There are literally thousands of ways to structure how you train… This way may be the best!


When it comes to training, there are thousands of articles amongst the vastness of the internet that you can turn to, eager to educate on ‘What worked for me’, or ‘how to get ‘Lean in 15’ (I apologise, but yeah, I went there.) This is before we even mention the bros and their bro-science, passed down through generations of Meatheads who all look up to that one King Meathead who just happened to be massive and therefore he clearly knew it all. Now, who am I to argue? If all you wish to do is get that bit bigger and this guy was big, chances are if you replicate the structure and exercises he used, you may get some GAINZ too.

There are, of course, numerous variables involved such as genetics, nutrition, lifestyle, sleep, periodisation, his ability to innervate muscles and the quality to which he was performing each rep – to name but a few. (Even if you happen to make an exercise look exactly the same as the person you are emulating – chances are you aren’t getting the same stimulus or benefits as they are due to the aforementioned factors and variables involved… Anyways; I digress).

This article is not here to teach you what may or may not work best for you as every person is different and unique. It would be obtuse of me to claim that there is such a thing as a one-size-fits-all programme template ideal for everybody.

The only way to find out the absolute best training structure for you, is to be assessed and trained by a quality trainer over an indiscriminate period of time, until, through methodical trial & error they stumble across your perfect training strategy.

That said, what this article is about to do; is divulge a tried, tested and scientifically supported structure for a training session that is systematically proven to help you warm up, mobilise, innovate, potentiate and (ideally) dominate any workout. All whilst making you healthier, prolonging your active lifestyle and probably keeping you that bit more pain-free.

I have been in the fitness industry 12 years and, to date, this is the best structure I know of for the average gym-goer (are you a professional athlete? No? Then sorry, chances are you fall into this category).

Not to mention that it is a template used by many of my most professionally proficient colleagues and the worlds top trainers, to whom I look up to.

Our Graspp Fitness Programme Template

The Programme


I will now go through each stage of the programme, explaining their prescribed benefits and examples of how these benefits can be achieved. As mentioned before, this is a template and therefore could & should be manipulated for each individual. All timings stated are just rough guides and each stage may not be necessary for every person. So please read and apply it with this in regard.

Self Warm Up

This is a PT thing; it saves time in the actual session for more beneficial exercises if the client comes to us warm and already ready to go. Nothing overly complicated, it will usually involve a 5-10min pulse raiser on a piece of cardio, whole body approach until the individual feels warm. It will also tend to involve (for my clients at least) some sort of Self Myofascial Release (SMR).

You see, 99% of society these days have some sort of musculoskeletal dysfunction and one approach to treating this dysfunction is through SMR. In order to facilitate this, you will require a foam roller, lacrosse ball or the likes.

Start by scanning an area or muscle where a tightness or dysfunction is present and look for tender spots. Yes, I mean pain. Sounds funny, right? But soft tissue should not hurt to press. So if it does, give it some love until the pain dies down. A decent rule of thumb for this is to allocate 5mins, identify a problem, increase the pressure until the pain (on a scale of 1-10) gets to about a 7, and then remove that pressure once it’s at around a 3. SMR is a topic all on its own, however, so for now we will leave that there.

Warm Up

This is where we begin to mobilise our body. Taking the joints through controlled ranges of motion to improve our mobility. This is not stretching. Stretching is a passive movement usually enacted by an external force or object. Mobility is the ability of our own muscles to achieve and control that range of motion. Kind of important when we’re about to train with them – don’t you think?

A good rule for this is 5×5, 5 movements in 5 minutes. A good friend of mine likes to work from the ground upwards if it’s a lower body day for instance and I see no reason to argue. A good example of this would be: 3D ankle mobility, Roll-Ups (hamstrings, similar to Pilates roll-ups but more ballistic), 90/90 hip rolls, Couch Rocks and Cossacks.

The benefits of mobility should go without saying but for those who aren’t 100% clear; it will not only aid you in the technical execution of your bigger lifts (like that shouldn’t be justification enough…), it will aid power output and also alleviate some of the restrictions that your nervous system imparts on the muscles to protect them from injuring themselves. Put simply; if you’re more mobile, you will be stronger.


