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Monday, March 4, 2024
HomeBody Building SupplementsLive Strong, Live Long: The Workout Plan - T NATION+ - COMMUNITY

Live Strong, Live Long: The Workout Plan – T NATION+ – COMMUNITY


Live Strong, Live Long: The Workout Plan

Combine full-body strength training with the right kind of conditioning workouts to build the ultimate healthy physique. Here’s how.


Lifting like a bodybuilder works for a while. But eventually, you’ll need a blend of full-body strength training with aerobic conditioning to get you where you want to go.

Aerobic conditioning? Yes. It’s the nonnegotiable low-hanging fruit. It builds the foundation for recovery, resilience, leanness, and work capacity. So commit to at least two conditioning sessions per week, even if that means performing one less strength session.

And when it comes to full-body training, you can cover all of your bases in three strength sessions per week. That means less time in the gym and more time doing life stuff.

If you’re not convinced about aerobic conditioning or full-body training, scroll down to see why they’re nonnegotiable if you’re trying to achieve your ultimate physique and health.

The Workouts

There are many ways to do full-body training, but WHERE you train (home or commercial gym) influences how these workouts are structured. If you don’t have a gym membership, no problem. I’ve included home and commercial gym options. Both templates include conditioning.

If you train at a big gym, use sets with one exercise at a time out of courtesy and convenience. If you train from home, using circuits allows you to maximize efficiency. Choose the one that works for you.

Here are a few exercise options for the workouts to follow:

Sample Template: Home Gym

Monday – Full-Body Strength

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Squat 5 5 20 sec.
A2. Row 5 8 20 sec.
A3. Vertical Press 5 5 20 sec.
A4. Hinge (Glute Ham Raise) 5 5 2-3 min.
B. Loaded Carry 3 200 ft. 2 min.

Tuesday – Mixed Aerobic Conditioning

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Air Bike 5 20 calories
A2. Rower 5 20 calories
A3. Air Squats 5 20
A4. Light Kettlebell Swings 5 20 60-90 sec.

Wednesday – Full-Body Strength

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Horizontal Press 5 5 20 sec.
A2. Hinge 5 8 20 sec.
A3. Single-Leg Squat 5 8/side 20 sec.
A4. Horizontal Row 5 8 2-3 min.
B. Pallof Press 3 10-12/side 1 min.

Thursday – Aerobic Conditioning

Do 30-60 minutes of cyclical work at 60-70% of max heart rate. Mix in bodyweight work every 8-10 minutes. This can be different or similar to Tuesday’s workout.

Friday – Full-Body Strength

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Speed Hinge (Trap Bar Deadlift) 5 5 45 sec.
A2. Speed (Plyo) Push-Up 5 5 45 sec.
B1. Single-Leg Squat 3 8-10/side 45 sec.
B2. Vertical Pull 3 8-10 45 sec.
C1. Turkish Get-Up 3 1/side 30 sec.
C2. Direct Triceps Exercise 3 12-15 30 sec.

Saturday – Mixed Aerobic Conditioning

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Gorilla Row 5 8-10
A2. Kettlebell Clean 5 8-10
A3. Kettlebell Thruster 5 8-10
A4. Kettlebell Overhead Carry 5 100 ft.
A5. SkiErg or Rower 5 20 calories 2-3 min.

Additional Guidelines

Do these workouts for 4 weeks before changing up the exercises. Use a proper warm-up and cooldown for each session. What’s listed here are “work sets,” so make sure to warm up or ramp up with 1-3 sets first.

The goal each week is to go towards the higher end of the rep scheme or to increase loads slightly each week with fewer reps in reserve each week.

Make Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday conditioning sessions relatively easy, falling around 70% of your max heart rate. Saturday’s conditioning session is optional.

Sample Template: Commercial Gym

Monday – Full-Body Strength

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A. Squat (75% of 1RM) 3 5 2-3 min.
B. Hinge 3 8-10 90-120 sec.
C1. Vertical Press 3 10-12 1 min.
C2. Chin-up Variation 3 * 1 min.
D. Loaded Carry 3 200 ft. 2 min.

