JTF’s Mount Crushmore Workout Plan Pt. 2

Last week we covered Part 1. Catch up if you need to.

One of my favorite clients is a young lady that works at a dentist’s office. She’s a hard worker, she’s hungry for progress and she isn’t afraid to sweat to reach her goals. In the short time that we’ve worked together, I’ve noticed a definite change in her confidence, her appearance and in her actual strength. It’s an amazing thing to get to witness!

While I brag on her every chance I get, I often use her as an example to illustrate one of the aspects of the weight room a lot of folks either don’t realize or simply don’t utilize. When you work a full-time job, have a family or anything in between, you’re going to have really bad days. It’s really a shit thing to have to accept but at the end of the day, we can’t change who our family is (genetically, at least) and we can’t change our careers at the drop of the hat no matter how badly we wish we could (says the guy that still works full time for the Corporate Machine while trying to make it as a personal trainer).

With that said, it’s really easy to come in to the weight room and bitch about your day to whomever will listen. My client often gripes about her week at work and other things that are bothering her and she often immediately apologizes.

And I always tell her to quit apologizing to me. I’m happy to listen. It’s part of what the weight room is for. If you’re stressed to the max, metal-thrashing mad or Brady Bunch happy, you can bring that into the weight room. I think it’s important to work out everything while you’re there and there’s no better way to work out something that’s on your mind than talking it out while you’re throwing something heavy over your head.

To draw from something the great Henry Rollins famously wrote: the day can suck despite having a job at a place that pays your bills so you can exist and gives you benefits, your coworkers can play the dog-eat-dog game behind your back while bringing you cookies and smiling, your significant other can promise you the world and be secretly using you … but in the weight room, 100 pounds is 100 pounds. It will never be anything else. That’s something you can count on. And that’s an environment you can feel safe in while working it all out. No filters, no apologies, yelling at the weight if you need to.*

*Just don’t set off the Lunk Alarm.

Anyway, let’s lift some weights.


Workout 2, the Rundown

  • Core Lift: Squats
  • Assistance Lift: Deadlifts
  • Core Lift: Pull-Ups
  • Assistance Lift: Push-Ups
  • Optional Arm Circuit: Overhead Triceps Extension

Let’s talk about it.

Week 1: The 5 in 5/3/1

I’ve already talked about this formula but for this workout some things are different. Right out the gate, we’re just switching workout 1’s light squats for light deadlifts; heavy deadlifts for heavy squats.

For these lifts, we’ll continue to follow the 5/3/1 plan with the Boring but Big accessory. Week one we do squats 5 x 5 with one set being the bar, one set being 40% 1RM, then 65%, 75% and 85%. Deadlifts will follow at 6 x 10 with set 1 being just the bar, sets 2-6 being at 50% 1RM.

After that, you’ll notice there’s only bodyweight work left re: core and assistance. There’s no 1RM here so I’ve just set a number of sets and reps. For the first phase of this program, I’ve chosen to go with pull-ups at 3 x 5, push-ups at 3 x 10. This is where you can get creative! For time’s sake, I like to superset these moves OR you can make it all one big move! Lately I’ve been doing 1 pull-up, then dropping for 2 push-ups until I’ve hit 5 and 10 reps.

Just get the reps in however you want.

Finally, the arms circuit — it’s all triceps today! All you need is a little space and a rack full of dumbbells for the first three weeks of the program.

We’re going to “run the rack” as high as we can go. At my TITLE Boxing Club, our dumbbells range from 5 pounds to 60 pounds.

  • Begin with the smallest weight possible (in my case, 5 pounds) and knock out 10 reps of overhead extensions.
  • Without rest, replace the weight just used on the rack, pick up the next heaviest weight and continue repping out 10 reps.
  • When you reach a weight you can no longer do 10 reps at, attempt 7 and keep moving.
  • When you reach a weight you can no longer do 7 reps at, attempt 5 and keep moving.
  • If you can’t do 5, do 3. If you can’t do 3, do 1.
  • The first half of this progression ends when you either get to a weight that you can only do once OR you run out of dumbbells. Once you’re at this point, take a 3-minute break.
  • Once rested, do it all again … just in reverse! Start with the heaviest weight and work your way down. You’ll be able to do more reps at the higher weights than you could the first time!

Week 2: the 3 in 5/3/1

Squats are now 2 sets of 5, again, with just the bar and then 40% as a warm-up. Sets 3-5 are working sets of 3 reps at 70%, 80% and 90% 1RM.

Deadlifts are 6 sets of 10 again with the first being a warm-up of just the bar followed by 5 working sets at 60% 1RM.

Push-ups and pull-ups remain unchanged. Same for the triceps circuit.

Week 3: The 5/3/1 in 5/3/1

Squats keep the 2 sets of 5 at the bar and 40% 1RM as a warm-up. Working sets include a set of 5 at 75%, 3 at 85% and 1 at 95%. Get plenty of rest between sets! I sometimes take as long as 3 minutes.

Deadlifts keep the first set of 10 at just the bar but sets 2-6 are 10 reps at 70% 1RM.

Again, push-ups, pull-ups and triceps remain unchanged.

Week 4: Deload

Squats go to 4 sets of 5 with a warm-up set (bar) then 3 working sets of 5 at 40%, 50% and 60%.

Deadlifts disappear but are replaced with a hamstring curl variety. I prefer to use the TRX bands!

Pull-ups and Push-Ups remain the same.

And just like with Workout 1’s biceps portion during week 4, the triceps circuit for week 4 is the wild wild west — do anything you like! Just burn those little freaks!


After you do 4 weeks of the program, start it over! Only we add 5 pounds to everything upper body, add 10 pounds to everything lower body. You can either add reps OR sets to the pull-ups and push-ups.

I’m also working on a brand new biceps/triceps circuit to start implementing. Maybe I’ll share those in the coming weeks?

Anyway. Throw the weights around, bitch in the weight room, slam some protein, get your flex on.

Ever onward, fellow Heathens.

-JTF

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