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The Ashman Strength System
by Jay Ashman

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Copyright ©2013 by Jay Ashman
Edited by Drywall & Jason Ashman
Cover designed by Aharon J. Sailor
No part of this book may be rewritten, reproduced or redistributed in any means
without written consent by the publisher.
The author and publisher are not responsible for misapplication or neglect using
this program resulting in injury or death. It is to be assumed you are medically fit
to embark upon this training program or have been cleared to do so by a medical
professional.
Printed in the USA
ISBN pending

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......... 5 FROM GEEK TO SWOLE ..........46 WHAT ABOUT THE DELOAD? .....51 THE VARIATIONS OF THE ASHMAN STRENGTH SYSTEM .......................................................Table of Contents INDOCTRINATION ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................67 ABOUT JAY .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................54 FAQ.............................................................................................................................................................65 THE PATH IS ALWAYS FILLED WITH HELP ............................................................19 THE ASHMAN STRENGTH BLOCK SYSTEM ........................................................................................................................28 WARMING UP AND PREVENTING INJURIES..............................58 CLOSING WORDS ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................16 THE MEAT OF IT ALL ........................................................................................................................................25 SETTING UP ACCESSORY WORK ............................................................................................39 A SAMPLE ONE MONTH SETUP .....................................................................................10 THE ROOTS OF THE ASHMAN STRENGTH SYSTEM ..........................................................................................34 EXERCISE APPENDIX ..................................................................................................................... OUT OF SHAPE AND STRONG .......................................................................................................................................69 4 .................................................31 NOBODY WANTS TO BE FAT................................................................................................................................................... 7 WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO EXCEL WITH THIS SYSTEM ..........................................................................................................................................................................11 THE SYSTEM BASICS ................................................................................................................................................................................

will they? There are enough of those other e-books out there. I tried Power Factor training (which was a time-under-tension program). I assume you already have the motivation to want to change or improve your current strength program. In my lifting “career” I tried a lot of programs. simple words on paper are not going to be much help because once you put the book down you will forget those words in a few days. This is designed for the intermediate to advanced lifter. for the competitive lifter who wants to add something different to his/her training. but I got fat as hell too. I was that guy who went from program to program every so often trying to find one to stick. sugarladen shakes. There are other programs on the market for beginners and strength specialists that focus on that area. Not many people will argue against that. Strongman.INDOCTRINATION This training template is not designed for the novice lifter. if you bought this and are reading this. or for the general gym rat who has been toiling in gyms and program jumping for years. 5 . Push/Pull meets and even took an 18 month stint of doing CrossFit – selling my soul to the Kool-Aid. Juggernaut. I used Mike Tuscherer and Team RTS to program my lifting. I did 5/3/1. nor is it designed for those who want to worry only about strength. I bought Power to the People way back when the book came out. and tried to implement my own Westside-type system using the knowledge I had from reading the Book of Methods several times. I competed in Highland Games. Sure I got big. I did Heavy Duty. If you need some extra motivation other than self-improvement. I dabbled in the ways of the HIT Jedi (god that was a mistake). Basically I did a lot of different experimentation in the gym. This template is for those who want to increase their strength while creating a more aesthetically pleasing physique. When I started out lifting I was all about the bodybuilding magazines and drinking high calorie.

and finally some that look like ten pounds of shit crammed into a 5 pound bag. hire a good trainer. it beats you up over time as you push yourself to the limit over and over. You don’t need any more evidence of that than going to any big powerlifting meet and watching the older lifters moving around. You should be worried about getting stronger before you start to fine tune the machine you call your body.I trained professional athletes. Some have naturally lower body fat. goals. one utilizing not only strength and max effort work. Some are healthy. if you are reading this I am going to assume you know how to lift. soccer moms. Some people get jacked as hell doing lower rep work. It all depends on their weight class. and a host of other injuries or chronic aches and pains. torn shoulders. save this book for when you are past that stage of wobbling with a bar on your back. but also bodybuilding-type training for aesthetics and to allow my body to rest and recover from the heavy lifts. If you are a beginner.they know when to back off and know when to push it. kids. Some people can gain muscle easily. some will not. such as myself. my goals have shifted towards a more intelligent training approach. I am not going to overkill this: If you need your hand held. back backs. average people who wanted to get in shape. As I get older my goals have shifted: no longer do I want to train solely for strength. Currently. we take on some vanity with wanting our hard work to show off. I am not going to write a plethora of filler to sell this book for more money. and nationally ranked raw Powerlifters. Some have bad hips. This template will solve a lot of the issues some have with trying to train for strength and hypertrophy without burnout. 6 . some have to eat insanely clean to show even a semblance of an ab. This book is not for the beginner. Then there are some that look remarkably close to bodybuilders. some cannot. For some lifters. diet and body composition.

I said it… My HS football head coach was an asshole. and excelling at. I was born in 1974 to blue collar parents. basketball. 7 . I was born with a hearing problem that wasn’t diagnosed until kindergarten. stayed in those hard times. and feature success from a young age to their adult years. some are great. PA. you never know what you have in front of you and that small kid may turn out to be the best athlete your town ever had. Some of us grew up in hard times. save for baseball and football. I was blessed with above average speed which was evident looking at childhood photos of me blowing away the rest of the pack in sprints. Football didn’t get into my life until High School. and YOU as a coach gave him a chance. track and field and soccer. Growing up wearing two clunky-ass devices on my ears wasn’t the greatest thing in the world. but thankfully it was fixable. Playing. and never realized their potential.FROM GEEK TO SWOLE A lot of us have stories. As I got older I drifted away from sports. Yes. baseball. Even as a young kid I was very athletic. This plays into my philosophy with coaching kids today… NEVER push aside ANY kid. Yes that is me in the front of the pack smokin’ those fools. and never worked out. Mine starts in a town called Reading. I can look back and wonder what my athletic career would have been like if I actually had coaches who gave a shit rather than coddling the ones that were genetic marvels.. He loved his star players and focused on them while the rest of us were shuffled aside to fend for ourselves.

I wasn’t in the right mind to combat that internally. a 4. speed and athleticism were there.0 40. Keystone Strength Classic Keg Throw Later I discovered rugby which became my favorite sport. I did very well. but the actual skills with the hands and feet were raw. My dad died in my 10th grade year. which I NEVER forgot….69 shuttle run and did my drills pretty well… oh I was 305 pounds for that. ran a 5. I will show you”. I competed in Strongman. Benching 225 for 38 reps. Only then did I start to take sports seriously again. Only after high school did I re-develop my athleticism and start lifting (at my mom’s advice). Although I picked it up later in life. I was able to earn a starting spot for a National Qualifier Division 1 team. Sean Lawlor. I was in full on fuck the world mode mentally. Strength.Back on track . but at 305. I didn’t make it because of my raw skills. son” Back then. coach was a dick. I wasn’t being a good son to my mother and instead of thinking “screw you coach. After the season was over I went into his office and talked to him about how I could be a better player. never finishing below 3rd in amateur competitions. Grades were slipping. Playing team sports wasn’t the only thing I did.I played one year of football in high school. I wasn’t expecting to run like the wind. And I fucking quote. 8 . a sentiment I still have today. A very good friend. I gave up. that’s already established. So call me slow. was able to get me a professional football workout in Cleveland in 1998. “You don’t have what it takes to play football here.

and was lucky enough to be trained by a professional Highland Games competitor. Now. I look back at my formative years in athletics with a sense of “what might have been”. 9 . It was at that time that I started to drift away from the popular bodybuilding-type training seen in magazines. I Running with a slab. that inner burning to drive them when people push them down. I now compete for myself. That is something I had to learn how to do on my own.I tried my hand at Highland Games. The years of rugby and competing in various strength sports have taken its toll on me. I had moderate success in strength sports. told me what I could do?” Some kids have that internal fire. beating the field didn’t develop that internal fire until later in life when I learned how to truly push my physical limits. I always remember the words of my old coach who told me when I was in 10th grade. who knows what would have happened in my athletic career. top 3 in all amateur-level NAS contests. and look and feel better physically (minus the speed) then I ever had. at 38 years old. “you don’t have what it takes. Coach wasn’t responsible for teaching me that fire. but I always looked back and thought. son”. 2nd in a push/pull meet in my weight class. Every time I think why I keep going and keep trying to find new ways to improve myself physically. “what if I had coaches who instead of telling me what I couldn’t do. and to begin lifting with a purpose. Mark Moyer. But I am stronger now. I no longer play team sports. I wish I had that same drive as a kid that I have now. who also took me under his wing in the gym.

you need to whittle away that fluff time. That is 4 to 6 hours a week. walking to the shake bar after lifting to grab a protein shake and talking to the person making it for 15 minutes. both with the main lift and the accessory work. Take note that this does not include drive time to and from the gym. nor do they have the proper base to start messing with training variables. This system requires discipline: There is not an option for those that want to train 2-3 days a week like other programs. I am pretty confident that no lifter around is going to know their 1RM max for all the different squat exercises you can choose from. etc. All you need is between 60 minutes to 90 minutes four times a week to do this. this is NOT a system for beginning lifters. this system is based on FEEL. chatting with your buddies between sets. This is a four day a week program. be a man on a mission and train. basic strength program that will give them the necessary base to choose a more advanced program after it. By the nature of the system it introduces lift variety into it and the dynamic nature of the lift selection makes it virtually impossible to set up a training day based around percentages. If that describes your average gym day. Beginners need consistency and a solid.WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO EXCEL WITH THIS SYSTEM This template is not designed for percentage based lifting. I will say it again. Having said that. Commit to four days a week and reap the benefits of how this system works. This system is predicated on keeping your ego in check. More will be expanded on that later. because it bears repeating. They are aware of the difference between the two and know how to adjust the exercise style accordingly. This is a template for those who have had time under the bar and are aware of the proper way to train. and who are open to using the concepts of both strength and bodybuilding-type training. Novice lifters do not have that awareness yet. 10 .

