Simple Strength for Difficult Times: An 8-Week Progressive Plan

These are difficult times for everyone. The COVID-19 emergency has already forced home half of the world, and it’s rapidly spreading. In January 2020, the infection seemed to be circumscribed in China. But within a month, it reached the rest of Asia, then the Middle East, Italy, and finally the rest of Europe. To date, the contagion keeps extending, knocking at doors across the US, Canada, and several other countries.

Each one of us has to do his or her part to help contain the infection. It doesn’t matter whether you personally fear the virus itself, its widespread economic repercussions, or you believe it’s just “another” flu. It is not only about you. It is about your family and children, your friends, your co-workers. It’s about the first responders and all of those involved in healthcare, who are risking every day their own lives to protect ours.

But what can we do? What does “doing our part” mean if we are not first responders, medical doctors or nurses, and have no knowledge of medical matters? The answer is easy. Doing our part means following the instructions of our governments and of the agencies and organizations in charge of taking care of everyone’s health. And those instructions are to be followed to the letter, with commitment and full trust.

Fabio Zonin Pistol

Do What YOU Can

But we can probably do more, or at least many of us can, according to our area of expertise. I am a strength coach, and as such, I am also involved in people’s health, at least up to a certain degree. It has been shown that the great majority of COVID-19 related deaths happened to those who already presented with a clinical picture compromised by various pathologies. In contrast, those who were strong and healthy before becoming infected have a significantly more favorable prognosis. From my vantage point, this indicates that proper training and nutrition may play a very important role in fighting the disease. This is where I can play a part: by helping people stay strong or become even stronger.

But how can I do this, given that an increasing number of countries have tightened restrictions aimed at combatting the threat, including temporarily closing gyms and forcing people in isolation (or at least encouraging social distancing) at their homes?

By the way, as I’m writing this I am also in isolation and only allowed to leave home for necessary shopping such as groceries and to the pharmacy. And if I do venture out, in addition to wearing a mask and keeping a minimum of one meter (3.3ft) distance from anyone, I must carry a self-certification document in which I clearly indicate the place where I’m going and the reason why I’m going there. If I am caught without that document, or if the reason for which I’m leaving home isn’t considered important enough by the public authorities, I will have to pay a fine and I may also be arrested.

How can I help others if I am also home-bound, and all I have available here is a pullup bar and an incomplete set of kettlebells?

Fabio Zonin Press

I decided to design and share a complete but very flexible plan, that allows you to train and become stronger in any environment and with whatever you have available, whether it is a power rack with a bar and a full set of plates, kettlebells, or just your bodyweight. And of course, if you live in a country without restrictions and gym access, this plan will work well for you also.

A StrongFirst Plan Rather than a Collection of Workouts

Yes, I know, given the international circumstances there are literally thousands of trainers out there who are posting plans and workouts that can be done comfortably at home, and many of them are great. But I’m sharing mine anyway in part because more choices are better than zero choices (as those in isolation can attest), and in part because I wanted to provide an option of a plan in a perfect StrongFirst style.

I also noticed that what many are sharing are basically workouts. While these may be great in the short term, given that this situation is probably (and unfortunately) going to last for more than just a few days, my plan is an 8-week structured progression that leads to some final tests and measurable results.

And by the way, it is exactly the plan I’m following now!

Let’s take a look at it.

The Plan

The plan is based upon three movement patterns, one squat, one press, and one pull.

For each one of the movement patterns, according to your strength and skill level and to the available equipment, you have to pick one kettlebell, one barbell, or one bodyweight exercise.

This table presents a list of options:

For kettlebell and barbell exercises, use a weight that equals to your 8-10 technical rep maximum (TRM). If you don’t have that weight available, switch to a different exercise.

Please note that when I say 8-10TRM I mean a weight which allows you to perform 8-10 perfect reps to technical exhaustion. If you are unsure about what that means, check this article before moving forward.

For bodyweight exercises you must select the appropriate variation—progression or regression—that equals to your 8-10TRM.

For instance, if you choose to do pushups as your press exercise, you must decide whether you will perform them on the ground, on an elevation (stair or box), or with your feet elevated, according to which one of these variations matches your 8-10TRM. 

With the purpose of giving you a better idea, I’m sharing below my personal selections.

This is what I have available:

  • Pullup bar
  • 12kg kettlebell—one
  • 16kg kettlebell—one pair
  • 24kg kettlebell—one pair
  • 28kg kettlebell—one
  • 32kg kettlebell—one
  • 36kg kettlebell—one
  • 40kg kettlebell—one

These are my selections:

  • Squat pattern—pistol, with a 24kg kettlebell
  • Press pattern—one arm military press, with a 40kg kettlebell
  • Pull pattern—weighted pullups, with a 16kg kettlebell

Let’s now take a look at the weekly schedule:

Strength Plan Weekly Schedule

Please note that “heavy”, “medium,” and “lightrefer to the volume and not to the intensity. This means that the weights—or the exercise variations in case of bodyweight moves—will remain the same for the entire plan.

Here is the 8-week plan, which is based on repetition ladders:

The three exercises are to be executed in a slow-circuit fashion. This means that you will do a set of the squat of your choice, shake off the tension, take some rest, do a set of your chosen press, shake off the tension and rest, and do a set of your selected pull.

Once you’ve completed the three exercise circuit, the round is over. Take a longer rest before you start the next round.

You should rest about 1 minute after the sets of 2 and 4 reps, and 1-2 minutes after the sets of 6 reps. At the end of each round, you may rest more, up to 2-3 minutes, before starting the next.

For instance, let’s say that I’m about to start Session B of week 2 of my plan, with my chosen exercises:

Sample Session B

My session would call for 2 ladders of 2, 6, 2 reps for the pistol, 2 ladders of 2, 4, 6 reps for the press, and 2 ladders of 2, 4, 2 reps for the pullup.

Here’s how I would do it.

Ladder one, Round one

  • Pistol—2 reps per side
  • 1-minute rest, including fast and loose drills
  • Press—2 reps per side
  • 1-minute rest, including fast and loose drills
  • Pullup—2 reps
  • 2-minute rest, including fast and loose drills

Ladder one, Round two

  • Pistol—6 reps per side
  • 1-minute rest, including fast and loose drills
  • Press—4 reps per side
  • 1-minute rest, including fast and loose drills
  • Pullup—4 reps
  • 2-minute rest, including fast and loose drills

Ladder one, Round three

  • Pistol—2 reps per side
  • 1-minute rest, including fast and loose drills
  • Press—6 reps per side
  • 1-minute rest, including fast and loose drills
  • Pullup—2 reps
  • 2-minute rest, including fast and loose drills

After adequate rest, I would repeat for my second ladder.

What to Do on Alternative Days

You have several choices for the days between your main training sessions. However, no matter what you choose to do, be sure to make them “easy days.” You need to recover from your main sessions—forget about doing “finishers.”

If you have kettlebells, the ultimate option is doing swings. You may do them with two hands, one hand, in a dead-stop fashion, etc. But take it easy.

