A Simple Strength Program

(This is dedicated to my friends at Fort Lewis. This is the idea I was trying to explain.)

We tend to overcomplicate everything in life. Tell someone to “eat clean” and you need a 500-page manual to explain it. To get “in shape” might take several thick volumes of work to detail everything.


But, to get strong is one of the easiest things I know. As I often joke, and the research backs me up on this:


If you want to get stronger, lift weights.


The best method I know is simply “One-Two-Three.” It’s an old method that has recently seen the light of day again.


Pick a big movement.


Push: Bench or Military Press

Pull: Pull Up

Squat: Front Squat or Back Squat

Hinge: Deadlift


Find a load that you can do for five. It’s going to really vary for most of us, but a normal trainer will find that 80% of their max is about right. Now, follow this rep scheme:




Do a single, rest a bit, do a double, rest a bit, then do a triple. That is six total reps and the quality should all be excellent. For a solid workout, run through this three times: 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3.


Never miss and never chase fatigue. Try to dominate each and every set. You WANT the weight to feel light and easy. Inch that load up over a few workouts. Like we discover in throwing the shot and discus, inching your effortless efforts up a bit seem to increase your best.


This is an old method of strength training that has been ignored for a while. You can train as you usually do and just sprinkle these throughout the workout. Many have found that this does wonders for the Pull Up, but experiment with the squat or deadlift too.


Getting stronger in these key lifts is the “secret” to power, mass and leanness. Speed up your progress by backing off a bit, but striving to increase load.

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