Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to exert yourself every time you hit the gym. We present you a two-month strength training program that is tested on real topics and brings real results.
Everyone knows that training to get stronger is difficult both physically and mentally. But what if we told you you could just do it? This may sound completely ridiculous at first, as we’ve all heard incessantly that “no pain, no gain” and that you should either “go hard or go home”. So you cannot be held responsible for thinking differently.
Most people are misled into believing that if you are not drenched in sweat on the floor and can barely catch your breath, it is not “effective workout”. The hardest part of this strength program for most people isn’t the exercise itself, but realizing that you don’t need intense, brutal training to be effective. You won’t get a big pump. You won’t sweat that much and you won’t feel sore for days afterwards. What you get, however, is insanely powerful.
This program can also cause a lot of people to pass it on just because it doesn’t look like a regular exercise program. It was designed by Dan John, a champion discus thrower. He has also written a book about this program. He says he made the best strides in his career and yet he still struggles with the fact how incredibly easy it is, but it’s not widely known knowledge.
The “Simple Strength” Plan
You will do the same strength training (excluding weight gain) 5 times a week for 8 weeks. That’s 40 workouts in total. Each workout only lasts 15 to 20 minutes. Below is the template for each training session, as well as the exercises Dan suggested.
- Warm up first. Do 5-10 minutes of low-intensity cardio such as running on the treadmill, an elliptical, and / or bodyweight exercises.
- Do any of the following movement patterns:
- Hip Joint Exercise: Movement in the sagittal plane where the hips are the axis of rotation between a neutral lumbopelvic segment and your thigh. Basically movements where you keep your spine straight and your hips flexed (think deadlifts, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, etc.).
- Press Exercises: Movements that involve pressing something at arm’s length, either over your head or away from your chest, while lying on your back.
- Pull. Pull the weight toward you at arm’s length.
- Make a force movement. Contract the muscles of the lower body (and possibly the upper ones) quickly and explosively to bounce or accelerate the load in your hand or both hands.
- Do a “core” exercise, focusing on moving the weight with the correct form and bracing the core properly, rather than trying to lift it as quickly as possible.
Hinge – Deadlift – 2 x 5 reps
Press – Bench press incline – 2 x 5 reps
Pull – Chin Up – 2 x 5 repetitions
Power movement – kettlebell swings – 30 to 50 repetitions
Core movement – from rollout – 2 x 10 repetitions
The recommended “light strength training movements”
- Place a barbell on the floor and attach the correct weight to each end.
- Approach the bar, keep your feet shoulder width apart, and point forward.
- Carefully grasp the bar from a crouch.
- Lower your hips so that your thighs are on the floor
- Stand up, lift your hips and shoulders, and carefully lift the bar off the floor.
- Lower the bar and return to the starting position.
Incline bench press
- Place a barbell on the posts of an incline bench press station, load it with a relatively moderate weight, and lie down on the bench.
- Keeping your feet flat on the floor, grasp the barbell evenly with your hands a little wider than shoulder width. Slide the barbell off the post until your arms become straight without locking them.
- Then slowly lower the bar until it touches your chest while contracting your shoulder blades.
- Slide the bar back to the starting position and stop for 1-2 seconds. This is a repetition. To repeat.
Note: You should always use a spotter for this exercise.
- Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and place a kettlebell about a foot in front of you. Hang from your hips to reach for the kettlebell and grab it with both hands.
- When your core is tight and your lower back is flat, hike or quickly snap the kettlebell back, high between your legs.
- Next, reverse the movement by vigorously moving your hips forward while fully extending your legs and strongly contracting the glutes. This way the kettlebell swings up and out in front of you. You must not try to lift it with your arms.
- Once the kettlebell is in its upper position, which is roughly shoulder height, snap the lats and core back into place to bring it back between your legs.
- Repeat this movement as many times as necessary and then place the kettlebell in front of you, just as you did before you started.
- Grasp the bar with an underhand grip. The palms should be a little narrower than shoulder width. Allow your arms to fully extend.
- Pull your shoulder blades together and pull your chest toward the bar until your chin passes the bar.
- Then lower yourself slowly and in a controlled manner until your arms are completely straight. This is a repetition. To repeat.
- Kneel on a cushion and grasp the handles of a belly wheel. The shoulders are directly above the wheel.
- Keep your arms straight and your core tensed. Then begin by slowly rolling the wheel forward as far as possible so that your chest and hips are as close to the floor as possible. Don’t let your back arch, keep it straight and stiff.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Choose the cargo carefully. As John says, the whole point of the program is not to work so hard on each workout that you are barely able to do the next, but to do just enough and be ready to come back to it the next day and to repeat it, this time even increase the load a little. Choose a weight that you can lift for the prescribed number of repetitions with relative effort and minimal fatigue. You should never miss a single rep in this program. You never rise to failure.
- Progress slowly. If the weight you chose when you started this program becomes easy, then only add 5 to 10 pounds to it.
- Stick to the moves you chose. Don’t change them unless a particular movement causes pain or discomfort.
- Rest properly. Take a break of at least two minutes between sets of each movement.
- Vary the force movements. You can do the 20 to 50 repetitions of the explosive strength movements however you like: in sets of 5, 10, 15, 20, or one long set, all with excellent execution.
- Don’t push yourself too hard on the core work. Make this single set with focus and the right shape, but make sure you don’t overdo it with added weight or core work.