Legends of Pittsburgh Fitness and Performance Center

My hybrid training program and my peers who influenced it

physique

 

I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn from others. You must first drop the attitude that you know everything, and you must be willing to try new things or step out of your comfort zone. While I can list well-known weightlifters and others in the fitness industry who have had a positive impact on my training, its actually my peers who have shaped and helped me grow my knowledge and philosophy the most.

Before I dive into the specifics of my program, I want to call attention to these peers and give them their due respect and recognition. My program is a hybrid of weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, general athleticism, and pre-hab/mobility work. I’m going to begin with weightlifting and work my way on from there.

The first person I want to call attention to is Pittsburgh Riverhounds Director of Sports Science and Fast and Jacked co-founder Mike Whiteman. While I was with the Riverhounds, Mike would give me literature to read about weightlifting, including some of the most dense books on Russian/Bulgarian training systems. As a player, I had the luxury of hands-on training from Mike to help me hone in the basics of the snatch and clean and jerk. This was an extremely vital and helpful jumpstart to my love for weightlifting, but it was also Mike’s knowledge of speed mechanics and general athleticism that not only helped me in my own training but also helped mold the philosophy I use for training athletes today. Be it speed mechanics, squat mechanics, or power movements via med ball throws and jumps, I had all the tools I needed to begin molding my own athletes in the Legends of Pittsburgh and Fast and Jacked image!

Staying on weightlifting, the newest addition to our barbell club—Kevin Cornell—has had an immediate and huge impact on my training already. Having trained with some of the top dogs of USA weightlifting, namely Jon North and Donny Shankle, Kevin has been able to offer expert advice on form and what to implement into my training to fix some of my weaknesses. For example, the inclusion of pause cleans and pause jerks, jerks from blocks, etc. to prevent the bar from crashing down in the clean, and then focusing on separation in the jerk rather than trying to push it away. We couldn’t ask for a more experienced and knowledgeable weightlifter at our gym and I’m excited for what the future holds as we team up for seminars and growing the barbell club.

Next brings me to powerlifting, and my go-to guy for this is the other co-founder of Fast and Jacked Major Mason. Major has not only been competing in the sport for years, but he’s also owned his own gym and focuses on training clients of all levels. Having had a mild separated AC joint some years back after benching too heavy, Major’s guidance on proper benching form has been extremely helpful and has helped me to have pain-free shoulders while benching. He also helped me learn sumo-deadlift which was a big example of me stepping out of my comfort zone and trying an exercise I never implemented into my training previously.

Next on the list is bodybuilding, and what better guy to have around than IFBB Pro Seth Feroce! While the horizontal and vertical push/pull days in my program are influenced from Arnold, Seth is the one who introduced me to training technique I never heard of before—instinctive training. I suggest watching some of his “How to” videos filmed at our place from his brand “All-American Roughneck.” His descriptions of establishing a mind to muscle connection and focusing on hitting muscle groups from all different angles has been invaluable to my physique training. While I’m still a novice in the technique, I’ve already seen improved muscle gains from using it and am motivated to continue to hone in its effectiveness. Seth also introduced me to some very helpful pre-workout and intra-workout supplements from Blackstone Labs that have given a new fire to my workouts.

And then there is the other brother, the man who keeps me healthy and moving—chiropractor Jake Feroce! It’s hard to decide which is more noteworthy–Jake’s extensive knowledge of rehab, mobility, and injury prevention or his genuineness and willingness to help others. Regardless, its a perfect recipe to be the best chiropractor in the area, and my prediction is that he will be known for this in the near future (by more people than who already know it now!). Jake’s preventative maintenance and advice on correcting strength/body imbalances has allowed me to train at the top of my game every single week. Whether its adjustments, muscle work, stim, or showing me new mobility exercises, Jake is a vital part to my recovery and maintaining my health.

Which brings me to the last and most crucial peer influence—my brother Nick! Nick is the one who joins me in the quest to find what works and what doesn’t. He is always willing to try new routines, programs, etc. and its this willingness that keeps me motivated and hungry for more PR’s! Having someone to not only workout with daily but who shares in your training philosophy makes our garnering of new knowledge more efficient. We are both always discovering new and improved ways to lift heavy weight, and his passion for reading and learning from the best keeps my own learning process from becoming stagnant. Bouncing ideas off one another prevents us from getting stuck in our own heads about how to build a program and influences the other in trying new things one of us may have discovered.

So now I’m done with making these guys’ egos any bigger. Let’s dive into a 9 week sample of the program, separated by 3 separate blocks of 3 weeks. This is just a template for my hybrid programming, and it always leaves room open to build off the previous 3 week block by incorporating exercises and complexes to attack weaknesses.

