Day ONE

by paulnewt on September 17, 2013

It’s been awhile since I have been posting regularly to the blog.  There is a reason for that.  I had an “incident” last October (October 2012) that almost resulted in my death.  I have debated back in forth in my mind whether or not to relate that experience to you, dear reader, on this blog site.  Is it an appropriate forum to do so?  Does anyone really care to hear the details?  Is there a lesson to learned by what I went through?  These sort of debates still rage on in my mind.

PNTS 4daysplit visualThis blog post with be the first of a series detailing what I will call, for lack of a more imaginative name, The Paul Newt Training System.  This system is an exercise program that I have tweaked, evolved, and perfected over a period of nearly 30 years.  What is prompting me to write up my training system right here, right now, is a close friend.  Special ackowledgement here to my good friend Jamie Desmarais who has lost 80+ since 1/1/2013 and who asks me nearly everyday I see him, “So… if I’m doing (blank) today, which exercise should I start with?”, “What should I do for reps?”, etc.  Thank you Jamie, for motivating me to write here on this blog again.

I would like to begin with defining the program starting with the underlying element of conventional strength training and the fundamental split routine design it follows.  It is a “4 day split” (the entire body is trained over the course of 4 specific training days).

Here is the 4-day split of the Paul Newt Training System.

Day 1: Quads, Calves, Core, BLDL – max squat
Day 2:  Chest, Lats (forearms, RC) – speed press/max pull
Day 3: Hams, Traps (calves, core), SLDL – speed squat
Day 4: Triceps, Biceps, Shoulders – max press/speed pull

The next decision to make is your workout frequency.  The default is 2 days on, 1 day off, with days off falling before each “leg” day (days 1 and 3).  This would look like:

Day 1 : Quads, Calves, Core, BLDL – max squat
Day 2:  Chest, Lats (forearms, RC) – speed press/max pull
Day OFF
Day 3: Hams, Traps (calves, core), SLDL – speed squat
Day 4: Triceps, Biceps, Shoulders – max press/speed pull
Day OFF
(repeat)

Although this is the default frequency, other frequency plans can work well.  Jamie, for example, is interested in having weekends off, so his frequency of 5 days on, 2 days off, on a weekly schedule may look like this:

Monday: Chest, Lats (forearms, RC) – speed press/max pull
Tuesday: Hams, Traps (calves, core), SLDL – speed squat
Wednesday: Triceps, Biceps, Shoulders – max press/speed pull
Thursday: Quads, Calves, Core, BLDL – max squat
Friday: Chest, Lats (forearms, RC) – speed press/max pull
Saturday and Sunday off.  Next week would start with “Hams, Traps (calves, core), SLDL – speed squat“, and follow logically.

 

Additionally, this could become a weekly “set schedule” routine if Jamie chose to do no weights on Wednesday in favor of doing 30-45 on the elliptical (sidenote: it is my opinion that the elliptical as an exercise device has ZERO value.  Choose steep incline treadmill and walk without holding onto the rails, or choose the stairmill for a wiser investment of your time).

Regardless of my opinions about cardio, the set schedule with Wednesdays and Weekends off, might look like this:

Monday: Chest, Lats (forearms, RC) – speed press/max pull
Tuesday: Hams, Traps (calves, core), SLDL – speed squat
Wednesday: Cardio
Thursday: Triceps, Biceps, Shoulders – max press/speed pull
Friday: Quads, Calves, Core, BLDL – max squat
Weekends OFF

 

While we are on the subject of workout frequency and ”off”days, now is as good a time as any to tell you that I don’t believe in “off” days.  If you don’t have one of the core days scheduled (day 1,2,3, or 4), then you might do a mini (mini-sessions will be explained later).  Or you might do cardio.  Or you might do yoga.  Or Tai Chi.  Or your “off” days might be what mine currently are: 40-45 sets of squats and olympic lifts (snatch and clean&jerk).  My point is that you are better served doing something.  Anything that causes blood flow.  It’s better to move about than to ride the couch.

Don’t even ask me about overtraining.  I have been asked about overtraining and seen overtraining discussed by the various “experts” out there for a long, long time, and my tolerance for this foolishness at an all time low.  I’ve never seen ANYONE overtrain.   If you want to believe in it, keep it to yourself.

Workout.  Everyday.  Succeed.

So now that I have flushed out the split and the frequency, back to “Day ONE”.    Day 1 in this program is, actually, LEGS.  Day 1 is legs because I have given legs priority in this program.  Whatever you place first in a training split has priority.  Whatever you train first on a training day has priority.  Whatever you train first after an “off” day will be fresh.  So, SQUATS are Day 1, Exercise 1, after an off day.  Why?  Legs are the foundation to your whole program.  SQUATS ARE THE DRIVER TO YOUR DEVELOPMENT.  Every time you squat you use more than 22 muscle groups.  Nothing changes the body as quickly as squats.