Here is one of Pavel’s swing protocols that complements this plan:

Two-hand Swings

  • Heavy—32-48kg for men, 24-32kg for women
  • Maximally explosive
  • 7 reps on the top of the minute (1:5 work to rest ratio)
  • 15 sets

You may also add get-ups if you wish.

Personally, I’m doing “timeless” Simple and Sinister, which calls for 100 one-hand swings in sets of 10, and 10 get-ups in single reps, without well-defined rest intervals, but resting according to the talk test.

Actually, I use the “sing test” instead, meaning that I start the next set when I have recovered enough to being able to sing along the heavy metal songs of my MP3 player.

I do my swings and get-ups with a relatively light weight. Again, the goal is to recover between the main training sessions.

If you don’t have kettlebells, you may of course do something else. One of my favorite choices when kettlebells aren’t readily available is crawling. I usually do short crawling sprints in different directions, with a generous rest between sprints. There are several reasons for it, but I will save them for another article.

Finally, feel free to include your favorite correctives and stretches in your “easy days” routine.

Testing

The plan is structured in such a way that the volume builds up gradually in time, and peaks at week 6. Week 7 is a de-load week and week 8 is devoted to testing.

You will test your squat on Session A, your press on Session B, and your pull on Session C.

Given that the plan is flexible, at least as far as the exercise selection goes, the tests are also designed to be so.

If you have a barbell and a set of plates or a full set of kettlebells available, and provided that your chosen exercises are done with these modalities, you may attempt a 1-3TRM test and shoot for a PR. If this is the case, it’s important that you perform the same test prior to starting the plan.

If instead you have a limited selection of weights, or you have opted for bodyweight exercises, you may test your TRM and still shoot for a PR. Also in this case, it’s important that you perform the same type of test prior to starting the plan.

You may also decide to test your 1-3TRM in some exercises and your TRM in others, according to your initial choices as far as for exercises and your available selection of weights.

In my case, for instance, at the end of the plan I will test my TRM in the pistol and the press, and my 1-3RM in the pullups. This is because I only have kettlebells up to 40kg, and my current pistol and press 1-3RMs are already above that weight.

Fabio Zonin Pullup

Final Words

Whether you live in an area that is facing the virus emergency and you are home-bound due to the imposed restrictions, or in a safe area which allows you to train at a gym, I hope you will give this plan a shot and enjoy some very good results. And in case you hadn’t yet realized, with the 8 exercise variations I provided for each pattern, you have over a year of training sessions ready to go. Simply follow up a week of de-loading with a new trifecta for each new 8-week cycle.

Finally, no matter where you live, train well, eat healthy, get strong, always be respectful of the rules, and care about others. Being healthy and part of a community are gifts that we too often take for granted. We realize how important they are only when we are at risk of losing them or have already lost them. Be smart, value these gifts while you own them.

Stay safe. Stay strong.

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Fabio Zonin
Fabio Zonin is a Master StrongFirst Certified Instructor. 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 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.

130 thoughts on “Simple Strength for Difficult Times: An 8-Week Progressive Plan

  • Hey fabio,
    Dcided to repost my question( amended) because I think it was a little much.
    Sorry, I’m a pretty hungry student.

    I recently learned my max on bodyweight pull ups, with perfect form, is 7. ( I really haven’t been consistent with pull ups.)

    Question 1. I know you suggest we use an exercise where we can hit the 8-10 TRM, but I’m wondering if I could the tailor the last exercise in the ladder( pull-ups) specifically for strength so I can increase the reps so i can get them up to the 8-10 TRM. If so what would the reps be and in what order?
    E.g. 1,3,1- 1,2,3…?
    If not what other exercise would you recommend–that might also help me get my pull up reps up if possible– that I do? Please note that i have access to one 12 kg KB and one 22 kg KB and mainly bodyweight exercises.

    Question 2. First off, sorry if this comes off as redundant I just really trust your imput.

    When i asked if I could do heavy swings and Turkish get ups on alternate days, what I meant was swings and Turkish get ups with a heavy weight. Is that what you meant? If not then what did you mean? Please dont be afraid to over explain because, again I’m a hungry student.

    Lastly, Question 3. Would assisted handstand push-ups be an acceptable exercise for a press in the ladder? Just until I work up to complete handstand push-ups. Assisted handstand push-up being i’m in the shape of a slanted L, a 90 degree angle. My upper body is mimicking the form of handstand and the movement of a handstand push-up, but legs and toes are mimicking the form and balance of a regular pushup.
    If no, what would you recommend?Please note that i have access to one 12 kg KB and one 22 kg KB and mainly bodyweight exercises.

    Fabio, as always, thanks for the impact you have and any help you can give. CARRY ON NOBLE SPARTAN!!!

  • Dear General Zonin,
    It’s fellow spartan Tre! Have 3 conundrums I need your help with.

    I recently learned my max on bodyweight pull ups, with perfect form, is 7. ( I really haven’t been consistent with pull ups.)

    Question 1. I know you suggest we use an exercise where we can hit the 8-10 TRM, but I’m wondering if I could the tailor the last exercise in the ladder( pull-ups) specifically for strength so I can increase the reps so i can get them up to the 8-10 TRM. If so what would the reps be and in what order?
    E.g. 1,3,1- 1,2,3…?
    If not what other exercise would you recommend–that might also help me get my pull up reps up if possible– that I do? Please note that i have access to one 12 kg KB and one 22 kg KB and mainly bodyweight exercises.

    Question 2. First off, sorry if this comes off as redundant and to much exposition, I just really trust your imput.

    When i asked if I could do heavy swings and Turkish get ups on alternate days, what I meant was swings and Turkish get ups with a heavy weight. I didn’t know for sure if you were addressing the latter in your response to me, considering you use the terms ” heavy, medium, light” in regards to volume in this article, or if you were suggesting the two-handed swing program were it’s:

    Maximally explosive, 7 reps on top of the minute with a work to rest ratio of 1:5 ( could you simplify what that means, specifically top of the minute and 1:5 work rest ratio?), 15 sets, and I could add in Turkish get ups( how and were would I add them?)

    I know that the “timeless” simple & sinister program you suggested to me and in the article is meant to be done with a light weight KB, but I’m not sure about the rest, could you clarify please? Thank you.

    Lastly, Question 3. Would assisted handstand push-ups be an acceptable exercise for a press in the ladder? Just until I work up to complete handstand push-ups. Assisted handstand push-up being i’m in the shape of a slanted L, a 90 degree angle. My upper body is mimicking the form of handstand and the movement of a handstand push-up, but legs and toes are mimicking the form and balance of a regular pushup.
    If no, what would you recommend?Please note that i have access to one 12 kg KB and one 22 kg KB and mainly bodyweight exercises.

    Fabio, as always, thanks for the impact you have and any help you can give. CARRY ON NOBLE SPARTAN!!!