If you had to choose between one exercise and its variants to do for the rest of your life. A proper strength program is incomplete without the deadlift. traps and abs. and squatting is part and parcel with that. IF SQUATS ARE KING. I used to hate the squat when I was younger because I performed it incorrectly. For those of you worried that squatting twice a week will cause overtraining. but a sick pair of delts that look like cannonballs stands out whether you are shirtless. sporting a thick hoodie a tank top or anything in between. a strong back. A properly executed squat not only works the quads and hamstrings. DEADLIFTS ARE THE PRINCE Deadlifts build a strong posterior chain. arms. grip. I suggest you go read about how Olympic Lifters train and then reconsider your views. Thick shoulders add width to your body and look damn impressive. picking a bar from a dead stop on the floor to lockout is almost as primal as it gets. you would do well to choose squatting. back. after being coached on it and learning the right way to squat.THE ROOTS OF THE ASHMAN STRENGTH SYSTEM THE SQUAT IS THE KING OF THE LIFTS The squat is almost universally recognized as the single greatest overall strength and mass builder of all the barbell lifts. I have since learned to love the lift. experimenting with squatting three times a week to my current two times a week. 11 . OVERHEAD PRESSING CREATES THICK DELTS A big chest is cool. yes. but also the traps. They are a man-maker of a lift. forearms. Plus there is something to be said for putting a bar over your head with your bodyweight or above on it. chest and abs. relax: Our legs are built for heavy usage. If your fears persist.

Keep pushing it without proper weight gain and something will break. There are specific ways to train for each discipline. but it has been said that 2% of the population has a herniated disc and by the age of 50. The sports of Olympic lifting and powerlifting are both predicated on max effort lifts. We want to be show and go. The best way to get stronger is to combine the two principles of hypertrophy and max effort work in a program that allows for both strength and size. and training for their respective meets involves using near max effort loads. Muscular size supports muscular strength. THE BACK IS THE KEY TO LIFTING One of the first things to go on people as they age is the back. Olympic lifters will not use this system unless they are taking a break from their sport. The “strength sport” of bodybuilding uses higher reps for hypertrophy. however. and half the population shows signs of degenerative disc disease. but without the base of heavy lifting. Powerlifters.HYPERTROPHY IS AS IMPORTANT AS ABSOLUTE STRENGTH There are two strength sports that require max effort lifting on a regular basis: powerlifting and Olympic lifting. look strong and exhibit strength. this system combines sound principles of both bodybuilding and powerlifting to give you a strong and wellrounded physique. The reverse is true as well. Your body will only grow to be so strong with constant max effort work. Knees as well. will. Strict bodybuilding training will push you to new levels of muscular size. you are just pumping up a dead muscle. This is why this system uses both powerlifting and bodybuilding. Of those two. but continual training in the 8-20 rep range across all lifts will not give you the overall strength to go along with that size. While these may 12 .

from the squat to the deadlift and the upper body pressing lifts. 1 Degenerative Disc Disease Fact Sheet http://wwwp. they are a sign that the back is a terrible thing to waste. are YOU doing them correctly.blogspot. Furthermore take a look at the “rows” being performed.do?itemId=1101769745199&itemType=fact_sheet&lang=en_US 2 Lat Activation via the Military Press Negative and Pull-up . or are you jerking the bar into your chest like you are performing self CPR? Training the hell out of your back means a stronger. building a strong back is essential to lifting progress. Period. 3 A strong back supports all lifts.or may not be directly related to the musculature of the back. Too many people in the gym push back training off in lieu of training more glamour muscles. All you have to do is perform a squat with a back that isn’t tight and you will see for yourself how quickly you fail at weights you can do for reps with a tight back.medtronic. healthier back and bigger lifts. the back is a part of the posterior chain. same as for the deadlift.http://averagetoelite. It is a shelf for overhead lifts in the way that you activate your lats to help drive the bar upwards.com/how-to-bench-press/ 13 . 2 In the bench press a thicker back will shorten the bar path from chest to lockout and a proper bench technique always includes activating the lats and squeezing the back together as you actively pull the bar to your chest. you cannot have a strong push without a strong back.http://www. These are not the glamour muscles that some misled trainees prefer to train. but I know you’ve seen this as well: How many people are doing rows compared to bench or biceps.com/2009/06/new-video-lat-activationvia-military. I do not have a stat for that.com/Newsroom/LinkedItemDetails.html 3 How to Bench Press . It’s a no-brainer. 1 Along with the hamstrings and glutes. is anyone really doing them correctly? Hell.dieselsc.

BUT IT HELPS I will be brutally honest here. wherever strong people pick shit up. or so it seems. squat. hypertrophy.that most people will be impressed with. but let’s be honest. or half-a-dozen other strength sport specific movements into the fold. swole. how much you can curl or how much you can do on shrugs. and overhead press. 14 . This simply means that training to get strong also means training to SUPPORT the strength. But. Depending on where you are. If you can find the time to screw around in the gym for 2 hours a day. and throw in some simple cardio afterwards. your bench.four in old-school gyms. you might be able to lump power cleans. There are three lifts. those four lifts are the ones being weighed and measured. There isn’t any excuse to be out of shape. You will train the main lifts to not only be strong. deadlift. at the end of the day. They know that building muscle supports bigger lifts. CARDIO IS NOT FUN FOR A LIFTER. Bodybuilding training is laughed at by some people in the strength sport. I say this all the time: Nobody will give a shit in the end how much your lat pulldown is. and bodybuilding workouts. That means. REAL strength sport athletes know the value and dedication it takes to be a bodybuilder. you can find the time to pace up that workout to one hour. but add mass and you will train the accessory work to add muscle to support the main lift and balance out your physique.TRAINING FOR STRENGTH DOES NOT MEAN ALWAYS TRAINING FOR STRENGTH What the hell does that mean? That’s one of the biggest oxymora around. mass. This is why accessory work on this template should be performed in a strict bodybuilding-style of training. stone lifts. and if you wanted to be a stickler. pump.

You can be that lean. Doing cardio isn’t all about body composition either.You will probably have a temporary strength plateau introducing basic cardio to your program. Strength without the ability to utilize it makes you no better than a walking statue. Win-win for all. If your cardio sucks. he will burn out in bed”. you will embarrass yourself on the court. strong. but what cardio really helps with is not feeling like a fat sack of shit when you walk up steps. Those hot beach chicks will look at you and think “well his cardio sucks. machine-like object that is suddenly called out on the beach to play some volleyball with a gaggle of girls because you look like you can actually play a game and you look good. Diet plays a huge role in that as well. but that’s all you will be good for. play with your kids or even bang your girl. you will progress. steady state work (see cardio appendix for suggestions later in the book) and look competent even if you are a below average player. sure you may be great to look at. 15 . Or you can do a couple days a week of sprints. but with the increased work capacity and the fact that your body does adjust to the cardio.

However if you have a relatively sedentary job and you are worried about overtraining. 1. If you have a busy. gained muscle. 4. you need a smack in the mouth. it isn’t a large training load. no less. this will not be a fully complete list. there will be an adjustment period with this system until you adapt to the training load. Did I mention boredom? This is why I program a template and NOT exercises. While I will give a semi-exhaustive list of exercises you can do at the end of this book. I can personally attest that since I started using this template I have dropped fat. physical job. set exercises and planning out 4-5 weeks in advance are:. 2. In the next chapter you will see the actual template broken down. Part of the way this system works so well is that it allows your body to adapt to frequent body part training over the course of it. They may want to do something different like walk with a yoke instead of busting out another set of squats on squat day. THIS SYSTEM IS CUSTOMIZABLE Part of the problems and issues lifters develop with set programs. no more. 3. There are literally hundreds of selections you can pick from for each body part. increased my lifts across the board and have become more aesthetically balanced. but it may be different from what you are used to up until this point. but I will list the ones I feel are the 16 . They may be having a period of stress related to life and want to cut back on the barbell lifts for a day or two. They get bored as shit with the same thing over and over and over and over. It is up to you to fill in the blanks.THE SYSTEM BASICS In this system you lift four days a week.

DUMBBELL. It is part of life. Live to fight another day. so be it. ORDER OF IMPORTANCE: BARBELL. lifting is not our life. you have to work with what you have on any given day and if it means your weights suffer a little for that day. This template is designed to minimize training burnout. 17 . Let’s face it. but as I said. This will affect your motivation and training. BODYWEIGHT. but there are benefits to using a machine at times. (See template and exercise appendix for clarification). diet has not been up to snuff or your job is driving you to unheard of levels of stress. some external stress in our lives. Choose to do bodyweight exercises: Choosing a day of Barbell Squats followed up by using bodyweight movements in other parts of the template for higher reps will still give you a good workout without the extra load with a weight in your hand. Not every day is going to be one of those earth-shattering sessions. You can do four things here with regards to exercise selection. Choose some machines for accessory work: Sometimes using them for a day or two will allow your body and mind to rest from the barbell while still giving you work. you have to work around that. MACHINE I prefer using free weights. life happens and you have to work with what you have. including accessory lifts: This is lifting by feel and is an integral part of this system.most important to use and have the best applications for muscle growth and strength gain. Lighten up the load for the day across all lifts. we may have had a couple nights of bad sleep.

18 . but do the main lift with a barbell or dumbbell in your hands. so be it. if you have to go lighter on a certain day for whatever reason. This has probably happened to you as well. and the only exception to this is if you are injured in some way or seriously exhausted from life. I never used it and don’t intend to. no machine shoulder press and no machine deadlifts. Under no circumstances do you replace the first lift of the day with a machine.Suck it up and push through it: This is a given otherwise. warming up was painful and the work up sets felt slow. The system is built around compound lifts. No hammer strength bench press. Some of my best workouts were on days when I did not feel like touching a weight. My gym has a deadlift apparatus. no leg press. but then a switch was flipped and PR’s happened.

but I will explain this in painstaking detail anyway to avoid any crazy email questions that make me want to smash my face off a wall. I assume people are going to get this system rather easily. Day 1 and Day 2 will be completed two days in a row. take a day or two of rest and complete Day 3 and Day 4 the next two training days in a row. For example: Sunday – Day 1 Monday – Day 2 19 .THE MEAT OF IT ALL Day 1 Main Lift: Squat (1) Day 2 Main Lift: Chest (1) Rows/Thickness (1) Hinge/Hamstrings Shoulders/Overhead (1) (1) Shrugs (1) Triceps (1) Chins/Back Width Abs (1) (1) Biceps (1) Abs (1) Day 3 Main Lift: Pulls/Hinge (1) Day 4 Main Lift: Overhead (1) Squat/Quads (1) Pushups/Chest (1) Shrugs (1) Rows/Thickness Chins/Back (1) Width (1) Rear Delts (1) Biceps (1) Triceps (1) Abs (1) Abs (1) *** (1) is the number of exercises you will choose for each lift – explained further below *** You may look at this and think “HOLY SHIT!!!! How can I train back four times a week!!!! Squat twice a week!!! THIS WILL KILL ME!!!!!” No it will not.

20 . this is not the program for you. Hinge/Hamstring (1) Pick one hinge exercise or hamstring exercise. commit to four days a week or choose something else. whatever… just pick ONE and do it. In a future chapter I will elaborate even further on the lifts you can choose from in the exercise appendix. Shrugs (1) One exercise for shrugs. front squat. Missing a day every so often happens. pin squats. In the exercise appendix I will list recommended exercises and label them hip extension or knee flexion movements. This is a posterior chain movement either a knee flexion movement or a hip extension movement. ANY squat… Back squat. Zercher. Day 1 Squat (1) You pick one squat exercise. this is a basic primer on the template. Yes. If you need a shrug explanation I don’t know what to tell you.Tuesday – Rest Wednesday – Rest Thursday – Day 3 Friday – Day 4 I realize that sometimes life and work get in the way and you cannot always get to the gym 4 days a week. missing them frequently is going to go against how this system works. for now. but if you have a life where consistent attendance at the altar of the power rack is causing a problem.

should choose from. Again. as a lifter. but choose according to your needs and your goals. one exercise…. The choice is yours. Seeing a pattern here? Biceps (1) Pick any bicep exercise from the exercise appendix. Shoulders (1) You can do some overhead work here or choose to do some detail work like rear delts or side laterals. Not a machine on this particular day. Rows/Thickness (1) Choose one rowing exercise from the appendix.Chins/Back Width (1) You can either do chin-ups/pull-ups or some sort of a lat pulldown. In the exercise appendix I will list the ones you. 21 . Triceps (1) Choose one tricep exercise from the appendix. Day 2 Chest (1) Choose one chest exercise from the list and perform it. Abs (1) There are good ab exercises and there are worthless ones. the goal here is using a barbell or a dumbbell. not ever.

If you choose one day for a pulldown exercise. make the other day chin-ups. Rack pulls. ass to grass squats. Abs (1) There are good ab exercises and there are worthless ones. lunges. good mornings. etc. I combined the next three exercises into one for that sake. do them at least once a week in this system. there needs to be a barbell in your hand in some way. Don’t do leg extensions too often. In the exercise appendix I will list the ones you. Chinups are a staple for a good training program for a reason. step ups. hack squats. as a lifter. should choose from. This is when you can do some bodybuilding type stuff as well. but I will do them at times when I feel like smoking my quads out like a bad cigarette and I don’t feel like killing myself doing it. Personally I hate them. deficit deads. There is one caveat here that I will strongly recommend you following as well. see your doctor about treatment of early-onset dementia. See previous days for the description.Day 3 Pulls/Hinge (1) Starting off with a deadlift or a hinge exercise. trap bar deads. If you can’t remember what shrugs/chins/widths/bicep exercises look like. leg press. No banded exercises here like banded good mornings. Shrugs/Chins – Width/Biceps (1 each) At the risk of being too repetitive and taking up unnecessary space. Squats/Quads (1) Pick a squat or quad exercise and do it. 22 .

It is not rocket science and you are not doing 3 exercises per body part per day. Rear Delts (1) Now that you have done overhead work. It’s a multi-day system which will allow your body to adapt and grow using different exercises to keep it fresh. If you’re not a fan. save those lifts (if chosen) for the lower rep day to get the maximal benefit from the explosive nature of those lifts. laid out for you in about as much detail as I can for the simplicity of this system. I will do them with a super heavy band through my hands and around my back for extra resistance. I will highly recommending avoiding using explosive lifts like the push press or a jerk on any higher rep days. Rows/Thickness (1) Choose one rowing exercise from the appendix.flat and barren of muscle.it adds some variance to the workout. Nothing looks worse than a lifter with some sick-ass delts but when viewed from behind. some face pulls or band pullaparts. 23 .Day 4 Overhead (1) Choose an exercise from the exercise appendix and perform it. pick a chest exercise and rep your ass off. Pushups/Chest (1) I like weighted pushups: On certain days. balance it out with some rear delt raises. it is a frozen tundra. Triceps and Abs (1) One tricep exercise from the appendix and one ab exercise from the appendix There it is.

it adapts to walking. The greatest strength and conditioning programs and the best bodybuilding programs involve the usage of barbells.. That is why this system is built around compound lifts and accessorized with isolation lifts for maximum effectiveness. over recovering and never giving the body a chance to adapt to constant stimulus. doing yard work. etc. Let’s be real here.People are so scared of overtraining that they train one body part per week. Workout multi-joint movements as much as possible will increase your muscularity in a way that machines or excessive isolation exercises do not. you use every single body part every single day in some way. Why can’t it adapt to a high frequency system? It will if you are smart about it and not training the piss out of everything like you see in a magazine. dumbbells and compound lifts. the body is a machine meant to use.. 24 .

This is auto-regulating in the way that your body is your guide and your ego needs to shut the hell up. Block 1 8-12 reps across 3-4 sets Block 2 4-6 reps across 3 sets Block 3 1-3 reps for one max effort set Rest between main lift Rest between main lift 90-120 secs Back off 85% for max 60-90 secs reps (optional) Max effort day.THE ASHMAN STRENGTH BLOCK SYSTEM You have the exercise template and you have the basic description of what to do. This is when you set your ego aside and LISTEN to your body. for each two days of this template that is one block. now what is next… sets and reps. You have to be smart and know when to push. This system is set up in blocks. rest as needed 25 . you will have half-assed results and I don’t want to hear you bitch about it. If you are an ego lifter. know when to back off. This is where it gets fun and tricky at the same time. what exercise you selected in the last session and to compare progress across blocks. You have to understand that one day you may be able to smash the shit out of the weights and the next day you go through the motions. Block 1 – Day 1 Day 2 Block 2 – Day 3 Day 4 Block 3 – Day 1 Day 2 Block 1 – Day 3 Day 4 And so on and so forth. this is when a solid training journal is a must to keep track of what block you are on.

