Who Should Do This Program
This intensive strength and power program is designed for recreational lifters who want to step up to an intermediate strength program from a beginner program. If this is you, you’ve probably been lifting for a few months to a year consistently – maybe longer if your training has been inconsistent. You’re technically competent in the main barbell exercises – squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press. You’re also familiar with common assistance exercises such as Romanian deadlift, bent over row, dips, and so on.
You may have been following one of the popular beginner strength programs on your own, like Stronglifts or Starting Strength. You’ve gone from lifting just the bar to moving a half-decent weight and you no longer feel like a complete newbie in the gym. However, you’ve reached a plateau. You can’t seem to up the weight and you feel that you’ve milked that beginner program for all it can give you. You would like to work harder and challenge your body more, but you’re not quite sure how. You’re also getting a bit bored and fancy expanding your repertoire, learning some new skills, and developing more athletic qualities. You need a boost, something to get you really excited about getting in the gym.
What This Program Will Do for You
This program will challenge you in new ways, to get you over that plateau and making progress once again.
Give You More Power
I’ll teach you how to execute a proper weightlifting-style power clean and you’ll use this to develop a powerful hip extension that will carry over into your other lifts like the deadlift and the squat. Don’t be surprised if your 100m-sprint time improves as well. The power clean is used across the strength and conditioning world to help athletes run faster, jump higher and lift heavier. Using my guide, you can achieve this too.
Make Weak Areas Stronger
You are only as strong as your weakest link. This program hones in on common weak areas to bring them up to scratch and improve your performance in the key lifts. For example, you’ll be training the wide-grip deadlift as it helps with back strength and off-the-floor strength since it requires more leg work than most people use in a conventional deadlift due to the lower start position. I’m a big fan of the wide-grip deadlift as I’ve seen it bust through many people’s deadlift plateaus. The great Andy Bolton is a fan of deficit deadlifts (the wide-grip deadlift is a type of deficit deadlift) and you wouldn’t want to argue with the UK’s strongest deadlifter! You’ll also be using the facepull with external rotation to build up the weak muscles of the rotator cuff and upper back, so that you not only get stronger but you also protect yourself against shoulder injuries, which are all too common in strength training.
Attack the Problem
The problem with most people who want to improve their deadlift is that they don’t deadlift enough. Do you think deadlifting once every seven days is going to bust through that plateau? On the other hand, deadlifting heavy several times a week can take its toll, so we use variations and partials to attack the movement from several different directions at the same time, without completely overloading the back. You’ll be doing some kind of deadlift variation every time you train.In every variation you should intend to move the bar up as fast as possible, even if it actually travels slowly. This will increase neuromuscular efficiency – which will make you stronger. One note of caution: this doesn’t apply to lowering the bar. Always lower under control and with good form.
Have You Train Harder
If you’ve been following the same program for a while, you’ve probably become a bit lazy in training without even realizing it. This happened to me when I first got into powerlifting. Initially I followed my own programs based on what I had read on the Internet. Then I got a program from a powerlifting coach and it was the hardest thing I’d ever done. I believe I even cried a little in that first session. However, I attacked that program with everything I had and it took me to another level – a level where I could compete in powerlifting nationally and internationally. Within 24 months I had a World Silver medal under my powerlifting belt.
If it’s done properly, this program is hard. You will need to give it your all every single session. If it feels too easy, you’re not lifting heavy enough or executing the movements well enough. You need to be doing the most weight you can (correctly) and the hardest variations you can for every exercise. You will need to commit to your training days, turn up on time at the gym, be well rested and fed, and be in the zone.The idea is to focus on this task of getting stronger for four weeks and get the improvement. However, I recommend an easy deload week after the end of this four-week cycle to allow your body to recover.
What You Can Expect to Achieve
If you follow this four-week program exactly as written, you can expect up to a 10% increase in your one rep max in deadlift and bench press. If you can already power clean, you can also expect up to a 10% increase in that one rep max. You can expect to feel stronger, more explosive and faster. You will find that you attack your training sessions and feel a powerful sense of achievement when you complete them.
For additional training guides, you can sign up for my free video series on Strength Ambassadors.
Good luck! Let me know how you get on.