The Structure and Understanding Behind My Programming – Zach Homol

Zach Homol – @ZachHomolPower

There are millions of programs floating around the internet. Each just so happens to be “The Best and Latest Programming Available.” These words and phrases are being thrown around by thousands and thousands. I’m not hating or pointing fingers, we live in a consumer based culture where effective 1-line marketing tactics can thrive in the space. I personally like to dig into these programs that claim to be “the best” just to see how the programming is structured, the variety of movements and why they are planned. I like to see the reasoning behind WHY people write the programs they write. So, with that being said, I wanted to write an article based off of the most basic understanding of how and why I structure my programming the way I do.

My goal in this article is to give those who are on the fence of trying my programming more trust in me and that they are in good hands. I’ve trained/ programmed for thousands of people all around the world. Between my website: Zachhomolfitness.net and Ebooks my programming is being used in over a dozen countries by lifters and athletes alike. This shit works for everyone, no matter the age or level of the lifter. From beginners to elite powerlifters and athletes the results continue to roll in!

All my programming is broken down into sections and is based off of a relative time to complete the section. I’ve always been big on timed training as it increases intensity and keeps the lifter motivated while creating a sense of urgency to get into the next set. Below will be the basic breakdown of my programming with relative times allotted in each section with more explanation. Every movement in each section on each day serves a purpose to reach the greater goal. The vast majority of my programming is a progression, leading the athlete to PEAK performance at the end of the phase.

Warm ups: 10-12 mins:

Warm ups consist of 3-5 movements done for 3-4 sets at approx. 50-70% of ones capability. The rep ranges are higher (typically double or more) than the main move movement/main accessory movements. The warm up IS PART OF THE WORKOUT. The warm ups focus on muscle groups that are going to be most used/need engaged for the main movements/main accessories. The warm up should be slightly challenging and you should achieve a nice sweat prior to jumping into your main movement. When people first start my programming I’m often asked why our warm up is so in depth. I’ve found over the years that training “cold” leads to injury and aches and pains. Not that having a good warm up will prevent this all the way, but it will prepare the body for bigger lifts to come. Adding in a more extensive warm up also builds more work capacity. More total LBS moved during a single session = more muscle growth. The warm up should be done with a sense of urgency between each exercise and set. While I don’t typically do supersets or go extremely intense, I focus on keeping the pace up. The benefits of a extensive warm go on and on.

Main Movements: 20-30 mins:

Main movements are based around increasing/practicing the BIG 3: SQUAT, BENCH and DEADLIFT.  The majority of my traditional training splits start with one of the big 3 movements, 4 times a week. This can vary based upon the lifters weaknesses and what needs more attention. There are many programs I’ve wrote and/or write that begin with a MAIN ACCESSORY. The rep ranges never go much over 10 and typically are between 1-6 reps per set. This varies from programming or programming and is based around the end result. Main movements have the most recovery time between sets compared to the rest of the sections. Allowing the athlete to fully recover between each set. Our focus on the main movements is to move as much weight as we possibly can for the reps and sets given. The majority of my programming (other then a few occasional heavy days and speed training) is NOT based off of percentages. Everything we do unless stated otherwise is to be done at 100% per set per rep range. My theory on percentage based programs can be for another article.

Main Accessory Movement: 15-25 mins:

Main accessory movements are what I call “Weakness Development” We don’t do light cable machines or waste time with exercises that don’t deliver the results we want for our end goal. We focus directly on our WEAKNESSES. The main accessory movements are a vast amount of exercises that are used to develop weak muscle groups that aid in strengthening our main movement. The theory is: “the more weight we can move on our main movements- the stronger we will become. The stronger we become the more weight we can lift for more reps. The man who lifts the most weight, for the most reps, will be the biggest and strongest.” Simple, right?  In order to become that man we must be constantly focusing on strengthening under developed muscle groups. As this sounds simple, it is extremely in depth and takes a strong understanding of what movements are most effective for each weakness. As well as how to effectively rotate between the movements and knowing multiple variations of movements that achieve the same outcome. But, none of this can be possible without the understanding of knowing WHY athletes are weak/failing in the exercises. Coaches must be able to effectively identify a weakness in a main movement (lift, sprint, jump) to be able to prescribe the correct main accessory movement to aid in elimatnemting the weakness and keep the athlete progressing.

Sub Accessory Movements:  15 mins: 

Sub accessory movements are continuous in training the muscle group we are focusing on that day. From there we will then focus on the (relatively speaking) second most important used muscle group on that particular day. (This will vary on accessory based days.) An example on what a sub accessory section may look like on a bench day would be: Main movement: Bench. Main Accessory: Weakness development- Lockout work (If needed) Sub Accessory: Dumbbell or Bench variations super-set OR followed by TRICEP/UpperBack training. These rep ranges are relatively high and focused on building size and strength to the specific muscle group. INCREASE BLOOD FLOW- Chase the pump! This section is to be done with a sense of urgency between each set. While striving to move the most amount of weight possible- correctly. The focus is now on full range of motion and mind to muscle connection.

The Finisher: 10 mins:

The finisher is a continuation of the secondary muscle group hit on that given day. We finish each day with higher volume sub accessory work through supersets, drop sets and mind to muscle connection. I have many reasons to my finishers but only one matters most: WE FINSH EVERYDAY STRONG!!! The most neglected and talked about strength that can be had in the gym is MENTAL TOUGHNESS! 

I hope through this article you’ve been able to gather a better understanding of how and why I write programming the way  I do. Programming should be constantly changing to push results. I never suggest running the same programming over and over again. While you may have great results the first time around and maybe even the second you will eventually begin to become stagnate. I strongly suggest running 1 program then move on to the next that I have to offer. I’m continually changing exercises to keep each program fresh and pushing towards our end goal. Every program I write will have something new you may have never tried, even if you have ran each of my programs. All my Ebooks are wrote based off of general weaknesses. Each Ebook I focus on tackling one weakness after another which, in return, increases strength. When you increase strength, you increase the amount of weight you can move for reps. In return, you become BIGGER, STRONGER, and LEANER!

This shit works.

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