How to Read a Training Program
As you look at your program, when you see A1/A2, it simply means that you are alternating back and forth between the two exercises (during the session, not from week to week) before moving on to the next pairing. So, you’d do a set of A1, then a set of A2, and then A1, A2, and so on until you’d completed all the sets of this particular pairing. Then, you’d move on to B1/B2 and so on. If it was D1/D2/D3, it would just mean that you’re rotating among three exercises (tri-set) instead of two (superset). Let’s do an example to further clarify things:
A1) Deadlift: 4 sets of 12 reps
A2) Bench Press: 4 sets of 12 reps
This would equate to:
1. Deadlift set of 12 reps
2. Bench Press set of 12 reps
3. Deadlift set of 12 reps
4. Bench Press set of 12 reps
5. Deadlift set of 12 reps
6. Bench Press set of 12 reps
7. Deadlift set of 12 reps
8. Bench Press set of 12 reps
Then, you would move on to the next exercise pairings, B1/B2. In some cases, you might just see “A” or “B.” This simply means that the exercise isn’t paired with anything. Just chill out, fill in your program, or get a drink during the downtime.
You’ll notice that while there is a “rest” column in the training templates, it’s rarely filled in. Rest periods are subject to so many factors that I never make recommendations. The bigger and stronger you are, the more fatigue you can accumulate in a given set, which means you’ll need more recovery. This is especially true of folks who may not have great work capacities. The “@” symbol represents your rest period if your workouts are being written in shorthand and not on a workout template.
Conversely, if you’re smaller, not quite as strong, or have a great work capacity, you’ll be able to bounce back quickly between sets. With these differences in mind, generally speaking, I recommend the following: on strength work (fewer than six reps), rest as long as you feel you need, and then add 30 seconds. On higher rep stuff, rest as long as you feel you need or just knock 15 seconds off that figure. To be clear, I am a lot more interested in quality than I am in rushing you through a training
session just so that you can adhere to rest intervals that may not be right for your goals or fitness level. Take your time and do things right – but don’t drag your heels so much that you lose out on a training effect altogether. At times, it might feel like you are “casually alternating” from one exercise to the next; that’s okay, as long as you aren’t wasting time and getting distracted from the goal at hand.
Likewise, the “Tempo” column is generally empty. Unless otherwise noted, assume a tempo of 2-3 seconds controlled lowering (eccentric) and lifting (concentric) portion that’s as fast as possible.
Selecting a Weight
Let me preface this explanation by saying that the goal of this program is to burn lots of fat by getting stronger and leaner. And, I fully expect you to do so. Now, if that’s the case, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to base your loading recommendations on percentages of one-rep maxes when we aren’t trying to improve sport performance or win a powerlifting competition. The ends have to justify the means here. Select a weight that is challenging for you to the point that you can do all of your reps in each set, but only have enough strength left for one, two, or three more repetitions at the end of every set. This will allow you to
constantly be improving throughout the course of the program. basically, go hard but never attempt a rep that you won’t complete on your own. Each session should be somewhat of a test of your new strength as you work up to heavier loads and listen to your body along the way.