24 Nov 4 Workout Strategies You Can Use Right Now
What’s your plan for training?
Many exercise enthusiasts “go through the motions” in their training regimens without having a specific plan of attack or strategy in place.
This greatly limits the effectiveness of training.
The fact is, to move the ball forward and get results (gain strength, add muscle, lose fat, or improve skill and performance), you have to know where you are and where you’re going.
That’s where these concepts can help you right now and identify 4 distinct training phases.
Read through this article to better understand where you are with one of the 4 strategies listed below.
These 4 strategies will allow you to train strong over the long haul and set yourself up for a great year.
The last thing we want is to feel guilty about missing a training session and getting off track, that’s why it’s important to understand these strategies and pick the one that’s most appropriate for where you are and where you want to be.
Right now is the perfect time to plan your attack, so let’s get to it.
Here’s 4 specific big picture strategies along with examples of how to make the best of your training starting right now, today.
THE MAINTENANCE STRATEGY
GOAL: To maintain current state.
The goal here is to “maintain” your progress, which means not to regress, gain weight, lose strength, or feel crappy about yourself.
The thing is, you don’t want to live here in this training phase.
You will probably train 3-4 days per week and keep consistent with the fundamentals: swings, squats, get ups, presses, deadlifts or whatever have been the fundamentals for you and your goals.
Pick 5-6 key exercises, the exercises that provide the most value in terms of strength and conditioning.
Shorter training sessions are best and keep things simple.
All your going to do is keep a “framework” of training exercises with the maintenance strategy.
- 2-3 Turkish gets per side
Then 5 circuits of the following:
- Kettlebell presses x 5
- Goblet Squats x 10
- 1 H kettlebells swings x 10
Move through as quick as possible without sacrificing technique.
Finish with strict pull-ups, 3 x 5 and call it a day.
Quick, efficient, and covers a lot.
Do some “planned” variety with the fundamentals.
You’re not really following a “program,” instead you have a basic template to get you through the next few weeks.
This is only an example, but the key is to keep consistent with the basics and always work on your skills.
The majority of people will likely be in some sort of “maintenance” strategy during certain points in the year, but you don’t want to live in this stage.
This is an effective strategy during the Holiday season, for example.
THE REBOOT STRATEGY
GOAL: To de-load, to renew and refresh.
This is a planned “de-load, which is a reduction in volume, frequency, and/or intensity.
While it’s “de-load,” you don’t want to lose the gains you’ve made this year, but to scale things back in in order to go forward.
This strategy would be best for those who have been training with high volume and frequencies for a long time period.
This is different from the maintenance strategy in that it’s a little more low key and you might spend more time on mobility work, conditioning work, bodyweight training, or something else (sprints or running, for example).
This also is a good strategy if you know things are going to be hectic and you may miss some training time through the holiday season, this way there is no disappointments with missed sessions.
If you’ve been training intensely for a while, you need to ask yourself, are you ready for a “re-boot?”
The fact is that “we can’t train all out, all the time” so this strategy is a version of an “easy strength” type of program.
Here’s what you do.
Pick 5-6 exercises you want to focus on over the next several weeks.
Let’s pick a few of the basics here and we’ll keep the rep ranges PER WORKOUT in the ranges as listed below.
- Deadlift (barbell) 3 x 3 – keep weight moderate and “easy”
- Swing or snatch, sets of 10, 3-5 sets
- Press, sets of 5, 3 sets
- Goblet Squat or Double KB Front Squat, sets of 5-10, 3 sets
- Turkish Get Up, keep reps at 1-3
- Loaded Carry for distance
You can see the volume is low and you should keep with the 5 or 6 exercises you pick for each training session.
Do this 3 days per week and repeat the session each time.
Increase the weight only if you feel like it, but each session should feel “easy” and non-stressful.
Remember the goal is to renew and refresh, but not lose strength or regress.
This strategy can be VERY effective.
THE SKILL STRATEGY
GOAL: To improve or develop a new training skill.
What you want here is to improve a skill or skills over the next 6 weeks.
As with the maintenance strategy above, you’ll follow some “framework” of training and in addition, you’ll pick an exercise or two to work on and develop over the next 4-6 weeks.
It could mean following a program or part of a program for the skill, in addition to the maintenance approach.
Here’s some examples of skills to develop or simply improve on.
- Kettlebell swings
- Turkish get ups
- Bent press
- Barbell squats
- Barbell cleans (and supporting progressions)
- Barbell snatches (and supporting progressions)
- Pistol Squats
The list could go on, I think you get the point which is to focus on one or two skills over a specific time period.
I wouldn’t do more than one or two skills because if you want to excel at something, you have to focus on it.
Whatever skill or exercise you focus on, do it every training session and vary the load (meaning don’t train heavy each session).
“If it’s important, do it everyday.” -Dan Gable.
Remember, you’re trying to build a skill here.
THE PROGRAM STRATEGY
GOAL: To achieve a specific result.
Finally, we have the the program strategy which is really simple.
You pick a structured program that’s 4-6 weeks in duration to cover you throughout this time period.
The thing is, if you do a structured program, make sure you absolutely commit to the program and don’t miss any sessions.
This strategy doesn’t make sense if you know it’s going to be hard to train consistently during the Holiday season, so you have to be realistic.
If you want to be bold and do what most don’t do (at least until January, that is) a program is the way to not only maintain, but to excel through the Holidays.
Here’s just a few program ideas to consider:
-Dan John’s 10,000 swing program (4-5 weeks)
-The “Shock and Awe” Protocol (Double kettlebell program, 4 weeks)
5/3/1 (Barbell strength/power program)
-An assortment of program ideas in Easy Strength
-Weightlifting programming in Greg Everett’s book
-Kettlebell Domination (A focused ketttlebell program that is 5 weeks)
Remember that your goal dictates the program and there are plenty of great programs to choose from.
When doing a program, the most important thing to do is pick one and complete it from start to finish.
There you have it, 4 strategies you can you choose from during the Holiday season.
But, the truth is you can use these strategies at any time point throughout the year.
Here’s a quick review as we wrap up.
1.) Maintenance Strategy – to maintain your current state for the next several weeks
2.) Reboot Strategy – a planned de-load to renew and refresh
3.) Skill Strategy – to focus on a new performance skill
4.) Program Strategy – to follow a program to achieve a result
Hope this helps and make sure you have your strategy in place to keep you moving forward.
What strategy will you use?
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