  • Hi Fabio,

    Thanks for the great program. Could i alternate the squat with heavy swings in an A/B fashion – i.e Wk 1 Mon: Squats, Wed: Swings, Fri: Squats/Wk 2 Mon: Swings:, Wed: Squat, Friday: Swings and so on?

    I train Bjj on alternate days and would like to maintain my swing. Would this work? If so what set/rep scheme?

    Regards,

    Lee

    • Hi Lee,

      I wouldn’t alternate swings with squats in the plan due to the different movement patterns (squat vs hinge) and the different nature (grind vs ballistic) of the two exercises. Also, given that the squat has a well-defined progression through the plan, skipping some sessions might not allow you to enjoy the expected results.

      What you could do instead is keep the plan as is and simply do some sets (up to 10, I would say) of 5 very powerful swings, with generous rest intervals between sets, before you start each session.

      I hope this helps.

  • Hey Fabio,
    You guys are like the modern day Spartans in my opinion. Real happy to learn from you guys. Hears my story.
    I’ve always had the mindset that when it comes to building strength or muscle, it is strength and muscle that is not– as you have said– cosmetic. It is muscle that comes from strength and is meant to serve a purpose and to last for a long time and improve on. Not muscles that come from a 30 day plan so you can only look good for a couple weeks of summer and then lost it.

    With that in mind I have three questions.
    Question 1. Does this plan that you have laid out conducive with my mindset?
    Question 2. Is there room to implement an ab exercise in this plan? Should i? If so, how and where?
    Question 3. Is there room to implement some heavy KB swings and Turkish get ups? Should I? If so, how and where?

    • Hello, Sir,

      I think I have already replied to your question a few comments below. Please let me know if you are satisfied with my answers and if I can be of any further help.

      • Thanks Fabio.
        Sorry for the double post, didn’t see the reply because I wasn’t looking hard enough.
        I regards to the advice, thanks a bunch man. Will definitely check out the next article.
        I the mean time, ” SPARTAN, EAT WELL, FOR TONIGHT WE DINE IN HADES”!!! -King Leonidas

  • Hi Fabio,

    I started this program last week with assisted Pull-Ups, assisted pistol squats oh, and diamond push-ups. Turns out I’ve only been doing one ladder.

    Should I start over or is it okay to start doing the program the correct way on session B ofweek 2?

    Also if I do start over should I think about scrapping the exercises I need assistance with and replacing them with kettlebell exercises? I have 2-16 kg bells, 2-24 kg bells and 2-32 kg bells.

    • Hello, Matthew.

      Given that you only did one week, I would start over. And yes, I would also replace the exercises with which you need assistance with some you can do your own. Not knowing your current strength and skill levels I have a hard time suggesting what you could do with your available bell selection but since you have 2 pieces per size it would be great if you could fit in double kettlebell front squats, double kettlebell military presses, and renegade rows.

      I hope this helps.

  • Hey Fabio,
    Im a new to strongfirst, but all this sounds like common sense, and You and the rest of the strongfirst team seem modern day Spartans in my opinion. Because of that I’m glad to learn from you.
    My mindset and goals has always been- in regards to muscle and strength-that if I train for muscle it’s muscle that comes from strength and is not cosmetic( as in it is the type of muscle that lasts, and not simply for looks like the summer body that only lasts for a couple of weeks and then is gone).
    With that in mind i have three questions.
    Question 1. Is this plan condusive to my mindset and goals?

    Question 2. Is there a way to incorporate heavy swings and Turkish get ups in this plan, if so how and where?

    Question 3. Can you incorporate an ab exercise in this plan, if so how and where?

    • Hello, Tre!

      Thank you for your very kind words, Sir!

      “Question 1. Is this plan condusive to my mindset and goals?”
      It definitely is! And once you have gone through this one, I suggest that you also read part two of the article and try also that plan. That one is even more consistent with your goals.

      Question 2. Is there a way to incorporate heavy swings and Turkish get ups in this plan, if so how and where?
      Yes. On alternate days you can do heavy swings and get-ups. Timeless Simple and Sinister is a great way of doing it. 10 sets of 10 one-arm swings (5 sets per side) resting as long as you need between sets followed by 10 get-ups (5 per side) also resting as long as you need between reps. Also sets of 5 heavy swings on the top of the minute work really well. What you don’t want to do is go glycolytic and fill your muscles with lactic acid as you don’t want to be sore the next day.

      Question 3. Can you incorporate an ab exercise in this plan, if so how and where?
      Yes, you may, but you might not need to. If you select pullups, chin-ups, or renegade rows as your pull exercise your abs will be heavily involved. The same happens if you select double kettlebell front squats or zercher squats as your squat exercise. Also, if you go with swings and get-ups on alternate days, your abs will be doing some pretty heavy work. But if you wish to add some direct muscle work for your abs, you may add it at the end of each session.

      I hope you will find my answers helpful.

  • Hey, Fabio..

    Digging the simple looking, but not so simple doing routine.

    Question about test week – what do you suggest for non-test days? During the program I’ve been doing swings, but figure maybe laying off on those during test week.

    thanks!

    • Hi Tim,

      On test week you can still do swings on non-test days, only in a very easy fashion.

      Personally, while I’ve been doing my one-arm swings in 10 sets of 10 reps with 40kg during the plan, on test week I did two-arm swings in 10 sets of 10 reps with 32kg and with very generous rest intervals between sets.

      I hope this helps.

      • Thanks!

        Right now I’m doing TGU with the 16kg 5/5 and then 15 sets of 7 OTM two handed swings with the 32kg. I’ll stick with the TGUs and drop down to the 24kg for swings.

      • Thanks and yes it does.

        I’ve been doing TGU 5/5 with the 16kg and TH swings (15×7 OTM) with the 32. I’ll stick with the TGUs and maybe drop the swings to 24kg.

  • Hi Fabio,

    Thanks for this thorough article. I have read many of the comments so hopefully these are not repeats:

    1) If you start going through the program and feel the weight selected (i.e. for KB press) is too light … in that you feel you are leaving a few reps on the table, would you advise to increase the bell size mid-program?

    2) If you have a clearly weaker/troubled side for a press or pistol, is it ok to have different weights for individual sides?

    Thanks in advance.

    • You are very welcome, Johnny!

      “1) If you start going through the program and feel the weight selected (i.e. for KB press) is too light … in that you feel you are leaving a few reps on the table, would you advise to increase the bell size mid-program?”

      The plan is designed around an 8-10TRM and the highest number of reps prescribed is 6, so you should always feel that you are leaving some reps on the table. Also, the volume progresses from week to week and in week 6 it’s very high. For these reasons I suggest to stick with the same weights throughout the entire plan. However, If you feel that the weight is really light here’s what you can do. after a couple of days of rest, most likely that will be on a Monday, after proper warm-up and before you start your session you may test your RM in the exercise you feel the weight is light. If you easily knock out more than 10-12 reps, then you may increase the weight.

      “2) If you have a clearly weaker/troubled side for a press or pistol, is it ok to have different weights for individual sides?”

      I wouldn’t do that as it would feed the asymmetry. I suggest that you caliber the weight for the weaker side and allow the stronger side to have an easier time. This should help to fill the gap between the two sides.

      I hope I was helpful.

  • Hello! First of all thanks for the program. My pull bar is outside and weather is too hot in the summer in my city (sometimes up to 50C) also a lot of mosquitoes. Question: Can I finish my Squat & Press exercises first (inside) and then perform pull ups? Is there nothing wrong with that?

    • Hello, Dastan,

      Thank you, Sir!

      Yes, you may definitely do your Squats and Press exercises first and then perform your pullups. And by the way, this is something I did also, even though for different reasons. When I followed the plan I only had a pullup bar outside (I have one also inside now) and when the weather was cold and/or rainy I would do my squats and presses inside first, then dress up and go outside for my pullups. And it worked just as well!

  • Hello Fabio,

    Thanks so much for the program. I look forward to starting it soon. What are your thoughts on the following:

    1. The squat movement being a one leg box squat at a height in which I’m able to perform the previously mentioned 8-10 TRM(I’m not yet able to complete a full pistol squat)
    2. Adding loaded carries and an ab rollouts to the program

  • Fabio,

    I want to add my thanks to the others. My wife and I just completed the whole program today. It’s the first time she’s consistently practiced any kind of weight training. I’ve been doing body weight training (plus BB deads and squats) for a number of years, but I’ve never been very organized about managing progressions. The past few years I’d go gang-busters 5 days a week, ending in a puddle of sweat each time. I burnt out. The year or so before starting the program I’d train 2-3 days a week, but not systematically, and my motivation was low. And for years I’ve been neglecting my legs — not entirely, but also not taking a balanced approach.

    When we started your program, my wife and I were desperate to get going, so we didn’t test first. We also weren’t super scientific as we moved through, as you’ll see below. But this week we both set some PRs, so I thought I’d post the figures to let you know you’re doing great work!

    When my wife started, she couldn’t do a pullup or a chinup, and I don’t think a real pushup. We weren’t sure how much she could press with deadlift or squat.

    On off days, we’d do either sprints interspersed with lots of walking, or kettlebell swings. This wasn’t so good for me, because the one bell I have is too light (16kg) to get the proper effect on swings (I’m waiting on on order). We’d also do TGUs (this was our first time doing this movement; I used the 16kg), and I practiced a few front and back lever progressions.

    This week she tested out as follows:
    Back BB Squat: 95lbs x 8; then 115lbs x 1.
    Pushup: 4
    Chin: 3

    She’s super stoked!

    When I started, what I know is that I could probably do 16 or so perfect form pullups. I’m not sure how much extra weight I could pull.

    I’ve been recovering from a shoulder injury. I’m not sure how it happened (it wasn’t sudden), but my rotator cuff got pretty bad. I couldn’t do a single pushup or dip. I had been rehabbing it with light band work for about 3 months. Handstands still felt good, so I was training those, but nothing else. Just before I started your program, I realized I could do a bodyweight dip with no pain.

    BB back squats hurt my shoulder. And I’ve been wanting to learn pistol squats for a long time. So I started pistols for the first time when I started your program. So, along with these, I weighted pullups and weighted dips. I typically started out each session with about 5 minutes of handstands in about 1-minute chunks.

    I started with a body weight pistol, body weight dip, and 25 extra lbs on the pullup. In week 2 I moved to 35 lbs on the pull. In week 4 I put 25 lbs on my dip, which made me REALLY happy, given that I couldn’t even do one without pain not long ago. In week 5 I added 15 lbs to the pistol. In week 7 I started using 35 lbs on the pistol, and 35 lbs on the dip. That was probably a tad too much on the pistol, but my dip felt great.

    Here were my test results.

    Pistol: 35 lbs x 8; then 45 lbs x 2
    Dip: 70 lbs x 6; then (with some build ups) 100 lbs x2
    Pullup: 55 lbs x 7; then (with some build ups) 90 lbs x 1

    My balance on the pistols still isn’t great. I feel like I might be able to go heavier once I get that dialed in. But that is the most weight I’ve ever dipped or pulled. And I have no pain at all in the dip.

    My wife and I are both pumped and ready to start your second program. Thank you!

    Max

    • My sister-in-law and I just finished week 7 of the program and we are ready to test, but we’re not sure the best way to do that. If it helps to know, we both did barbell squats (she did 95# front squats and I did 135# back squats and we’ve got a decent range of plates available), KB presses, and KB rows. We used 16kg KBs for both presses and rows and our next size up is 24kg. We’ve haven’t done a lot of testing RMs before so we were hoping to find a bit more guidance here on what to do!

  • Thank you for sharing your wisdom! I am curious of some examples of fast and loose drills? Would that include crawling variations or mobility drills?

    • Hi Randy,

      Fast and loose it’s about practicing dynamic relaxation exercises during your practice. You may perform them while you are resting between sets . Below are some examples.
      – Pretend that you are trying to shake water off your legs. Keep your weight on one leg and make the other one vibrate.
      – Jog on the spot and put emphasis on relaxing your muscles.
      – Inhale and raise your arms and/or shoulders and then let your breath out and allow your arms drop as a dead weight.

      I love crawling, but I wouldn’t do it between sets of a strength plan. Same applies to mobility.

      Some that do OS (Original Strength) resets between sets reported very good feelings and results, and I personally like the idea.

      I hope this helps.

  • Fabio, I recently listened to a podcast discussing StrongFirst and then happened upon the 8 week program you created. I want to start it. I don’t have kettle bells, but do have dumbbells of varying weights 10-50lbs. Is it advisable to substitute the dumbbell equivalent in place of the kettle bell or to choose a bodyweight exercise. I’ll be getting a set of KBs when quarantine ends. Thanks again. Darius

    • Hi Darius,

      Of course! You may chose kettlebell, barbell, bodyweight or dumbbell exercises as long as the chosen variations fit in the prescribed rep ranges.

      I hope this helps and I look forward to hearing what exercises you have chosen.

  • Excellent programming!
    Just completed week 4 and feeling amazing. I chose for my movements
    Pistols @ 12kg
    Press @ 32kg
    Snatch @ 32kg

    After the second week, I was dreading weeks 5 & 6 because the volume looked too much… Doubling the reps seemed ridiculous. But actually now I feel ready for all that mayhem. Bring it on!

    Incidentally, I’m only halfway through this program and I’ve already packed on 2.5kg of weight and my body fat has gone from 15% to 17.5%. I’m sure some of that will be muscle but I will have to go on a fat loss program next…!?!

    Thanks for sharing your program Fabio. It would be great to see an update with test results when you get to the end of the program.

    Has anyone has completed the program yet? Thoughts?

    • Thank you, Garry!

      Yes, the volume builds up to a point that sounds hard to keep up with… but it works! All I can say is trust the process!

      You will most likely gain some good muscles with this plan, but certainly nutrition plays a crucial role in it and also influences whether it will be “clean” muscle mass or if also some fat mass will be involved in the weight gain. According to that you may decide if you want to go on a fat loss plan once you have completed this one.

