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  • Jim Wendler 9:03 pm on February 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Becoming a Better Man 

    From Tom Hardy.  Taken from Details interview. What does it mean to become a better man? A great man? A great man is largely forgotten by the public. He doesn’t stand on top of a mountain waving a flag saying, “Look at me—I’m a great man.” A great man often disappears into the ether. Hardly […]
  • Jim Wendler 9:03 pm on February 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Becoming a Better Man 

    From Tom Hardy.  Taken from Details interview. What does it mean to become a better man? A great man? A great man is largely forgotten by the public. He doesn’t stand on top of a mountain waving a flag saying, “Look at me—I’m a great man.” A great man often disappears into the ether. Hardly […]
  • Jim Wendler 7:57 pm on February 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Hardcore Training 

    A few weeks back it was very cold – the garage was numbing, the bars hurt my hands and the wind kept blowing snow into my face while I lifted. Just one of those days. And all I could think was “there are a million places I’d rather be than here.” It was fucking miserable. […]
  • Brett Jones 11:00 am on February 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

    The SFG Level II Preparation Guide 

    You asked for it, so here it is: a guide to preparing for the StrongFirst Girya Level II Certification. The SFG Level I prep guide has been used by many to successfully prepare for that Certification, and a guide for Level II has long been requested.

    Below I have outlined a step-by-step approach to preparation and training for the SFG Level II. This is not a plan you can just follow as written, though – it requires you do some assessment, planning, and analysis of your own.

    Step 1: Understand the Requirements of the SFG Level II Certification

    Just as with your Level I Certification, you need to understand what will be asked/required of you over the weekend:

    • Review and testing of your Level I+ skills and snatch test
    • Half bodyweight military press for men and one-third bodyweight military press for women
    • Learning, training, and testing the Level II skills: windmill, bent press, double kettlebell push-press, double kettlebell jerk, double snatch

    Please see the Level II requirements here on the StrongFirst website for more information and specifics.

    Step 2: Compare Yourself to the SFG Level II Requirements

    Once you have an understanding of the requirements, you need to lay out a plan. The first things to do is evaluate where you are right now. What is the military press requirement for your bodyweight? 44kg? What can you military press now? 32kg? Can you still hit your snatch test? How comfortable are you with two kettlebells overhead? Double kettlebell cleans? Do you know what a bent press is and how to perform it?

    Honestly ask yourself: where are you in relation to the requirements right now?

    Step 3: Take Your Information and Integrate It With the Plan Below

    With that information in hand, you can begin to plan your training and schedule. Allow approximately six months to prepare. Adjust that time frame up or down based on your current ability in comparison to the Certification requirements. It is also highly recommended that you visit an SFG II either in person or online to get headed in the right direction with some of the drills taught at the Certification.

    Before beginning the plan below, you must customize it to your needs. First, you must know what you need to address on your Movement Prep days. This should involve an FMS screen to identify weak links, and the actual work you assign yourself might include foam rolling, stretching, and/or a dynamic warm-up. This work should be specific to you, so do your homework and make a plan.

    Step 4: Be Smart!

    Allow plenty of time to build up to the requirements and begin where you are — not where you want to be. Getting injured will derail your training and impact your investment in your continuing kettlebell education.

    If your plan is well laid out, you will have time to adjust for unexpected back-offs and modifications. Your plan should also allow for scheduled variation in volume and intensity. “Ride the waves” to the SFG Level II by cutting volume and intensity every few weeks instead of trying to make the trip a straight line.

    Ready to get started?

    SFG Level II CertificationThe SFG Level II Prep Plan Weekly Schedule

    • Monday – Rest and Recovery
    • Tuesday – Movement Prep Day 1
    • Wednesday – Snatch Prep Day
    • Thursday – Rest and Recovery
    • Friday – Movement Prep Day 2
    • Saturday – SFG Level II Prep Day 1
    • Sunday – SFG Level II Prep Day 2

    The SFG Level II weekend is two physical days so your training should reflect those days and structure. You will need to set aside other training goals and workouts during your Level II preparation period.

    The weights in plan below are recommended based on the goal of a 24kg snatch test, double 24kg testing weights, and your military prep requirement — adjust as appropriate.

