The Foundation Strength Program is a four week program to establish and improve your strength baselines. This program has three workouts per week, and each workout is a full body exercise targeting all major muscle groups.
Week 1 of the Foundation Strength Program is 5x5 exercises and supersets. Each workout targets two to three major muscle groups and lifts which are performed for 5 sets of 5 reps. Each exercise thereafter is performed in a superset to increase the tempo of the workout and improve your muscular endurance. In week one, use each of the sets to work up to your one set 5 rep max, which becomes your baseline for comparison in future workouts. With 5 x 5 training you are able to use heavy weight with the relatively low set volume.
Week 2 of the Foundation Strength Program focuses on high volume. The workouts in week two are the same exercises and patterns as those in Week 1, but all exercises are performed with 3 sets of 12 reps. This added increase in volume introduces muscle confusion from week 1 to ensure that each workout breaks down your muscles so they can continue to grow back stronger. The increase in volume, combined with supersets continues to exercise and increase your muscular endurance.
Week 3 of the Foundation Strength Program is pyramid week. Many of the major exercises are performed in isolation as pyramids. Each pyramid exercise starts with high volume and lighter weight. Each set thereby increases in weight and decreases in reps. Pyramids again ensure muscle confusion from week to week and allow you to exercise both muscular endurance and muscular strength. For each pyramid set, target close to the five rep max you established in week one as the final set weight (for the six rep set).
Week 4 of the Foundation Strength Program revisits the workouts from Week 1. Perform warm up sets for the major exercises and then perform five reps for five sets. You should be able to perform each set at or above your five rep max established in Week 1.
After Week 4, analyze your progress. Where did you make your greatest strength gains? What exercises and rep ranges work best for you? What exercises and types of workouts should you add to your next training program? You should have strength gains for several exercises, and have established new baselines for your next workout or fitness program.