Training, Programming and Getting Your Ass in Shape – Jim Wendler

Training, Programming and Getting Your Ass in Shape

Galaga When I work with someone personally, I make sure to concentrate on three areas: mobility, strength and conditioning. Within these three things, we make changes depending on the person's goals and current training level. We have certain standards for things, one of which is relative strength. Conditioning is very well planned as this is when most people just do the "gonna do something really hard and hope for the best" - which isn't too smart. At the end of the day, one has to do what gets you in the gym. I'm just trying to help program the important things, broken down very simple, so that everyone can understand. As I've gotten to be more of a man of letters, things are easier to present, easier to program. Joey Waters, the guy who answered above, he and I have a band together. Last weekend, he was over here and I had him go through the 5/3/1 Prep Program - this is what I believe is the BOTTOM level of preparedness one must have in order to prepare themselves for success. It's very basic and simple but as Joey will tell you, it's not that easy. I think way too many people are way out of shape and weak at the most basic of levels. People don't even want to JUMP for fear of hurting themselves or getting too tired. Think about that for a second - and you'll see how far removed strength and conditioning has been removed from "strength and conditioning". A leap on to a box. Or someone thinks doing a few sets of push-ups will make their bench go down. All I can do is try to help those that want something more than people bitching about squat depth, pauses on the bench and won't sacrifice all technique and common sense to beat an arbitrary time.   ----------- "Why is it suggested to do the explosive power building jumps and throws before the main lift?" To make this simple, because it "turns on" your body and gets you ready to lift heavy, strong and explosively. "But if someone didn't care about explosiveness and only cared about their lifting numbers, would it be better for them to lift then jump/throw?" This is like saying "Well mobility and warming up doesn't make me stronger..." Well not directly but in the long run it will. But the jumps/throws DO make a huge difference in getting stronger. Even the same day. Doing 15-20 jumps or throws will NOT fatigue you before lift - if it does, it means one is horribly out of shape. Disgustingly out of shape. At the end of the day, you don't have to do anything you don't want. It's just been my experience that a strong, explosive, mobile, well conditioned person is far superior physically to someone who just lifts weights. It's about the TOTAL program, not just chasing numbers. Just like life isn't just about work or whatever - when there is balance, there is a better life. Or at least it puts you in a better position.  This is why we have NOV challenges that challenge both strength and conditioning - and why the conditioning we do now in my gym is so vastly different than what most preach. We have evolved! We are blurring lines ---------- We usually program (as I'm sure most people who read my stuff) 5 cycles - of those 5 cycles (not counting the TM Testing we do), we MAY have some people do Jokers on 3x3/531 week for only 2 cycles. It's rare.  We do a lot of supplemental work (of which FSL is) if the training calls for it. You have to understand that we plan the big stuff, with an eye on kicking ass. Jokers have their place but if you are interested in being great, it's a tiny, small, miniscule part of the program. I see people doing Jokers who can't even do 20 chins, 50 push-ups and 20 straight hanging leg raises.  And they think Jokers is the answer. Too many people trying to polish turds. ---------- One time when I was coaching football at the university, some kids came up to me and mentioned that Marshall Faulk (or whoever) only went up to 225 on the squat. This was their reasoning to never squat heavy.  I then asked them if they were Marshall Faulk. The answer was no. In lifting, too many people think they are Olympic lifters and strut around with their shoes, tupperware of chalk and love to drop the bar from overhead, despite having less than 220 on the bar. If you are a high level Olympic lifter, sure 5 reps is a lot of reps.  For the rest of the pretenders, let it go and be honest with yourself. If you can't do 5 reps on a clean, get over yourself. I like you Rattus and I hope you don't take this as an insult. This was more for the idiots who love the labels but won't ever do the real work. It's like when people think doing 10 reps on the squat is too high rep. Meanwhile, they hit a sloppy 215x4 and are determined to give their opinion. ---------- IN GENERAL, you have people who have very little muscle, experience and attempt to get "shredded", get strong as fuck and, if this wasn't enough, weigh 275 pounds. So what ends up happening 10000000000% of the time is that they fail at all 3. The smart person, or at least the one with common sense, would attack one goal without totally abandoning the concept of balance. The problem is that there are all kinds of thick-tongues in this industry who sell you a bunch of shit like "running makes you weak" or "you gotta lift 12 times/day" or whatever flavor of the month is selling shit. All of it is crap. I can't think of any industry, other than popular music, which is so full of lies. So the answer is this:
  • Lift to get stronger, with an eye on 10 year goals.
  • Develop GREAT long-term eating habits.
  • Understand that "balance" is not the same as "equal time".
Too many people think they have to "throw the baby out with the bath water" when approaching their goals. Or even worse, to use another cliche, aim for the kitchen sink approach. It's not sexy and it doesn't sell shit, trust me. For every million books, diets, articles, that are sold in the name of quick fix and selling you a large, steaming pile - there is maybe one person that will buy into a life-long, healthy approach. And yes, you can get very strong, very in-shape and lean with this approach. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes common sense. You just have to take a breath and realize NO ONE CLIMBS MT EVEREST in one step. ---------- For Beginners: A Workout: Squat - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/push-ups Bench - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/chins/pull-ups or inverted rows Rows/dips/curls B Workout: Deadlift - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/push-ups Press - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/chins/pull-ups or inverted rows Rows/Dips/Curls Alternate these workouts A/B/A/B, etc., done 3 days/week This is very basic version of our beginning training phase done for 6 weeks. You must run, jump rope, jump, throw and learn how to use your body. If you just "lift" be average for the rest of your life. These are basic skills that must be learned and honed. To draw on later in life when shit actually counts. ---------- " you have a sort of rough standard when you recommend owning your own bodyweight with push-ups/dips/chins/fat man rows/leg raises/etc. and being able to push the prowler/run hills/weight vest work?" In general, the guy above me has it right: just get better. However, the world seems to forget that there should be some standards, regardless of the social consequences of offending someone. A strong man should be able to do 50 push-ups (not sloppy, half reps), 20 chin-ups/pull-ups/any grip (do I need to mention that these are done with no momentum?), 40 dips, 20 dead hang leg raises, and push bodyweight on Prowler for 10, 40 yard sprints in 15 minutes. Hills are different as they are too hard to quantify. We have mile run times, and other challenges (I call them NOV challenges) that are a little more broad. We also have mobility circuits that have done wonders for everyone. (Of course, if one is injured or whatever, things will have to change but that is not a question that should have to be answered; it's obvious.) We also have weight vest circuits that we do, but this will be explained in the book. The way I look at it is this: all this stuff is terribly basic and much of this should be done by most. Squats, presses and deadlifts make the meat of any normal program but all this stuff will greatly improve your strength and fitness level, short and long term. The majority of people who are lifting today, the younger generation, has never had PE classes that had them run, do calistentics and play hard sports. My father and I talked about this fact this weekend - with my oldest son smirking. He couldn't believe it. For the older generation that had it, then lost it over the years of "just lifting" or inactivity - it will greatly improve their training and quality of life. There are a lot of people who struggle to add weight to certain lifts and sometimes all you have to ask is how wide their base is. Most of time, especially today, it's as narrow as their ego is wide.