Workouts 1-5 focus on proper technique development with our most effective drills and movement cues so you lay the right foundation from day 1.

Download all of the workouts (easier to print and take to the gym), in PDF format here. Note, the PDF doesn't contain links to the instructional videos.

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WORKOUT 1

NOTES

One of, if not the most, fundamental movements in strength training and athletic performance is the squat, so we’re going to start here. If you can perform the squat safely and effectively you’re well on your way to being able to train productively. This workout will take you through the prerequisites required to execute the lift properly and then some progressively more challenging variations of the loaded movement.

 

TARGETED WARM-UP

Ankle mobility w/ band 2min/side

Super squat hip mobility 2min/side

Bootstrap squat 2x10

 

PrerequisitE DRILLS

Feet together squat test (if you pass this test you can squat w/ flat soles. If not, you'll need to elevate your heels on 5-10lb steel plates. Not sure why you need to do this? Watch this important video.)  
*Bonus: Review this video for 2 other methods of assessing your ankle mobility.

2 hand rule

2 hand rule for squat (this will let you know how low you can safely squat)

Proper breathing and bracing (important before we start loading the squat up!)

 


WORKOUT

A.) Goblet Squat 4x10 (4sec lowering, ramp weight up). Rest 60-90sec

B.) Technique Drills:

1.) Back Squat warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "screwing in the feet.") - Watch Squat Lesson 1.

2.) Back Squat warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "sitting back with the hips") - Watch Squat Lesson 2.

3.) Back Squat warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "depth, bracing, and 2-hand rule") - Watch Squat Lesson 3

4.) Back Squat warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "the way up looks like the way down") - Watch Squat Lesson 4

C.) Back Squat 4x5 (work up to a top set @ 7/10 difficulty). Rest 90-120sec
*In other words, add a small amount of weight during each set until you reach a moderately challenging weight, but one that you can still perform with 100% confidence and proper technique.

D.) 2-3 sets of front plank, for as long as possible. If you can do more than 90sec without much trouble, add weight to your back like this. 

E.) Optional: Moderate Cardio. For example, 10 sets on a stationary bike or assault bike, alternating between 30sec @ 85% of your max speed, then 30sec of rest.

 

*In our method of notation, we write the number of sets first, then the number of reps second. So 2x10 means perform 10 squats (repetitions). Rest as needed (or with a specific interval if one is given), then repeat that sequence a second time by performing another 10 squats.

 

bench lesson 1 red.jpg

WORKOUT 2

NOTES

The bench press is a gym staple almost everywhere, and for good reason. Few exercises do as good a job at building strength and muscle in the upper body. Similar to the squat foundations, this workout will take you through some prerequisites necessary for safe and efficient bench press execution as well as the bench itself. There’s also some additional upper body work, DB bench for extra shoulder, pec and tricep work and then some rowing variations to balance upper body development so you don’t end up with internally rotated shoulders.

 

 

targeted warmup-up

OH band mobility 2min/side

Lacross ball massage for shoulder and pec 2min/side

Band Pull Apart 2x20 

 

Prerequisite DRILLS

Bodyweight row 

PVC bench press drill

*If you can't complete both of the prerequisites, see below.
 

WORKOUT

A.) Technique Drills

1.) Bench Press warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "shoulder blades") - Watch Bench Lesson 1.

2.) Bench Press warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "bar path") - Watch Bench Lesson 2.

3.) Bench Press warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "leading with vertical elbows") - Watch Bench Lesson 3.

4.) Bench Press warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "driving through the heels") - Watch Bench Lesson 4.

B.) Bench Press 4x5 (work up to a top set @ 7/10 difficulty). Rest 60-90sec

C1.) DB Bench Press 3x12 (focus on the same shoulder position) Rest 45-60sec between exercises

C2.) Ring Rows 3xmax (focus on maintaining shoulder position). Rest 45-60sec between exercises

D.) Cable Back Flies 3x15. Rest 30-45sec

 

IF YOU CAN'T COMPLETE THE PREREQUISITES

A.) Positioning Work, 3 sets alternating of:

B.) Complete Technique Drills with the Empty Bar (i.e. Part A from the routine above)

C1.) *Dumbbell Bench Press: 3-4sets of 8-12 reps, only using a range of motion and load that you can fully control. Rest 45-60s

C2.) Ring Rows 3xmax quality reps, rest 45-60sec

D.) Cable Back Flies 3x15. Rest 30-45sec

*Avoid loaded barbell bench press until your shoulder mobility and control is adequate so you can actually learn proper technique and so you don't damage your shoulder joint long term. In the meantime, perform dumbbell bench press in this manner. 

 

 

WORKOUT 3

NOTES

This workout introduces the pause above parallel squat, this variation will force you to maintain tension and position out of the bottom, which is a common weakness for most lifters. Also included is some single leg work for balanced left vs right leg development.

