WORKOUTS

Complete Strength 12-Week Workout: Program Overview


Workout Program Links
12 Weeks of Workouts
Workout Program Overview
Frequently Asked Questions

WELCOME TO THE COMPLETE STRENGTH 12-WEEK WORKOUT PROGRAM
Welcome to the RealJock Complete Strength 12-week Workout program, provided by Billy Polson, named one of the Top 100 Trainers in America by Men's Journal magazine. Polson is also the founder and co-owner of Diakadi Body training gym, voted San Francisco Magazine's "Best Place to Get Fit" as well as the San Francisco Chronicle's and CitySearch list of the Top Trainers in The Bay Area.

GOALS OF THE PROGRAM
This 12-week workout program is the intelligent man's workout based on efficient training, concise variable manipulation and proven methods for developing athletic strength. That means that it will help you develop real strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, as well as cardiovascular health. By training smartly and using exercise variables correctly, you will be able to build strength and hypertrophy as well as achieve the body composition results you want without having to go the gym every day, without doing hours of monotonous cardio, and without doing boring workouts.

The individual exercises in the workouts focus on strengthening the body for the seven primal movement patterns: squats, lunges, bending, pushing, pulling, twisting and walking. (Review this article for more details on these patterns.) Focusing on correctly moving your body in these seven basic patterns will help build correct movement in more complex daily activities and sports without risk of muscle imbalance or injury. At the same time, if your diet is correct, the program will assist with developing a leaner, more toned body.

Get stronger: With four days of lifting and two days of interval cardio each week, this workout takes you through a wide variety of movements and directions to build muscle balance and core control. You will also use supersets to build both muscle endurance and increased strength while performing complex movements. The workout intensifies across the 12 weeks for greater strength gains.

Maintain intensity: This workout is designed to wake up dormant muscles that may have been missed in your previous workout programs. It is also periodized, changing the sets and exercises to make sure the body does not plateau, even while allowing you ample time to learn the movements and for your muscles to make positive growth reactions.

PROGRAM SPECIFICS
Twelve Weeks of Workouts
The workouts are divided into week-long segments. The first six weeks follow a similar exercise set, with variations in some exercises over the course of the six weeks. The second six weeks begin with a new set of exercises, which will also vary slightly over the course of the six weeks as you build strength and intensity. As you progress, you should notice marked improvement throughout all muscles groups in your body. Your strength and endurance should improve, often in areas where you had little muscle coordination or development.

Each week of workouts includes:

Four strength-training days: Each week you'll do four days of strength training in the gym (two unique strength days per week that are repeated), progressing in difficulty over the 12 weeks of the program. Each workout will take you through a complete variety of full-body exercises to build muscle balance and core control through complex movements. This will "wake up" dormant muscles that may have been missed in your previous training methods. Pay close attention to each and every variable for individual exercises, following the reps, sets, tempo, intensity and the rest instructions exactly. (For more information on Exercise Variables and why they are important, read this article. ) You will also use supersets to build muscle endurance along with strength. And, the workout is periodized, changing the number of sets and workouts to make sure the body does not plateau, while allowing you time to learn the movements and receive positive growth reactions to the stimulus.

Two days of cardio: Twice per week, you will do 20 - 30 minutes of cardiovascular interval training. That means, one minute of high-intensity work followed by a two-minute recovery, to stick with a 1:2 ratio. Intensity may be controlled by pace and/or incline for most types of cardio. Maintain that 1:2 pattern for the entire duration of each cardio workout. This may seem like very little cardio, but Polson has organized the program around the latest research which indicates that doing simply two days of interval exercise per week for 20 - 30 minutes is all the cardio an individual needs to achieve a healthy, strong heart as well as to maintain optimal body composition (ratio of body fat to muscle and bone mass). If you are looking to reduce body fat, getting enough rest, reducing stress, and correcting your diet for your body and activity level are the best priorities as opposed to more cardio. On the other hand, you may be tempted to skip cardio completely—but don't. The cardiovascular training in this workout is very short, but it is essential to maintaining good cardiovascular health. For athletes, competing in higher level cardiovascular events (triathlons, marathons, etc), you should adjust your cardiovascular exercise and volume to match your sport as well as the season you are currently participating in (whether mid-season, pre/post-season, etc.).

One day of rest: Rest is even more important than working out. Without it your body can’t recover from the workouts you put it through, much less allow you to perform at your peak level each workout. Make sure you take it easy on your day off so that your muscles are fresh for the coming week. Your focus is to rebuild energy and muscle, not to break anything down. You can go for a easy neighborhood walk or a light cycle around town. Stay at home and meditate or stretch and breath in a quiet room. Do a low intensity yoga class. Don't hit the gym!

WHO SHOULD DO THIS WORKOUT?
Polson developed the Complete Strength 12-Week workout program to challenge not just your muscles but also your perception of how you should work out. Don't expect a basic routine of biceps curls and bench presses! No matter what level you are at—beginner, intermediate, or advanced—you can use the Complete Strength workout program to develop overall strength, improve cardiovascular health, and train balance, flexibility, and coordination. 

Beginners: Your weeks one and seven should be two-set weeks with every exercise. Then follow the same set schedule as listed. Keep your intensity (that is, your weight lifted) lower until you feel like you can retain the form perfectly. Watch the videos while reading the descriptions and take notes before going into the gym.

Intermediate and advanced users: The Complete Strength workout program will challenge your body in entirely new ways, help you develop a stronger, more balanced core and musculature, and get you excited about working out again. You can tailor this program to your individual needs and increase the difficulty as needed. For example, consider doing the maximum minutes for the cardio exercise or doing the more advanced variations of exercises. Challenge yourself with intensity (your weight lifted) as long as your form stays perfect. And strictly follow the guidelines on reps, sets, tempo, and rest for every exercise.

Body builders: Try the Complete Strength 12-week workout program to help break through plateaus from doing only isolated muscle exercises. When you return to your body building program, the balance and stability work in the Complete Strength program will help bring big gains in your hypertrophy.

DETAILED EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS
Remembering how and when to do each exercise in a new training program can stop you before you even start. We've included the following printable pages on each day of strength training so you can easily follow the Complete Strength 12-week workout program.

Exercise descriptions in brief: This table briefly describes each exercise so that you don't have to print out entire exercise descriptions before you head to the gym. For a more detailed description with photo demonstrations, click on the exercise name.

Exercise videos: We know that the exercises can be hard to visualize, so we've shot videos demonstrating how to do them correctly. Check out the linked articles describing the videos, or go to our YouTube channel. You can even watch these videos while you are in the gym using Youtube on your iPhone.

CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR
Always consult your doctor before you embark on any new exercise regimen. Your doctor can help you determine if you are healthy enough to take on a program like the RealJock Complete Strength 12-week workout program.

ABOUT PROGRAM CREATOR BILLY POLSON
Billy Polson is co-founder of the award-winning Diakadi Body personal training gym and creator of RealJock's 12-week Workout Programs. Billy is a certified Level 1 Practitioner and Holistic Lifestyle Coach through the Paul Chek Institute as well as a Certified Personal Trainer through The National Academy of Sports Medicine. Have burning questions about your fitness that you want Billy and Diakadi co-founder Mike Clausen to answer? Send an email to billyandmike@realjock.com.