The Manly Strength Program – The path to superb strength and muscle

What is to follow is a solid strength program that I made and which I have used over the years on myself and on my clients with much success. It is named The Manly Strength Program (aka Manly Strength) as it will develop not only strength and muscle, but will also add a fair amount of extra toughness and manliness. To develop strength one only needs to satisfy two factors: training hard and training smart. This program has you training smart and if you bust your ass, you will reap its strength and muscle gain benefits. I have used this routine as a staple whenever I was not training as an Olympic weightlifter and was limited to training in a conventional gym, which, due to my career, has been quite a few times as I would relocate to different countries and finding an Olympic weightlifting training hall was as difficult as convincing Paris Hilton to wear her panties for a day. Thus, I would settle with training in whatever gym happened to have a squat rack and enough weights.

Full body training is the way to gain strength and fitness for a natural trainer

Now, my routine Manly Strength has you training every time in a holistic fashion, that is, you will be training your whole body in every session. Yes people, this is a full body routine. You see, back in the day when there were no flashy gyms with fluorescent lights and smiling personal trainers with colourful badges, weight training peeps used to simply lift barbells in a compound fashion every time they trained. Whether they were Olympic weighlifters or physical culturists (the antique name for a bodybuilder), they would do full body training sessions, repeating each full body session whenever they felt recovered. Sometimes they would hit the gym in a more of an activery recovery fashion and other times they would go hard and heavy. In essence, they were self-modulating their workload instinctively way before terms such as “overreaching”, “supercompensation” or “creatine” were even thought of. Through trial and error, the weight training community found that anywhere from 2 to 4 days per week of training was ideal, with 3 days being the number that most adhered to. Timeline of this is from the 1920’s until the late 1950’s. A good time to be a bodybuilder.


A curly hair man himself, John Grimek does a press

John Grimek was a great bodybuilder in the 30’s and 40’s who would train full body

and was a member of the US Olympic team in the 1936 Olympic Games.

You can see his curly hair here as well as his muscular shape

And this is the sort of body he developed from full body training routines and without the use of steroids

A natural weightlifter cannot train like a steroid user

It was not until the discovery of anabolic steroids in the late 50’s and their ensuing introduction into the weight training scene that weight trainers started changing things around. Anabolic steroids allow one to recover faster which meant one could train much longer, much more frequently and with much more intense workloads. Split routines were popularized in the following decade by the Venice beach crowd and the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a great bodybuilder who would have a whole chicken and a pint of beer after training. Now, that sort of advice is the stuff that I like and, really, no one can question how these guys would train. However, the weight training community started emulating the sort of workouts of these steroid-fuelled super humans.

From the rising popularity of steroids and onward, silly routines were sponsored by questionable individuals as the holy grail of muscle gain and non-steroid users would buy into these routines. All the stuff that was learnt decades before from years and years of trial and error was lost in a sea of extremely muscular bodies and polluted advice, and routines that were intended for steroid users became the norm. An average routine would have the user “killing” a bodypart one day, waiting a whole week to kill the bodypart again, and training everyday of the week while dedicating training days to minuscule bodyparts such as arms! While that suits a professional bodybuilder who dedicates his life to training and is willing to use steroids, it really does not fit non-steroid using weight trainers seeking strength and muscle mass, and also seeking to have a life outside the gym.

Luckily, the field of sport sciences kept up with the times and was not tainted with the popular skewed bodybuilding advice. Amongst many discoveries, research proved that muscles can be stimulated frequently and that for strength gains, frequent stimulation is also desired. These discoveries actually paralleled all the training knowledge that was common before the introduction of steroids. Hence, frequent full body training stands strongly, in this day and age, as a training philosophy that is not only backed by history but also by research.

The Manly Strength program: a full training beast

All right, enough of historical stuff. Let’s get on with the program. With The Manly Strength Program, you are going to train three times a week, you are going to train with compound heavy exercises and you are going to train with intensity. A training day will, at most, take you 90 minutes. That’s 90 minutes three times a week, warms ups and all that included. You actually get to have a life outside the gym with this routine and if you put effort into it, you will get great strength and muscle mass gains. The inspirations and credit for my Manly Strength program come from the different Olympic weightlifting coaches I have had in the past, my own strength training experiments, Bill Starr and his great The Strongest Shall Survive strength program (from the 70s) and Reg Park’s 5×5 methodology (from the 40s and 50s).

