Strong: Stage 1

Are you ready?? Let’s go!

Lift Strong | Fefferfit

Stage 1 of Strong is all about easing into things. If you’re new to lifting, that’s OK! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have, and it may be useful for you to get the book, because Lou Schuler does a great job of explaining both the philosophy and the exercises.

If you’re a lifting veteran, high five! I promise this won’t be a lame useless beginner workout. I’ve already done the first two, and they worked me hard! So let’s do this thing!

Each stage in Strong is flexible–you can lift two or three days a week, but either way, you alternate between Workout A and Workout B. I’ll usually be lifting 3x/week, so I’ll do A/B/A one week, then B/A/B the next. With me?

Keep in mind that each exercise listed can be varied, as needed; e.g., if you can’t plank for 60 seconds, try 30. If 60 seconds is too easy for you, try it with your feet elevated. (Also holy crap you are a superhero!)

For the strength portion, make sure you’re choosing a weight that feels heavy to you. If you finish your first set of 12 and it feels like you could do a few more, bump up 2-5 pounds for your next set. If you can’t get to 12 with the weight you chose, obviously scooch down. The first few times are going to be a bit of trial and error, but that’s ok. The goal is to ultimately be in the 10-12 rep range. Hopefully the weight you use will be in flux often, because once you’re hitting 12 reps easily, you’ll want to add more weight again. Also, I find that hormonal changes can make me weaker. So things are just fluid. It’s OK.

Workout A:

10 minutes RAMP (Range of motion, activation of muscles, & movement prep) – this is basically warm up, stretching, breathing, foam rolling, or anything else you might need to do that day to prep for your workout. There’s a list of great suggestions in the book, and your needs will change depending on the day. I love this kind of flexibility.

Core –
Forearm Plank, 1-2 times x 60 seconds
Bird Dog, 4 times x 15 seconds

Strength – 
Alternate your sets of these two exercises:
Goblet Squat, 2 sets x 12 reps
Dumbbell 3 pt Row, 2 sets x 12 reps

Alternate your sets of these two exercises:
Step-Ups, 2 sets x 12 reps
Push Ups on a Box/Chair/Bench, 2 sets x 12 reps

The program calls for regular push-ups, but I find these a bit easier, while still being a workout for my chest. If they’re still too difficult for you, drop to your knees. If you’re not built like a T-Rex like I am and can do all those regular push ups, go for it!

Intervals –
3 sets 60 seconds work, 120 seconds rest.

Add one interval each week. So week 1 will be 3 sets, week two you’ll do four, etc.

Intervals DO NOT have to be running. They can be cycling, jumping jacks, burpees, stairs, boxing, jumprope, or basically anything that gets your heartrate and breathing up.

So that’s workout A. You with me? It’s easy, once you get started. It’s a little warm-up, a little core, 4 good lifts, and 3 whole minutes of cardio. I promise it’s a good workout, but not so hard you’ll want to punch me when you’re done. I hope. 🙂

OK. Here’s your other workout for the month.

Workout B:

10 minutes RAMP

Core –
Side Plank, 1-2 times x 30 seconds
Cable Half-kneel Antirotation Press, 1-2 times x 3 sets

Yes, it says cable, and I freaked because I don’t have a cable machine. Guess what? You can do this with a resistance band! I bought a set at Target for $12 or so. Tie it around something sturdy like a doorknob.

Strength – 
Alternate your sets of these two exercises:
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift from Box, 2 sets x 12 reps
Push Up variation (whichever you like), 2 sets x 12 reps

Alternate your sets of these two exercises:
Split Squat, 2 sets x 12 reps
Inverted Row, 2 sets x 12 reps

I do split squats with no weight right now (they’re harder than they sound!). Your kitchen table is great for inverted rows.

Intervals –
3 sets 60 seconds work, 120 seconds rest.

Again, add one interval each week. Week 1 will be 3 sets, week two you’ll do four, etc.

There are some fabulous printable training logs here. You could just as easily jot everything down in a notebook and keep track that way. I usually use the Jefit app to track my lifting, but I’m going analog this time for a couple of reasons.

  1.  A lot of the exercises in Strong are innovative, and that’s a lot of “custom” things I’d have to input in the app. Blaaaahhh.
  2. There’s a pat-on-the-back workout at the end of the Stage that asks you to use the same weights you used on week 2. My app won’t have  a clue what I used on week 2, because it only keeps “weight used” data for the most recent workout. But my paper will remember!

OK! Are you ready for this? The book has great descriptions of all the exercises, if you need help, and I’m always here to answer questions. I’m also thinking about maybe shooting quick video collages for each workout, if that would be helpful. You guys let me know if that is something that would interest you, k?

And do me a favor? Take some before pictures. 😀 I think you’ll be amazed by your own progress! I’m so excited for all of us to get stronger!


3 thoughts on “Strong: Stage 1

  1. Just printed my logs, starting in the morning! I am excited. I got the book and I’ve been reading – I’m a little overwhelmed but I think I am understanding. I’m so glad you blogged about this – I’ve been wanting a place to start with lifting and this is PERFECT.


    1. Yay yay! It’s kind of a lot of info to absorb without just diving in and trying it, I think. The first time through each workout, I had to refer back to the notes on each exercise to make sure I was doing them right. But you’ll pick it up quickly. Please feel free to ask if I can help with anything! We’re gonna rock this!


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