    Movement Prep Day 1

    1. Movement prep work:

    • Do your custom plan based on your needs and goals

    2. Perform 3 supersets:

    • 24kg get-up x 1+1
    • Bottom-up press (choose weight appropriate for your current level) x 1+1

    3. Volume pressing ladders:

    • Select the appropriate weight (see chart and work off your current max)
    • Perform 3-5 ladders of 1+1 through 5+5 reps
    • Do one clean per set

    Know how your body responds to volume pressing. Don’t push through fatigue and pain! Below are the volume pressing upper limits. These are approximate and rounded up or down as appropriate. If you increase beyond 70% of your max be sure to also adjust your volume and watch for overtraining.

    SFG Level II Preparation Guide

    Recommended weight for volume pressing.

    Snatch Prep Day

    1. Superset:

    • Get-up 24kg x 2+2 x 2 sets
    • Single-leg deadlift 24kg x 5+5 x 2 sets

    2. One arm swing:

    • 15+15 x 4-5 sets (5+ minutes rest between sets)
    • 32kg goal for men, 24kg for women

    30 swings will take about a minute and we want a 1:5 work to rest ratio at minimum, so don’t short the rest! Also the swings can be done in other formats: (5+5 x 3), (10+10 one arm + 10 two arm), etc.

    Movement Prep Day 2

    1. Movement prep work:

    • Do your custom plan based on your needs and goals

    2. Perform 3 supersets:

    • 24kg get-up x 1+1
    • Bottom-up press x 1+1

    3. Military press:

    • 80-90% “max” x 3-4 sets of 1-3 reps
    • 3-5 min rest between sets

    4. Bent press practice:

    • Begin with windmill x 3+3

    SFG Level II Prep Day 1

    1. Movement prep work:

    • Do your custom plan based on your needs and goals

    2. Superset:

    • Get-up 16 kg x 1+1
    • Windmill x 16 kg x 1+1

    3. Snatch test density training:

    • 24kg snatch
    • 4+4 x 16 sets
    • Perform your reps at the top of each minute; rest for the remainder of the minute

    Note: You will be adding reps and reducing sets as you progress on this program. For example, if your first session was 4+4 x 16 sets (reps at top of each minute – rest until next minute), then you will add a rep to each arm and reduce the number of sets as you are able to complete the workout “comfortably.”

    5+5 x 15 sets
    6+6 x 14 sets
    7+7 x 12 sets
    8+8 x 10 sets
    9+9 x 8 sets
    10+10 x 7 sets

    Don’t rush the reps or progress too quickly – be willing to spend a couple of sessions at a particular rep and set level.

    4. Double 24kg kettlebell work circuit, performed 3 times through:

    • Get-up x 1+1 (adjust weight or reduce steps of get-up as needed)
    • Double swing x 10
    • Double military press x 5
    • Double front squat x 5
    • Double clean x 5

    Rest 30-45 seconds between exercises and 2-3 minutes between circuits. Adjust weights, reps, and rest as needed. Quality is the priority!

    5. Fast and Loose drills and recovery work

    SFG Level II Prep Day 2

    1. Movement prep work:

    • Do your custom plan based on your needs and goals

    2. Circuits of double 24kg kettlebells (or appropriate weight), performed 1-2 times through:

    • Clean and press x 3
    • Get-up x 1+1 (adjust weight or reduce steps of get-up as needed)
    • Push press x 3
    • Clean and front squat x 3
    • Jerk x 3
    • Double swing x 3
    • Clean and press x 3
    • Double kettlebell snatch x 3
    • Push press x 3

    Rest 15-30 seconds between exercises, and 2-3 minutes between circuits. Add reps until you are performing sets of 5 for the double kettlebell drills. Do 1 clean per exercise set. Adjust weights, reps, and rest as needed. Quality is the priority!

