Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Trap Bar Workout - Al Gerard

 


When I was competing regularly during the late 1980's, my goal was simply to get as strong as possible for one repetition in the squat, bench, and deadlift. I ate well, but I did not bulk up over 10 pounds past my usual 198 bodyweight. I am over six feet tall so I know I looked more like a runner than a powerlifter. I am now fifty-seven, and I weigh 198 pounds, so my weight training programs have always produced some great strength over bulk. I hope this brief weight training program can provide some guidance to others who are seeking strength over bulk.


Exercises

I use the following exercises but you can certainly make other substitutions as needed: 

1) Bench Press (Core)
2) Incline Dumbbell Press (Assistance)
3) One Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl (Assistance)
4) Alternating Dumbbell Curls (Assistance)
5) Triceps Pushdown (Assistance)
6) Lying Triceps Extension (Assistance)
7) Safety Bar Squats (Core)
8) Leg Press (Assistance)
9) Trap Bar Shrug (Assistance)
10) Trap Bar Stifflegs (Assistance)
11) Trap Bar Deadlift (Core)
12) Deadlift (Core)


A Note About Confidence

All phases, all reps, and all sets should be performed with complete confidence. There should be no fear as to whether you are going to complete the last rep and in fact, each last rep up to the max day should feel like you could do at least one more. Max day is for personal records although I recommend not trying to set a record every time you go into the gym.


Phases: Strength training should incorporate succeeding phases of increased intensity. 

Phase I: For me, this phase is four weeks, three sessions each week. I do low intensity sets of 8-10 reps except in the deadlift, which never goes over 4 reps no matter what the intensity is. Also, each rep in the deadlift is done one at a time, from the floor like a single, always using perfect form! 

Phase 1: Week 1

Day 1 (Chest) 
 - Incline DB Press: 4 x 8 reps
 - Bench Press: 4 x 8
 - Triceps Pushdown: 2 x 8
 - Lying Triceps Extensions: 2 x 8

Day 2 (Assistance)
 - One Arm DB Preacher Curl: 2 x 8
 - Alternating DB Curls: 2 x 8
 - Abs: (your choice)

Day 3 (Legs)
 - Safety Bar Squat: 5 x 8
 - Safety Bar Squat: 10 singles
 - Trap Bar Stifflegs: 4 x 8
 - Trap Bar Shrug: 2 x 8


Phase II: This phase is 5 reps for the core exercises and still 8 reps for the assistance moves. This phase lasts three weeks with only two sessions per week. 

Phase II: Week 1 

Day 1 (Chest)
 - Incline DB Press: 4 x 8
 - Bench Press: 4 x 8
 - Triceps Pushdown: 2 x 8
 - Lying Triceps Extension: 2 x 8

Day 2 (Assistance) 
 - One Arm DB Preacher Curl: 2 x 8
 - Alternating DB Curls: 2 x 8
 - Abs (your choice)


Phase II: Week 2 

Day 1 (Legs/Chests)
 - Safety Bar Squat: 5 x 5
 - Safety Bar Squat: 10 singles 
 - Trap Bar Stifflegs: 4 x 8
 - Bench Press: 4 x 5
 - Bench Press: 10 singles

Day 2 (Assistance)
 - Alternating DB Curls: 2 x 8
 - Triceps Pushdown: 2 x 8
 - Lying Triceps Extension: 2 xx 8
 - Abs (your choice)


Phase II: Week 3

Day 1 (Chest/Back)
 - Bench Press: 5 x 5
 - Bench Press: 10 singles
 - Trap Bar Deadlift: 2 x 4 reps
 - Deadlift: 4x 4
 - Deadlift: 10 singles

Day 2 (Assistance)
 - Alternating DB Curls: 2 x 8 
 - Triceps Pushdown: 2 x 8
 - Lying Triceps Extension: 2 xx 8
 - Abs (your choice)


Phase III: Getting to this phase means moving into high intensity mode. ASSISTANCE MOVES ARE NOT INCLUDED AND THERE IS NO SET NUMBER OF SESSIONS PER WEEK. I determine the work load based on how well I have recuperated. If I don't feel I've recovered enough, I'll wait another day! If I am not fully recuperated, I am wasting a very valuable workout. Since I no longer compete, I don't have to worry if I peak on a  Saturday so I make this last phase peak when it is time to peak. The core exercises focus on quality reps. After I feel properly warmed up, I start my high intensity reps, one at a time. I do 10 singles with a weight that I have predetermined to be the weight I need for this workout. I know from all the years of lifting how much is enough for that day. If it feels too light that day, I do not make it heavier. If it feels heavy that day, I do not make it lighter. I just take more time to rest between the reps. 

Day 1 (Chest/Legs) 
 - Bench Press: 4 x 5 reps
 - Bench Press: 10 singles
 - Safety Bar Squat: 5 x 5
 - Safety Bar Squat: 10 singles

Day 2 (Chest/Back)
 - Bench Press: 4 x 5
 - Bench Press: 2 x 8
 - Straight Bar Reg Deadlift: 5 x 4
 - Straight Bar Reg Deadlift: 10 singles

Day 3 ( Chest/Legs)
 - Bench Press: 4 x 5
 - Bench Press: 10 singles
 - Safety Bar Squat: 5 x 5
 - Safety Bar Squat: 1- singles

Day 4 (Chest/Back) 
 - Bench Press: 4 x 5
 - Bench Press: 10 singles
 - Reg Deadlift: 5 x 4
 - Reg Deadlift: 10 singles

Day 5 (Legs/Chest) 
 - Safety Bar Squat: 5 x 5
 - Safety Bar Squat: 10 singles
 - Bench Press: 4 x 5
 - Bench Press: 10 singles

Day 6 (Chest/Back) 
 - Bench Press: 4 x 5
 - Bench Press: 10 singles
 - Reg Deadlift: 5 x 4
 - Reg Deadlift: 10 singles

Day 7 (Legs/Chest) 
 - Safety Bar Squat: 5 x 5
 - Safety Bar Squat: 10 singles
 - Bench Press: 4 x 5
 - Bench Press: 10 singles

Day 8 (Chest) 
 - Bench Press: 5 x 5
 - Bench Press: 5 singles
Add weight progressively to each single, working up.

Day 9 (Legs) 
 - Safety Bar Squat: 5 x 5
 - Safety Bar Squat: 5 singles
Add weight progressively to each single. 

Day 10 (Mas Day: Legs/Chest/Back)
 - Safety Bar Squat: 5 x 3-5
 - Safety Bar Squat: 10 singles
Add weight progressively to each single all the way to your max. 
 - Bench Press: 5 x 3-5
 - Bench Press: 10 singles
Add weight progressively to each single all the way to your max.
 - Reg Deadlift: 5 x 2-4
 - Reg Deadlift: 10 singles
Add weight progressively to each single all the way to your max.


Quality Over Quantity

When I was younger, I spent more time in the gym because I thought more work meant more results. I know better now -- quality produces more than quantity. Give quality a try and reduce the quantity at least through Phases I and II. 

Lift smart, lift safe, and get strong. 


Enjoy Your Lifting! 




















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