HOW NOT TO KILL YOURSELF ( STRENGTH TRAINING FOR MASTERS) Day 1 Week 1

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Ok then team here we go as threatened Day 1 Week 1

This is the program I’m using as we have limited equipment here at the GS factory, very basic just a bar, weights and a squat/bench rack. I would love to be training in the Getstrength Gym but with a 180km round trip it doesn’t make it practical.
In saying that, I would be doing mainly bar in hand work anyway and there aren’t to many Gym’s that don’t have bars, weights and squat/bench racks or two so hopefully this program will translate to where you are training.

GS Factory

As I said at the start this is a 3 days a week. 3 exercise per session

Day 1 Week 1

Stretching and warming up before and after training. Up until recently I through that the walk from the car to gym was more than enough stretching and warming up. With the great Cathy Millen working at the Getstrength Gym she has shown me the error of my ways.Just as an aside if you live in Auckland, even if you don’t,  spending an hour with Cathy is money well spent.

Now as I said, bar in hand training, what does that mean?

From a powerlifting/strength training point of view, the major compound movements Squat/Bench/Deadlift are all barbell in hand exercises.There are very few training movements that can’t be done with a barbell.So with that in mind and for the purpose of keeping it simple all of the exercises are done with a barbell (bar in hand)

I would encourage you to train towards a contest or event, even if it’s a 1RM test in the gym. it’s the only way to measure your progress.There’s a contest at the Getstrength Gym on the 25th of July 2015 (Time for a 10 week training cycle with recovery week before the contest) and that’s what I’m training for

How do I set starting weights when starting my training cycle?

If you already know what your 1RM’s are, it make this process very easy. Working back from your 1RM say over 10 weeks, as a guide 5kg to 7.5kg a week back to week 1 then that’s your starting weight. You can use percentages as well, say 5 to 7.5% a week. If you don’t know what your 1RM is, it’s still not a problem, have an educated guess, you’ll know if its to light or heavy after 4 or 5 weeks, adjust it then. For the 1st cycle it doesn’t matter it’s just a place to start.

Loading Cahrt

I like to start my week with back squat/then bench and deadlift

Day 1- Back Squat
Once I’ve stretched and warmed up, as for warm up I start with the bar and do a few sets, then work my way up to my starting numbers. When doing 3 top sets of 5 reps. (5 to 6 weeks)  after that the loads are to high and I drop down to to 2 top sets and less reps (down to 2 reps for the last 2 weeks)

Control is your friend, speed is good but if It’s at the expense of control It’s not. You will lift the same as you train, so good form over ego.

2nd Exercise
Deadlift same 3 top sets 5 reps as with the squat. I’m a sumo deadlifter so I do this conventional for variation (normal narrow stance) the weight for this is similar to the squat weight. Why a deadlift? It’s necessary to balance the pushing movements (squating) with a pulling movement.

Form – Deadlifting starting position is similar to your position at the bottom of a squat, shoulders in line with the bar and leg drive. Use the big muscle groups, holding the back straight with the bar against your shines keeping it close all the way to the top

3rd Exercise Second squating movement.
As with the 1st two exercises 3 top sets 5 reps following the same rep range as the other 2 as it get heavier. The exercise changes every 2 or 3 weeks
For the 1st, 2 or 3 weeks I’ll be doing pause squats down 20 kg from my primary squat weight (Steve says if I’m 20kg down all I’ll have to do is put my jacket on, not kind) and holding at the bottom for a couple of seconds . This should be done below parallel, always a great way to finish your training.

Day 2 Bench day
For me this is not a day to look forward too. I have a shoulder injury that needs work.So I’ll write a program that I should be able to do.

1st Exercise Flat bench Stretch and warm up
3 sets 5 reps following the same rep pattern as with day 1.
Again we’re back to control, so no bouncing the bar off the chest and for your 1st rep, pause the bar on your chest.In competition you have to hold the bar motionless on the crest before the press signal,good practice and it helps with control

2nd Exercise Reverse grip bent over rows (thumbs in front of the bar),balancing the pushing with a pulling movement.same rep range.We’ll change this in a couple of weeks

3rd Exercise Narrow bench
3 top sets, going as narrow as you can and still allow a full range of motion.There is plenty of variations of this exercise

Day 3 Deadlift Day

1st Exercise Deadlift
This is one that I look forward too, not so much at the end of the cycle though.
Again the same rep range as the other days
Deadlift conventional or sumo, your choice. I use a double over hand grip for as long as possible and only reverse my left hand when it gets heavy.
I know I keep banging on about control but with the deadlift It’s even more important. Leg drive Leg drive.

So important to use the big muscle groups (Quads/Gluts) Unless you’re a specialist a big yank off the floor will just pull you instantly out of position turning your back into a crane, something to be avoided. Bar close back straight smooth pull from the floor, lock out with the knees straight and the shoulders behind the bar.Job done!
2nd Exercise Back squat.
This is to balance a pushing movement with the pulling movement.
I’ll be doing a standing lunge down to a knee touch and I mean just a touch.I keep this fairly light.

3rd Exercise Deadlift high pull
From the starting deadlift position with a slightly wider grip pull the bar to about mid waist, Thinking about accelerating the bar once It’s past the knee’s.
Excellent for the upper back.

You’ve done week 1,  How’s it feel?

Cheers Kevin

Remember to stretch it will pay dividends tomorrow.

If you have any questions i’ll be happy to answer them if I can. Contact me

All the best with your training and if I had any advise for you it would be that no matter where you are on your journey the only person you should comparing yourself to is you.

How not to kill yourself ( strength training for masters) PART 1

How not to kill yourself ( strength training for masters) PART 2

How not to kill yourself ( strength training for masters) PART 3

Kevin Strachan

Kevin Strachan has been involved in Powerlifting and strength training for more then 30 years. He has been a NZ Champion and record holder (powerlifting) in 4 weights classes and 3 age divisions. Currently Masters (3) - 60 plus. Over the last 10 years he has dedicated his time to coaching some of NZ top powerlifters though to a world level.IPF Raw World Championships 2016 Squat - Bronze Bench - Bronze Deadlift - Bronze Total - Bronze 3 x NZ Powerlifting Master Records
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