This is where we activate the muscles that we are about to use in our session. ‘But why?’, I hear you ask. ‘We are about to train them anyway!’. Well, once again, I will refer you back to earlier in this article. Just because we execute a certain movement, it does not necessarily mean that the correct muscles will be used in performing it. Case & point – the Deadlift.

The Deadlift is a Hip Hinge. A Hip Hinge should be driven by the biggest muscle in the body – the glutes (for more information, take a look at the ‘Are your Glutes Asleep?’ post by Coach Craig). Yet, if I had £1 for every person I’ve seen muscling out a big deadlift from their lower back with little to no activation from their glutes, then I’d be rolling in it – this in itself is a concrete argument for priming muscles.

If it’s supposed to be involved in the big exercise you plan on performing, wake it up! Simples. 1-2 sets, isolation movements if necessary, high reps until you feel a burn (something like a 6 out of 10 on our scale).

Careful not to fatigue the muscle too much though, as the human body is a clever organism and if something is tired, it will try to find the path of least resistance; most likely a fresher muscle in the same region, but not the one you were hoping to train.

Please do not forget the core as part of this process, essential to maximising almost any training session – the RKC or side plank are my preferred go-to’s for priming trunk stability.

CNS Fire

We’re warm, the muscles are mobilised, they’re primed, what could be left? Awakening our Central Nervous System of course!

Brief anatomy 101 – the CNS controls the motor units, and each of the motor units attach to an indiscriminate number of muscle fibres which then causes them to fire (contract). Picture it like the light switches in a room… it’s a big room, so there are 3 lights and 3 light switches. If you turn on 1, you’ll get a little bit of light, 2 a bit lighter, 3 – now we can really see! Think of this part as turning on all of the lights, banishing the darkness. It will wake up the pathways to all of your motor units and therefore, all of your muscle fibres.

There are 2 ways of achieving a CNS fire: 1) to lift something very heavy in a static or reduced range of motion i.e. Pin Squat, Rack Pulls, Block Bench Press, or, my preferred method, something explosive i.e. Squat = Box jump, Deadlift = Broad jump or ball slams, Bench Press = Clap Push Ups or Supine Ball Throws. You get the idea. Try 5 reps, rest for 15-30 secs and then go again.

Get angry with this bit, you really need to be as explosive as you can!

The Main Programme

Now, this is where writing a generalised template really falls on its face. With the infinite number of training goals, training spaces and exercises available, I won’t even attempt to write this bit for you. Instead, what I will do is state a few golden rules for overall programming:

  • Do not neglect 2 of the 3 Big Lifts – my personal preference is to Squat and Deadlift, variations of these also. (I feel there are much healthier and worthier pursuits than bench press – sorry bros!)
  • Pull 3x more volume that you push – we live in a rounded over, kyphotic, sat down society. Save your shoulders and smash your back muscles for prolonged shoulder health.
  • Horizontally pull 2x more than you vertically pull – we should perform rowing movements, twice as much as we do chin up movements.
  • Train in all of the different rep ranges – the theory that muscle is only built between 8-12 reps is a myth! Use them all for maximal growth and muscular health.
  • Always involve a loaded carry – the heavier the thing you can hold onto and walk with, the less likely you are to break (and as Coach Craig discussed a few articles ago, grip strength is king!).

Cardio & Cool Down

These again are 2 very subjective and variable sections. Both are essential components of health. I personally involve the pulse lowering phase of my exercise prescription at the end of the cardio and then save the ‘cool down’ for statically stretching (yep, statically – want to open a debate?).

I hope you’ve found some benefit in this article. If you enjoyed learning about this or would like more detail then there is much more to come from all of us at Graspp Fitness. Please get in contact or consider booking a mentor day for the very best learning experience.

Stay Awesome,

Coach Dorrington.

Author - Alex Dorrington - Personal Trainer & Mentor

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