    3. Rest for 10 minutes and do Fast and Loose drills

    4. Circuits of double 24kg kettlebells (or appropriate weight), performed 1-2 times through:

    • Clean and front squat x 3
    • Get-up x 1+1 (adjust weight or reduce steps of get-up as needed)
    • Double swing x 3
    • Clean and front squat x 3
    • Clean and press x 3
    • Clean and front squat x 3
    • Double swing x 3
    • Clean and push press x 3
    • Double kettlebell snatch x 3
    • Clean and jerk x 3

    Rest 30-45 seconds between exercises, and 2-3 minutes between circuits. Add reps until you are performing sets of 5 for the double kettlebell drills. Do 1 clean per exercise set. Adjust weights, reps, and rest as needed. Quality is the priority!

    If you are not comfortable with the push press, jerk, or bent press, then simply skip them or swap out for the military press or other drills you are comfortable with at the moment. Throughout this plan, be sure to keep up with your Fast and Loose drills and recovery work!

    If you have questions, post them to the comments below or visit the StrongFirst forums to ask questions, get advice, and be supported in your quest for your SFG Level II Certification!

    Brett Jones StrongFirstBrett Jones is a Certified Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist based in Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Jones holds a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from High Point University, a Master of Science in Rehabilitative Sciences from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

    With over twenty years of experience, Brett has been sought out to consult with professional teams and athletes, as well as present throughout the United States and internationally.

    As an athletic trainer who has transitioned into the fitness industry, Brett has taught kettlebell techniques and principles since 2003. He has taught for Functional Movement Systems (FMS) since 2006, and has created multiple DVDs and manuals with world-renowned physical therapist Gray Cook, including the widely-praised “Secrets of…” series.

    Brett continues to evolve his approach to training and teaching, and is passionate about improving the quality of education for the fitness industry. He is available for consultations and distance coaching by e-mailing him at appliedstrength@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BrettEJones.

    The post The SFG Level II Preparation Guide appeared first on StrongFirst.

  • Brett Jones 10:00 am on February 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    2016 Leadership Promotions, and How They are Chosen 

    By Brett Jones, Chief SFG, and Nikki Shlosser, SFG Team Leader and VP Marketing

    “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”
    James Cash Penney

    The force behind StrongFirst Girya (SFG) is our people. And our people have been working together (sometimes for far longer than the 11/1/2012 beginning of StrongFirst) building our School of Strength and making the world a stronger place!

    As most of you are aware, there are three leadership ranks within SFG. Team Leaders, Seniors, and Masters form a group of instructors trusted to teach the SFG curriculum at workshops and certifications. They lead teams and assist the Master SFG running that workshop or certification with making sure the candidates learn, teach, and demonstrate not just the techniques to the SFG standard, but also an understanding of our principles.

    It is a position of trust and responsibility within our organization and community, and it is my honor to present to you the SFGs that will be stepping into or moving up in leadership roles within SFG.

    Many of you may be wondering: What does it take to be considered for promotion?

    This is a common question: people want to know what they have to do, to earn a place in the SFG Leadership. While no set formula exists, many factors are taken into consideration—and here are a few of them.

    You must be awesome.

    A person who earns the SFG Level II title is already exceptional. And so, it takes even greater excellence to really impress the higher ranks. The list of new Team Leaders below have achieved some astonishing feats of strength. We could list them for you and you would be impressed… but we want to avoid the presumption that merely possessing awesome strength (as cool as that is) is alone sufficient for earning consideration for Team Leader. The men and women below are impressively strong, yes. But it is a collection of qualities that an Instructor must possess to be considered for leadership. The ability to demonstrate an understanding of the skill of strength is an important one, but it is just one.

    You must be smart.

    We need to know that you can confidently articulate our strength principles, and be able to teach and apply them in a time-constrained environment. You must be able to make smart decisions, quickly. The SFG Certification is much different than time spent with a student, where you have an unlimited number of sessions to tackle issues and answer questions. An Instructor must be experienced enough to be able to make the greatest amount of difference while sticking to the curriculum for each of the candidates on their team.

    You must care.

    We have to know that you care about helping others more than you care about your own self-promotion. We are very proud of the environment and vibe we have cultivated at the SFG Certification, where each candidate understands that every instructor and assistant there is authentically invested in their success. Our leadership must also care about maintaining our standards and the integrity of the StrongFirst experience. And care about safety, and care about details… we could go on and on. “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.” We take this to heart.

