My set up for the past few years has been largely based around this warm up, and the following routine:
Front Lever to Back Lever (see Dragon's Door).
I find it important to stick with the same exercises for several mesocycles (each mesocycle is usually around four weeks in duration and I will string three mesocycles together before taking a full week or so off and engage in active rest.
If I am particularly bored then I might throw in a variation on an exercise for one session in a mesocycle! But it seems to me that if you mess things up too much by changing exercises, you crush progress with that lift/movement. The time to substitute an exercise is after at least three months.
As I said above, I train in blocks of about 4 weeks (a meso-cycle), and after repeating the mesocycle three times, I then take a week off doing something like swimming or walking instead (active rest). Sometimes I will extend the meso-cycle to six weeks if I am doing RPT or 5x5 training.
Varying modality is a good way of reinvigorating your routine and sustaining interest. This is principally through manipulating sets, reps, weight and rest times along one of three modalities; 531, RPT and 5x5.
- 531 - A strength training phase lasting 4 weeks - however I sometimes loop through two of these with an aim of equalling my previous RM at the end of the first four-week cycle, and then beating my RM at the end of the second four-week cycle. 531 - For strength!
- RPT - Reverse Pyramid Training. This normally lasts for about 4-6 weeks. RPT - Leangains offers a great summary of this approach.
- 5x5 Sets Across - A 4-6 week cycle where I keep the weights constant throughout all 5 sets and the rests down to one minute. 5x5 Sets Across - Lyle offers sound advice here.
- Sometimes I work on pushing up to 8 reps of each set before I look to increase the weight (and go back down to 5 reps each set)
- Sometimes I chose a weight in which I fail to hit 55555 in week one and look to get all the reps by week four (for example, staring on a weight that allows 54321).
So after a period of working an exercise I will swap it out. My favoured variations are:
- Deadlifts -> Deadlift off a Deficit (using lighter weights)
- Chin Ups (palms inwards) -> (Assisted) One Armers or Pull Ups (palms outwards)
- Squats -> Pistols (single-leg squats)
- Walk On Hands -> Handstands
- Sprints -> Vary the distance (between 50-150m), mix up the rests (60s-120s), and mix sets(3-5)
- Watch your technique!
- Eat well and heartily - avoid junk food or highly processed food, and don't drink your calories.
- As a general rule at at least 2g of quality protein for every kg of lean body mass each day! Animal protein is best.
- Take a week off after three consecutive meso-cycles.
- Always de-load in the first week of a meso-cycle by using lighter weights than you would normally do (use this time to work on your technique).
- Keep a record of what you lift every session for every exercise and modality variation.
- Consistency matters.