Let’s Talk Details

1. The Plan
2. Your Job
3. Videos


The Plan

Key Exercises

Dumbbell Flat Bench (Key)

Incline Dumbbell Flye (Key)

Barbell Row (Pause) (Key)

Wide-grip Cable Row (Key)

Hack Squat (Key)

Medium-grip Barbell Flat Bench (Key)

Barbell Overhead Press (Key)

Wide Pull-ups (Key)

Add sets to these key exercises first when you are planning your workout. The accessory movements are not as important for you to add sets to because they can add extra fatigue too fast.

It is imperative that you focus on developing your form with these exercises to maximize the stimulus and have the best progressions week to week possible. Form is foundational to everything else.

View more cues on the movements in the section “Videos” to further improve your form. Cues are the secret to getting your body to move the way you want it to.

Visualize your form often. When you get to the gym, the only thing that changes is the weight because your form should look just like how you practiced on every single rep

Here are some more tips for your key lifts:

Dumbbell Flat Bench – The goal is to build the chest of a demi-god. This means you want to sink each rep to get as deep as possible of a stretch on the chest without putting yourself into a dangerous position. Make sure to pull the chest up and elbows back at the bottom of each rep. Instead of thinking of pressing the weight away from you, think about driving your back into the bench by pushing into the weight. Further, you can use leg drive to push your back into the bench harder and get more rigidity and power out of your technique.

Incline Dumbbell Flye – Similar to the dumbbell flat bench, you want a deep stretch. As you lower the weight, I recommend you keep your elbows under your wrists to protect your joints. As you bring the dumbbells together, do not touch the weights together. Instead, finish each rep with the weight above the shoulders and flex the chest by pushing the back into the bench.

Barbell Row (Pause) – It is very enticing to want to use a lot of leg drive and lift the weight more with momentum than your back. Instead, you want to limit the leg drive by keeping your hips back and maintaining their position. The upper body may go from horizontal to more vertical as you row the weight, but keep in mind that the more your body moves, the less you are lifting the weight with your own muscle. The goal is to move the upper body just enough to make the strength curve comfortable for your body structure. This means that you should standardize how much you move your body based on how well you feel the contraction of the weight. From time to time, try to lift previous weights with less upper body movement overtime and that will be a great metric to assess growth.

Wide-grip Cable Row – If you are interested in hitting your lats and lower traps, row lower towards your stomach. If you are interested in hitting your upper back and traps, then row higher towards your chest. Regardless of what you do, make sure you are getting your elbows back. Remember that this is not meant to be as heavy as your barbell row so pick the weight that challenges your form and not your ability to move weight.

Hack Squat – Deep hack squats are more stable in a machine than a squat which allows you to accumulate more stimulus with less fatigue. This means that you will be able to do more volume. But this volume must be augmented with great form. Work towards a deeper range of motion on each rep and work on your mobility to make it happen. As you drop into the bottom of the lift, get the knees out and keep your weight on your heels.

Medium-grip Barbell Flat Bench – the medium grip barbell bench is a great mix of stimulating the shoulders, triceps, and chest. This means you want everything to work in unison. As you lower the weight, tuck your elbows to about 45* and keep them under your wrists as you bring the bar to your lower chest. As you reverse the lift, press diagonally up towards your face as you flare your shoulders and press through the pinky side of your hand to extend your arm with your triceps. Practice this movement throughout the day before your workout, so you have a feel for exactly what you need to do.

Overhead Press – Make sure that you are not using your chest with your elbows flared out and leaning back so much that it turns into an incline press. Try to emphasize your shoulders by tucking the elbows in on the way done and flaring them out at the top. The longer the range of motion can be on each rep the better, which means that you should lock out at the top and try to touch your clavicle at the bottom of your movement.

Wide Pull-ups – Pull your chest up towards the bar. Think about pulling the elbows more behind you if you want to hit more of the smaller muscles of the upper back while the elbows in front of your body will hit your teres. You will naturally be stronger at one or the other depending on your genetics. I would recommend you focus on the one you are good at because it will result in the most progress since you are genetically-advantaged.


Your Job

Stay in a Good Spot this Block

You want to add just enough sets and weight to feel like you worked out, but it is not quite a challenge yet. You want a solid workout where you leave feeling accomplished

Plan your workout and write down the weight, sets, and rep range in the Workout Plan PDF to get you ready for Week 2.

Rep Range
• Key Lifts: 4-6 Reps
• Accessory Lifts: 8-12 Reps

The rep range will be the same as the previous week. The only difference is that you may not be at the top of the rep range this week. This means you should still strive to hit 6 reps on key lifts and 12 reps on accessory lifts. Regardless of the number of reps you do, make sure they are improving the quality of your technique rather than detracting from it. Our goal is to find the way that lifts heavy weight with maximum repeatability and stability.

• 3 RIR
• 75-80% of 1RM
• Weight Feels: Solid Form Practice

I encourage you to pick a single weight for your working sets for each exercise. As you add more sets, you will notice that on the last set, your reps are most likely to be the lowest. 

As long as your last set is still in the rep range, this performance drop is okay and expected as your muscles get depleted. However, you need to keep your technique solid because that is our priority. Make sure you choose a weight that allows you to be at the top of the rep range for most (if not all) of your working sets. RIR 3 is the goal for each of your sets, however, it is possible that your last set may get closer to RIR 2.

Stay away from RIR 1! You do not want to build fatigue too fast or have to compromise your technique. It is better to have the reps drop and stay in the rep range. Achieving RIR 3 takes priority over staying at the top of the rep range.


• Key Lifts: 2-3 Sets
• Accessory Lifts: 1-3 Sets

Think about each set as a chance to practice your technique. You want as much practice as possible, however, you cannot do more than you can recover from. Aim to get a little sore, never a lot, so you always are fresh to practice technique. On days where you practice technique specifically, make sure you are not overworking yourself. Those are days to get low fatigue practice. 

Do enough sets where you struggle to maintain RIR 3 on your last set of each key lift. This is a great way to measure your effort to make sure that you are not going too hard too early but also that you are not taking it too easy.

Week 2 is the Goldilocks week. It is good quality technique practice that gives you an idea of what weights you could lift if you flipped the switch and went hard.

• Key Lifts: As Much as needed (~2min)
• Accessory Lifts: 60s

I like to rest as much as I need before I do a top set for my key exercises. This assures that I give my maximal performance.

Afterwards, I drop the weight to something more manageable (usually around my week 3 weight) and do straight sets at 1 RIR with a given rest period. After my top set, I will drop the weight and try to get a volume PR where I pick a challenging weight that I usually do for only one set (of say, 4-6 reps) and attempt to do multiple sets (each set within the 4-6 rep range). This is a great way to test how good my form is and build confidence in it.

Above all else: Make sure your rest periods are not too short where it compromises your form! Rest periods are always a second priority to form.


Fill out the table with your expected weights and sets before you go workout, so you have a clear mission. Then adjust based on actual performance.

Here’s how I would fill it out for a workout: