Stripped Down Raw & Simple

Programming questions are still flowing following the APRE post. Here is a lad with questions and concerns regarding limited time and strength.

If you had limited time for strength training (30 minutes per day) what exercises would you use and how many days each week?

Time is a premium for all of us. I have stated before that “busy” is a choice. Your VALUES drive those choices. If you value strength, health and vitality then you will often time find that you are not as busy as you think.

For this response I will assume you have your priorities in order.

I would like to suggest POWER TO THE PEOPLE (PTP) This is a minimalist program developed by strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline (pronounced SAT-SO-LEAN) I have used PTP with teams, groups and with individuals since 2010 and it never fails to produce results.

The other thing I appreciate about the PTP program is the stripped down rawness of the program. If you have a barbell and some plates you are ready to roll.

Occasionally strength coaches get carried away and make things far more complicated than necessary.

They propose warm ups with the latest mobility & flow lasting 20 minutes, using wired up bars with tendo units talking to their iphones and sexy vomit inducing interval conditioning sets.

Lord Help us!

They might do this to make their sport coach happy. Or, they might be doing it to convince their athletes that they know their shit and it strokes their ego.

I don't know you can tell me.

Here is a summary of the program:

Workout five days per week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Every workout is the same.

Each session takes about 25-40 minutes.

Two Movements

Deadlift variant (SLD, RDL, Trap Bar)

Today's work weight x 5 reps

90% of Today's work weight x 5 reps

Press variant (Bench Press, Barbell Standing Press, DB Press (you will need a good selection of dumbbells)

Today's work weight x 5 reps

90% of Today's work weight x 5 reps

  • Do not attempt a rep if there is any chance you might fail! (READ IT AGAIN..NO FAILED REPS

  • Standard mixed grip deadlift (alternate grip each set) is suggested but other variants are also mentioned and explained

  • Side press is suggested (which must mean doing it on both sides) but other presses are also mentioned and explained

  • 3-5 seconds up for deadlift and press

  • drop weight to floor for deadlift

  • 3-5 seconds down for press

  • 3-5 minutes rest between sets

  • You can swap the order and do the press before the deadlift if you want to.

  • Use chalk. No belt. No straps. No shoes (deadlift slippers ok if your gym requires shoes)

  • No pre-workout stretching or warm-up sets. If you must then just do a couple lighter sets with two or three reps just to get into the groove. I haven't read the power stretching chapter thoroughly.


  • Effective cycles are 8-16 workouts.

  • Deadlift and press cycles can be independent.

  • Start a cycle with 70-80% of your 5RM or a weight you can comfortably do 10 reps.

  • You can increase the weights in a linear, flexible wave, structured wave, or step pattern during the cycle. Linear is +5 pounds per workout. Flexible wave is +5 pounds per workout and decrease weight when feeling tired and then work upwards again. Structured wave is +5 pounds per workout for four workouts and then -15 pounds and then work upwards again. Step pattern is +5 pounds then same weight for a one or several more workouts followed by another increase.

Some of my modifications:

-I add 100 reps of light swings as a warm up

-I add sets of strict pull ups or chin ups following each of the moves without going to failure.

Never forget that the best program is the one you are not doing.

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© 2017 by Coach Rut.