If you have to drop weight this block. This is by feel. You select a rep range from 8-12 for the day and you find a challenging weight for that day for the main exercise and you repeat that across 3-4 sets. there is a difference… the only exception will be deadlifting and hinge exercises. you choose one bench exercise from the appendix and perform for the required reps as said in block 1. that falls into block 2.Starting this template out from day 1 means you will squat first. That’s not practical in a system like this when the main exercise changes often. 26 . Once you return to day 1 and day 2 at the beginning of the next week. I know this from experience. This block is NOT about pushing the weight. On day two is bench and this falls into block 1 as well. drop down in set 3 so you get the required reps. Only the MAIN lift on those days will follow this rep pattern. The last rep should be challenging but not enough to break down form to a horrible level. not max effort work. Once you get to day 3 and 4. the next few blocks of 8-12 reps will get better. You may think you can get 400 pounds for 8 across 3-4 sets but by set 3 you are struggling to get 5 reps. a bench for day 2 and you find a 1-3 rep max with that exercise. it takes time to build up a work capacity to do higher reps if you are used to lower reps. You need to challenge yourself to keep with the rest period which will not only build muscle and burn fat due to the shorter rest period but will also humble the hell out of you because chances are most of you never monitored rest periods closely. that second week is the start of block 3 and that is max effort day. when you select a squat for day 1. I don’t go by percentages whatsoever. that first day of squatting will put you in block 1 and on block one you choose a squat exercise from the appendix and perform it for the required number of reps in the block. You should have muscular fatigue and not pushing it as heavy as you can. In block 1 the last rep of the main lift should be done to near muscular failure… with GOOD FORM!!!! This is bodybuilding type training. Choose a pull and an overhead exercise and perform the rep ranges from block 2. its about building muscle. This is where the ego check comes in handy… if by set 2 you are almost failing with the weight. Exercises like that done to failure often are rather foolish in my opinion.

27 . Again. you will be able to do a higher percentage of your 1RM for reps than when you started. by now.In block 2 the rest period is a little longer because this is heavier. I caution you against always choosing the same lift over and over for a particular day. let me reinforce this rep range is for the MAIN LIFT only. This is an optional scenario. This type of work will help you build strength and mass. One max effort set please. Now you are back to Day 1 and 2 of week 2. you have to keep in mind this is a heavier and more frequent training load than a basic 5x5 program because of the exercise selection and the number of days lifting. this may take a couple weeks to feel out working weights and feel out your body as to what weight is appropriate per selected exercise. This template is at its best when variety is introduced as it prevents adaptation and allows for a more complete training system. have a general idea of how to set up the blocks and what rep range to use. Challenge yourself and push the weight. drop the weight down to 85% of what you just lifted and rep out. This template is unique in that there isn’t a set percentage because of the variety of exercise selection and also each person’s individual work capacity. crank up the adrenalin and throw the main lift around for a max effort set of 1-3. Block 3 is max effort work. As you progress in this template you will most likely find you are able to take shorter rest periods on the max effort days and still be able to work as heavy as you can.depending on your own body’s threshold for recovery. just make it a hard set sequence. but don’t go to failure on this one. Stick to 3x5’s. This isn’t Starting Strength. 3x4’s… but this block is meant to be a hard 5 repeated across the required sets. this means growth and strength increase. I would stay away from 5x5. This also means you will have your favorite lifts and less favorite ones. You have the basics down for the main lift of each day. Being that this is max effort work. You may have tapped yourself out doing max effort work or you may feel like a champ after it. etc. 4x6. This is block 3. In block 3 you will rest as needed to recover for the heavy lifts. You should. 3x6’s. This is when you strap on the balls. After the max effort set. you should rest anywhere from 1-5 minutes . you will find as you go on.

Most lifters seem to prefer the 3x10 or 4x10 way of doing them. 4 4 Rest Periods Between Sets: Everything you Ever Needed to Know . There isn’t any reason to rush the actual sets here. they are a vanity lift and an accessory lift. stretch and contract each rep and feel the muscle working. If by the middle of the rep range in the 2nd set you are heaving the weight. however if by the last few reps of the third set these are harder than hell.com/exercise/rest-periodsbetween-sets-everything-you-ever-needed-to-know/ 28 . you have gone too heavy. let me reinforce that this work is done in the strict method of bodybuilding training. not thrown. This rest period is important as high lactate levels are created in the muscles and the shorter rest period helps your muscles learn to buffer the lactate. I recommend a range between 8-20 because the accessory work is designed to stimulate muscle growth and not exhibit strength. Rest between 30-60 seconds between each set.http://www. control the weight.SETTING UP ACCESSORY WORK There are several ways to set up sets and rep ranges for accessory work and several ways to do them. Stretch Contract Repeat This means the reps are controlled. people aren’t going to care if you can do heavy lat pulldowns.protraineronline. you may prefer 8 reps or you may prefer 20 reps. As I wrote earlier in this book. chances are you are doing them right. use this work intelligently to support the main lift and to add symmetry to your physique. Again. This means you will have to humble yourself some to do a lighter weight than normally to BUILD muscle. which will improve your muscles ability to contract.

The only exception is using bodyweight or band for resistance. as your muscular endurance increases from the shorter rest periods. What you can do and work with is what you should do. change up either the sets/reps or the exercise itself. you will be able to do more reps. Those will require higher reps than 20 to get a response.In layman’s term. On week 5 you get 225 for 3 sets of 10. 3 sets of 20 reps. You may want to do 3 sets of 25 reps for bodyweight squats. or you can modify the sets and reps of it to something along the lines of 4 sets for 8 reps. you can either choose a new exercise from the list. 29 . If you are like me and crave a dynamic template (which is the reason why I created this in the first place) you can take my approach and insert randomness into this structured template. Some people like that regimented approach as it gives them a more quantifiable progression to look at in terms of strength and gives them an element of consistency. 3 sets of 25 reps for band pressdowns or something like 3 sets of 30 for unweighted pushups. For example on Day 2 you choose Reverse Grip Barbell Rows for your chest thickness exercise. On week seven. Week 6 comes around and you repeat that same number. more weights and still be able to stick to the stretch/contract way of training and get larger muscles. so adjust accordingly. When choosing accessory exercises you can take a couple different approaches. etc. when progress stalls. As long as you stay within the parameters of the template’s set/rep scheme its adjustable. 3 sets of 12 reps. combining this type of training with the template I outlined in the previous chapter creates a stronger more aesthetic physique. There is the traditional approach of regimented training by choosing one exercise and repeating it for as long as you progress at it. you perform this for 3 sets of 10 reps for 5 weeks on Day 2 as an accessory. Larger muscles mean stronger muscles.

but without the tights. but this works for me and it works for countless other lifters. This template allows you to select that option. on Day 4 the first week you may choose Dumbbell Rows for 3x20. Some people may not agree. accessory work is accessory work. All of them increase thickness of the back with different exercises. The choice is fully yours in this template. but I do believe that switching up exercises within the set template gives your body consistent progress as it never adapts to a set exercise. There isn’t any need to push accessory work to the max when doing heavy singles to triples. you need to adjust the volume of the accessory work. For example on Day 2 the first week you may choose Pendlay Rows for 3x10. When week 2 rolls around you may select Chest Supported Rows for Day 2 and Reverse Grip Barbell Rows on Day 4. 30 . As you go from block to block. You need to keep this important bit of information in mind. your body constantly adapts to it and never gets accustomed to a regimented exercise selection. it assists it like Robin helps Batman. I believe an element of consistency is essential for progress in any program. It’s not to replace the main lift.I don’t believe in total randomness. you need to keep in mind that as the intensity increases.

If you come across a particularly painful area. so be patient. Major ones are away from the scope of this book and are doctors and physiotherapists are for. o Hamstrings o IT band o Upper. Odds are the listed 5 will be plenty to keep your self-massage needs fulfilled. do it. FOAM ROLLING You can buy either a black roller or if you have balls made of steel. it is merely a guide for getting yourself ready to attack the lift with some semblance of mobility. strained tendons and tightness. pains. a 6” PVC pipe cut into a three foot length. If you lift for any period of time with any intensity. you will develop some sort of minor injury. There are key areas you want to address with rolling. pulled muscles.WARMING UP AND PREVENTING INJURIES None of us are that lucky to avoid aches. Grit your teeth and get it worked out. Do not take this section as any sort of medical advice for treating injuries. a major one. This is why it’s best to start this ASAP to get your stiff ass moving with some level of fluidity again. lower and mid back o Lats o Piriformis You don’t need to excessively roll the entire body like you are trying to work out every single kink in your frame. and god forbid. It will take longer than one session to fix any issues. hang out on it for 15-20 seconds. Roll out each area for a couple minutes. If you have a tight area not specified in this list. 31 .

for anyone really. softballs or a baseball to really dig in to the tight areas. tough it out. A broom handle and a skinny band are all you need. keeping your hips and glutes in good working order will ensure better lifts and better results without nagging aches and pains. causing tight hips and sleepy glutes. Be sure to fire the glutes at the top of the bridge and the KB swing. You can use a skinny band as well if lugging around a broom handle isn’t practical. o Glute Bridges o Side to side leg swipes o Front to back leg swipes o Hurdler’s stretch o KB Swings Do about 15-20 of each of these for 2 cycles. You don’t need to have fancy devices and a crazy routine to warm up the shoulders and keep them healthy.You can also use lacrosse balls. Hell. 32 . HIP MOBILITY AND GLUTE ACTIVATION Tight hips are a problem for many of us. trying to get the hands closer together as you continue these. SHOULDER MOBILITY For a lifter this is a key area of concern. If you are on your ass most of the day your hip flexors are shortened. o Shoulder Dislocates Do about 10-20 of these. Be a man. Even if you have an active job. especially those with a sedentary job.

