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Saturday, March 2, 2024
HomeBody Building SupplementsThe Triple-Threat Workout Program - T NATION Plus - COMMUNITY

The Triple-Threat Workout Program – T NATION Plus – COMMUNITY


Get Strong, Muscular & Athletic

Build strength, athleticism, and muscle at the same time. It’s possible with the right training plan. Here’s how to do it.


Most lifters want strength, athleticism, and muscle. Here are the strategies to boost all three and a sample program to help you get there.

Strategy One: Build and Maintain a Base of Strength

Strength is the cornerstone of athleticism and size. It lays the foundation for explosive movements and is crucial for excelling in activities that demand speed and agility. But there are two different categories of strength:

  1. Absolute Strength: This refers to the maximum amount of force exerted regardless of muscle or body size. It’s typically measured by the maximum amount of weight you can lift for one rep – your 1RM.

  2. Relative Strength: Relative strength is your strength in relation to your body size. The stronger you are for your size, the easier it is to move your body through space – think sprints, jumping, and chin-ups.

Both forms of strength are essential. Athletic power requires you to generate strength rapidly, both when faced with heavy loads and when using your body weight. The stronger you are, the more easily you can build muscle.

Once you’ve built a base of strength, adopt a two-fold approach: Maximize muscle fiber recruitment to get the most out of training, and train with enough volume to build muscle.

Once you build your strength base, improved motor unit recruitment and work capacity allow you to stimulate more muscle fibers and handle heavier training loads. This means you can achieve greater levels of metabolic stress, mechanical tension, and muscular damage – the three primary pathways to hypertrophy.

Strategy Two: Train for Athleticism

Strength training directly improves force production and athleticism, but heavy strength work alone is incomplete. Improving power and athleticism requires two main methods:

  1. Progressively Lifting Heavier Weights: As noted above, heavy lifting develops the foundational strength needed for athletic power.

  2. Lifting Lighter Weights (or Moving Your Body) Explosively: While lifting heavy is crucial, moving your body quickly through space is equally essential. Muscle-focused individuals overlook this aspect, but it plays a vital role in enhancing overall athleticism.

Training with explosive intent when using lighter weights places a similar demand on your nervous system, recruiting muscle fibers more efficiently. This improved muscle fiber recruitment leads to greater power, speed, and force generation, ultimately potentiating your body for growth and enhanced athletic performance.

Explosive movements improve workout quality, leading to better body composition and more favorable results. These exercises prime your central nervous system (CNS), activate high-threshold motor units, and improve neuromuscular efficiency by optimizing intramuscular and intermuscular coordination.

Adding explosive exercises before heavy lifting enhances workout efficiency, improves performance, and directly builds explosive power. You do this by matching the type of explosive exercise with the primary movement pattern of the day.

A few examples:

  • If your heavy lift is a squat, do a box jump.
  • If it’s a deadlift, do a broad jump or squat jump.
  • If it’s a bench press, do plyometric push-ups.
  • For an overhead press, do med ball slams.

This helps boost intramuscular coordination before the primary strength movement.

Strategy Three: Unilateral Training

Unilateral training – lifting with only one arm or leg – is crucial for maintaining health and optimizing performance. It improves muscular imbalances. Unilateral exercises force you to strengthen weak points that, if left unchecked, lead to injuries. They’ll also challenge your core muscles to stabilize your spine and transfer force.

Unilateral training boosts performance by recruiting untapped motor units for strength, power, and muscular development. By improving motor unit recruitment, you’ll have a more significant number of muscle fibers at your disposal for your big lifts.

Strategy Four: Add Specific Hypertrophy Work

Building muscle requires a combination of mechanical tension and volume with a focus on metabolic stress. Think of the “pump” feeling you get during workouts. We’ll get plenty of activation and mechanical tension during the previously discussed strategies. The remainder of the workout requires a specific focus on driving up training volume and metabolic stress.