      I’m at week 6 and I don’t think anyone has completed the plan yet. but of course I will share my results and those of others.

      Thank you for your very kind words, Sir!

  • This has been amazing for me!
    I haven’t found consistancy in training since I busted my back 4 years ago.
    I’ve never managed to get past 2 weeks into a program with either my back really starting to hurt days on end or getting sick and need a week or 2 off.
    I have just finished week 3 doing Goblet Squats, one arm military press and Renegade rows. I have only been doing light cardio on the off days I think too many swings would flair my back and I don’t want to ruin a good thing!
    By day 3 of each week I’ve found the workout easier then the first day of each week. My back now feels so much stronger even after 3 weeks and I feel so much better!
    Thank you so much!

      • Today I started my 2nd time doing this.
        My strength is up and a slight change in body composition (very much welcomed) I’m hoping sticking with this and finding some consistency will help that further.
        I have to say my back feels so much better now! This for me has been hands down the best program I have followed!
        I’m going to stick with it changing exercises every 8 weeks!
        Thanks again for this, it’s been a godsend

  • Hey Fabio,

    I really treasure the work you guys do at StrongFirst.
    I am starting this training program and am wondering , what does the far right column signify?

    Thanks,
    Troy

    • Hi DesTroyer!

      Thank you, Sir!

      I believe you are referring to the far right column on the downloadable worksheet, titled “NL”, correct?

      If yes, the numbers there indicate the total number of reps that you execute in the given exercise in the given session. H, M and L stand for Heavy, Medium and Light.

  • Hi Fabio,

    Awesome planning! Just printed and posted it in my “home gym area”. One question though: do you recommend any particular type of warm up or is the warm up presented for S&S also ok?

    Best,
    Paul

    • Hi Paul,

      It depends on what you are accustomed to and also on the lifts of your choice.

      I will give you one example based on my personal movement prep.

      Squat Pattern. given that my choice is the pistol and I have some mobility restriction in my right hip and left ankle, I do some hip circles and ankle circles, followed by some prying goblet squat.

      Press Pattern: my choice is the one arm kettlebell press. I do kettlebell halo, kettlebell arm bar and a few very light get-ups.

      Pull Pattern: my choice is the weighted pullup. I do kettlebell halo, kettlebell pull-over, and kettlebell arm bar.
      I hope this helps.

      • Hi Fabio,

        Thank you! I’m at week 5 now and feeling great! It’s a rather weird sensation to see how exercises get easier to perform without getting the weekly soreness of the classical gym workout I was doing. Going to have to order a heavier KB for the next cycle.

        Best,
        Paul

  • Is it a different exercise for each pattern every workout and/or week, or stick with the same exercise for 8 weeks? Thank you for this program!

    • Hi Kevin,

      You are very welcome!

      The plan is designed for sticking to the same exercise for 8 weeks.

      I’m pasting below the answer I gave to a similar question a couple of weeks ago.

      While changing exercises every week may sound more entertaining, it will end up turning an organized strength plan into a bunch of workouts.

      It is hard to make progress if you keep swapping among different skills.

      “Continuity of the training process” and consistency are fundamental for making progress.

      For that above I suggest that you stick to the same skills for the entire plan.

  • Hi there,

    First of all, thank you so much for posting the plan, I have really been enjoying it. I’m on week 5 currently and am looking ahead to how I might progress after week 8 bearing in mind the weights I have.

    I have the following:
    2 12kg kettlebells
    1 16kg kettlebell
    1 24kg kettlebell
    1 32kg kettlebell

    I could be tempted buy a 40kg kettlebell if necessary….

    I also have a pull-up bar – but it’s in the garden attached to a tree whereas the kettlebells are inside so not ideal to work out on them as part of the same workout.

    I have been doing the following exercises, with Simple & Sinister on the off days (swings with the 32kg and TGUs with the 24kg and occasional 32kg thrown in as I work up):

    Goblet squat with the 32kg kettlebell
    One arm press with the 16kg kettlebell (this is too easy but I could not do 10 reps with the 24kg kettlebell)
    One arm row with the 32kg kettlebell

    Would really appreciate your advice! Thank you.

    • Just following up on this; what about increasing the reps so this becomes more of a hypertrophy programme? Currently I’m not really needing to take much rest compared to what you prescribe in the article and it’s pretty easy. Interested in how I might progress the programme for another cycle. Thank you.

      • Hello, Benjamin!

        Thank you so much for appreciating the plan!

        – “I also have a pull-up bar – but it’s in the garden attached to a tree whereas the kettlebells are inside so not ideal to work out on them as part of the same workout.”

        I am facing a similar challenge. My bells are in the basement and the pullup bar is outside. I personally do my squat, my press, and then climb the stairs, walk to the bar, and do my pullups. And start over. I can make that short walk fit into my rest between set. Another option is that you do your squats and presses alternating one set of the former with one of the latter and then you go out and do all you pullups. Or start with the pullups, if you wish.

        – “I have been doing the following exercises, with Simple & Sinister on the off days (swings with the 32kg and TGUs with the 24kg and occasional 32kg thrown in as I work up)”

        Sounds good!

        – “One arm press with the 16kg kettlebell (this is too easy but I could not do 10 reps with the 24kg kettlebell)”

        Some alternatives:
        a. use the 24 and switch to ladders of 2,3,5 or 1,3,4 or 1,2,3
        b. keep using the 16 and switch to ladders of 3,4,7 or 3,5,8 or 3,6,9…

        – “Just following up on this; what about increasing the reps so this becomes more of a hypertrophy programme? Currently I’m not really needing to take much rest compared to what you prescribe in the article and it’s pretty easy.”

        Actually I opted for the 2,4,6 ladder as a good compromise between strength and hypertrophy training, but of course you may switch to higher reps ladder (I wouldn’t exceed 10 reps on the top set, though).

        – “Interested in how I might progress the programme for another cycle. Thank you.”

        Actually as I’m currently finalizing a new article with the sequel fo this plan, so stay tuned! 🙂

        • Fantastic, thanks so much for taking the time to reply Fabio.

          I look forward to reading your new article, hopefully just in time for those of us finishing the first cycle!

          I will try with the 24kg on the lower reps ladder, depending on how many I test I can do.

          I did have the idea of stacking the 24kg and the 12kg kettlebells to make 36kg for the one arm rows – with the 12kg on my wrist and the 24kg held in the normal way – what do you think?

          That technique doesn’t work for the goblet squat, but I could clean and rack the 24kg on one side and the 12kg on the other side, switching arms each set – would that work? Or just increase the rep ladder I suppose…

          • Hi Benjamin!

            “I look forward to reading your new article, hopefully just in time for those of us finishing the first cycle!”

            It should be. 🙂

            “I did have the idea of stacking the 24kg and the 12kg kettlebells to make 36kg for the one arm rows – with the 12kg on my wrist and the 24kg held in the normal way – what do you think?”

            If it doesn’t bother your wrists go for it.

