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May 18, 2014


I want to take this opportunity to say HELLO first of all. It has been a while since the Unleashed Journal has been sent to your inboxes. And to all the new subscribers, welcome aboard. We are now here to stay, so you can look forward to regular issues, right in your inbox.

After this issue, the next few issues will look at the latest sport science research and break it down into strategies and useful information that anyone can understand and put to use.

In this issue we will cover a very simple training concept. I believe in specificity, meaning that whatever a person is training for they need to make their training consistent, progressive and specific to the overall objective. Having said that, there are certain things every athlete should do, it can’t be avoided if you are to realise your full potential. This issue of Unleashed Joural serves as a basic reminder to start in the right place and build a sturdy foundation.

What do all of the best athletes, leanest people and best bodies have in common? They were all created from a solid strength foundation. They didn’t get their bodies from running long distance or even by doing high intensity interval training. They all started with strength. Strength is at the foundation of every well-developed body, both in performance and in appearance.

Does that mean that other components of fitness are not important? Not at all. What it means is that strength is the foundation. You can’t develop power without first developing strength. The same is true for speed, muscle growth and being lean. It all starts with strength.

What does that mean for you? Whatever program you are doing right now, if it does not have a foundation in strength you need to stop what you are doing immediately and restructure. Without strength you are unable to reach your full potential in anything you do.

Use the following guidelines…

If you are in the early stages of a program then you can scrap what you are doing completely and start fresh if you are not currently building strength. Now add in a program that puts strength as the main focus for the first six weeks. If you are training for an endurance sport then strength is only needed twice per week around your specific endurance sessions. If you play a team sport or anything involving bursts of speed and power, then you should include strength training for 75% of your training sessions. If physique is your goal then strength should also dominate 75% of your program at this initial stage.

If you have been training for 3-6 months but you are yet to include a foundation of strength, then it’s time to weight your program to include strength for at least 50% of your training time, regardless of the goal.

If you are experienced in your training, you’ve been training for years, but you have never really put much emphasis on strength training, then I recommend you take 6 weeks out of your regular program to include strength at 75% of your training time. After that you can drop the emphasis of strength to 20% for endurance athletes, and 50% for everyone else (bare minimum).

Where to Start???

Strength training has a lot of components. Programs can get rather complex and involved, with phases of training, loading/unloading etc. Forget all of that for now. The important part is getting it done. Start simple, you can refine it along the way.

Start with the following lifts…

Deadlift, squat (front or back squat), barbell row, overhead press, bench press or push-up and pull-up.

It’s as simple as that. Now schedule in the sessions and alternate repetitions from one session to the next. One session do 5 reps per set, another session do 12 etc. Adjust the weight accordingly and keep volume low, no more than 5-7 sets of each exercise per week.

This is obviously very simplified and very basic. It is designed to get you started and getting you used to doing these big compound movements. Build a solid foundation and then work on it from there, refine your approach and learn how to structure a program, or even easier, hire me to do it for you.


Regardless of what you are training for you should always have at least a foundation of basic strength throughout various planes of movement. Start basic and simple, don’t get confused in the early stages, just stick with standard compound exercises and progressively aim to lift more weight in each given repetition range over time. No matter what you do, no matter what physical goal you have, building a strength foundation provides the most versatile and widely applicable physical ability or attribute, both in terms of appearance and performance.

Unleash your physical potential,

Chris Lyons

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