    You must be committed to excellence and always developing your craft.

    Strength skill development does not have an end-date. It is a skillset that we expect our Leadership to continually seek and refine. You demonstrate an unrelenting practice and development of your skill, both in performing as well as in instructing.

    You must be cool.

    What does this mean? Well, maturity, in a word. It means you can deal with a crisis or a sensitive situation without escalating the drama. We seek professionally-minded individuals here, and you should also be someone that we would want to spend a weekend hanging out with. A poor attitude or immature demeanor is spotted a mile away, and will not earn you further consideration.

    How are these qualities evaluated?

    We at StrongFirst Headquarters maintain a list of Level II Instructors who we think have the potential to become a Team Leader someday. The crucial step at this point is that they assist at an SFG Certification (I or II), so that we can see over the course of the event how well they perform the skills, teach the skills, and how well they articulate our principles and curriculum, among the other things mentioned above. Most Instructors assist a number of times (often as many as eight or more) before earning a promotion. It is quite a long process, typically. Assisting is the best (really, only) way to get yourself in front of the other Leadership and HQ and (hopefully) knock our socks off.


    Being promoted to Team Leader is a big deal. It is the first rank achievable by invitation only, and many of these Instructors have been with us for a great number of years. We are very happy to be able to recognize these individuals and welcome them to the StrongFirst Leadership.

    Artemis Scantalides Benny MayerArtemis Scantalides                                           Benny Mayer

    Derek Miller and Derek ToshnerDerek Miller                                                   Derek Toshner

    Gary Music and Hector Gutierrez, JrGary Music                                                 Hector Gutierrez, Jr.

    Jason Pak and Jeff SokolJason Pak                                                         Jeff Sokol

    Jimmy Yuan and Jody BeasleyJimmy Yuan                             Jody Beasley

    John Spezzano and Lauren PerreaultJohn Spezzano                                       Lauren Perreault

    Mark Snow and Mike SousaMark Snow                                                 Mike Sousa

    Oliver Quinn and Reneta MusicOliver Quinn                            Reneta Music

    Ric Garcia and Ryan ToshnerRic Garcia                                       Ryan Toshner

    Steve Milles and Dustin RippetoeSteve Milles                                       Dustin Rippetoe

    Dustin Rippetoe is welcomed back as a Team Leader, after a personal leave of absence. Good to have you back, brother!


    A Senior SFG is entrusted with the responsibility for instructing at our SFG I and II events along with our Masters, and each of these Instructors have proven their ability to perform this to the high standard maintained here at StrongFirst. We are proud of the excellence each of these Instructors demonstrate, time and time again.

    Alexey Senart and Brandon HetzlerAlexey Senart                                                Brandon Hetzler

    Cole Summers and Joe SansaloneCole Summers                                          Joe Sansalone

    John Heinz Mike PerryJohn Heinz                                           Mike Perry

    Pavel-Macek-Prentiss-RhodesPavel Macek                                                  Prentiss Rhodes

    Ronen KatzRonen Katz


    The Master level is of course the highest leadership rank under the Chief SFG, Brett Jones. The Master SFG is responsible for ensuring an informative and successful SFG experience for all candidates, and knows the curriculum inside and out. It is an honor to welcome Jason Marshall to the rank of Master SFG!

    Jason Marshall - LeadershipJason Marshall

    Congratulations to all!

    The post 2016 Leadership Promotions, and How They are Chosen appeared first on StrongFirst.

  • Jim Wendler 7:08 pm on February 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Internet Fitness Success – Truth and Fiction 

      I’d like to elaborate on is something I’ve been asked a few times. “Does it bother you that someone who you believe isn’t as good as you (in terms of training/strength/fitness) is more successful/gets more attention/gets more likes/makes more money?” There are a lot of people that have hundreds of thousand of fans, yet […]
  • Zsolt Derzsi 11:00 am on February 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

    The Big Bell Theory: Plans for Pressing Bigger Kettlebells 

    By Zsolt Derzsi, SFG II, SFL

    With each year comes new opportunities and new plans. There is much we can accomplish within the length of one year. One of my students pressed the Beast after training for one year — and he started with 16kg. It’s an outstanding accomplishment, and I hope my article detailing his journey will help you to increase your strength and press the 48kg Beast.