More specifically, Day 1 is Quadriceps, Calves, Core and BLDLs (Bent-Legged Dead Lifts).   Additionally, this is where you would place your “max” legs day, or your “heavy” legs day.  Days 1 and 3 are programmed to play off each other, but more about that later.  Walking in the gym on Day 1, your only thoughts should be “which type of squat and I going to work on today”.  Your max squat may only be learning to squat to a low box with good form because you have horrible flexibility or an injury, but SO BE IT.  Everybody starts somewhere and your progress will be cumulative, so get to work.  You cannot go wrong by investing your time in many many sets of nice, deep squats.

I have personally worked with MANY clients that, because of injury or other issues, needed to start with just body weight squats to a box.  Squatting to a box is a segue to squatting full depth (Ass to The Grass).  The RESTORATIVE value of squats is AMAZING.  Clients with bad knees, backs, hips, etc… all improved under my guidance utilizing squats.  FACT.  If you insist you cannot squat because you have “bad knees”, or a “bad back”, or whatever, you are only CHEATING YOURSELF out of a life of function and mobility.  This is a another FACT, like the FACT I mentioned about “overtraining” that is not debatable.  If you want to believe that squats are bad for you and that “overtraining” exists, that’s fine, just get away from me and go enjoy your life of mediocrity somewhere else, I am not willing to even politely entertain that type of bullshit anymore.  The argument against squats and idea of overtraining was OLD 20 years ago.  Now talking about it is just a complete waste of time.  ‘Nuff said.

TYPES OF SQUATS

In the words of Louie Simmons, “there are over 140 different types of squats”.  You job on Day 1 is to pick the squat that has the highest value for you.  Mastery of the squat is fundamental to your success in the gym.  Some squats are more technically difficult than others.  Front squats are generally more technically difficult than Back Squats.  If an exercise is more technically difficult, it has higher central nervous system demand.  Central nervous system demand and number of reps per set are inversely related.

If your form is not so great, drop the number of reps per set and perform more sets.  If you need a lot of practice with an exercise, drop the reps all the way down to 1 rep per set if necessary.  Perform a minimum of 15 sets if you are performing 1 rep per set.  Other options include 12 sets of 2 reps, and 9 sets of 3 reps.

Understand that thousands, if not 10s of thousands, of repetitions are necessary to master any (squat) movement.  Be patient with yourself, but be diligent and consistent.  It will happen in time.   After a year of consistent, diligent work, you will amaze yourself.

 

Quick NOTES:

MAX PRESS LIST (example):

  1. Floor Press +200 Chain for a 1 rep max
  2. Standing BTN press for a 5 rep max
  3. Football Bar press for a 1 rep max
  4. Band Press with reds double-yoked for a 3 rep max
  5. Illegally Wides for a 6 rep max.  It’s a 6 rep max for a reason.  Not a 1 rep max.  Unless you like to increase the possibility of a torn pec.
  6. 3 Board Press for a 3 rep max.  *Special note: set up this exercise inside a power cage with the safety bars set at an appropriate height.  If you happen to miss a weight, land the bar low on the board, directly above your diaphagm, and push the bar slightly towards the feet.  This will prevent the barbell from rolling toward your neck and abrupting “see-sawing” the board.  This exercise is slightly dangerous- you’ve been warned.  Perform at your own risk.

Systematically changing the type of press each MAX day is based on The Conjugate Method of Westside Barbell’s Louie Simmons.  Another way of saying we are using The Conjugate Method on the MAX day(s) is to say, “we are conjugating the lift” each time we MAX – picking a similar lift to the core lift for the sake of continual forward progress.

Add new max presses and/or subtract these max presses at your discretion.  You may also decide to change the order.  There are over 140 variations of the press.  Find the presses that have the highest value for YOU.

 Let’s talk about the SPEED PRESS for a sec…

The speed day, or the “dynamic” day is going to seem a little counter intuitive at first, but once you get the principle it will make sense to you.  The key concept on the speed day is SPEED.  As in we don’t want to see a LOSS OF BAR SPEED on this day.  You are looking for the optimal relationship between the weight on the bar and the speed of the bar.  Most guys, including myself, will make the error of loading too much weight to the bar on this day.  The reps should be FAST, but CONTROLLED.  3 reps should take 1.5 seconds.  Think about that.  The reps should be CRISP.  On the other hand, the bar weight needs to be significant.  According to Louie, this should be 50-60% of your 1 rep max.  It is going to take a minute to find your ideal weight… and as you get stronger on the MAX press day, this speed weight is going to change slightly.

The 3 grips…

Not only should you be focusing on clean, crisp weight at an ideal weight, but you will also be using 3 different width grips on the speed press day, each grip separated by a minimum of 2 inches of hand placement, per hand.

 

That’s all for now.

To be continued….

 

 

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