Article last updated: December 2017 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
This week I got several emails regarding the Phase 1 strength goals of my bodyweight program for skinny-fat guys:
- 15 chin ups.
- 30 diamond push ups.
- 100 bodyweight squats.
The questions asked if the Phase 1 goals are for one unbroken (consecutive set) or for several sets?
The answer is: ONE unbroken set (the first set).
The first set always matters the most because that’s when you’re fresh and you have the most strength and energy.
You want to use that strength and energy to beat your previous training session’s personal record.
After the first set, your strength will naturally drop because your muscles fatigue.
As a result, it’s unlikely that you will break your personal records after the first set.
Example: You may hit 15 chin ups on the first set, then drop down to 12 chin ups on the second set and 8 chin ups on the 3rd set.
If you are able to do more reps on your second set, third set and so on, it means that you didn’t push yourself to positive muscular failure on the first set. (And thereby you set yourself up for an unproductive training session).
Here are some tips to ensure that you get the most out of your first set:
- Warm-up with dynamic stretches such as arm swings and arm circles.
- If you are attempting a heavy lift, do warm-up sets and ramp up the weight gradually until you reach your working weight. Make sure that you go easy on the warm-up sets (e.g. if you can do 10 reps, only do 5), but use the same technique and speed that you will use on your working set. Using the same technique and speed will help prime your Central Nervous System to maximise your power on the first set.
- If you want to prime your Central Nervous System for max power on the chin up and diamond push up, you want to do 2-3 easy warm up sets on inverted rows (for the chin up) and regular push ups (for the diamond push up). Again, you want to use the same speed and technique as you will on your first working set, but go easy. Why change the exercises? Because doing chin ups or diamond push ups for your warm up will fatigue you too much.
- Listen to music that pumps you up and go into the first set with a clear goal in mind of a minimum amount of reps you want to complete. (Should be more reps than your last training session).
Be proud but stay hungry!
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
PS: To give you an idea of what it’s like to be on my online coaching program, I’ve uploaded a long testimonial from a client who just completed 1 year on the program. You can read it here.
Products and Services:
- The SKINNY-FAT TRANSFORMATION Bodyweight Program (184-page PDF).
- Online Transformation Program (online personal coaching).