3 week block (1)

Monday:
Front squat 5-3-1 progression with back offs
Snatch pull + hang snatch 1RM
-20% snatch pull + hang snatch + 2OHS
Accessory legs/jumps/throws/core
Tuesday:
10RM close-grip bench, -10% for 2×10
10RM barbell rows, -10% for 2×10
Horizontal push/pull and arms
Wednesday:
Back squat 5RM, 3RM or 1RM
Clean pull + hang clean + jerk 1RM
-20% clean pull + hang clean + 3 jerks
Accessory legs/jumps/throws/core
Thursday:
10RM military press, -10% for 2×10
10RM pull-ups, -10% for 2×10
Vertical push/pull and arms
Friday:
Clean and jerk 2RM
3 hang snatch pull + hang snatch + 2TNG snatch
Saturday:
Snatch- 2 waves
Back squat 90% of Wednesday’s RM—
3×5, 4×3, or 5×1
Thruster triples, clean first rep
Upper body circuit
3 week block (2)

Monday:
Front squat 5-3-1 progression with back offs
Snatch + OHS x2 1RM
2 pause cleans at knee + pause jerk 1RM
Tuesday:
1/6 contrast sets close-grip bench
1/6 contrast sets barbell rows
Horizontal push/pull and arms
Wednesday:
Back squat 5RM, 3RM or 1RM
Clean + front squat + 2 jerks 1RM
Snatch 1RM
Thursday:
1/6 contrast sets military press
1/6 contrast sets pull-ups
Vertical push/pull and arms
Friday:
Clean and jerk 1RM
5RM hang snatch
Back squat 80-90% of Wednesday’s RM—
3×5, 4×3, or 5×1
Saturday:
Bilateral farmers walk
Overhead bilateral kb lunges
Arms
jumps/throws
3 week block (3)

Monday:
Front squat 5-3-1 progression
Snatch + low hang snatch + 5 sec pause OHS
Clean with pause at the knee + pause jerk + clean + jerk
3×5 band resisted snatch pulls supersetted with throws and jumps
Tuesday:
8RM close-grip bench with pause, -5%, -10% no pause
3×8 barbell pendlay rows
Horizontal push/pull accessory work
Wednesday:
Back squat 5-3-1 progression
Snatch pull with pause at knee + snatch with pause at the knee + hang snatch 1RM
5RM clean from blocks
3×5 Band resisted clean pulls
Thursday:
8RM seated military press, -10% for 2×8 standing
2×10 pull-ups with pause, max set of pull-ups
Vertical push/pull accessory work
Friday:
Snatch 1RM
Clean and jerk 1RM
Back squat 5-3-1 percentage work
Saturday:
Arms
Overhead axle carries
Max set of dips
A few things to note. First and foremost is the squat program I follow. I developed a 5-3-1 progression that I use with a lot of my athletes. How it works: week 1 of the block you hit a 5RM front squat on Monday. These are all daily rep maxes and not necessarily PR’s. If you hit a new 5RM PR, you do 1 back-off set at 90% of that weight. If you don’t hit a new 5RM, you do one back-off at 95% of that weight and then another at 90%. You do the same thing the following Monday for a 3RM and then the last week of the block is a 1RM.
For back squat, you hit either a 5RM, 3RM, or 1RM on the Wednesday of each block but with NO back-off sets. That Friday is when you do percentage work off whatever number you hit. You do 3×5, 3×3, or 3×1 at 80%, 85%, and 90% of the corresponding rep max. There is a variation of this program I alternate with that has pauses incorporated and will be happy to share that with anyone interested.
You’ll notice that the upper body days are only specific with the 2 main lifts at the beginning. That’s because I do instinctive training with the remaining accessory work and again would be more than happy to offer suggestions from exercises, rep ranges, etc., not to mention ideas about jump and throw combos that I use for demonstration of athleticism and power. I also incorporated accessory leg and core exercises not necessarily listed.
So that’s it! As far as a hybrid of all of the above-mentioned sports, this is very balanced program and I did my best to hit the best of all of them. Not included in these blocks is the deadlift program I followed in the previous 3 week block not listed here. I decided to focus more on clean/snatch pulls, good mornings, kang squats, and RDL’s for my posterior chain work. But will definitely add some deadlift variations back in.
The best way to train is to first know your goals. My goal is the best combination of strength, power, physique, and athleticism that I can manage. Because I don’t compete as a pro soccer player anymore or as a weightlifter or powerlifter, this program is ideal for me. If you do want to compete in a lifting sport or another sport, make sure the program is a little more specific and geared towards it than this one. But if your goal is to just get FAST and JACKED, give my program a shot. God bless and keep training like a legend!
owner/trainer

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