The only strength and conditioning plan you can do forever

It took me years to develop a training plan that would be fun and effective to keep me interested for the long haul. Ultimate Athleticism isn’t a barbell program. It’s not a bodyweight program. It’s not a gymnastics program. It’s just an idea. It’s a way to organize your training based on efficiency and basic economics. The advantage is in its interchangeability.

By speaking a common language with regard to different exercises we hold the power to make these changes at will. Let’s view every exercise as variations of pushing and pulling to keep it simple (Upper Push, Upper Pull, Lower Push, Lower Pull).

Here’s a basic outline of the plan from Ultimate Athleticism:

Warm Up:
#5minuteflow type movements

3-5 rounds:

10-30:00 minutes:
Upper Push
Lower Pull

10-30:00 minutes:
Upper Pull
Lower Push

Optional areas:

Non-optional cool down:
#5minuteflow type movements

The beauty of this plan (note “plan” not “program”) is that you can very easily adjust it to better suit your goals, but the efficiency is always maximized.

1. You can adjust the reps higher to focus on muscular endurance, patterning, and promote joint health.
2. You can make the reps lower to focus primarily on strength.
3. You can increase the time block based on your priorities.
4. You can group exercises together that not only don’t affect each other negatively, but also with a mobility  or activation drill (or two) that will enhance one or both of the main strength exercises.

Training Methods
This is the perfect way to marry all “types” of training. You can plug and play the things you want to improve straight into the template.

For example, I can put it all together as follows and denote each by the exercise, and “type” of training:

Power (Power Snatches –> Olympic Lifting)

Upper Push (L sit to handstand –>Gymnastics)
Lower Pull (Deadlift –> Powerlifting)
Mobility/Activation (Hip Circle –> Pilates/dance)

Upper Pull (Lat Pulldown –> Traditional Weight Training)
Lower Push (Sled Push –> Athletic Training)
Mobility/Activation (Side Plank –> Core Training)

You can pick any exercise above and substitute it for something else if that is going to bring you closer to your goals, or if you decide that it’s something you simply find more joy in doing. For example, I don’t love lat pulldowns so I would probably do a front lever, but that doesn’t mean that lat pulldowns wouldn’t be the right choice for many people.

Full Front Lever

Because the plan is so conducive to adaptation and being modified seamlessly, it makes it the best choice for long-term improvements. This is where the real magic happens in terms of training benefits. Be consistent for a long time. To be consistent for a long time you need to have an avenue to deliver training in the most well-rounded and modular way.

As of this writing, this is what I have found to work the best for myself, the thousands of people I have coached around the world, and the hundreds of members of my gym Ambition Athletics. This is applicable to any population of person from the elite athlete to the older generation.

Don’t limit yourself by training “styles” and instead focus on making your time spent the most efficient you can.

Better every day,

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3 thoughts on “The only strength and conditioning plan you can do forever

  • Patrick Redlich

    i don´t get it, max. when i do 2 blocks in one, what is the point with the superset ? can you please explain it a little bit more in detail ?

  • Max Shank

    Mainly because front levers or pull-ups would be fatigued (made worse) by doing them together in the same superset, even if the rest was a bit longer.

  • Patrick Redlich

    hi max,

    i like the programming above. what i don´t get is why not doing all the exercises from 2 time blocks in ONE time block – one after the other ? because, if your focus is on strength, you even rest a bit more between different exercises until you hit the first exercise again. you are better rested, more focused and your muscles and nerves respond with more freshness to the exercise. what about that ?

    highest regards, patrick