In the past week since launching my new site, I’ve been getting an influx of questions from the readers. I am flattered, and I hope to get around to answering them, but it is definitely going to take awhile. Please know that I read everything you send in, I just don’t have time to answer it all right away, but I’ll definitely do my best. In cases where I think the answers would benefit everyone, I’ll probably start posting them here publicly in the blog for all to see.
The most common question so far has been in regards to my own training, so I’ll tackle that one first. I have absolutely no problem letting people in on how I train, but I often avoid this type of question just because on paper, my training looks pretty boring. I also want to preface this by saying that this post should be taken at face value: it’s how I personally train, nothing more, nothing less. I’ll give you my basic template along with a little bit about why I do what I do.
My template is really basic. I generally train 4 days a week. Right now it’s Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Ideally, from a training standpoint, I’d probably go Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to give myself more time between sessions because I find that a lot of times when I train on back-to-back days, my second workouts suffers a little bit. I don’t like training on Saturdays though because I work all morning and I like to leave the weekend open to watch college football and hang out with friends in the afternoon, so I’d rather get it done early Friday morning (remember, I told you I’d be honest here). I plan my training around my life, not vice versa. I think that’s really important.
This summer I trained Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It took some adjustment, and my Wednesday and Thursday workouts weren’t always the best, but it worked best for my life at the time so I made it work.
Those 4 workouts are split into 2 primarily lower body workouts and 2 primarily upper body workouts. On upper body days, I’ll do a lot of lower body mobility work between sets along with maybe one lighter lower body exercise if there is something in particular I’m trying to improve. For example, right now I’m working on my kettlebell swings, so I’ll throw some of those in on upper body days to help groove the movement pattern—nothing too heavy though. Likewise, on lower body days, I’ll do a lot of upper body mobility work between sets and may throw in a light exercise (i.e. chin-ups) here and there. For the most part though, it’s your basic upper/lower split.
I’ve just finished writing an extensive article about my lower body training that should be out pretty soon, so I won’t go into that too much just for the sake of time, but essentially I do 2-3 exercises and follow that up most days with sled work, one day heavy and one day lighter sprint-type stuff.
Upper body days look something like this: a push, a pull, sometimes a core exercise, and a loaded carry. I start one workout with a push and the other with a pull. If I’m doing conditioning at the end (most of the time), it’s usually the Airdyne, alternating between short interval work or medium distance timed rides (3-7 miles).
-My push exercise is usually either some form of a dumbell press (flat, incline, alternating, 1 arm, etc.), a pushup variation, or ring dips (regular dips bother my shoulder but ring dips don’t at all and I love them).
-My pull exercise is usually either some form of pullup/chinup (I switch grips all the time) or inverted row variation.
-Loaded carries are usually farmer’s walks or suitcase carries. I actually haven’t been doing the carries that long, but so far I’m liking them. On days I do farmer’s walks, I’ll pair it with a core exercise, and on days I do suitcase carries, that is my core exercise.
I’ll stick with an exercise until I plateau, which usually happens after about 4-5 weeks: sometimes more, sometimes less. I tend to stick to the same exercises that I find more best for me but just switch to a new variation. With upper body exercises, it’s usually as simple as switching the grip or hand position. With lower body stuff, I’ll do stuff like “1.5” reps or slower eccentrics to get more out of less loading, which works well for me given my back issues. I tend to break down if I go heavy pedal to the metal all the time, so I try to be smart and listen to my body and back off when I need to. I’ll sprinkle in light days from time to time and always take a full week off from training every 10-12 weeks or so.
That’s pretty much my training right now in a nutshell. I’ve really boiled things down to what I feel is most important and given my full effort and attention to that. It’s very simple, but trust me, the workouts are not easy. I’ve kept a logbook almost my entire training career and I’m always pushing to improve. I’ve reached a point where that doesn’t always happen, but I keep fighting tooth and nail, day in and day out. In my mind, the name of the game is progression and consistency, and I gear my training around these principles.
Remember, this is just what I do based on my schedule, my goals, my personal situation. Take from it what you will. I could go on and on, and I may pick this up another time, but for now I’ll leave it here. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.