Using the skinny band and a 5 pound plate after dislocates. There are numerous ways to warm-up and entire books devoted to the methods of warming up and mobility. but you can lessen the chances by doing a proper warm-up and making sure all tight areas are addressed. mobile and stretch when things are tight. you can do this suggested warm-up: With skinny band: Band Face Pulls Band Scapular Retractions Band Pullaparts With 5 pound plate: Circles – in and out Halos – clockwise and counterclockwise External Rotations Do 2 cycles of these with about 15-20 reps per exercise.These are a good all-purpose exercise to loosen up the shoulders to get ready for lifting. You may not be able to entirely prevent an injury. 33 . if you keep yourself loose. you can prevent any unnecessary injury due to neglect.

http://www. and felt gassed as hell afterwards with a heart rate that is racing like you did a hit of meth? Cardio will help with that. Cardio not only assists in body composition by burning calories. The rest of us look at it as the bane of our existence. That means instead of taking the customary 5-6 minute break between sets of squats will start to be reduced to 2-3 as your recovery improves and your work capacity is increased. lowers your heart rate and does all sorts of awesome things for your body that a lifter who does no cardio doesn’t have.livestrong. 5 5 Does Running Give You a Bigger Lung Capacity? . but a lot of us need the extra help. I realize you can have a fantastic body composition by just eating properly and training smart. OUT OF SHAPE AND STRONG Well. It won’t get rid of the work. it also raises your aerobic and anaerobic threshold. How does this actually relate to a lifter? How many of you have performed a set of higher rep squats.com/article/484982-does-running-give-you-a-bigger-lungcapacity/ 34 . Let’s face it. but the increased lactate threshold along with the increased lung capacity will allow you to do more work in less time. increases your lung capacity. cardio sucks. The only people who really enjoy it are those who run for a sport or participate in something that involves random exercising with unplanned progressions.NOBODY WANTS TO BE FAT. unless you are one of the ones that actually like that. or even a particularly grueling single or double. I know for a fact I do and I would probably be correct in saying you do as well.

About 2-3 times a week. Cardio on this template is to assist. Treadmills do not replace outdoor running. rest as needed and do what you can. The purpose is not to puke. it is to get a solid workout in.This doesn’t mean we need to start running 5K races. either on rest days or after leg days (I don’t recommend higher intensity cardio before a leg day unless you are a sadist or have worked yourself up to it first) go run a few hills. or has a hill within a decent distance from your home or work. this is dependent upon your current fitness level. Push the sprints as fast as you are able to without falling all over the place. So to keep that in mind here are some recommended cardio workouts to take part in: TREADMILL INTERVAL SPRINTS 10-20 seconds of sprinting with 30-60 seconds of rest. do some treadmill sprints. push the prowler around. jump off onto the rails when the time is up and carefully jump back on when its time to move. increase it as you adapt. HILLS AND SPRINTS If you are one of the lucky ones with a hill nearby and/or a place to sprint. Treadmill sprints are tricky. These are a competent substitute. walk down. its going to suck. as our specific needs as lifters demands a shorter. Run up. stop. It does not matter how big the hill is or how steep it is. 35 . I suggest using a slight incline. take advantage of it. more intense form of cardio. the best way to do them is to keep the treadmill running at the allotted speed. not be the end goal. That may be overdoing it for many of us. Once your hill running is starting to resemble a staggering drunk. or do a light barbell complex. but not everyone has the ability to sprint outside. or hills.

6If you have a hard time finding your pulse.aspx 36 . bike riding or even some fast paced walking. STEADY STATE CARDIO Sometimes you just do not feel like sprinting up a hill or sprinting in general. doing 5-6 the first time out and gradually working up to 812 over time. Over time your lung capacity will increase and you will be able to maintain a faster pace through these sessions. elliptical. Plan accordingly and plan smart. Lighter weight to start and keep them about 20-30 yards and go balls out with them. but with shorter distances. I would recommend starting out slowly with these. This is doing 15-20 minutes of light jogging. but mentally you want to do something. but give it a shot. find a nice straight path from 40-100 yards. Find your recommended target heart rate and maintain that level. I know it’s a pain in the ass if you don’t have a heart sensor on and you have to check your pulse manually. 6 Pulse and Target Heart Rate . You will find the first few times you do these you will be incredibly sore the next day or two. If you are breathing too heavy and can’t get air fast enough. step mill. These are the days you would want to do steady state cardio.org/heart/prevention/exercise/pulsethr. This is why I said earlier about not doing these BEFORE a leg day. PROWLERS AND SLEDS Treat these as sprints. slow the pace down some. go as fast as you can and rest fully between each one. You can use a handheld stop watch to measure approximate time for your records and see how you are improving. go by the breathing method. Push your heart rate to a decent level and maintain it for the duration of the session.Sprints are easy.http://my.clevelandclinic.

If you are one of the lucky ones to have access to these. Start with 3 rounds using a barbell complex and rest as needed between each dependent on heart rate or breathing. They also don’t need to be super complex as well. Do not make the mistake of stringing together movements that take a higher amount of skill to complete. reps. Stringing them together in a way where the rest point of the last movement is the beginning of the next movement – or an easy transition into the next one – is the key to a good complex. 37 . Complexes are deceiving little bastards so be warned. take advantage of them. increase the weight. they also strengthen the legs without the soreness of eccentric contractions. rounds or any combination of them. They not only give you a great cardio workout. Here are two examples of barbell complexes: 8 Deadlifts 8 Hang Power Cleans 8 Front Squats 8 Push Presses 8 Bent Over Rows 8 Romanian Deadlifts 8 Hang Power Cleans 8 Push Presses 8 Back Squats Note that in those two examples you can follow a sensible bar path. Start with 65 pounds on the bar and as your conditioning increases. CONDITIONING USING BARBELL/DUMBBELL OR KETTLEBELL COMPLEXES These need not be heavy at all to whip your ass.

Doing something like the next one is how NOT to create a barbell complex: 8 Push Presses 8 Deadlifts 8 Front Squats 8 Good Mornings In that one you have to readjust on the fly. Simple enough? Good. 38 . taking away from the continuity of the bar path.

KB. KB. various bars and front or back Squats with chains or bands Box Squats with front or back to parallel or below Quads: Lunges with barbell. Set the rack pins up at parallel or slightly above and grind out Zercher Squats Goblet Squats Kettlebell Squats Pause Squats using various pauses from 1-3 seconds. KB. BW 39 . BW Split Squats with BB. kettlebells or bodyweight – walking or stationary Reverse lunges with barbell. DB. kettlebells or bodyweight – stationary only please Bulgarian split squats with BB. DB. dumbbells. DB. BW Step ups with BB.EXERCISE APPENDIX Squat: Back Squat with various bars – Ass to grass or Powerlifting style Front Squat Pin Squats – dead stop squats. dumbbells.

rack or deficit with bar or fat bar Trap Bar Deadlifts Snatch Grip Deadlifts Hamstrings: Glute Ham Raise 40 .Leg Press Hack Squats Hinge: Romanian Deadlifts Straight Leg Deadlifts DB Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts Good Mornings Band Good Mornings Hip Thrusts Back Extensions 45 Degree Back Extensions Pull Throughs KB or DB Swings – heavy or light in rep ranges from 10-20 – not for conditioning Pulls: Deadlifts from floor.

touching the chest to the bar right below your nipple line. palms facing. towels. Lat Pulldowns using various bars.Lying Leg Curls Dumbbell Leg Curls Band Leg Curls Chins/Back Width: Chin-ups and pull-ups using different grips. Grab pronated or supinated and row your entire body. palms away or palms in a neutral position. Rows/Back Thickness: Reverse Grip Bent Over Rows Barbell Rows Pendlay Rows Chest Supported Row T-Bar Row Inverted Rows o Lying on floor on your back with a bar set in the power rack high enough to reach with straight arms. and different hand widths. The only part of your body left on the floor is your heels. anything you can hold and pull yourself up on is fair game. Do these with bodyweight or weighted using chains or plates on your 41 . ledges. Use ropes. width of grip. Weighted chins and pull-ups.