            “That technique doesn’t work for the goblet squat, but I could clean and rack the 24kg on one side and the 12kg on the other side, switching arms each set – would that work? ”

            Yes, and I’m currently doing the same thing. I’m currently doing double kettlebell fronts squats with a 36 and a 32.

            “Or just increase the rep ladder I suppose…”

            Yes, that’s also one option.

        • “Actually I opted for the 2,4,6 ladder as a good compromise between strength and hypertrophy training, but of course you may switch to higher reps ladder (I wouldn’t exceed 10 reps on the top set, though). ”

          If you were to program this as a strength program, vs. a strength/hypertrophy program, what kettle bell weights would you recommend?

          Here, as written, you suggest using your 8-10 TRM bell. Would a strength focus use a 5-6 TRM bell? And use ladders of 2,3,5 or 1,3,4 or 1,2,3

          • Hello, Mark,

            “Here, as written, you suggest using your 8-10 TRM bell. Would a strength focus use a 5-6 TRM bell? And use ladders of 2,3,5 or 1,3,4 or 1,2,3”

            Exactly. And when my next article comes out (hopefully within a week or two) there will be more about this.

          • Thanks Fabio.

            Just tested double kettlebell squat with 32kg on one side and 24kg on the other, holding the 32kg steady on one side is a challenge! I can do maximum 3 like this, but can easily do 10 plus with the 24kg and the 16kg together. Which is better to program in for the next cycle do you think? 32kg and 16kg has the same challenge of keeping the 32kg racked.

  • Fabio –

    Ciao! Piacere. I’m looking forward to the online PlanStrong class next month!

    Question about this programing. In week 2, loving it. What would you think about doing the program as stated on day one, then doing a heavier Simple and Sinister on the second day. On day 3, take a day off. Repeat with 2 on and 1 off. So basically doing the plan 2 on 1 off with a heavier Simple & Sinister?

    • Ciao Greg!

      I’m happy to hear that you are looking forward to Plan Strong and happy to hear that you love the plan!

      I like your idea. So basically the layout of your training schedule would be the following:
      *Mon—Session A1
      *Tue—S&S
      *Wed—Rest
      *Thu—SessionB1
      *Fri—S&S
      *Sat—Rest
      *Sun—Session C1
      *Mon—S&S
      *Tue—Rest
      *Wed—Session A2
      *Thu—S&S
      *Fri—Rest
      *Sat—Session B2
      *Sun—S&S
      …and so on.

      Correct?
      If yes, I would say “go for it!”

  • I have the following kettlebells:

    2 – 10lbs
    2 – 15lbs
    1 – 20lbs

    Do you recommend modifying this workout in anyway?

    • Hello, Corina,

      I fear I don’t have enough data to allow me to respond to your question. It all depends on the exercises you select as your squat, press and pull, and on what is your RM at a given weight. the sizes you own might be too light, too heavy or just right for you, depending on your exercise choice and your levels of strength.

      Once you have selected an exercise variation for each movement pattern that allows you to perform 8-10 perfect reps to exhaustion with one f the sizes in your possession (or bodyweight, with a band, a dumbbell, or whatever you have available) you can go through the plan as it is.

  • Any advice for a pushup variation in this plan. I have a goal of getting to 60 pushup reps. Currently at 40. I’ve been doing GTG about 5 days a week along with simple and sinister. I’d like to run this program, any advice on how to incorporate the pushups? I can easily get 8-10 power pushups. Should I do pushups weighted? Thanks

    • Hi Brian,

      If you want to run this program you should then put in standby your goal of reaching 60 pushup reps in a row. Training for that goal plus this plan would lead to an excessive press volume, IMO. But if you improve your pressing strength with this plan, and then resume your strength endurance plan for you pushups, you will mist likely get good results.

      As far as for an appropriate pushup variation, have you considered loading them with the use of a band?

  • Great program thank you!

    The heaviest bell is I have is a 24 kg so I’ve been doubling up the reps; squats, press-ups off the bell and 2 x 16 kg for Renegade Rows. 15 x 15 rounds of 24 kg 2-handed swings on rest days.

    What do you think?

    • Hello, Mark.

      I’m not sure if I understood correctly. You mean instead of doing ladders of 2,4,6 you are doing ladders of 4,8,12? Did I get it right?

      Also, what bell sizes do you have available exactly? You may want to explore different exercise options in order to reach the desired RM. For instance, have you considered pressing two bells at the same time, one stacked on top of the other? https://youtu.be/EBM9yJVmVY8

      As far as for swings, I suggest that you do no more than 10 reps per set, in order to avoid loosing explosiveness, accumulating lactic acid, and being sore the following day(s). You may do more sets in order to build up to the desired reps.

      • Hi Fabio
        Thank you for the link for the stacking which I didn’t know about. I’ll add in military press.

        I have 1 x 8 kg, 2 x 12 kg, 2 x 16 kg and 1 x 24 kg

        Yep I was doubling up reps for first 2 weeks as I was using light bells. All good though from week 3 day 1 which I started yesterday….

        I’m used to high sets of swings at CF! I’d like a 32 kg for singles which are all sold out with the world training at home!

  • Great program! Is it based on “Functionl Hypertrophy” concept? Will some size can come by doing it?

    • Thank you!

      It is not exactly one of my “Functionl Hypertrophy” plans, but some size will definitely come, given training volume you will be reaching.

      • On quastion, on offdays I would do Snatch approach from Q&D (40-80 snatches) plus some loaded carys or car push for about 5-10 minutes. Oh an the abbweel 1 or 2 sets. All in in one 30 minutes fresh in fresh out.

  • Thanks for sharing Fabio!

    I am about to complete my second week and loving it so far!

    I just a few questions regarding running the program again with an increase weights in the future.

    I have the following kettlebells
    12kg kettlebell—one
    16kg kettlebell—one
    24kg kettlebell—one
    28kg kettlebell—one
    32kg kettlebell—one

    These are my exercise selections with weights used
    Squat – Double KB Front squat (12kg and 16kg)
    Press – Single KB Millitary Press (16kg)
    Pull – Single KB Row (16 kg)

    Please advise me on the following.

    1. Is it OK to do Double KB front squats with uneven weights? I am currently switching the 12 and 16 on left and right hand and doing the mentioned reps twice, is that fine?
    2. How should I progress with this plan with higher weights? I can press the 24kg bell once currently but thats about it and doing double KB front squats with 16 and 24 seems daunting.

    Thanks for all the help!

    • Hi sai_prashanth!

      I’m glad to hear you are enjoying the plan, thank you!

      1. Of course, you may switch hands. But you don’t need to double the prescribed reps. (I’m not sure I understood correctly, but I think this is what you are doing)

      2. How many (perfect) reps are you able to complete with the 16 in the press? I can suggest different ladder for you once I have that info.

      If the double kettlebell front squat is too light with 12+16 and too heavy with 16+24, how about exploring another squat variation? E.g. goblet squat with 32? Front or back lunges? Bulgarian squat?

