I wrote a couple of months back that I was trialling a new plan that I had written, well I’ve been doing this since and it’s safe to say that it’s a plan I’m really enjoying and so are my training mates. It is partly inspired by Neil Bendner’s CC Sheets and uses sets and reps taken from Paul Wade and Al Kavadlo’s Building Mass and Building Strength blog posts. With this plan the progressions standards from Convict Conditioning are gone but I’ve been adding a lot of extra steps of progression in to balance this out. Mainly using the hidden steps from CC but also introducing some of my own progressions which I’ve found through practise.
Warmup and Active Stretching
This stage is just to get us ready for the workout, this will typically include some mobility work, the CC2 trifector or sometimes even a mini game if we have enough people.
Hard Sets (2 x 1-5reps)
Here we’re aiming to get some of the harder skills or exercises out of the way whilst our body is still fresh. Typically I will do 2-3 different exercises, all of which will be a level harder than my working sets, a 1-2 rep max exercise is perfect for this stage, once we can do 5 it’s time to make the exercise more difficult.
Working Sets (4 x 5reps or 2 x 12+)
These sets are the main focus of our workout and will typically have 2-4 different exercises. If our goal is strength then we go for 4 x 5 reps, this allows us to focus on a harder exercise and train the nervous system to get used to the movement. If we manage 4 x 5 with correct form and full range of motion then we make the exercise harder next time.
If our goal is muscle mass then we’re only going to do 2 sets, the first will be 12 reps, then the second will be to train to failure. If our first set we manage 12 and 12 or more in the second set then next time we make the exercise more difficult. This has had a lot less testing that the strength set as I always train for strength as do most of my training mates, but this follows the logic written by Paul Wade and other material that I have read but any feedback on this would be welcome.
Medium Sets (Optional)
This set I generally only do if we have time during our lunch break or for those who finish the working sets before others. This will involve some easier versions of the exercises we’ve been performing or variations, typical rep and set range is 2 x 10-20 reps.
This is any extra work we might want to do, in my Tuesdays we usually do Isometric pullups and pushups, Thursdays is always grip work and Fridays we do a circuit which we stick to for 4 weeks before I write a new one.
Since switching to this plan I’ve managed my first muscle up, ring muscle up (which I practise in the Hard Sets) and made very good progress with both my one arm pushups and pullups. At the beginner end of the training spectrum, one of my mates who has recentely joined my training sessions is finding the low rep high sets perfect for working on pullups (using exercise bands, he then uses a harder one every time he progresses). It should also be noted that whilst I use this training plan for calisthenics, it could easily be adapted for weightlifting and I’m sure would produce good results.
I’ll write up some of my training plans and extra progressions in some of my following blog posts.