Power Curls Low Cable Curls Band Curls Inverted Bodyweight Curls o Place a bar in the power rack far enough to reach out to grab.chest/stomach. Triceps: Lying DB Tricep Extensions Tate Press 42 . but this is training. fat bar or bicep bar. Seated Cable Rows Batwings Weighted Scapular Retractions Biceps: Barbell curls using straight bar. curl your entire body to the bar using only your biceps and leaving only the heels of your feet on the ground.e. not playing house. That isn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world. Dumbbell curls o Seated straight up or incline o Standing o Hammer Curls Barbell Cheat Curls i.

chains or plates. Dips with bodyweight or weighted. Feet Elevated Pushups with bodyweight or added resistance. Pushups either with bodyweight or added resistance in the form of bands. Shoulders: Plate Raises 43 . Incline BB and DB Bench Press using different width grips and bars and chest angles.Seated DB Tricep Extensions JM Press Tricep pushdowns using a variety of bars or ropes Band Tricep Pressdowns Shrugs: Barbell Shrugs Barbell Power Shrugs Standing Dumbbell Shrugs Seated Dumbbell Shrugs Mid-back Shrugs Chest: Barbell and Dumbbell Bench Press using different width grips and bars (for barbells).

seated or lying down Face Pulls 44 . seated or lying down Face Pulls DB Front Raises Seated DB Power Cleans Band Pull Aparts Overhead: Military Press using a variety of bars Standing Behind the Neck Press (Rack Press) Klokov Press Push Press – front or rack Push Jerk – front or rack Z Press Seated DB Press Standing DB Press Arnold Press Seated Press.DB Side Laterals DB Rear Delt Raises .standing. either behind the neck or in front. Rear Delts: DB Rear Delt Raises – standing.

I left out exercises you can do with the Elite FTS Blast Strap/TRX and advanced bodyweight exercises. done for time Glute Ham Sit-ups – weighted or unweighted Standing Crunches using bands or pulldown station Ab Wheel Barbell Rollouts o Take a barbell with two 45 pound plates on it and use this for an ab wheel. This is much more challenging than an ab wheel. This is not a comprehensive list of all exercises for each body part. Most of us don’t have access to TRX/Blast Straps and can’t do handstand pushups. by all means feel free to substitute exercises using those pieces of equipment as needed. 45 .Seated DB Power Cleans Band Pull Aparts Abs: Decline sit-ups – weighted or unweighted Hanging Leg Raises Planks – weighted or unweighted. If you have Blast Straps or the TRX available to use.

Below I am going to list a sample month of exercise/set/rep selection so you can clear this up in your head and see the above section laid out for better comprehension. Week 1: Sunday Back Squat 3x10 Choose weight which makes the last 2 reps of the 3rd set hard Romanian DL 3x10 Seated DB Shrugs 3x20 Neutral Grip Chin-ups 3 sets to failure Hammer Curls 3x20 Hanging Leg Raises 3x12 Interval Sprints :30 on :60 off Monday Incline BB Bench 3x10 Choose weight which makes the last 2 reps of the 3rd set hard Thursday Trap Bar DL 3x6 Challenging 6 across 3 sets.A SAMPLE ONE MONTH SETUP There are going to be some questions in your head as to how to set this up. not to failure Friday Z Press 3x5 Challenging 5 across 3 sets. not to failure DB Walking Lunges 3x10 Weighted Pushups 3x10 Reverse Grip Bent Over Rows 4x8 Barbell Power Shrugs 3x8 Chest Supported Row 3x20 Plate Raises 3x15 Wide Grip Pulldowns 3x20 Face Pulls 3x20 Band Pressdowns 3x20 Incline DB Curls 3x15 Decline Sit-ups 3x15 Tate Press 3x12 Glute Ham Situps 3x10 Planks 3 sets for max time Prowler sprints 10 sprints @ 20m 46 .

47 .

Week 2: Sunday Front Squat 3RM Monday Pin Press (Bench) 2RM Glute Ham Raise DB Rows 3x10 3x10 DB Side Laterals Barbell Shrugs 3x12 3x8 Rope Close Grip Pressdowns Pulldowns 3x10 3x12 Fat Bar Curls 3x10 Decline Sit-ups 3x12 Thursday Deficit DL 3x8 Barbell Reverse Lunges 3x10 Standing DB Shrugs 3x15 Weighted Chinups 3x8 Preacher Curls Planks 3 sets for 3x15 time Glute Ham Situps 3x12 Friday Standing Press 3x8 DB Bench 3x15 Cable Row 3x20 Rear Delt Raises 3x12 DB Tricep Extensions 3x10 Standing Crunches with Band 3x20 6 – 40m sprints 20 mins steady state incline treadmill walking Week 3: Sunday Monday Safety Bar Squat Close Grip 3x4 Bench 3x4 Weighted 45 Degree Back Pendlay Rows 3x8 Thursday Deadlift 1RM Friday Rack Jerk 1RM Leg Press 2x10 Band Resisted Pushups 3x10 Barbell Shrugs Inverted Row 48 .

Extensions 3x10 DB Front Raises 3x12 Seated DB Shrugs 3x12 Band Pressdowns Neutral Grip Lat 3x15 Pulldowns 3x10 Ab Wheel 3x12 DB Curls 3x10 Hanging Leg Raises 3x12 3x10 3x12 Pull-ups 3x10 Band Pullaparts 3x20 Barbell Curls 3x8 Tate Press 3x10 Weighted Glute Ham Sit-ups 3x8 Barbell Rollout 3x8 Treadmill Hill Sprints 15m Step mill Week 4: Sunday 1 Count Pause Squats 3x10 Single Leg RDL 3x10 Seated DB Shrugs 3x20 Close Grip Pulldowns 3x15 Cheat Curls 3x8 Monday DB Bench 3x12 Thursday Snatch Grip DL 3x6 Chest Supported Row 3x15 DB Step Ups 3x12 Rear Delt Raises 3x15 Power Shrugs 3x8 JM Press 3x10 Weighted ChinDecline Sit-ups ups 3x8 3x12 Hammer Curls Friday Pin Press (Overhead) 3x6 Weighted Dips 3x10 Reverse Grip Barbell Rows 3x15 Face Pulls 3x15 Tricep Pressdowns 49 .

Hanging Leg Raises 3x12 5 – 30m sprints 3x10 3x12 Standing Crunches with Band 3x20 Ab Wheel 3x10 Barbell Complex 3 rounds 50 .

Don’t bother going in at all. Lessen the weights across all movements. 3. pick up where you left off. or go through the motions in the gym. You are still getting minimal work in and slightly satisfying your ego by actually showing up. eating like hell.WHAT ABOUT THE DELOAD? I do not program deloads. and just rest. Sometimes your body needs a break.. etc. and in many cases a 51 . Lessen the intensity on the main lift and also the accessory work. feeling beat up from lack of sleep. get minimal work in. The last time you pulled off 300 across 4 sets of 10 for the back squat. If that happens. Meaning you cut back on the working weight to make it easier. That is the nature of this template. there are also going to be times when things are not so good. work is getting to you. drop to 225 for 4x10 and give it the “going through the motions” treatment. You have to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! This template regulates intensity in a way that frequent deloads are not necessary. and some people can only go three weeks without one. Stress. By going through the motions you can attack this in a few ways: 1. but like all good things in life. For example you have to do Squats on a day you feel like hell. Thinking a cookie cutter deload is going to work for everyone isn’t always the best option. 2. skip cardio and go home.. Just do the main lift at a lesser intensity. Everyone is different. Some people can lift for weeks at a time without a programmed deload. This may be the best option of all of them. If you want this option do example 1 across the board. but you will mentally beat yourself down if you don’t go in and do something. it would be a smart idea to either take a couple days off. so instead of trying 310-315. because in reality one or two missed workouts isn’t going to kill your progress.

It is important to rest. I will just take 3 weeks off and come back”. Meanwhile in those three weeks you decide to hit the bars all weekend. whether it is mental or physical. I remember one recent lifting session I had when I was sitting on the bench. tired both mentally and physically. Sometimes your body surprises you. That rest will make it that much harder to come back as excuses start coming into your head. lack of strength and lack of well-being. drink. your body will tell you. Trust me there. I was starting to take my lifting shoes off to go home before I even started and I just said “the hell with it. On that day I set a new overhead PR of 30 pounds more than my previous best. we are resilient. With all three of these options you will want to keep one thing constant. You need to continue to eat as your normally eat and give your body a chance to recover properly. If you slack off on proper eating. sleep in late. 52 . I am here. You may say “I’m tired. Once in a while you feel like going home from the gym before you even start. Eating. Understand that once you tackle training as a life-long commitment. I went through this exact thing at a couple points in my life.good couple days off from even touching a weight will give you the rest you need to come back with a vengeance. When you are feeling like a break is needed. I will start tomorrow”. Deviate too long from your plan and you notice a lack of energy. It is easy to fall off the wagon if you allow yourself too much room to jump. and act like a college freshman. lack of endurance. sometime you have full intentions of taking a deload and all of a sudden the weights are explosive and you feel like you can take on the Huns. eat like hell. I will just lift”. There is a fourth option and sometimes this happens. that is your body’s signal to refuel. but equally important not to say “you know. you are different than people who don’t train.

not by ego.Listen to your body and lift according to feel. 53 .

