So You Want to Get Strong: The Program

This six-week program from STACK Expert Stan Dutton will make you stronger, but only if you take the time and put in the hard work.

Chin-Up

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You say you want to get strong. But really . . . do you?

Plenty of people are ready and willing to sell you the latest and greatest product to help you get stronger—all "based on science" and  all contradictory.

  • "Eat whatever you want and lose 10 pounds in five days!"
  • "Take this supplement and add 50 pounds to your bench press in just three weeks!"
  • The more illogical, the better. I have literally seen this ad: "Put one inch on your arms in just one week with this workout!"

But the truth is:

  • 10 pounds don't just melt off; it takes weeks of hard work and proper dieting to lose weight.
  • Adding 50 pounds to your Bench Press takes years of persistence and smart training.
  • Putting an inch on your arms is no easy feat.

Here's the deal: I'm not going to make any outlandish claims. But you're going to get stronger. Much stronger.

Everyone is different. Some of us have been training for longer, and thus won't be able to pack on as much muscle and strength as beginners.

Others, though, just don't work hard enough to reach their potential. It's true, like it or not.

This program is simple

We look at movements, not specific muscle groups. Leave that to the frat boys who spend more time tweeting from the quad extension machine than actually using it. Not that it makes a difference anyway.

After movements, we look at the total volume of each movement per week. During the accumulation phase, you'll get really good at each exercise, packing on muscle and "greasing the groove" by practicing and perfecting the movements four-plus times per week. Remember: practice makes perfect.

Overview

Don't expect to impress your friends with Kipping BOSU Kettlebell Snatches. This program is based on the 80/20 principle: you get 80 percent of your results from 20 percent of what you do. Find that 20 percent and get really, really good at it.

  • There are likely holes in your training. Most people don't do nearly enough full body movements or loaded carries.
  • Be realistic. Understand the progression or regression you should do for each movement. Find out more here.
  • This program is for intermediate and advanced lifters. If you aren't sure how to do a Deadlift, start with a regression (Kettlebell or Hip Thrust).
  • Give yourself at least one day of rest between workouts. You'll need it.
  • Perform one Training For Warriors Hurricane workout per week. Sprinting is the best full-body explosive movement you can do. It requires no equipment and will maintain or even improve your cardiovascular fitness and improve your strength.

You want to get strong? Let's find out how.

Weeks 1-3: Accumulation

Warm-Up

Optional (one day per week for every decade you've been alive)

Foam rolling

  • Calves
  • IT Bands
  • Quads/Hip flexors
  • Adductors
  • Glutes
  • Lower/upper back

Essential (every workout)

Movement Prep

  • Knee Hugs
  • Toe Touches
  • Lateral Shuffle
  • Lunges
  • Lateral Lunges
  • Quadruped Rotations

Day 1

Warm-Up

Equipment: One pair of heavy and one pair of light dumbbells or kettlebells.

  • Farmer's Walks x 40 steps
  • Goblet Squat x 15
  • Push-Ups x 15
  • Single-Arm Carry x 40 steps/arm
  • Dumbbell Row x 15/arm
  • Kettlebell or Dumbbell Swing x 15
  • Turkish Get-Up x 2/side

Repeat 2x.

Exercise 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

*Tempo

Rest

A: Deadlift

5x5

6x5

4 warm-up sets, then: Sadiv Set

X

90-120 sec.

B1: Half Kneeling Dumbbell Overhead Press

3x8

3x8

4x8

2-0-1-0

60-90 sec.

B2: Zercher Squat

3x8

3x8

4x8

2-0-1-0

60-90 sec.

C1: Chin-up

3x10

3x10

4x10

2-0-1-0

60 sec.

C2: Lateral Band Walk

3x30 steps

3x10 steps

4x10 steps

2-0-1-0

60 sec.

Finisher

  • 10-second treadmill or Sled Push at maximum intensity x 6 sets with 60 seconds rest between sets.

Day 2: Upper

Warm-Up

  • Complex - 3x6
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Bent Over Row
  • Hang Clean
  • Front Squat
  • Overhead Press

Exercise

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

*Tempo

Rest

A1: Bench Press

5x5

6x5

4 warm-up sets, then: Sadiv Set

2-0-1-0 (sxcept Sadiv set)

A2: Dumbbell Row

5x5

6x5

Match Sadiv Set (i.e., 12 total reps of Bench Press = 12 total reps of Dumbbell Rows)

2-0-1-0

90-120 sec.