With Manly Strength, every training day has you doing a push exercise, a pull exercise, a leg exercise and one or two accessory exercises. Out of those three days, one is trained with the heaviest weight, the other is done with high repetitions and the other is done with an emphasis on volume. After three weeks of training (a training block), you train for a week with less volume and test your strength, this is known as a deload week. After the deload week, you do another training block, deload, and continue infinitely, until you stop progressing and then take a week off training. Progression is measured by increasing the weights lifted, either by repetitions or weight load. If you get stronger and eat plenty, you will get bigger, in fact, with this routine you can expect to put on up to 20lbs of body weight in the first three months, most of it being muscle and provided you increase your strength numbers every week.

Below is the routine and format of the Manly Strength program.


The Manly Strength Program

Here is the beast. It is essential to keep a record of all sets and reps for every training day:


Day 1

Squats: work up to a set of 5 reps in 5 sets. Increase one rep per week.

Bench press: same as above

Barbell rows: same as above

Lying leg raises: 1×20


Day 2

Squats: work up to 2 sets of 8 repetitions in 5 sets, first 3 are ramp up sets and then do 2 working sets. Increase one rep per week.

Military press: same as above

Barbell rows: same as above

Chest flyes: 2×12

Lying leg raises: 1×20


Day 3:

Squats: five sets of 4 reps, all sets with the weight used on Day 1. Increase one rep per week.

Bench press: same as above

Barbell rows: same as above

Straight leg deadlift: 1×15

Bicep curls: 2×12

Lying leg raises: 1×20

Note that whenever a a numerical format is used, the first number is for the set and the second number for the amount of reps, thus 2×12 means 2 sets of 12 reps.


That is it. Take a rest day between each training day except for after Day 3, when you will take two days off before doing Day 1 again. A convenient training schedule is Monday-Wednesday-Friday, with the weekend off from training and left for leisure activities and winding down. Follow the structure of days, that is, do Day 1-Day 2-Day 3, do not alter the order of days.

An initial warm up is composed of 5 minutes of stretching and doing 10 reps of bodyweight squats. Then take the unloaded barbell and do another 10 reps. You are now ready to commence the training session with squats. Do the same 10 reps with the unloaded barbell to warm up for the other exercises when you have to do them.


Repetition format

To start this program you need to do so conservatively as the frequency of training will have you sore and fatigued for the first few weeks. Do not underestimate the program, squatting three times a week is a special task on its own! Hence, I want you to start with a weight that you can do with perfect form and leaving two reps in the tank for Day 1. So, if you can squat 200lbs for 7 reps, use 200lbs as a finishing weight for Day 1 so work up to a set of 5 reps with 200lbs and that’s it. Only do one set, with perfect form and confidence, your sets to get to 200×5 may look like this:

Squat: 100×5, 115×5, 150×5, 175×5 200×5

The final set is your work set, whereas the other sets building up to your work set are ramp up sets. The weight used to increment your ramp up sets should be between 25lbs to 100lbs, or even lower (e.g. 10lbs) if you are at a strength stage that doesn’t allow for such increments yet. Likewise, you can do the barbell alone x 5 as your first set (provided the barbell is of the Olympic type which weights aprox. 45lbs). Just go by feel and make sure to use the same weights for the ramp up sets every time you do the exercise of that day.

You goal is to increase ONE repetition for the work set in every Day 1, so the second week after starting the program, you have to do 6 reps. the third week you will do 7 reps and so on. Apply the same concept to the remaining exercises of Day 1. Once you can 10 repetitions on each exercise on Day 1, increase the weight 25lbs for squats and 10-15lbs for bench press and barbell rows, and start again at 5 reps. For lying leg raises, increase one rep per week until you hit 30 reps, then either add 10lbs (strapped to feet) or do 2 sets of x20 and build up again to 2×30. You can also increase the incline on the bench and start again at 1×20, I leave it up to you.

