How To Make A Training Session

Recently both of my younger brothers asked me to help them with a training program. One of the first “lessons” I gave them was how to organize a training session for a program oriented towards getting stronger, building size, and leaning out. Here is a quick guide on how to do so.

  • Begin with a general warm-up. This can be light calisthenics, walking, jogging, rowing, or biking for 2 to 10 minutes.
  • Do some mobility work. Massage or roll first, then stretch. Rolling the soft tissue helps loosen it up before trying to stretch on it. I’m going to remake a video o this soon, but hit the upper back, lower back, hips, and quads at a minimum. Joint approximation should be done last. The point of mobility before training is to improve range of motion to facilitate good mechanics — especially if the correct ROM of the exercise is limited.
  • Warm-up with the main lift you’re doing that day. That means start with the bar for a set of five and then progressively add weight until you reach the first set. As your warm-up sets go up, titrate the reps down. For example, if my first set was 225×5, I could do warm-ups like this:
    • 45×5
    • 95×5
    • 135×5
    • 185×3
    • 205×2 or 1
    • First set of 225×5
  • Do all of the work sets for the main lift of that day. Bodybuilding programs like to add unnecessary super-sets; to get stronger and bigger, do the compound strength movement first. Do it for 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps.
  • Now it’s time for assistance exercises. Do compound exercises before isolation exercises. Do the strength related exercises first; do the hypertrophy (or muscle building) exercises last. Do them for 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps.
    • Compound assistance exercises include pull-ups, rows, lunges, and dips. You won’t need much more than this.
    • Isolation assistance exercises include curls or triceps extensions. Don’t bother with leg curls or leg extensions.
Werner Gunthor lifted, sprinted, and jumped his way into your heart.

Werner Gunthor lifted, sprinted, and jumped his way into your heart.

  • Finish the session with high intensity conditioning. Conditioning should be something short and hard, just like your pecker. 30 seconds of running fast, 30 seconds of rest on a treadmill. Or 30 second bike sprint and then 30 seconds of easy pace. 50 to 150 burpees for time. 400m sprints. Some of the old benchmark CrossFit workouts like “Cindy” (you can cap the time at 10 minutes) and “Helen” are pretty good. Push a sled. Sprint up a hill. Running has a bad rap because it’s the worst fucking thing ever, but athletes need to sprint. You can’t look like an athlete without training like one. So, sprint.

There’s nothing flashy or sexy about how to organize a training session. Do something that looks like this three or four times a week consistently, sleep eight hours a night, and pay attention to not eating like shit, and any beginner will make progress.

If you’re interested in beginning diet information, read “Garbage In; Garbage Out” or “Improving Diet“.

Rest, But Get Your Shit Together

Quick Tip #4 — Rest, But Get Your Shit Together

‘Tis the season of hanging out, drinking coffee out of a mug with a bear’s face on it, wearing a flannel robe, and watching the final season of Breaking Bad. Christmas holidays usually give us a chance to slow down and breathe before the new year. And that’s perfectly fine; you’ve earned it (or at least pretended to). Use this time to hydrate, sleep a lot, and eat a lot of meat; rest and digest, homie. I’d also recommend getting outside to explore, build a fire, and shoot things, but in the biz we call that a digression.

But as you sit there taking a dump and reading “How To Survive in the Woods”, take a few seconds to reflect on the past year’s training. Every January 70’s Big puts out a post called “Letter of Intent Day” that asks you to figure out what you want to accomplish in the coming year. Did you accomplish what you wanted to this year? What could you have done better? What physical attributes need work? By getting your shit together now, you’ll have prepped for January’s Letter of Intent.

Do yourself the favor of taking your vitamins, eating your protein, and resting nine hours a night while you have time off. It’ll at least help your hangover, but it’ll prep you for next year’s training. Happy Holidays, but get your shit together.

I recommend French toasting your pancakes.

I recommend French toasting your pancakes.

Be A God Damn Man

PR Friday — Post training updates, PR’s, and what you are going to do to become more of a man in the comments (read this post first).

Quick Tip #3 — Be A God Damn Man

Look, I know the website has been in anaphylaxis. Shit ain’t the same, right? Well that’s fucking BULLSHIT. We need some adrenaline injected into our veins. We needed to be reminded of why we’re here. I’m loaded up on copious amounts of coffee and am listening to heavy metal. No, not the pussy-ass new-age shit like Disturbed that predicates itself on being angry at their mom for catching them wanking into their favorite tube sock. I’m talking about Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, possibly some Mötley Crüe. Grit, attitude, and uppercuts.

You know, the qualities that make a god damn Man. But what is a man?