B1: Trap Bar Deadlift

3x8

3x8

4x8

2-0-1-0

B2: Static Leg Lowering

3x5/side

3x5/side

4x5/side

5-0-2-0

60-90 sec.

C1: Goblet Squat

3x8

3x8

4x8

2-0-1-0

C2: Single Arm Carry

3x30 steps

3x30 steps

3x30 steps

X

60-90 sec.

Day 3

  • Farmer's Walk x 40 steps
  • Goblet Squat x 15
  • Push-Ups x 15
  • Single-Arm Carry x 40 steps/arm
  • Dumbbell Row x 15/arm
  • Kettlebell or Dumbbell Swing x 15
  • Turkish Get Up x 2/side

*Repeat 2x.

Exercise

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

*Tempo

Rest

A: Single Leg Split Squat

5x5

6x5

Match Sadiv set total volume (i.e., 40 reps on Deadlifts = 40 reps per leg Single-Leg Split Squats)

2-0-1-0

90-120 sec.

B1: Half Kneeling Dumbbell or Barbell Overhead Press

3X8

3x8

3x10

X

B2: Barbell Hip Thrust

3x8

3x8

3x10

2-0-1-0

60-90 sec.

C1: Chin-Ups

3x8

3x8

3x10

2-0-1-0

C2: Lateral Band Walks

3x10 steps

3x10 steps

3x10 steps

X

C3: Overhead Farmer's Carry

3x40 steps

3x40 steps

3x40 steps

X

60-90 sec.

Finisher

  • Push-Up and Bodyweight Row Ladder
  • 10-1 Push-Ups
  • 1-10 Bodyweight Rows

Weeks 4-6: Intensification

Day 1

  • Deadlift
  • Farmer's Walk x40 steps
  • Turkish Get-Up x 1/side
  • Goblet Squat x 15
  • Push-Up x 15
  • Single-Arm Carry x 30 steps/arm
  • Dumbbell Row x 15/arm
  • KB or DB Swing x 15
  • Bounds x 5

Repeat 3x.

Exercise

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Rest

A: Deadlift

8x3

9x3

5,3,2

90-120 sec.

B1: Push Press

3x5

3x5

3x5

90-120 sec.

B2: Chin-Up

3x5

3x5

4x5

90-120 sec.

Finisher

  • Tabata Kettlebell or Dumbbell Swings

Day 2: Upper

  • Complex- 4x6
  • Deadlift
  • Bent Over Row
  • Hang Clean
  • Front Squat
  • Overhead Press
  • Single-Arm Farmer's Walks - 4x40 steps/hand
  • Lateral Band Walks - 4x20 steps/side

Exercise

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Rest

A: Bench Press

8x3

9x3

5,3,2

90-120 sec.

B: Bent Over Barbell Row

6x3

7x2

5,3,2

90-120 sec.

C: Zercher Squat

3x5

3x5

4x3

90-120 sec.

Day 3

  • Farmer's Walk x 40 steps
  • Turkish Get Up x 1/side
  • Goblet Squat x 15
  • Push-Up x 15
  • Single-Arm Carry x 30 steps/arm
  • Dumbbell Row x 15/arm
  • Kettlebell or Dumbbell Swing x 15
  • Box Jump or High Jump x 5

Repeat 3x.

Exercise

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Rest

A: Single Leg Split Squat

8x3

9x3

5,3,2

90-120 sec.

B: Trap Bar Deadlift

3x5

3x5

3x5

90-120 sec.

C1: Goblet Squat

3x5

3x5

3x5

C2: Push-Up Position Plank

3x45 sec.

3x45 sec.

3x45 sec.

60-90 sec.

Finisher

3-minute max distance Farmer's Walks. Use a heavy weight and walk as far as you can in 3 minutes. Don't use a treadmill unless you want to hurt yourself and/or put on a show for the entire gym.

*For Tempo:

The first number is the number of seconds the eccentric (or lowering) phase of each lift should take.

The second number is the number of seconds the pause at the bottom should take.

The third number is the number of seconds the concentric phase of each lift should take.

The fourth number is the number of seconds the pause at the top of each movement should take.

An "X" means as fast as possible.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BENCH PRESS | WORKOUT PLAN | WORKOUTS | EXERCISE | BENCH | PRESS | BARBELL | SWING | KETTLEBELL