max strength in all of the lifts above (except for the barbell rows - no sense in training for a 1RM in that particuar lift due to the potential for injury). I will report back on my totals by the end of the week.

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