    The Secrets to Pressing Bigger Kettlebells

    The journey from the beginning to a perfect military press with 48kg is a heavy and long one. Even if you are not chasing the Beast, you may still have a half-bodyweight press in your sites as you train to earn your SFG II Certification. I have earned the SFG II myself and have helped many students with their press. There are a few things you need to do before and during you press training:

    1. Get an SFG Trainer to Help You

    If you want to successfully complete a military press plan, the most important thing is to perform all presses with the best possible form. If you have the opportunity, get an SFG instructor to correct your technique. If you are an SFG instructor, then have another SFG instructor assist in your press plan, correct your faults, and give you advice.

    Get a bigger military press

    2. Do Not Hurry

    Although we follow the same program, my students need more time to complete their daily military press training than me. My students take about an hour, while I need only about twenty minutes to complete the same program. Building strength takes time, not just over the course of a year, but also within your sessions. You must feel you are ready to press all the repetitions of your next set. If you need more time, be patient. Don’t clean the bell, yet!

    3. Be Patient

    I will mention a few different press plans below. Don’t try to rush through them all. If you have completed one plan successfully, give yourself time before starting the next one. My experience is if you don’t rest between two press plans for one to two weeks, then you will have serious shoulder pain. During this time, you can do easy presses. Try 5 sets of 5 at 60-67% of your 1RM along with heavy and slow get-ups.

    4. Attain Your Perfect 1RM

    Before you choose your military press plan, you must press a perfect 1RM on both sides. You have to fulfill all SFG military press requirements!

    Technique Tips That Will Change Your Military Press

    As a current instructor, I was invited to assist at the SFG I Certification in Croatia by StrongFirst Team Leader Sasa Rajnovic. Being there as an assistant helped me to improve my press technique, as did the advice of Master SFG Fabio Zonin. My 1RM was 48kg, at that time. But only an hour after taking his advice, my press increased and 48kg became my 4RM. Here are some quick technique reminders for you:

    • Grip: Before you clean the bell, make sure your hand is positioned correctly on the kettlebell handle.
    • Arm Wrestling: If you have a straight wrist, the stronger one will win – either you or the bell. If you arm wrestle with the kettlebell, you will dominate and you will be the winner.
    • Perfect Timing: When you start the press, clench your free palm. This will activate the antagonist muscles in the pressing arm.
    • Precision: During the press, follow the bell with your eyes – but not with your head!

    Military Press Plans

    There are a number of proven StrongFirst military press plans in existence to take you from wherever you are to whatever your goal is. The best way to learn about these plans is through the Plan Strong Course. Below I will mention a few of them and who they are most appropriate for, as well as outline a couple that I have used in more detail.

    Pavel Plan Strong

    Pavel teaching at Plan Strong.

    From 16kg to 28kg: StrongFirst Military Press Plan 410A

    This plan is for you if you have acceptable press technique and a training 1RM of 24kg. A training max is the maximal weight you can lift at any time with perfect technique and no psyching up. You should be able to do a series of singles with this weight.

    From 28kg to 32kg: StrongFirst Military Press Plan 410B

    This plan is at a higher volume and using 80-85% of your 1RM. At this point you should be able to comfortably press your former training max five or six times.

    From 32kg to 40kg: Zsolt Derzsi Plan

    Pressing Bigger Kettlebells for Military PressNote: On days when the volume is 40 reps or higher, divide the work into two series with 15 minutes of non-related and non-conflicting exercises in between.

    For the test:

    1. Warm up in the manner to which you are accustomed
    2. Press 24kg x 3/3
    3. Press 28kg x 2/2
    4. Press 32kg x 1
    5. Press 36kg x 1
    6. Get-up 24kg 2/2
    7. Loaded clean 40kg
    8. Rest of 10 min
    9. Press 40kg with good spotting

    From 40kg to 44kg: StrongFirst Military Press Plan 499

    This is a hypertrophy- and strength-maintenance plan for a girevik with a 40kg military press 1RM. The 501G plan is recommended right after this one.