* one rep shy of failure

Tuesday – Aerobic Conditioning

Do 30-60 minutes of cyclical work using these options:

  • Stairmaster x 10-20 minutes
  • Incline Treadmill x 10-20 minutes
  • Elliptical x 10-20 minutes

Go at a conversational pace that keeps you around 60-70% of max heart rate.

Wednesday – Full-Body Strength

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A. Horizontal Press (75% of your 1RM) 3 5 2-3 min.
B. Horizontal Row 3 10-12 90-120 sec.
C. Single-Leg Squat 3 8-10/side 20 sec.
D. Back Raise 3 20-30 1 min.

Thursday – Aerobic Conditioning

Do 30-60 minutes of zone-2 conditioning. Mix in bodyweight work every 8-10 minutes. This can be different than Tuesday’s conditioning work or similar. Go at a conversational pace that keeps you around 60-70% of max heart rate.

Friday – Full Body Strength

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A. Trap Bar RDL 4 8-10 2 min.
B. Goblet Squat 3 12-15 60-90 sec.
C. Machine Chest Press 3 12-15 90 sec.
D. Lat Pulldown 3 12-15 1 min.
E. Turkish Get-Up 3 1/side 1 min.

Saturday – Mixed Aerobic Conditioning

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Gorilla Row 5 8-10
A2. Kettlebell Clean 5 8-10
A3. Kettlebell Thruster 5 8-10
A4. Kettlebell Overhead Carry 5 100 ft.
A5. SkiErg or Rower 5 20 calories 2-3 min.

Additional Guidelines

The guidelines are the same as the home-gym split.

Saturday’s conditioning can mirror what you did on Tuesday and Thursday. Or, if you’re comfortable with it, try using a combination of kettlebell swings, cleans, snatches, and thrusters with a cyclical piece like an air bike. Need more guidance? Check out Metcon for Size and Strength.

Not Sold on Full-Body Training Yet?

Each full-body session includes training the foundational moves: squat or single-leg squat, hinge, press, and pull. Here’s what full-body training does:

  • Maximizes your time. If you get busy, you need a training plan that’s flexible, not rigid.
  • Improves mobility. You’ll be training all of the foundational movements in each session, so you’ll be consistently improving overall mobility.
  • Improves body comp. The increased frequency of hitting all muscle groups will allow for systemic muscle growth and even some fat loss.

Why Not Just Lift Weights Faster?

It’s not a substitute for aerobic training because it doesn’t provide the same benefits. The right dose of aerobic training actually improves strength and hypertrophy gains.

Recovery requires oxygen and nutrients to fuel the process. If you have better aerobic fitness, your ability to bring more oxygen and nutrients to skeletal muscle will be higher. (You develop more capillaries, which are like having more roads to reach more surface area.)

More aerobic fitness also means more mitochondria and therefore more factories to process the oxygen to generate more energy for repair.

When lifting weights faster, the adaptations in the heart are not the same. Lifting weights thickens cavity walls, whereas cyclical work (running, rowing, biking, etc.) in the 60-70% of max heart rate stretches cavity walls.

Another thing? Lifting weights faster for longer durations is simply not sustainable. To maintain the same level of cardiac output – a product of heart rate and stroke volume – a key component to getting the most from your aerobic work is that it’s somewhat easy and done at a pace you can sustain for longer durations.

Lastly, when lifting weights, blood pressure rises to maintain muscular contractions. This reduces stroke volume and, therefore, restricts blood flow back to the heart. This results in your heart rate increasing, which inhibits stretching and takes away from the results we’re after.

Can you improve qualities like strength and endurance with things like complexes? Sure, but the intent takes precedence, and if your goal is to improve recovery, work capacity, and how long you live, then devote time to aerobic conditioning.

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