I expect some common sense to be used with it since you have an idea of how to train already. There is no one right way to train. lift on feel. save Day 3 for pulling from the floor. the max effort day is based on how you feel ON THAT DAY. if you have to ask why. On the weeks you don’t pull start with a hinge movement (on Day 3 in case your attention span is the same as a gnat’s life) to strengthen the hamstrings. Higher reps build muscularity and work on form. Some people can do it. please slap yourself. moderate reps build strength and the max effort days will test your ability to pull heavy weights and grind them out. you purchased one right way to train with a ton of variations involved with it. glutes and lower back. most of us can’t. As this book is for intermediate to advanced lifters. As with the base template.THE VARIATIONS OF THE ASHMAN STRENGTH SYSTEM You talk to 10 strength coaches and you will get 10 different answers for most strength/physique related questions. Day 1’s hinge/hamstring movement should always be done in the rep format as described in the accessory work section. I will highly recommend you don’t do good mornings as a max effort movement. I highly advise against pulling twice a week. If you respond well to higher frequency of pulling you may want to use a pull (or variation of a pull) for the first exercise on Day 3 most of the time. You don’t have to shoot for a PR with every max effort day. If you respond to less frequent deadlifting (as I do) pull every other week. If you bought this book. DEADLIFT Some people respond well to higher frequency deadlifting. some people do well with less infrequent pulling. but there are a shitload of wrong ways to train as well. BENCH 54 . The risk/reward is potentially too great for a max effort good morning.

You want to hit the muscles that you need to first (in order of weakness that pertain to the bench) and then carry on with the rest of the program. but strength off the chest is). If you are a bencher with weaker shoulders and stronger triceps (lockout isn’t a major issue. I don’t believe that using boards will help a raw lifter out as much as some people think they do. a template.The template is just that. and they still do. partials and other geared lifter tools. the ones that want a big bench before all else) will want to slightly modify this template to adjust to the needs of that lift on Day 2 and Day 4. not necessarily partial movement strength. make a shoulder movement your SECOND lift of the day. so there isn’t a pressing need to work on lockout strength. Powerlifters and bro benchers (you know the types. Immediately after you can continue on with the program on Day 2 as written. On Day 2 the order of exercises is as follows: Main Lift: Chest (1) Rows/Thickness (1) Shoulders/Overhead (1) Triceps (1) Abs (1) If you are a bencher with weaker triceps (problems at lockout) you will want to make the tricep movement your SECOND lift of the day. Don’t get caught up in boards. 55 . Do a tricep movement that builds tricep strength and size. People were benching some big ass weights before boards were being used. This is a RAW lifting program and you will build raw strength. It starts with the main lift first and as you go down the rest of the day’s training it ends with the smaller muscle groups.

Deadlifting. Work the lift more that way by adding extra volume to the weekly squat load. Stick with the template as is. The template was written for a general strength/physique application. extensions. Stick with the template and add unilateral work on Day 3 for the second movement. hypers. See how this template works? It’s simple to adapt it to your needs as an off-season powerlifter looking to add strength and mass before the meet prep. These will add to your work on the squat and allow for a bigger lift progress. but with a partner they can tell you where the issue happened and you can go from there. On Day 1 and Day 3. 56 . but if you are an off-season powerlifter you are free to swap bench and shoulders around. Unilateral movements for the lower body will really work the hip flexors hard. 3. 1. even if shoulders are the first movement. make bench the first movement and follow the suggestions for Day 2. Training alone makes this harder. SQUAT You can attack this in a few different ways. 2. but choose a squat exercise for the second movement on Day 3. any sort of hinge movement will be acceptable after squatting on Day 1 and Day 3 using the set/rep scheme in accessory work. This is a great way to build lower body mass with the squat since you are focusing on the squat 2 days a week while using the hinge/hamstring/pull day to add posterior chain mass. good mornings. balance and stability in ways a squat don’t. On Day 4 you can do the same thing. make squatting the FIRST movement of the day with Day 3 having the hinge/pull being the second.This requires analysis of your lifting with a critical and honest eye.

on this program.4. This program. moderate reps and max effort and hit the accessory work in a bodybuilding style to add size and support for the main lift. If back strength is a problem. In a couple months. It won’t hurt it. the core of it remains the same. BACK STRENGTH You are doing back 4x a week. as it is written. be patient. you don’t really need the leg press. you will have a stronger back and that weakness will start to catch up. Trying to adapt the basic principles of the program will render this program pointless and you may as well write your own up because you sure as hell won’t be following this one. If your approach is a well-balanced duo of strength and size. It will come. If you are focused on using this template to get geared up for meet prep. leg pressing may be your buddy after the main lift on Day 3. Leg Press…. Cycle the intensity between higher reps. offers adaptability and variations for both powerlifters and powerbuilders. Rome wasn’t built in a day and doing a shitload of volume to make up for years of back neglect won’t help as much as sticking to the plan as written. but there are better ways to get a bigger squat rather than leg pressing. Mainly for leg size as I don’t buy into the notion that leg pressing directly helps the squat since they are two entirely different movements. I’ve seen 1000 pound leg pressers struggle with 315 on their backs. Be patient. however. 57 .

FAQ
1. Why cycle core lifts using different bars/lifts?
You cannot make progress forever using just one type of core lift. Every program
on the market, every coach who is worth their weight in muscle and every
effective system utilized in a legitimate strength gym uses various types of boards,
boxes, pauses, bars and bar position to help their lifters get bigger and stronger.
The same applies here. Using different lifts work the lift in different ways which
will help increase the straight bar lift over time.
2. I like doing CrossFit workouts; can this be used with some WOD’s?
Not at all. Combining programs is a good way to ensure lesser results across both
programs. Stick to one, see it through and reap the benefits of doing one program.
3. Can I pick more exercises to do instead of one? It doesn’t feel like enough
on a day.
No you cannot. In this template you will do Squats twice a week, some sort of
posterior chain dominant movement twice a week, biceps and triceps twice a
week, a chest exercise twice a week, back four times a week, abs four times a
week, traps twice a week, shoulders twice a week and rear delts once. If you feel
you need more, you aren’t doing it right.
4. Can I do back squats all the time instead of the other variations (instead
bench, deadlift, shoulder press here)?
The beauty of this template is in the variation of the exercise selection. Being that
this is not a traditional percentage based program, you don’t have a marked
percentage to work off of like other programs. The nature of that alone does not
necessarily allow for progressive overload. You will have some progress sticking to
one main lift for a period of time with the different rep/set combinations, but you
will come to a point where you will stall.
58

5. Can I do accessory work heavier, like 4-6 reps?
I’d prefer you not. This template combines both bodybuilding and powerlifting
training. The accessory work is designed to be executed as a bodybuilder would.
Furthermore you will see better muscular gains doing the accessory work in that
manner. Sure, once in a while you can push the envelope and do some heavy
shrugs, rows and other accessory movements, but for 95% of your accessory work,
stick to the 8-20 rep range with weights and higher for bands and bodyweight.
6. I want to do cardio four times a week, can I?
Sure, but keep in mind your gains may be slower than you expect until your body
adjusts. Also be smart about it and don’t do sprints four times a week. You are a
lifter and chances are you will be incredibly sore and burned out for any lower
body work for a while if you choose to start off doing sprints all the time.
7. What about Olympic Lifts? Can I do power versions of them?
Not on this version you cannot. In a future supplemental version there will be
additions on adding power cleans, power snatches and explosive pulls to increase
athleticism and power. For now, just focus on getting bigger and stronger.
8. What about lifting tempo?
We are not going to count seconds to lower and raise the bar. That is taking it to
another level that I have no desire to go to. Train the main lifts like a powerlifter,
meaning you stay tight and treat every rep – no matter the bar weight – as a max
effort lift. Same exact form using 135 as you would using 400.
With accessory work you train it like a bodybuilder; controlled concentric and
eccentric contractions, fully stretching and contracting the muscle. You shouldn’t
be heaving the weight doing accessory work, if you are, lighten the load.
9. What about a workout log, should I keep one?

59

The answer to this is always yes. In this log you should keep a detailed record of
the lift, the bar used, the sets, the reps and the weight used. Make notes about
how heavy the weight was relative to the day so you can go back to see progress
and increase weight and reps as needed. Being that this template relies on using
multiple main lifts and accessory lifts, keeping a detailed log will make your
training a hell of a lot easier.
10.

Can I use this to train for a powerlifting or strongman meet?

This current template is designed for a general strength, hypertrophy and
offseason program. I am working on a version as of this writing to peak for a
powerlifting meet.
Strongman will be a different animal as events, weights, times of events and
implements available for your own personal use change. That will be expanded
upon in a future supplement edition of this e-book along with the powerlifting
peaking program.
11.

Can I superset the accessory work?

Yes you can. Feel free to superset how you please after the main lift. If you are
pressed for time this is a great way to get a workout in quickly. This will also
accelerate your heart rate and add some conditioning and work capacity to your
training outside of cardio.
Experiment a little; it’s a template, not a set-in-stone program.
12.

What do I do if I “stall” with this system?