For Day 2, start the first week with a weight you can do for 2 sets of 8 repetitions with perfect form and grinding the last rep of the second set (this is approximately a weight you can do for one set of 10 reps). You goal is to work up to 2 sets of 12 in the coming weeks, increasing ONE repetition per week. The progression would look like this:

Week 1: 2×8

Week 2: 1×9, 1×8

Week 3: 1×9, 1×9

You do the same for all exercises of Day 2. The military press is a great exercise to build strong shoulders and core, work it hard. End Day 2 with chest flyes and more lying leg raises, and increase one rep per week.

Day 3 has you using the same weight as Day 1 and doing 5 sets of 4 repetitions. You should be able to do four reps on all sets if you chose the right weight for Day 1. It is imperative to start the first week with these 5 sets of 4 reps because your goal is to now work up to 5×5 in the coming weeks. Again, increase ONE rep every week so in the second week, your sets would be: 5 reps, 4 reps, 4 reps, 4 reps and 4 reps. On the third week you do 5,5,4,4,4. You goal is to eventually do 5 sets with the same weight you could only do for one set on Day 1. Congratulations, you got stronger as you do five times the amount of what you could originally do once. Do the accessory exercises and work the straight leg deadlift hard, increasing one rep per week until you get to 1×20, then add 10lbs and start again at 1×15. Bicep curls are done up to 2×15 and then add 5-10lbs to work at 2×12.

You may be wondering how long you should be resting per set. The ramp up sets should be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Your work set or sets should be anywhere from 2-4 minutes, with the longest rest used for the work sets of Day 1 and 3. If you are not breaking a light sweat by the time you have finished the first exercise of the day, you are resting too much.


Deload week

After each 3-week training block, you then do a week in which you only train two days, dedicating one day to testing your strength for two repetitions on all main exercises and the other day to training in a casual manner. The week schedule looks like this:


Day 1

Squat: work up to a 2 repetition max

Bench press: same as above

Rows: same as above

Lying leg raises: 1×20


Day 2

Squat: 5×5 with 80% of weight used on Day 3 of last week of training block.

Bench: same as above

Rows: same as above

Do one accessory exercise as you desire.


That is your deload week.

Day 1 of the deload week should be done three days after Day 3 of the training block and not two days after as you would normally do for a Day 1 of a training block. This means that if you normally do Monday-Wednesday-Friday on your training block, Day 1 of the deload week is to be done on Tuesday, not Monday. This is very important so do not skip any rest days. Rest three days after Day 1 and then do Day 2, so if you did Day 1 on Tuesday, Day 2 is done on Friday. Rest two days after Day 2 and start a new training block, again, do not skip any rest days even though you will probably be feeling fully rested a day after Day 2. You should be commencing the training block on the same day as usual, in this case a Monday, as you abide by the structure of the deload week.

On Day 1, dont worry about how many sets it takes you to hit a two repetition max. Just do it, get to a weight where you are grinding the second rep and move onto the next exercise. Record each weight lifted for two reps on each exercise as this is now your benchmark to test. On every deload week, you should be trying to do a bit more weight on Day 1 than the previous deload week. If you do 300lbs for 2 reps on your first deload week, you should be striving to get 305 or more for two reps on your next deload week. If you have been working hard on each training block, you will find yourself increasing the weight for the two reps on each deload week with relative ease, as your body gets stronger and stronger per training block.

You will be blown by now, so this is how you deload:

After Day 1, rest three days and do Day 2 which consists of training with 80% for 5 sets of 5 reps with the weight used on Day 3 of the last week of the training block. So if you did squats with 200lbs on Day 3 of the third week’s training block and your sets looked like 5 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps, 4 reps, 4 reps, your Day 2 of the deload week would look like:

Squat (80%): 160lbs x 5 sets of 5 reps.