    From 40kg to 44kg: StrongFirst Military Press Plan 501G

    This plan is for a girevik with a 40kg military press 1RM.

    From 44kg to 48kg: StrongFirst Military Press Plan 611

    For the girevik with a 44kg military press 1RM who has successfully completed the 501G plan – and thrives on very high volume and intensity. There are two versions of this plan, A and B. Below is the version B plan that I myself followed.

    Lifting Bigger Kettlebells for Military PressPressing Bigger Kettlebells for Military PressZsolt Derzsi StrongFirstZsolt Derzsi graduated from Sport Secondary Grammar School (Dunajská Strada, Slovakia) in 2013. That same year he successfully completed the StrongFirst SFG Level I Certification in Hungary, at only the age of nineteen. He earned his SFL the following year, and then became an SFG II in 2015.

    The post The Big Bell Theory: Plans for Pressing Bigger Kettlebells appeared first on StrongFirst.

  • Jim Wendler 6:08 pm on January 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Another Testimonial 

    Morning Jim, I don’t usually write to my idols but I believe you have had such an impact on my life you deserve a few minutes of arse kissing from me. I’ve followed your advice since I started lifting at 16 (now 22) and so far you have gotten a naturally skinny kid with no […]
  • Jim Wendler 5:48 pm on January 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Why Build a Base? 

    Doing high reps and bodyweight training isn’t how you “build a base.” Building a base is about preparing the body for various physical activities: building their toolbox.  And no, it’s not about doing different lifts: that is remedial, at best.  It’s about running, jumping, throwing, lifting and stretching.  Hell, getting someone to jump on a […]
  • Fabio Zonin 11:00 am on January 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    The 5TRM Back Squat Program 

    A few months ago, one of my students expressed the desire to include the barbell back squat in her strength training protocols. She had been doing double kettlebell front squats for some time and had become pretty strong at them, but had never worked seriously with the back squat.

    She was able to perform the back squat with good form at medium weights, but she never challenged herself with heavy weights. At the time she expressed her desire to do more back squats, she was strong enough and her groove good enough to bypass beginner programs, but her confidence with the lift wasn’t yet to the point that I would dare have her test a 1RM.

    So, I drafted a program based on her 5TRM. T stands for technical, and therefore, 5TRM refers to five reps performed with perfect technique, with the last one looking as good as the first, if not better.

    5TRM Back Squat ProgramWhy It May Be Inappropriate to Test for 1RM

    I am fond of programs based on percentages of 1RM, but I also realize there are cases in which it’s not safe to test for 1RM, even if the athlete is an intermediate or advanced lifter. Those cases include:

    • Athletes who are currently or have recently been recovering from an injury
    • Athletes switching to a different variation of the same lift (e.g. from conventional to sumo deadlift or vice versa)
    • Athletes who decide to vary some aspects of a lift such as the stance or the positioning of the bar (e.g. from high bar to low bar squat or vice versa)

    In all those cases, I wouldn’t dare to test a 1RM at the beginning of a program with a new lift, not at least until the athlete has acquired mastery in that lift.

    Using a 5TRM to Solve the 1RM Dilemma

    One solution to the problem of not being able to measure a 1RM is to build a program around a weight with which the lifter is able to perform a certain number of perfect reps, in this case the 5TRM.

    Since the athlete needs to build strength and at the same time automate a perfect groove, a fairly high volume is required. From now on, I will refer to the parameter volume with the acronym NL, which stands for number of lifts. The NL should be built only of high-quality reps. In order to do so, the lifter should perform a high number of sets, each one composed of a moderate number of reps, always performed far away from failure. This means performing in each set a number of reps that varies from one-third to two-thirds of the total reps that could be completed with a given weight.

    Performing a lot of sets also means repeating the set-up for the lift, which helps to make it perfect. A perfect set-up is the foundation for perfect reps.

    The 5TRM Back Squat Program

    So, for my student in question, I drafted a program inspired by Phase One of the StrongFirst Military Press Plan 410, one of the numerous cycling programs included in the Plan Strong Manual that has proven its effectiveness on countless athletes. If you want to improve your strength programming skills, I strongly suggest you attend a Plan Strong Seminar with Pavel. Not only will you learn the secrets of the most successful Soviet programming methodologies, but you will also receive a detailed manual that includes countless field-tested programs that are incredibly effective.

