The Traditional Strength Training Protocol
Fitness as a sport is in its infancy. Many of the athletes who compete didn’t grow up playing the sport. Many were college athletes or even everyday gym goers.
Not everyone is fortunately enough to have a one-on-one coach to prescribe a strength regimen, so many people (unfortunately) opt for google to play the role of their coach. If this is you chances are the program you pulled off the internet was 3 or 4 sets with rep ranges from 8-12.
This isn’t a bad place to start and many people can get pretty darn strong with this sort of protocol, but what happens when you reach a plateau and stop improving?
Often the ‘solution’ is more weight or more sets. Soon you are left with cranky joints, a drained nervous system and burnout. All of that might even be worth it if you continued to get stronger. But here’s the thing…you’re not.
Now, let’s say you do a heavy set of eight in the traditional model. The first two or three reps you move the fastest. The last rep or two are the ones that produce the most fatigue. In other words, you didn’t get that much quality work done and you didn’t produce a crazy amount of metabolic fatigue either. But…
What if we could isolate out those first few quality reps and repeat them?
What if we could extrapolate those last two reps and multiple the effects?
That exactly what the Spectrum Approach does.
Heavy doubles and triple for many sets allows you to always move with maximum strength and speed.
High-volume accessory work extends the fatigue potential because the weight isn’t so heavy.
It truly is the best of both worlds.
Why the Spectrum Approach Works
The spectrum approach has been developed by ZOAR to allow continued strength growth across an athlete’s career. It allows for the neurological adaptation of low rep, high weight intensity while also allowing for volume to continuously build, and along with it, muscle mass.
More muscle with a greater contractile potential is a potent recipe for developing raw strength.
You may have noticed this method of developing strength so far parallels Westside Barbell’s Conjugate Method. However, the demands of a Functional Fitness athlete are completely different than an elite geared powerlifter, and therefore the demands of the program should be tailored to the demands of the sport.
Accessory movements in the Spectrum Approach can be stand alone or paired into a Met-Con. The whole point is building volume and endurance through many contractions.
Forget 3×10 pull-ups when you can do well over a hundred in a workout without any movement breakdown or motor pattern compensation.
The underlying principle of the Spectrum Approach is doing high intensity and high volume concurrently in a training block.
If you attempt to do high volume with something like 8×8 back squats…have fun walking the next day.
With the Spectrum Approach it is very easy to hit a max effort double or triple followed by dozens of contractions in accessories, while not be mechanically or metabolically broken the following days.
Related: Lift More Weight with Cluster Sets
Specifics of the Spectrum Approach System
To avoid speaking in generalities or being vague, here is an outline or template of a session using the spectrum approach. Most sessions will include these elements, but they don’t always have to be distinct or in the same order. For example, the aerobic element could be apart of the Met-Con, the accessory work could be coupled with strength, etc.
A) WARM-UP (Includes: Thermo, Mobility, CNS Wake)
*warm the body up, claim the shapes you need to make, get the fast-twitch fibers firing*
B) STRENGTH (Includes: 2-3 Movements, High Load, Low Rep, Complimentary Movements)
*complementary often meaning internal versus external torque chains* [Squat & Press, Hinge & Pull]
C) ACCESSORY (Includes: Several exercises targeting weak links, positions and hypertrophy)
*exercises are often general, meaning not specific to what gets tested in Functional Fitness*
D) MET-CON (couplets & triplets with interfering movements)
*interfering meaning they impose limiters on the other movement* [e.g. Cleans & Chest-to-Bar]
E) AEROBIC (sustainable, longer time domains)
*lots of erg work, non-eccentric, often completely different muscle groups than trained previously*
Sample Workout Using the Spectrum Approach
Box Jump [from seated on low box] (5×3)
*Every 90s, build in height each set*
Every 2 Min, x 8 Sets, 16 Min
-3 Touch-N-Go Power Clean
*start at 75% and climb*
Front Squat (6×2) @ 87.5%
**Rest until Heart Rate is below 90 bpm**
*build to heavy single using the sets listed above*
4 Rounds, for Load
-8 Good Morning with 3s Pause
-16 Supinated Barbell Bent Row
Banded External Rotations (3×12 per arm)
D1) INTERVAL MET-CON
Every 2 Minutes, x 5 Rounds [Complete in a 30s Window]
-3 Power Cleans (@90% of Heaviest TnG Triple from B1)
-Max Ring Muscle-Ups in Remaining Time
Row 500m x 8
-Rest 60s between intervals
**hold under 25 strokes per minute**
**negative split each interval – first is slowest, last is fastest**
Related Read: Rowing for Calories Versus Meters
Your workouts are intense & your body takes a toll.
Build a body that won’t break down when you go hard and fast.
The accessory work in Bulletproof Body focuses on 3 key avenues of development:
Add Muscle Size + Strength
Potent Protocols Stimulate Muscle Growth
Increase Mobility + Positions
Fix Asymmetries with Unilateral Work
Improve Tendon + Joint Health
Prevent Injury & Address Neglected Areas