An Interesting Way to Improve Strength

Mike Brown, my intern, liked our workout this week. It is a variation of one I call the “Three Amigos.” The idea is gently prod the volume and load up over the workout and have the athlete “rest” by doing movements that complement the “big lifts” of the day. This variation is based on these reps: 3-2-1. So, a couple things here. We also do these in a simple Drumline pattern, we do the first movement, then the next, then…and repeat.

The movements:

Front Squats

Bench Press

Hurdle Walkovers (Farmer Walks the next workout), but just ONE time through (or one length with the Farmer Walk)

Slam Balls (Mike’s term: Throw a Medicine Ball on the ground as hard as you can from hands overhead)

The key is this: you do the 3-2-1 the first time with a starting weight, then, on the next loop, you add weight (to just the FS and BP) and go again. Then, after finishing the 3-2-1, you add weight again and repeat this one last time. For example:

I put 135 on the Squat Rack and the Bench. I set up two 32s and the Med Ball. I do 135 in the FS for 3, BP for 3, Walk one length (whatever, don’t ask) and three Slams. Then, back to the FS for two, BP for two, return the Farmer Bars, and two slams. Then, FS for one, BP for one, Farmer Bar and ONE Slam. Then, add weight to the FS and BP. I would suggest doing this for a total of four Giant Sets, so that will be three weight changes.

As always, I don’t care about rest. Breath and rest when you need to take some time, but you will notice you shuffle along just fine. You should finish with some solid lifts in the FS and BP, but note the ease (the greased groove) of the last reps…that trumps the load in this workout. Many of my athletes ask to try to “get on the board” or attempt maxs after this workout as things seem so smooth. Don’t time this or try to gas yourself…allow the odd rep and weight changing and simple mix of movements to have you “work out” and oddly seem to make you stronger.

Another variation, that seems to make weights lighter is the follow up workout: 1-2-3. So, you are handling the most reps at the end of each cluster. This one seems to reinforce Pavel’s notion of “greasing” as the third set (threes) is often the easiest. You can build an entire program on this idea and it works very well with Power Cleans/Curls/Snatches as an additional exercise. It is not the answer to all questions, but it is a very interesting way to combine a simple workout plan into a way of getting stronger.

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