Apply the same percentage and set/rep format (80% and 5×5) to the weights used for the bench press and the rows. Make sure to lift explosively and take short rest periods. Aim to get out of the gym in less than 30 mins. You can include one accessory exercise of Day 3 (training block) if you want, this is optional and I leave it to your discretion. The point of this day is to get in, do a quick workout and get out. You have worked very hard for the last 3 weeks so you deserve this workout.


Measuring progression

As stated before, progression is measured by either increasing reps or weight load. As you should know by now, the program calls for starting with a set of 5 reps on Day 1, 2 sets of 8 reps on Day 2 and 5 sets of 4 reps on Day 3. You goal is to increase reps and eventually weight load too. This is how you must go about your progression:


Day 1: increase 1 rep per week on your work set until you get 10 reps, then add 25lbs (squat) and 10-15 lbs (bench press and rows) and start again at 5 repetitions.

Day 2: increase 1 rep per week on one set of the two sets of 8 reps until you get to 2 sets of 12 reps, then add 25 lbs (squat) and 10-15 lbs (military press and rows) and start again at 2 sets of 8 reps. If you increase one rep on the first set on one week, the next week you increase a rep on the second set.

Day 3: increase 1 rep per week on one of the 5 sets until you get 5 sets of 5 reps, then add 25lbs (squat) and 10-15 lbs (bench press and rows) and start again at 5 sets of 4 reps.


Can you see the pattern? It will take you 6 weeks (counting the deload week) to get to 10 reps on Day 1. Likewise, it will take you 6 weeks to complete 5 sets of 5 reps on Day 3 with the same weight you could only do for one set of 5 reps on Day 1. At the 6 week mark, you will throw in the additional stipulated poundages for each exercise on Day 1 and Day 3, always using the same weight for both days provided you get one rep every week (which is something you must work hard to achieve). It will take you a few more weeks to throw in more weight on Day 2 but the point remains, add a rep per week.

This program allows you to keep adding reps if you stick to it and respect the structure and schedule. Even if you feel you can do two reps instead of one, which will occur at times, do not do more than the established rep per week.


When progression halts

Eventually, you will get to a stage where deload weeks are not cutting it anymore in terms of providing enough rest and a week off training is ensued. There is not a set amount of time for when will this happen and there are too many variables affecting the need for extra rest in a weight trainer: from eating enough to bad sleep to too much external stress. I have had people on this program for a year before they took a week off, although most weight trainers need a week off at about the six month mark.

A rule of thumb is, if you have not increased a rep after two consecutive weeks, take a deload week with BOTH days following the same structure of Day 2 of the deload week (80% and 5×5). Start a new training block and use the same weights and reps as those used in the week before the deload week. If you fail to progress after another two weeks, take an entire week off training.

You can also take a week off training to match any holidays or periods in which training will not be possible. Think ahead and predict these periods, and throw in a week off or even a deload week instead. However, the minimum time interval of training before taking a week off is three months as you will be progressing nicely during this period.


Wrapping up the Manly Strength program

Ok, so by now you are aware of having to train three times per week, doing three main exercises per day and training for three weeks then taking a deload week. You must increase a rep per week per exercise every training day and once you hit a maximum amount of reps, throw in more weight and start back again.

The structure of the program for the first 8 weeks would be:


Week 1: start conservatively with chosen weights. Day 1 work up to a set of 5 reps, Day 2 do 2×8, Day 3 do 5×4

Week 2: increase 1 rep in each exercise and every training day

Week 3: increase 1 rep in each exercise and every training day

Week 4: deload week. Day 1 test your strength for 2 repetitions on all main exercises. Day 2 only lift 80% for 5 sets of 5 reps of the weight lifted on Day 3 of Week 3.

Week 5: increase 1 rep in each exercise and every training day from Week 3

Week 6: increase 1rep in each exercise and every training day

Week 7: increase 1 rep in each exercise and every training day

Week 8: deload week. Day 1 test your strength for 2 repetitions on all exercises, aiming for a minimum 5lbs increase on every lift from previous deload week (Week 4). Day 2 only lift 80% for 5 sets of 5 reps of the weight lifted on Day 3 of Week 7.