Here’s a general guideline for muscle-building volume:

  • Newer and Weaker Lifters: Spend more time building volume with 5-10 rep sets. The younger and weaker you are, the more muscle you’ll build with traditional strength work. Use rep schemes like 5×5, 4×6, and 4×8.

  • Stronger and More Advanced Lifters: Stronger lifters have a greater strength base and generate more mechanical tension with heavier loads. Therefore, they benefit from higher-rep sets and classic bodybuilding techniques to create metabolic stress: rep schemes like 4×10, 8, 6, or 20; 4×15; 5×10-12, etc.

Strategy Five: Adopt the Perfect Training Split

The key to a triple-threat physique is strategically placing each component into a plan while factoring in total training volume and recoverability. The issue many lifters run into is doing way too much, never recovering, and therefore never growing stronger, bigger, or better.

To optimize your split, stimulate the physiological processes required for these objectives while ensuring adequate recovery for your CNS and joints. A well-structured split allows for consistent training, the key to long-term progress. I prefer an upper-lower training split.

The Triple-Threat Workout

Here’s what to expect from each workout:

  • An athletic/power movement to boost muscle fiber recruitment and athleticism.
  • A strength movement focused on driving up maximal strength.
  • A unilateral movement to correct muscular imbalances.
  • Hypertrophy exercises to help you look great naked.

Training Split

Monday: Lower Body

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Single-Leg Hip Thrust 3 6
A2. Dumbbell Squat Jump 3 6 1 min.
B. Squat* 5 5 2-3 min.
C. Romanian Deadlift* 3 6-8 2 min.
D. Bulgarian Split Squat* 4 10-12 90 sec.
E1. Leg Press 3 12-15
E2. Leg Extension 3 12-15 2 min.

* Lower slowly for about 3 seconds, pause for a second at the bottom, then lift powerfully. This will be about a 3110 tempo.

Tuesday: Upper Body

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Subscapular Push-Up (Pause at the top for 2 seconds.) 3 6
A2. Bench Plyo Push-Up 3 6 90 sec.
B. Barbell Bench Press* 5 5 2-3 min.
C. One-Arm 45° Dumbbell Bench* 3 6-8 2 min.
D. Chest-Supported Dumbbell Row* 4 10-12 90 sec.
E1. Seated Scapular Plane Lateral Raise 3 12-15
E2. Dumbbell Skull Crusher 3 12-15 2 min.

* Lower slowly for about 3 seconds, pause for a second at the bottom, then lift powerfully. This will be about a 3110 tempo.

Wednesday: Off

Focus on mobility, then do 20-30 minutes of zone-two cardio or take a 60-minute walk.

Thursday: Lower Body

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Quadruped Fire Hydrant 3 8
A2. Broad Jump 3 3 90 sec.
B. Trap Bar Deadlift* 5 5 2-3 min.
C. Single-Leg Kettlebell RDL* 3 6-8 2 min.
D. Lateral Step-Up* 4 10-12 90 sec.
E1. Heels-Elevated Goblet Squat 3 12-15
E2. Bodyweight Step-Back Lunge 3 12/leg 2 min.

* Lower slowly for about 3 seconds, pause for a second at the bottom, then lift powerfully. This will be about a 3110 tempo.

Friday: Upper Body

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Band Dislocation 3 10
A2. Overhead Med Ball Slam 3 6 45 sec.
B. Chin-Up* 5 5 2-3 min.
C. Dip* 4 10-12 2 min.
D. One-Arm Dumbbell Row* 4 10-12 90 sec.
E. Rear Delt Flye 3 12-15 1 min.
F. Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curl 3 12 1 min.

* Lower slowly for about 3 seconds, pause for a second at the bottom, then lift powerfully. This will be about a 3110 tempo.

Saturday and Sunday: Off

Focus on mobility, do about 20-30 minutes of zone-two cardio or take a 60-minute walk.

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