      Please let me know about your RM with the 16 in the press and what you think about switching to a different squat variation and I’ll see how I can help.

  • Hi Fabio,

    Thank you for a wonderful program – I am thoroughly enjoying it. Possibly a stupid question, would you suggest/recommend omitting the swings (Pavel’s suggestion) if you are completing low-intensity endurance runs on alternative days, or add them to the end of the strength training sessions?

    Thanks again, Fabio – stay safe!

    Brent.

    • Hi Brent,

      You may add the swings at the end of the strength plan or do them at a different time in the same day and enjoy your low intensity runs on alternate days.

      You may also skip your swings and just enjoy the runs if you wish. If course you would be missing your hip hinge exercise. If you opt to skip your swings, what about inserting some 8-10 sec. sprints during your low intensity run? Something like one sprint every few minutes of easy run.

  • I am going to give this a whirl. All I have is a 55lb KB, 35lb DM and a set of rings. Just curious what you mean by “fast and loose drills” Thanks for the post.

    • You are very welcome, Howard.

      Fast and loose it’s about practicing dynamic relaxation exercises during your practice. You may perform them while you are resting between sets . Below are some examples.
      – Pretend that you are trying to shake water off your legs. Keep your weight on one leg and make the other one vibrate.
      – Jog on the spot and put emphasis on relaxing your muscles.
      – Inhale and raise your arms and/or shoulders and then let your breath out and allow your arms drop as a dead weight.

      I hope this helps.

  • Hi Fabio, is it possible to add some form of a hip hinge based exercise to the program with the same set and rep scheme while keeping the other three drills?

    I don’t have access to a KB right now and in any case, I’m not proficient with swings.

    Thank you very much!

    • Hi Francesco!

      I didn’t include a hip hinge based exercise in part for the sake of minimalism and in part because I am suggesting swings on alternate days.

      However, you may certainly add a hip hinge movement with the same with the same set and rep scheme while keeping the other three exercises.

      If you decide to do so, I would switch to 4 sessions per week, done in the following manner.

      Session A
      Squat (Heavy)
      Press (Medium)
      Hinge (Light)

      Session B
      Pull (Heavy)
      Squat (Medium)
      Press (Light)

      Session C
      Hinge (Heavy)
      Pull (Medium)
      Squat (Light)

      Session D
      Press (heavy)
      Hinge (Medium)
      Pull (Light)

      I hope this helps

      • Thank you very much, Fabio! This help immensely. Before you replied, I was thinking about doing hinge/pull/push 3 times a week with one leg squat variations in a low volume daily GTG format or even hinge/pull as the program plus GTG pushups/squats.

        Could it be too much?

        Can crawling sprints still be done on off/easy days?

        Thanks again!

  • Thank you Fabio! My wife and I have been struggling to find a solid program since our gym closed. This matches our needs perfectly! I have chosen goblet squats (24kg), feet elevated pushups, and chinups. Swings as described above on alternate days (32kg). Stay strong and safe brother! BTW, great music taste. Exodus is my all time fave! 🤘🏻

  • Dear Fabio,
    thank you very much for sharing this great program.
    I’ve a question about it: once I’ve selected the three options among the movement patterns, is it possible to change this option each different week? For example, first week : bb front squat – kb one arm press – bw pull ups; second week: bb back squat – kb dbl press – bw chin ups…..
    Thanks again, best regards.
    Cristina

    • Thank you, Cristina!

      Yes, you may do that if you wish, but I don’t personally see it as the best choice.

      While changing exercises every week may sound more entertaining, it will end up turning an organized strength plan into a bunch of workouts.
      It is hard to make progress if you keep swapping among different skills.

      “Continuity of the training process” and consistency are fundamental for making progress.

      For that above I suggest that you stick to the same skills for the entire plan.

      I hope you will find my explanation helpful.

  • Fabio,

    Thank you for this resource!

    I have chosen 32kg goblet squat, 24kg military press, and barbell deadlift (as the pull) at 75% 1RM and half the reps in the chart (e.g. 1,2,3 instead of 2,4,6).

    I find it to be a meditative, almost palliative structure in these stressful times. So far I leave every session recharged and “stimulated” rather than “annihilated”.

    • You are welcome, Sean!

      Good choice for the deadlift (I wish I had a barbell home). I suggested a 2, 4, 6 ladder because most people don’t have access to heavy enough weights at home. But since that you do, the 1, 2, 3 ladder work perfectly.

      Grate to hear that you are feel recharged and stimulated at the end of each session, you make me feel proud, Sir.

      Thank you!

  • Thank you for the great article, Fabio.

    Out of curiosity: do you listen to Gojira? Any heavy metal recommendations?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Nathan,

      Actually I have never listened to Gojira, but I’ll check them out right away!

      I’m a big fan of heavy metal bands from the 80s, and my favorite bands are Iron Maiden, Accept, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, R. J. Dio, Manowar, Helloween, etc. Out of the new bands I am a big fan of Sabaton, a Swedish band.

  • By far the best Article I’ve read on Home Training during these hard timed! Thank you very much Mr Zonin!

    Normally I’m not the one to change a Plan, but due to personal preferences and circumstances I really would like to do BW-Pullups with a supinated Grip. At home, I just have a Pullup-Bar in the Doorway and therefore I can’t add load unfortunately.
    My Max are 20 Pullups. Would it be ok to just do them with some higher Reps? Like 6, 9 and 12 Reps or maybe even 8, 10 and 12 Reps instead of the 2, 4, and 6 Reps as in the other exercises or wpuld this destroy the whole program?
    My other option would be one-arm KB-Rows with the 32kg-Kettlebell. Those I could do exactly as written in the program, but I really prefer the Pull-Ups.
    My other choices are Goblet-Squats (32kg), KB-Press (one arm a time, 24kg) and two-handed Kettlebell-Swings on the off days.

    • Thank you, Nicolas!

      Yes, you may use one of the following ladder schemes for your pullups and keep them as they are for your squat and presses.
      3, 5, 8
      3, 6, 9
      4, 6, 10
      5, 7, 12
      As you see in all of those above, the third digit is the sum of the first two.

      I would rather stay with the first two options, though, as I fear that too high reps will lead to too much lactic acid accumulation, which may compromise your ability to complete the following rounds with perfect technique.

      I also suggest that you always keep the pullup as the last exercise of the round (as it actually is in the original plan) and keep a long rest (no less than 3 minutes) after you did your set, before you start the next round.

      • I already started yesterday evening with the first training, i planned to do the Chin-Ups with a 6/8/10 ladder, so that meant 6, 8, 6 reps x2.
        It was pretty easy, but it was of course the easy day for the Pull and the first week, so I think I’m gonna change it to the 4/6/10 or 3/6/9 rep scheme
        Already looking forward to the KB-Swings today.

        Thank you very much for you kind feedback!
        Greetings from Switzerland

          • Last Saturday I’ve finished Session C of Week 6.