    The 5TRM Back Squat Program builds up the NL gradually, week by week, while the athlete always lifts the same weight, with the exception of a few heavy singles performed once a week. The program I drafted differs by NL and intensity from Plan 410, but the progression is very similar.

    Here it is, and how it should be followed:

    • Practice your back squat three times a week.
    • Day one is comprised of a medium NL, day two a low NL, and day three a high NL.
    • You will practice mostly with 90% of your 5TRM.
    • On low NL days, you will also perform one or two singles with 105-110% of your 5TRM.

    Every week perform your NL according to the following table:

    5TRM Back Squat ProgramTo begin, you need to test your 5TRM. Again, T stands for technical, so I’m expecting you to test the weight with which you can perform five reps, each one with perfect technique. Please forget the idea of a 5RM performed in an all-out set where the technique falls down more and more at every rep.

    Next, calculate 90%, 105%, and 110% of your 5TRM and round up the results to the closest 2.5kg/5lbs. Now, you have your training weights.

    Break up your daily NL with 90% of your 5TRM in rep ladders of 2,3, and 5 reps. For instance, if your daily NL is 25, you will perform: 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3. On low volume days, after every set of 5 reps with 90% of your 5TRM, perform a single with 105-110% of your 5TRM.

    5TRM Back Squat Program5TRM Back Squat ProgramNote:

    • Take long rest periods between sets, especially before the sets of 5.
    • The progression is flexible; if you feel you can’t add volume every week, stick to the same volume for two or three weeks before progressing.

    At week nine (or whenever you have reached the end of the progression), do the following:

    • Practice only twice, Tuesday and Friday.
    • On Tuesday, perform 3 sets of 3 reps with 90% of your 5TRM. Then two singles with 105% of your 5TRM.
    • On Friday, perform 3 sets of 3 with 90% of your 5TRM. Then two singles with 105% of your 5TRM and a single with 110% of your 5TRM. Rest for at least five minutes, and then test your 1RM.

    The Final Results and Further Application

    At the beginning of the program, my student weighed 48kg (@106lbs) and her 5TRM in the back squat was 70kg (@155lbs). So, she practiced with 62.5kg (@140lbs), 72.5kg (@160lbs), and 77.5kg (@170lbs). At the end of the program, she weighed 49kg and squatted 95kg (@210lbs) for 1RM. After testing her 1RM, she tested with her previous 5TRM and performed 11 perfect reps.

    Since then, I have tested the protocol on several other athletes, both male and female, and also with other lifts, and I have seen similar results: the 5TRM doubled or almost doubled after the eight-week progression.

    The program should work well for any form of squat or press, and also for pull-ups, provided that 90% of your 5TRM equals at least your bodyweight (unless you are willing to cut off one of your legs in order to follow the program). In order to apply this protocol to deadlifts, most people would need some downward adjustments of the NL.

    So, if you belong to the category of those who wish to become stronger in a lift, but do not feel it’s safe to test your 1RM, I invite you to give this simple program a shot. Please let me know your questions in the comments below, and if you try the program, let me know your results.

    Fabio Zonin StrongFirstFabio Zonin is a Master SFG, SFB, and SFL. He is a former powerlifter, natural bodybuilder, and owner of fitness centers. He was the first Italian to accomplish the Beast Tamer Challenge and has been a Master Teacher for FIF (Italian Federation of Fitness) for almost two decades (1994-2012). He is also the Ground Force Method National Director for Italy.

    He is the Former vice president of the AINBB (Italian Association of Natural Bodybuilding), and has trained many athletes at national and international level in natural bodybuilding, powerlifting and other sports.

    He has authored numerous articles for Italian popular magazines and websites dedicated to fitness, bodybuilding, and strength training, and has worked with to leading Italian companies in the field of sports equipment, body composition evaluation software, and nutritional supplements.

    The post The 5TRM Back Squat Program appeared first on StrongFirst.

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