A note on working hard

The Manly Strength Program is hard, I will not sugarcoat it. I have gone back to this program many times and have had plenty of people using it to their advantage. Most of the initial feedback I obtain from this program is that it is damn hard, with people experiencing walking difficulties after the first week. At the three month mark, I suddenly get people emailing me or phoning me telling of the positive changes they are experiencing and the changes become even more dramatic at the six month stage of following the program. It really delivers results if you stick to it and put the effort required into it, which brings my next point.

Along with the silliness from polluted routines used for the last several decades, there seems to be a consensus that training hard equates groaning, pumping, feeling the burn and using spotters. This is all bullcrap. While occasional grunts are expected as you grind the last reps, training hard simply equates consistency and discipline. Do not be fooled by the steroid pumping primadonna wearing tight attire who takes over all the mirrors in the gym to look at himself alternating bicep curls with tricep kickbacks while he groans like a pseudo alpha male. You go into the gym with your set amount of work to be done, you do it, and you get out of the gym. Whether you are doing a Day 1 of the program, or doing a Day 2 of the deload week, do what you are set to do.

Carry a small training notepad with you into the gym and record all lifts, even the time it took you to complete the training session. Before going into the gym, you should know exactly what you have to do for the day, all amount of reps and sets thus carrying a notebook with the already written plan is a great way to keep track without interfering into the workout. I always take 5 minutes during my itinerary to the gym to think about what I am about to do for the scheduled day and I highly recommend you to do this too.

This is me with squatting ass to grass 330 lbs (130 kilos) after only 6 months of training from ZERO. Some idiot was grunting next to me as I was squatting while he was in the rowing machine watching TV. These are the idiots I’m referring to.

It is worth mentioning that Manly Strength does not use the conventional deadlift and there are several reasons for this. First of all, Manly Strength is conceptualized from a view of having the least amount of training equipment. I developed this routine while relocating to different countries as I had to find gyms in which to train and, unfortunately, most gyms would not have 7 foot long barbells nor Olympic sized discs to perform conventional deadlifts. This is very much the case in most commercial gyms and many of you may not have access to such type of barbells. On the other hand, squat racks are much more common as so are bench press stations. Moreover, I made this program taking into account the need to have a strong lower back, as my background is in competitive Olympic weightlifting. Squats plus barbell rows performed three times per week will build a strong lower back, and military presses and straight leg deadlifts put the icing on the cake for a solid mid-section.

It should be duly noted that to progress you also need to be eating enough to support the body’s growth and the gains in strength. I am not fond of pigging out on anything I see but you should be consuming enough good food in the form of lean cuts of meats, fish, dairy, vegetables and fruits, nuts and low glycemic sources of carbohydrates such as whole grain bread. On top of that, make an effort to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per day as sleep is key in recovering adequately from the intense training. I will be covering in the near future the topic of sport nutrition so keep an eye out for advice on what to and how to eat for strength and muscle.

All the best,


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Rogelio is the go-to guy when it comes to men's hair. Having embraced his natural curly hair for over a decade while living in 5 countries, Rogelio has learnt a thing or two along the way. Rogelio is the author of the two bestselling men's books "The Curly Hair Book" and "The Men's Hair Book", and his motto when it comes to hair is, "Gentlemen, having a good head of hair should not cost us our testosterone".

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98 comments for “The Manly Strength Program – The path to superb strength and muscle

  1. Adrian
    August 1, 2018 at 10:06 am

    I am so glad I’ve found this website!

    I’m making my comeback in the gym and after 2 weeks of tweaking my routine and looking for a program I thought about doing starting strength or something else that I had find on a BB website. The cult perspective on some of these workouts and me being scared of hurting me doing the Powerclean made me research the subject.

    I thank you for doing this and if someone is reading this message and just starting out, let’s talk so we can motivate each other!

    PS: lol I have curly hair too, I used to hate them because people in middle school would call me a “sheep”, tho now im really happy with them

  2. Jason Henry
    July 31, 2018 at 12:46 am

    This is the best routine I have seen and in 40 years I have read them all and tried 6 or 7. The power clean taught here is perfect. This routine should prevent the plateaus that are inherent in roughly 80% of of the other numerous routines. I think this routine is one that a person can stick to for life.

