We all know there’s no better feeling than loading up the weight bar, chalking up your hands and throwing some serious weight about. It feels great, but it’s not always productive.

When I first started training all I wanted to do was be that guy benching 140kg for reps that everyone stops and watches in the gym. This kind of strength doesn’t come from repeatedly bench pressing like I was. I’m sure most 1st time lifter’s make this mistake starting out, but with knowledge comes power!

So I’m going to give you a run through one of my strength and power day workouts. When it comes to strength training I like to keep it simple and most importantly full body strength, the goal isn’t just to improve bench or squat. It’s to create some serious full body strength gains.

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The workout

The workouts only ever tend to feature 3 – 4 main exercises but these are then broken down into parts to maximise strength and technique at each stage of the main movements as well as explosive bodyweight movements.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with 2 incredible guys that changed my views on strength training massively one, a guy who coached Olympic lifters and another guy who was coach and ex member of the British powerlifting squad. Now if you can’t learn a thing or two from them then you need your ears cleaning out.

Full body strength workout to tighten up

The 4 main movements

Starting with probably the most famous and the most used of the Olympic lifts Clean & Press. This exercise has always worked wonders for me although tricky to nail on the technique. Then we’ve got the power lifter’s bread and butter exercises deadlift, squat and bench press.

As far as rep range goes I tend to stay within 1-5 reps each set depending on the load. Most of my strength workouts start at 5 reps and decrease with each set, this is because although I’m aiming to improve strength I’m still looking to create some hypertrophy and keep my body fat levels down.

Trying to gain full body strength as well as keeping an aesthetic physique isn’t always easy, but if you plan your weights and rep ranges right it can work.

So here it is:

I warm-up with 2 – 3 sets of 3 – 5 reps of each exercise before starting on the sets.

Exercise 1

Rep range % of 1RM 5 reps 80% 4 reps 85% 3 reps 90% 2 reps 95% 1 rep 100%
Front squat
High pull
Clean & Press

3 main points I’d like to mention are:

1. Make sure you’re elbows tuck under when catching the bar, I usually rack the bar and stretch my elbows under a few times before I start this workout. The front squat will also help with getting comfortable in this position.

2. Ensure you’re getting the triple extension with each repetition. These are at the ankleknee and hip.

3. Finally look for the 5 key phases during your lift.

Upward movement phase: first pull
Upward movement phase: transition scoop
Upward movement phase: second pull
Upward movement phase: catch
Downward movement phase

Exercise 2

Rep range % of 1RM 5 reps 80% 4 reps 85% 3 reps 90% 2 reps 95% 1 rep 100%
Plyometric Push-up          
Bench Press          

When benching for strength I change my technique slightly and take some pointers from the power lifters.Firstly I like to set myself up differently, so my grip will come in slightly. Not as extreme as a close grip bench but still not a regular bench press position.

I also set with a slight arch in my back, again not to an extreme like a power lifter.Finally a technique I was taught by my friend the Olympic lifting coach, The Bend when I explain this to people I feel a little Uri Geller but it works so stay with me.

As you lower the bar to your chest imagine you’re trying to bend the bar and bring your elbows in to your sides. You’ll find if you try this without any weight you’re arms spring back out, the elasticity in your muscles at its best.

Exercise 3

Rep range % of 1RM 5 reps 80% 4 reps 85% 3 reps 90% 2 reps 95% 1 rep 100%
Hip thrusts          
Deadlift          

I use the hip thrust alongside deadlifts as this not only increases strength in the glutes but it also improves the thrust that is crucial for getting that final lockout during your deadlift.

Exercise 4

Rep range % of 1RM 5 reps 80% 4 reps 85% 3 reps 90% 2 reps 95% 1 rep 100%
Box squat          
Squat          

I like using box squats in my strength workouts as it encourages a strict technique which becomes increasingly more important as the weight increases, which is after all what we are looking to do.

It also requires you to pause at the bottom of the movement which in turn recruits more muscle fibres, which again is going to increase your strength.

Why not combine this workout with a Fat Shred diet plan that will help you get awesomely shredded!

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