What makes a man, is it the power in his hands?
Is it his quest for glory?
Give it all you’ve got, to fight to the top,
So we can know your story.
Now You’re A Man

7891840What a nice summary. A man fights for glory. He’s doing everything he can to beat the FUCKING SHIT out of every day to meet his goals, to be successful. A wiser feller than myself once said, “Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you.” That means some days you’ll get elbow dropped from the top rope. But a man — a true hairy-chested sexual Tyrannosaurus — will wipe the blood and shame off his brow, get up, shake the top rope like an asshole, and get in the ring one more time. That’s what a man is.

Why is it so important to be a man? Aside from the intuitive notion that being a man is just, true, and innate, it’s the desire for success that makes it important. Life is a wonderfully beautiful thing; to sit idle like the oily surface of a swamp is a crime. Criminal is the man who doesn’t who doesn’t constantly strive for success, who doesn’t crave experience, and who doesn’t want it all. Criminal are the timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Are you on the path to getting whatever the hell it is that you want? If you could be doing more, then you need to slam your fist down onto a hard wood table, lift the table up to the heavens, and then break it in half over your head. Take these lumber pieces and light them on fire. Breathe the smoke before screaming as loud as you can. This will increase your testosterone levels by 37% and immediately make you more attractive to the opposite sex (women love the smell of “outside”).

Now get on track. What do you want to be? Need to be? What challenges sit between you and manliness? I understand some of you can’t just quit your job or family to try and choke slam your truest desire; that’s why 70’s Big is here for you. Because at the very least you can step into a weight room, load the bar, and move some god damn iron. Getting stronger requires commitment and desire. It’s never-ending; you can’t be “too strong”. It teaches the mentality that meeting your goals is hard, grinding work, but you can face each step with an animalistic intensity. You know that attacking the bar is more successful than just trying to move it. Your mindset before each session, set, and repetition is going to dictate how badly you destroy it. The same concept applies to life; attack your non-lifting goals with the same berserking intensity and you’ll have a hard time failing.

tom-selleckWhile being a man is chopping wood, bulging quadriceps, juggling beer kegs, John McCain, and bending re-bar, anybody can be a man by taking a risk and challenging themselves. Have you been lifting in the gym for a year? Sign up for a meet and put your ass on the line. Bored with your job? Fucking do something about it. Be innovative, create your own job, make your company better, or say, “Fuck it,” and do something else.

Everybody has something locked away in their mind that they wish they would have done or wish they had the balls to try. Go and do it. Explore the world, compete, and challenge yourself. If life takes a fat shit on you (as it often does), wipe it off, get back up, and keep striding forward. Be a god damn man.


Post a comment about what you are going to do in order to be more of a man — NOT what you are already doing, but something that you can and will do in the future. 

PR Friday — 1 Nov ’13

Quick Tip #2
Lots of ideas and little time means you will get a quick tip with each PR Friday post.

Set 9 hours aside in your schedule solely for sleep. Everybody knows sleep is important, but it’s usually the recovery component that lifters willingly sacrifice. The irony is that it’s arguably the most important aspect of getting stronger.

Getting at least 8 hours of actual sleep spurns hormonal processes that aid recovery and create an efficient body. It not only helps your last recovery session, but it’s preparing you to perform optimally in the next session. As I explain in “Importance of Sleep“, you can’t just oversleep in a single night to make up for several nights of poor sleep. Get it in your head that “recovery components” like macro nutrient intake, hydration, mobility, and sleep need to be implemented chronically to reap their true benefit. Start this weekend by fully resting, and when your school or work week starts, manage your time to have nyyyyyyne hours of pillow time.

Here, two puppies demonstrate how to sleep.

Here, two puppies demonstrate how to sleep.

Discuss your training week and highlight your recent PR’s in the comments.

PR Friday — 18 OCT

Quick Tip #1
Lots of ideas and little time means you will get a quick tip with each PR Friday post.

Consider adding an agility work into your program, especially if you aren’t signed up for any competitions or meets. Since you aren’t locked into peaking for an event, you can afford to add training to develop non-strength physical attributes.

In FIT we define fitness as strength, mobility, and endurance (this is also the foundation for performance). Navigating your body through space is an element of mobility, and it shouldn’t be ignored. The easiest way to throw it in is part of your warm-up. Add some tuck jumps, carioca, side shuffles, and power skips into your warm-up and you’ll get a little dose of explosiveness and lateral movement. Will it turn you into an athlete? No. Will it help make you a bit more athletic if you’re a goon? Yeah. More importantly it will let your joints and structures in the legs adapt to some non-lifting and non-linear activity. Joints that are able to withstand explosive forces are less prone to injury, something that will be a key in longevity (more on this next week). The basic movements above are not invasive, easy to do, and don’t take a lot of time if you do a few sets of each. If you don’t have great joint mobility (range of motion), then use movement prep instead of agility work to help rehab your body.

Ladder work is another great agility tool.

Discuss your training week and highlight your weekly Personal Records in the comments.