 

targeted warm-uP

Ankle mobility w/ band 2min/side

Super squat hip mobility 2min/side

Bootstrap squat 2x10

 

 

WORKOUT

A.) Back Squat 5x5 (work up to a top set, a little heavier than Workout 1). Rest 90-120sec

B.) Pause Above Parallel Squat 3x5 (use about 80% of the top weight you handled in Part A). Rest 90-120sec

C.) Low Box Bulgarian Split Squat 3x12/leg. Rest 60-90sec

 

Notes - Part A: Complete 5 total sets, including warm-ups. For example, for a heavier beginner male, the workout might look like this:

Set 1: 5x45lbs
Set 2: 5x95lbs
Set 3: 5x135lbs
Set 4: 5x165lbs
Set 5: 5x185lbs

For a smaller person, it might look like this:

Set 1: 5x45lbs
Set 2: 5x65lbs
Set 3: 5x75lbs
Set 4: 5x85lbs (this was tough and you didn't feel that you could maintain perfect form at a higher weight)
Set 5: 5x85lbs (repeat the same weight to complete your five total sets)

When warming up with lighter weights, you can make slightly larger jumps in weight (generally not more than 50lbs for a beginner or intermediate). As you get closer to your heaviest set for the day, make smaller weight jumps.

 


 

WORKOUT 4

NOTES

The deadlift is arguably the most primal and fundamental movements done in the weight room. It doesn’t get more basic than picking something heavy off the floor. This exercise has an enormous potential for strength, muscle and athletic development but can be dangerous if done incorrectly. Therefore this foundations workout will take you through the proper steps to ensure that you perform the deadlift in a way that is both SAFE and EFFECTIVE. If it comes up that you can’t safely pull from the floor don’t feel upset and definitely don’t be stubborn and do it anyways. Many lifters have to start with the bar slightly elevated and improve hamstring mobility before moving to the floor. Take your time and do it right and you’ll have a long lifting career reaping the benefits of this movement, rush it and you run the very serious risk of a back injury.

 

targeted warm-up

Hamstring flossing 30 passes/leg 

Glute Massage with Lacross Ball 2min/side

RDL w/ empty bar 2x10

 

Prerequisite DRILLS

Hip hinge and Common Hip Hinge Mistakes

2 hand rule 

 

WORKOUT

A.) Romanian Deadlift (RDL) 3x10 (ramp weight to a top set at 6/10 difficulty). Rest 90-120sec

 

B.) Technique Drills:

1.) Deadlift (with bar at mid-shin) w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "two-hand rule") - Watch Deadlift Lesson 1.

2.) Deadlift with bar at midshin warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "arm-pit over the bar") - Watch Deadlift Lesson 2

3.) Deadlift with bar at midshin warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "bend bar around shins/lat tension) - Watch Deadlift Lesson 3

4.) Deadlift with bar at midshin warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on "hips through/squeeze glutes in the finish) - Watch Deadlift Lesson 4

 

C.) Deadlift from Low Blocks or from Floor, depending on flexibility. 3-4x5 (build to an 8/10 difficulty). Rest 120sec
*Crucial! Your back MUST remain neutral at this height. If not, elevate the bar on a 4-8" box, using whatever height is appropriate to maintain a perfect back position. 

 

WORKOUT 5

NOTES

The final core lift (and often the most overlooked) is the overhead press. This movement is a phenomenal tool for developing strength in shoulders, arms, chest and back. Also due its standing nature it does a great job of building strength and stability in the torso. This workout will take you through the basics of the overhead press as well as some additional movements needed for full development of the upper body.

 

targeted warm-up

OH band mobility 2min/side

Lacrosse ball massage for shoulder and pec 2min/side 

Shoulder pass throughs 2x20

 

Prerequisites

Overhead mobility (if you fail this, consider doing an incline press or landmine press and working on your mobility in the meantime)

 

WORKOUT

A.) Technique Drills

1.) Overhead Press warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on start position) - Watch Press Lesson 1

2.) Overhead Press warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on vertical forearms) - Watch Press Lesson 2

3.) Overhead Press warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on vertical bar path) - Watch Press Lesson 3

3.) Overhead Press warm-up w/ bar 2x10 (focus on shoulder position) - Watch Press Lesson 4

B.) Overhead Press. 4 total sets. Set 1: 8reps. Set 2: 8 reps. Set 3: 5 reps. Set 4: 5 reps. The top set (set #4) should feel like an 8/10 for difficulty). Rest 60-90sec

C.) Pull-ups 3xmax. Rest 90sec

D.) Barbell Row 3x8-10. Rest 60sec

E1.) Seated DB shoulder press 3x10, rest 30-45sec between exercises

E2.) Cable back flyes 3x12

 

 

Continue to Workouts 6-10...