I realize that with every program on the market, you will stall. There isn’t a single
program on the market you can do for a lifetime without modifying it in some way
to change up the stimulus you receive.
Since I have started this program I have adapted it two different ways. I kept the
core lifts and the set/rep scheme the same, the only thing I changed is the
accessory work schedule.
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61 .

once I actually “scheduled” conditioning training I stuck to it more instead of making excuses and leaving the gym before I did it. I am forever tweaking what I have and this template is very dynamic to work with. After doing this for a couple months. I wanted to add more to my core lifts to give them some extra work. This may be an option for the lazy lifter who thinks they don’t need to do some form of cardio.The two modifications are below: Day 1 Main Lift: Squat (1) Day 2 Main Lift: Chest (1) Rows/Thickness (1) Hinge/Hamstrings Shoulders/Overhead (1) (1) Shrugs (1) Triceps (1) Chins/Back Width Conditioning (1) Biceps (1) Abs (1) Day 3 Main Lift: Pulls/Hinge (1) Day 4 Main Lift: Overhead (1) Squat/Quads (1) Pushups/Chest (1) Shrugs (1) Rows/Thickness Chins/Back (1) Width (1) Rear Delts (1) Biceps (1) Triceps (1) Abs (1) Conditioning For the first modification I realized I was being pressed for time in the gym with doing abs and conditioning. This is my current setup: Day 1 Main Lift: Squat (2) Day 2 Day 3 Main Lift: Chest Main Lift: (2) Pulls/Hinge (2) Day 4 Main Lift: Overhead (2) 62 .

You can see I added calves to the mix as well. You aren’t restricted to doing two barbell movements. This means you could follow up a squat movement with a quad dominant movement such as Olympic squats. Why? I wanted more calf development. feel free to use dumbbells or other tools to work the core lift only after doing the main movement with a bar in your hand. Changing it like this means I now moved all arm work to two days doing bis/tris on the same day. 63 . lunges or even leg extensions.Hinge/Hamstrings Shoulders (1) (1) Shrugs (1) Rows/Thickness Triceps (1) (1) Chins/Back Width Biceps (1) (1) Conditioning Calves (1) Squat/Quads (1) Chest (1) Chins/Back Width (1) Rear Delts (1) Biceps (1) Rows/Thickness Triceps (1) (1) Calves (1) Conditioning Abs (1) Abs (1) In this tweak I increased the core lift to 2 lifts per session. Another tweak I added was consolidating the back work into two days. leg presses. Some will love that. I don’t. Doing this allows me to focus hard on the back work over two days rather than spacing it out over four. I choose to do some lower back work like back extensions or reverse hypers to keep my lower back healthy without overdoing the pulling. feel free to knock yourself out by utilizing two different pulling movements back to back. Same goes for chest and overhead. If you are one of the lucky ones who can tolerate frequent deadlifting. Pulls are the only one where you really don’t need to do two deadlift variations on the same day.

That original system worked wonders for me for several months. as well as others who have used it. especially the second variation above.I would recommend running the original template as described before trying out one of the tweaks. It adds volume to it and you’ll need the work capacity built up from following the program as described in the previous chapters. 64 . The tweaks were added to prevent the body from becoming accustomed to a set exercise order.

It has helped me immensely and it will help you. exercises and intensity. You may love to back squat and want to do it all the time. I was a habitual program hopper. programs with a set routine don’t work forever. I got bored easily. I did not self-regulate my intensity like I needed to. will give your body the “whoa what is this?” factor it may need to break past a plateau and spur it to muscle growth and strength increases. Progressive overload and repeating the same exact program over and over again will cause plateaus. you can’t go heavy forever. It solves the problem a lot of us have with knowing when to push and when not to push.CLOSING WORDS I wrote this template out of need. 5x5 doesn’t work forever. A lot of us fall into that category as well. 65 . If you compete. This template takes the guess work out of regulating intensity but provides enough stimulus and variation to add size and strength to your frame. This template uses all of them to achieve a system that can be used for years of progress if programmed intelligently with regards to what your body needs. Goals change. you know what it is like on a whole other level. It’s a fact. You get hurt. Variations need to occur. You burn out. I was in the mindset of always lifting heavy or it is a bad workout. but changing up the bar. use and read. reps. Of those hundreds only a handful are programs you can use long term. We don’t like to dial it back and often dial it back only when needed or if we get hurt. Not what your mind needs. changing from back to front. The body develops aches and pains. That is no way to train long term. There are literally hundreds of programs on the market you can buy. You can’t compete forever. and gimmick programs don’t work forever. If you have a certain amount of years under the bar you already know what it is like to be competitive with yourself. changing the depth. Life happens. The human body adapts to a stimulus and the only way to ensure long term progress is to modify sets. etc. what your body needs.

The basic principles remain the same. Boredom is the kiss of death for any training program. this is training to add size. I provide a template. If you approach the gym with a sense of dread. The template is customizable. 66 . strength. The template uses body part training with an exercise list to choose from to give you the best results possible. you can emphasize bench over overhead pressing or you can keep it as is (as I have and many others as well) for a more well-rounded approach to training with weights. cycle the intensities among the main lifts and hammer the accessory work with the purpose of building muscle. not exhibiting strength. its fun and it may just be the spark your training needed to give you an awesome combination of size. Training should be fun above all. As a raw lifter/powerbuilder. Its dynamic. lift smart. the weak points will take care of themselves with the frequent lifting and building overall muscularity. you can change order of accessory work based off your needs.This is a huge reason why I don’t provide a program. Have fun. something is wrong. strength and conditioning. Thank you for buying this e-book and I am confident you will enjoy using it. It’s adaptable. grow and be a better version of yourself. it’s customizable and no two people using this system will have the exact same program. aesthetics and balance. Boredom creates dread. This is NOT weak point training. you can emphasize squatting over pulling.

past or present. Joe Hashey and Ari Selig. 67 . I will place his expertise and experience against anybody in this industry. Five coaches sitting around talking training. so I won’t here. We had the chance to sit with CJ Murphy and Matt Rhodes at TPS in Boston as well. he is there criticizing me and also helping out. he has almost no peers. with himself. That alone shows you we NEVER stop learning when even a coach as respected as Dan is still looking for information. Angry Coach from Elite FTS. That weekend is still inspiring. Tim Mosolino who invited me to attend his strength coach workshop in Boston when I was starting out on my own.THE PATH IS ALWAYS FILLED WITH HELP This e-book has been a journey from a maybe to a yes. I have been blessed with some luck being exposed to some great minds along the way. his simplicity of training philosophies has been my inspiration for a very long time. Dan John who always takes the time to talk with me regarding training and life. Sean Waxman of Waxman’s Gym in CA has been a tremendous help with expanding my knowledge base. I look back on the years spent in the gym and what I have learned from everyone along the way. and his track record with athletes and coaching speaks for itself. He doesn’t use him name there. Elliott Hulse. he is a father figure in many ways and one of the smartest men I ever met. When someone will tell me I am wrong. that weekend was one of the most educational of my life. Fantastic minds in training. As a strength coach. it is usually him. Having the chance to meet him. he gives it. He goes above and beyond what a friend/mentor does for someone and he has opened many doors for me. He has an innate ability to make the complex easy. He is a coach’s coach and one of the most knowledgeable men in this industry. To see him taking notes on my topic was about the greatest moment in my strength coaching career. When I need honest opinions and no bullshit criticism. “Dan has forgotten more about training then I will ever know and he is writing down what I am saying”. talk with him and speak on the same billing as him was a great honor. To this day. I was thinking.

and the coaches. Para mi diosa. I have been lucky to be around people who have given their time. resources and knowledge to me over the years and I thank them all. being up there with collegiate and professional strength coaches and discussing my training methods in front of the attendees. They have my appreciation and helped forge my knowledge base.Mark Watts of Denison University for allowing me to speak at his Annual Strength and Conditioning Seminar. but these people stand out as ones who took the time to really help out. para mi musa. There are many more. She took me to her gym with her and encouraged my progress. was an awesome experience. Without being exposed to these people. One more person… one woman told me years ago to start working out and she doesn’t know it yet but that set in path this entire chain of events. That is my mom. 68 . Her insistence that I “start to fill out” led me on a path to my love for the iron. to be encouraged into a healthier lifestyle. It was the single greatest catalyst a young man could have. this e-book would have never been a thought in my head. As I said. My mom was teaching STEP classes part-time and was very physically fit so she was a good role model at that time. she started the ball rolling for me more than anyone else did at that time.

normal adults and post-rehab patients looking to return to a good level of fitness. He has been a featured speaker at the Denison University Strength and Conditioning Seminar speaking on the topic of “Training considerations for pitchers” and was a part of the 4 speaker seminar with Dan John. young kids. speaking about Strongman training and programming. He got his start in Reading.ashmanstrength. He is certified through AAAI/ISMA but firmly believes that certifications mean little as continual education and time under the bar is the key to success as a strength coach.facebook.com/groups/ashmanstrength 69 . He has worked with older populations. high school kids and college athletes from PA to NY and Ohio. he is eyeing a return to Strongman competitions in 2013 and takes on a limited number of both online and in-person clients.com or email him at jay@ashmanstrength. Gant Grimes and Jack Reape called “Putting it all Together”. To contact Jay. He has been published online at Elite FTS and in Ohio Sports and Fitness. visit his website at http://www. Currently. PA and has worked with various athletes from the professional ranks.com Look for the Ashman Strength System Facebook group – http://www.ABOUT JAY Jay Ashman has been training clients and athletes full and part time for over 12 years.