            My Exercises were Split-Squats with the 32kg Kettlebell held in Front like in a goblet-Squat, One-Arm-Kettlebell-Presses with the 24kg Kettlebell, and BW-Chin-Ups as discussed above with 4/6/10 Reps.
            The Warmup was always 3 Rounds of the Exercises with lighter weight x 5 reps (with the Chin-Ups I always did 5 reps with BW per round) and 10 reps of the Band Pull-Apart.

            Training Days were Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday. On Wednesday/Friday/Sunday I always did 100 Swings (mostly with the 24kg Kettlebell, somtimes with the 32kg, depended on how I felt), on Sundays sometimes 150 to 200 total, always in sets of 10. Additionally I used my Blackroll and did some stretching on those days.

            Monday was my Rest-Day.

            Really good Program! Easy in the beginning, very hard in Weeks 5 and 6! But always doable and I’ve noticed how I got better from Week to Week, especially in the Presses.

            I think I’ll finish it like this, because from this Week on I can go back to the Gym (they reopenend on Monday) and I’m really looking forward to it! But since I’m gonna start light I’ll have an automatic deload now.

            Really great programm, thank you very much Mr Zonin! I don’t think that I’ve lost any Muscle or Strength at all in these times, I think I’ve gained some!

      • Dear Fabio,
        Thanks for this program. Quick question: I would like to use a 28kg bell for the Press (one arm MP). The bell size i also used to run ROP (although it was super hard to achieve 5 ladders of 5 rungs). Would that make sense to use a 28kg with a 1,2,3 or 2,3,5 scheme? Or should go with a 24kg at 2,4,6

        Many thks
        P

  • Superb Article,

    I am new to the website. What are your thoughts in the single leg deadlift as a squat variation as this is an option for me?

    • Thank you, Sir.

      Actually the single leg deadlift falls within the category of hip hinge movement patterns.

      However, if you are not planning to do other hip hinges on alternate days—in the article I suggested the swing—you may pick that one instead of a squat variation.

  • Thank you very much! Liked very much the simplicity of the program

    Is it possible to “rinse and repeat”? How would you do that?

    • You mean run through the plan a second time once you have finished it?

      Of course you can, and you have two options for doing it. Once you have tested your results, you can either:
      a) Start from the beginning with heavier weights or harder progressions of the same exercises. How heavier/harder depends on your results. You will use your new 8-10TRMs.
      b) Select different exercises for your squat, press and pull and go from there.

    • Hi Marcin,

      Yes you may.

      I would still prefer doing them on alternate days. But if that’s not an option for you, adding them at the end of the session will work.

      However, since this is a strength plan, I would not do them in a “finisher” fashion, but according to the guidelines I provided in the article.

      • Thank you for the program and quick response.

        So I start with Swings on the training day (after the main part)

  • This is an amazing article. It reminds me of Joe Kenns Tier System structure and is how I am converting my training over to kettlebells during these hard times.

  • Thanks for the great article and training program !
    Today I am starting second week. My drills of choice: Goblet squat, Banded Push Ups, Dead Stop Clean

    Strong Endurance on alternate days. Switching between two arm and one arm swings

    So far so good 🙂

  • Thank you for the pull/press/pull progression with leaving swings for alternate days.

    I have been doing swings/dbl kb presses / squats / renegade rows on the same day and by the time I get to the rows I’m shot :p

    Have to get over my love of heavy swings for warm up and move to a more balanced program.

    Cheers

  • Many thanks not only for the well thought out and cleaarly described training plan which I am sure I will benefit from, but also the kind, measured and sensible advice and encouragement. We are a community among mnay communities all of whom need to come together globally to mange this pandemic.
    Stay safe, stay well, and with your help stay strong.

  • Hi thanks a lot for sharing. I just tried one of the days and am a bit puzzled by the rep range. 2 reps for a squat seems somewhat low. I am used to powerlifting-type workout and 2-rep range is more of a 85-90% RM.

    So for 1st week Friday (C) for example it would be 2 squats + 2 presses + 2 pulls for the first round?

    Or am I misunderstanding somehow?

    • You are welcome, sir.

      The reps range from 2 to 6 for all exercises and the weight to be used is an 8-10TRM, so around 75-80%1RM.

      What varies is the buffer, which is high when one does the sets of 2 and low when he/she does the sets of 6.

      A high buffer allows to preform many sets with perfect technique and therefore a high-quality and high-volume training.

      Session C calls for light squats (please remember that heavy, medium and light in this plan refer to the volume and not to the weight) and therefore the reps are low.

      Session A instead calls for heavy squats and there are some sets of 6.

      Moving forward with the weeks there are more and more sets of 4 and 6. This applies to the squat and also to the other exercises.

      I hope this explains.

  • Great plan! I’ve already initiated it, and I’m wondering if rest between sets would be less than a minute, like few breaths?

    • Thank you for appreciating it.

      Yes, given that the three exercises involve different body parts you may compress the rest between exercises in one round.

      But then you will have to take a longer rest between rounds in order to avoid excessive lactic acid accumulation. It’s intended to be a strength plan, not a metcon.

      One option is, in case you are using kettlebells, that of turning it into a double ketlebell complex. E.g. double kettlebell front squat + double kettlebell press + renegade row. In this case, however, you will have to usa a weight adjusted in order to allow you to perform all the prescribed reps in your weakest exercise, which will most likely be the press.

      If you have barbells available and you are able to perform a power clean you may turn this into a barbell complex also. E.g. front squat + military press (or push press) + row.

      I hope this helps.

  • My girlfriend is a nurse and we are planning on the possibility of two weeks or more in quarantine. This article is a perfect fit for our planning.

  • Thanks for this! 2 quick questions:

    1. is there any disadvantage to increasing the duration between Rounds e.g. 7 min., 15 min. or 30 min. between each Round?
    2. Thinking of GTG, could this be modified from a circuit to 3 exercises done throughout the day, perhaps under lighter load?

  • This is why I love Strongfirst. You are always looking at the bigger picture and leading from the front. Keep doing what you do!

    Right, off to do my armour building.

    Craig

  • Thank you very much for sharing the program! Looks really good! I do think you should record some of your heavy metal singing, though!

    Strength to you, and to all of us!

  • Thank you so much for writing and sharing this program! I was looking for something like this. I did S&S for several months about two years ago and I was looking for something similar do to at home during these hard times.

  • Thank you so much for sharing.

    My fiance and I are going to make the best use of our time to start our fitness journey together.

    Both of us are in our late 40’s and moderately overweight. Is this a good program for “beginners”. (we both have previously been very fit and have lots of experience with exercise)

    Thank you again!

  • Thank you for this! I’m on my second run through Reload right now after seeing some fantastic results with the first run. I’ve also shared your programming (I made them buy it) with two friends and they are enjoying every sesh. We appreciate the hard work!

  • Thank you very much for sharing.

    But why not use the time at home for some hypertrophy work? Enough time to cook, eat, sleep. This. sounds perfect for a full hypertrophy cycle.

    Is it able to change the rep ranges? Or better do something different?

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