Grindstone Athletics (GSA) strength classes are designed for those who want a structured group workout with a strength bias. The strength training model GSA employs will approximate a linear progression with some concessions made to bring it to a group setting. For ease in planning, the same program will be run for the morning and evening sessions of that day; for example is Monday morning is “Session A,” Monday evening will also be “Session A.”

 

Programming:

                Workouts will be divided into “Session A,” “Session B,” and an optional “Conditioning Session.”

 

                Session A:            Squat                    3x5

                                                Press                     3x5

                                                Deadlift                3x5

 

                Session B:            Squat                    3x5

                                                Bench                   3x5

                                                Chin ups               3x5

 

                Conditioning:     Squat                    2x8

                                                HIIT                        30 minutes (max)

 

Conducting the class:

 

                Squat:

  1. Lifters should arrive early enough for class so they can begin lifting at the class start time, on the dot. The first lifter should be under the bar at 0600.

  2. Lifters will be sorted by height for the squat. The groups are then divided as evenly as possible to distribute the class among all 4 power cages.

  3. A lifting order will be established and remain the same throughout the session. The lifter expecting to have the lowest weight work set should go first.

  4. The squat session will be 20 minutes long.

  5. In 20 minutes, each lifter will take turns under the bar, lifting their warmups sequentially.

  6. All lifters start with two sets of 5 with an empty bar.

  7. Jumps based on the lifter’s work weight will be made afterwards. These should be roughly 40%, 60%, and 80% of the lifter’s work set weight, each for a set of 5.

  8. The warmups should take ~10 minutes, depending on group size.

  9. Once the work set it reached, the lifter will use the remaining time, ~10 minutes of the session, to lift up to three sets at their work weight.

  10. With this setup, there should either be a lifter under the bar, or someone changing plates for the next lifter. This maximizes the amount of bar time for a given class period.

  11. At 18 minutes coaches should tell the group to get their last set in and prepare for the next exercise.

  12. At 20 minutes the athletes should be moving on to the standing press or bench press.

 

 

                Standing Press:

  1. Lifters should remain in roughly the same groupings. The proper height for a low bar squat is roughly the proper height for a standing press.

  2. Repeat steps 3-10 from the squat.

  3. At 18 minutes coaches should tell the group to get their last set in and prepare for the next exercise.

  4. At 20 minutes the athletes should be moving on to the last exercise, which will be Deadlift or Chin ups.

 

                Bench Press:

  1. Lifters should remain in roughly the same groupings for the bench press as the squat. Arm length will typically mirror height, but lifters with excessively long or short arms may need to move to a higher or lower bench.

  2. Repeat steps 3-10 from the squat.

  3. At 18 minutes coaches should tell the group to get their last set in and prepare for the next exercise.

  4. At 20 minutes the athletes should be moving on to the last exercise, which will be Deadlift or Chin ups.

 

                Deadlift:

  1. Lifters should get into groups based on their anticipated work set weight. The first lifer is the one with the lowest anticipated work set.

  2. Repeat steps 3-10 from the squat.

  3. At 18 minutes coaches should tell the group to get their last set in and prepare to cool down.

  4. At 20 minutes the athletes should be moving cooling down and finishing their workouts.

 

                Chin(s) Ups:

  1. Lifters perform sets of strict chin ups with a couple of minutes rest in between sets.

  2. Lifters should aim for 3 sets of 5.

  3. Once they can easily do 3x5 at bodyweight, move to 3x6, 3x7, and so on, until 3x10 is achievable.

  4. Lifters can then add a small weight between their legs to continue moving their progress up, starting over with 3x5.

  5. At 18 minutes coaches should tell the group to get their last set in and prepare to cool down.

  6. At 20 minutes the athletes should be moving cooling down and finishing their workouts.

 

 

Conditioning sessions:

 

  • Lifters can opt to replace a Wednesday or Friday session with a Conditioning session, or they can perform this (or conditioning method of their choice) on an off day.

  • If an athlete chooses to lift on an off day, the preferred choice is any low impact high intensity interval session of their choosing (sled, rowing, bike, stairs, etc).

  • Athletes with other goals in mind (distance sports, weight class maintenance, etc) may opt to do other forms of cardiovascular training at their discretion. The tradeoff is that long steady state training will likely slow or stall strength progress.

 

                Squats for Conditioning:

  1. Lifters will start with a squat to have a general lower body warmup.

  2. They will fall in line where they would typically train (height grouping) and perform their warmups at bar as normal.

  3. Instead of their work set being 5-10lbs heavier than their last workout, it will be 70% of their last work set. So a lifter who squatted 200lbs 3x5 on Monday, would perform work sets at 140lbs 2x8 on Wednesday during the conditioning session.

  4. This lift will likely progress very quickly, only taking 10-15 minutes total.

  5. A 20 minute time cap will be enforced by the coach, so at the most, the lifter will depart the main class and move to the conditioning equipment as the rest of the class moves to their press block.

 

                Conditioning:

  1. A general conditioning warmup at low intensity in the specific modality is warranted. Examples:

    1. Rower HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) should be warmed up at a 50-60% pace for 2-5 minutes.

    2. Aerodyne/assault bike should be warmed up at a 50-60% pace for 2-5 minutes.

    3. Light jogging for wind sprints, x3-5 reps.

    4. Setting up the sled coupled with the squats should suffice for sled work. An empty sled can be pushed if desired/to teach technique x2.

    5. Ascend and descend a flight of stairs.

  2. With a continuously running clock, perform 30 seconds of work, followed by 2 minutes of rest.

  3. Continue these intervals until:

    1. The athlete self-selects to stop

    2. The athlete is more than 10% slower than their initial/best interval.

      1. E.g. if they row 100m in 30 seconds on the first interval, but are now achieving 90m or less, stop.

    3. The 30 minute time cap is reached (12 cycles of work/rest).

  4. The athlete will cool down with light walking until their perceived exertion has returned to baseline.

 

 

Other Considerations:

 

  1. Squats should be low bar squats to involve the most muscle mass and weight moved through the greatest range of motion.

  2. Bench presses will be done with the lifters feet on the ground, butt and shoulders contacting the bench, and with a thumbed grip. No thumbless grips on bench under any circumstance.

  3. Bench press weights will be uncollared for safety, even with spotters. All others should be collared.

  4. Preference is given to conventional deadlift over sumo. Sumo deadlift is effectively a different exercise due to the change in body levers and muscle mass. A lifter who is already generally strong,can opt to pull sumo if they wish.

  5. Lifters must track their work sets. Their work set weights are individual and will change from workout to workout. GSA can’t practically track all of these lifters week to week.

  6. The focus is on getting the class within 90% of right before you emphasize minor changes in technique. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, but correct form creep when you see it.

  7. Most lifters will struggle the most with the power clean. Work light. Make small jumps. Technique breaks down quickly and is subject to neurological fatigue much sooner than gross movements like the squat and deadlift.