Begin Training With This 4-Phase Program

Beginning to train can be daunting. Maximizing your time in the gym requires a structured plan. STACK Expert Robert Pomazak offers a 4-phase progressive program.

Dumbbell Squat

Athletes across the country are working constantly to get themselves in the best shape of their lives so they can dominate their opponents. If you don't fall into this category, you need to start training to have any chance of making it to the next level.

Beginning a program can be daunting. Even if you are familiar with some of the best exercises, if you don't know how to structure a workout, you will fail before you begin. (See the best exercises for beginners.) The goal is to maximize your time training, not to aimlessly work out without a structured plan.

Before you enter the weight room, familiarize yourself with this training program. It progressively builds upon itself to maximize your strength, size and power gains. Track your results, and you will take your performance up a few notches.

Phase 1: Mobility & Stability

The first phase is designed to build a solid foundation of stability and mobility—like building your body from the inside out. Focus on full-body exercises that tax your core and promote increased mobility. They will allow you to safely build strength in the next phase.

  • Time: 3 to 4 weeks
  • Frequency: 3 to 4 days per week
  • Sets/Reps: 2-3x15-18 (decreasing each week)
  • Intensity: 65-75% max (increasing each week)
  • Tempo: slow

Phase 2: Strength

Once a base has been established, start building strength and lean muscle mass. The workouts are changed to challenge your musculature, and are structured into push/pull supersets. (Try these 5 supersets.)

  • Time: 3 to 4 weeks
  • Frequency: 3 to 4 days per week
  • Sets/Reps: 4-5x6-10 (decreasing each week)
  • Intensity: 80-100% max (increasing each week)
  • Tempo: 1/0/1

Phase 3: Power

After building strength, you can build power by teaching your body to apply max strength in as little time as possible. This essential physical trait is a huge factor in your success on the field.

The main goal of this phase is to move fast. Pair a strength exercise with a power exercise that mimics the movement pattern. For example, pair the Bench Press with Clap Push-Ups, or Squats with Squat Jumps.

  • Time: 3 to 4 weeks
  • Frequency: 3 to 4 days per week
  • Sets/Reps: 2-4x12-16
  • Intensity: 65-85% max (5-25% max strength for med ball and rotational force lifts)
  • Tempo: as fast as possible with perfect technique

Phase 4: Rest and Recovery

The fourth and final phase of your program is often neglected. The amount of rest and recovery you give your body will either help or hinder your overall development.

A program that is monitored and designed correctly constantly places new demands on your body. Therefore, you must allow your body time to repair itself and recover so that it can respond to the next stress placed on it. Sleep at least eight to 10 hours a day and monitor your nutrition. Know when to eat and what to eat so that your body is properly fueled and can rebuild.

  • Time: 1 to 2 weeks

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