Name Significance: The dragon as the guardian of the cave, represents this fear and the obstacles that stand in the way of the hero's goal. In many stories, the dragon is depicted as a formidable and powerful creature, representing the challenges and difficulties that the hero must face in order to achieve success. By facing and defeating the dragon, the hero can overcome these challenges and emerge victorious. “You don’t get the gold without the dragon.”
Intent: Onboarding to fundamental barbell training with all primary lifts covered: squat, deadlift, bench press, push press, hang clean, and power clean. Also focused on increasing metabolic conditioning and aerobic capacity.
Equipment Needed: This program was designed to be completed in a decently equipped garage gym. All of the primary workouts can be complete with a squat rack, barbell, plates (bumper preferred), dumbbells, kettlebells, jump rope, way to do pullups and an alternate means of cardio (rower/assault bike).
Additional alternate forms of cardio are listed and recommended for active recovery, specifically ellipticals and stairmasters. While most garage gyms, do not have this level of equipment, if you have a history of knee or any lower body issues the investment is strongly recommended.
This program can be easily completed in any commercial gym that has squat racks and lifting platforms. If you are new to barbell lifting, some may hesitate joining an actual strength or more hardcore gym. This is usually a misnomer since the strongest people you meet are usually the nicest – it doesn’t take a lot of energy or strength to be an asshole or lose your temper, but sometimes it will take all your strength to be kind.
Experience Needed: A general working knowledge of proper lifting form but could be executed by a relative beginner. Also suited for moderate to advanced lifters that are getting back into the groove.
Length/Frequency: 8 weeks, 5 training days per week. Recommend a 3-2 split, with recommended active recovery.
Design: Deliberate set, rep, and RPE progression with higher rep/sets and lower RPE at the beginning of the program and transitioning to lower reps with increased sets and RPE as the program progresses.
Each training session consists of a warmup, mobility/stretching, specific lift/strength focus, accessory work, conditioning, and cool down.
The 6th training day of each week and the final lifting day is cleans focused. During the first 4 weeks of the program are hang cleans and transition to power cleans. This intentional transition enables the lifter to develop technique before increasing the range of motion.
Concept: Key to the proper execution of this program is attention to the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) that is listed next to each exercise.
Each day of lifting has a primary lift, where the lifter is directed to “build to a heavy single” or “build to a heavy double.” These are not intended as maxes; a max effort is denoted by RPE 10 and not of the “build to a…” have a RPE greater than 9.
Must note that a limit on sets to build to your heavy single or double. Again, this is to call out that this is not a bro-out max lifting session with 10 sets to get a PR. Having a constraint of 4 or 5 sets will teach you how to best “build” to a heavy weight and will become second nature.
As an example, here is a general build to 315 single in sets: 135 x 5, 185 x 5, 225 x 3, 275 x 2, 315 x 1
Note the plate progression (on each side): 135 (45), 185 (45 + 25), 225 (2 x 45), 275 (2 x 45 + 25), 315 (3 x 45).
Limited plate shuffling throughout the build, leading to increased speed and efficiency.
In some instances, you may not need all of your building sets. This is especially true for beginner, since there may not be that much of a high end to build to in the first place. That is perfectly fine – start where you are. If you consistently push yourself, the numbers will go up.
The routine building to a heavy amount each lifting day enable the lifter to recruit and develop their true strength. From a high level, when heavier weight is lifted, it requires a lot more of your muscle fibers to activate in
the body, which then releases hormones in the body which in turn leads to strength gains. By doing this, you are essentially developing your neurological system or Central Nervous System (CNS).
While no warmup sets are specifically programmed for accessory exercises, they are strongly encouraged and are a best practice. The PDF workbook allows for proper tracking of both warmup and working sets through the program.