The Strength Agenda Way Barbell Program is a program that I have used for years before my weightlifting days and continued to use with athletes of all backgrounds and the results have all been the same: you are going to get stronger off of the program. As promised we are going into depth on each day and how to set them up so you can keep on progressing towards your strength goals. In Part 1 of the article series we discussed the methodology and some of the madness that went into creating the program. In part 2 of this series we discussed Day 1 of the program and how we work heavy lower body work into each week. Part 3 of this series talks about heavy upper body work as well as incorporating speed or dynamic work for the lower body. Which now brings us to the 4th and final day of the program, so let’s get on with it shall we?
Let’s Get Dynamic
On Day 4 of the Barbell program there will be two different types of workouts you will see. The first two weeks will resemble a typical Dynamic Effort Upper Body template. But unlike a traditional set up the main movement will not always be speed bench press. I like to throw in various movements to again give the athlete a bit of variety and prevent them from getting bored. For those curious a few other exercises I like to throw in on this day in place of speed bench are as follows: Speed Overhead Press (same set up as bench, except you are standing up), Plyometric Push Ups (a favorite in the rotation reps between 3-5 depending on the elevated surface and rest is usually shorter on these), Heavy Wall Ball or Medicine Ball Throws into a wall (reps between 3-5 depending on the weight with same rest as Plyo Push Ups), and Sledge Hammer Swings on a Tire (max effort swings in bursts of :10, :20, and :30 seconds with 1:00-1:30 rest between sets). The goal on this type of workout is the same as Day 3, more top end sets (6-10 ) with rep ranges from 2-5 moving as fast or explosive as possible. When it comes to rest between sets, there shouldn’t be too much down time. Just like Day 3 rest periods should be no longer than 2 minutes between sets. The percentages are not high enough where more rest than that is needed. Not much more explaining needs to be done. Following the main workout it is best to pick 1-2 accessory movements (one focusing on an antagonist movement and a isolation movement). This day is not meant to be long and drawn out. Focus on getting in quality work and carry on with the rest of your day.
A Sample Dynamic Method Day 4 Workout would be as follows:
Speed Bench Press 9×3 @ 65% of 1RM with 2:00 rest between sets
Pull Ups, weighted or assisted if needed, 4×8
Rolling Triceps Extensions 3×15
Sometimes You Gotta Rep It Out
Now, as we already mention there are two formats for Day 4 of the program. The first being what you have already read. But the second I like to use in between weeks of Dynamic work to keep the joints a little more happy. When the traditional template was applied for four straight weeks, my joints (shoulders in particular) started to feel pretty beat up. The solution to this problem was the introduction of Repetition Days. These were simple treated as an active recovery session with bodybuilding movements performed at the end of a grueling week. But what we started to see was that the lack of speed work for the upper body work started to show up on the top sets of Day 2 due to the absence of speed work. This trend continued to escalate the longer we went without it. So the conclusion was made that room needed to be made for both programs on Day 4. How we set up Day 4 is we simply alternate between the two templates and the results have been better than expected. The joints (shoulders, elbows, and wrists) are not taking as much abuse and the speed stayed on point throughout the weeks.
For the set up of exercises on the repetition template, a method of 2-4 sets of max reps will be applied for the first exercise. The athlete chooses an upper body movement (see list below) and performs three sets of max reps. As stated on the Day 2 article you are not going to max per say each set. Push until you feel you can squeeze out 2-3 reps and then stop. There is no time cap between the sets but do not take 10 minutes between sets. 2-3 minutes should be more than enough time to get ready for the next set. The goal is to try and get near the rep count you achieved on the first set. For example it would be more beneficial if you did Push Ups and got sets of 24, 22, 17 instead of sets of 30, 16, 14. Make sense. Do not use the same movement you used on the Day 2, use a similar movement but not the exact same movementy. Back movements can be incorporated in this selection as well, but you don’t need to get too complicated.
Below are some examples of movements for max rep sets:
- DB Bench/Shoulder/Incline/Floor Press
- Hand Release/Feet Elevated/Deficit Push Ups
- Ring/Bodyweight/Weighted Dips
- Assisted/Bodyweight/Weighted Pull Ups
- DB/BB/Bodyweight/Ring Rows
If an athlete starts to experience burn out from constantly chasing max reps we suggest performing max reps the first three weeks of a training block and for the following week in your block perform similar movements at 3 sets of 12 repetitions with medium-slightly difficult intensity.
The following movements selected after the main exercise on this day should address weaknesses you have with your lifts. If there is a sticking point in a lift, stability issue, or muscular imbalance in movement patterns these should be addressed with these selections. The possibilities for these movements are endless so do not make this harder than it needs to be.
Below is a sample workout for the Repetition Method Day 4:
Main: 2 Arm DB Rows 3x max reps
Accessory 1: Dips 3×8
Accessory 2: Face Pulls 3×10
Accessory 3: Scap Push ups 3×15
Accessory 4: Bullet Proof Shoulder Complex
So there you have it. All fours days of the program have been laid out for you with details on how to set each work out up and samples movements to incorporate. The next and final installment of this article series will cover modifications that can be made on this program for various situations. There will also be a full four week layout of the program in the last installment as well as a list of frequently asked questions that I have received since the series started that I want to address. So stay tuned.
Remember on Days 1 and 2 you are the Hulk going into the gym. On Day 3 and sometimes 4 you are Ricky Bobby, always wantin’ to go fast. And on the other times with Day 4 you are simply Arnold just getting to the gym to chase a pump. Enjoy!