  3. Matt
    July 8, 2015 at 3:03 am

    Hi Rogelio,

    Looks like a great program that I’ll be taking up. I’ve also just recently found your website after searching for various things related to Olympic lifts. Question, would you recommend a similar approach to adding volume/weight in a program focusing on either the Olympic lifts or the exercises in your 5 essential lifts article? Basically 3 days, doing the same lifts on multiple days, and increasing reps/weight each week.

  4. John Smith
    November 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Rogello

    I stumbled across your site after I saw your guide to Power Clean on

    I am another SS refugee and started your training program a while ago but due to health and other commitments I only just finished my first full week of your routine last week. Your routine is great and I look forward to each session (something I didn’t do while on SS). I don’t like messing with routines people have spent time developing however I have ‘bony shoulder blades’ which may be winged scapula. Apologies if I am teaching you to suck eggs here!! This usually due to weak serratus anterior muscles and I read that incline bench press can help develop this muscle. I have included it as an accessory excercise, doing 2×12 on every session.

    Would this be something you’d advise against doing?

    Look forward to hearing you.

  5. Daniel
    October 9, 2014 at 3:23 pm


    I really like the fitness part of this blog. It’s awesome that you teach out this stuff for us who don’t have a clue. Is this program for beginners?

    Which is your Nr.1 book recommendation to learn all the basics and fundamentals?

    I would like to combine olympic weightlifting with basic strength training and also some bodybuilding exercises to look good but don’t know how.

  6. Travis
    April 7, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    I may have missed this or be reading it wrong. I see that for day 1 the goal is, “to increase ONE repetition for the work set in every Day 1”. Does this mean that in week two it would look like this:

    Squat: 100×5, 115×5, 150×5, 175×5 200×6

    or this:

    Squat: 100×6, 115×6, 150×6, 175×6, 200×6


    • zippy
      October 5, 2015 at 6:15 am

      I don’t know how Rogelio does it, but I increase all the sets including the final work set by 1 rep.

  7. mick
    March 26, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Rogelio

    This looks like a great program although I have one question:

    Where would you add the power clean into this?

    Thanks in advance

  8. n/a
    January 26, 2014 at 4:11 am

    Hey Rogelio, nice program! I have a question. The linear progression seems a bit slow compared to Starting Strength. So is it okay to increase more than your recommended 25 lbs per 6 weeks in the squat (and x lbs for etc.) as a beginner? Starting Strength adds 15 pounds per workout in the first 6 weeks. Other than that I love the structure and am looking forward to your reply.

  9. Barberic
    January 10, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    (sorry if this is a double-post; I’m not sure if the first one went through)

    What exercises can one do if they just aren’t flexible in the arms, shoulders, etc. to do a proper power clean?

    Every time I try I just can’t get my arms into the final position without a lot of pain and/or pointing my elbows sideways. Anytime I come close with a bar, I end up shoving it into my trachea and choking, hehe.

    Should I practice front-squatting to get my balance right first, as one friend suggests?

    I should mention I’m coming from almost 30 years of near-completely sedentary lifestyle…

  10. Barberic
    January 10, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    What exercises can one do if they just aren’t flexible in the arms, shoulders, etc. to do a proper power clean?

    Every time I try I just can’t get my arms into the final position without a lot of pain and/or pointing my elbows sideways. Anytime I come close with a bar, I end up shoving it into my trachea and choking, hehe.

    Should I practice front-squatting to get my balance right first, as one friend suggests?

    I should mention I’m coming from almost 30 years of near-completely sedentary lifestyle…

    • MooscleMan
      September 2, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      Place a good amount of weight on the bar on a squat rack. Leaving the bar racked, place your hands under it in the final position of the clean. Press upward using your knees but don’t strain yourself. Just use it as a stretch. If you can get to the point where you have a proper hand position for front squats then you can do them at that point. Keep in mind the basics of flexibility. You don’t want to strain, just stretch. If you strain, that is an injury and will set you back.

      You can also try pushing your shoulders forward a little in order to catch the bar before it hits your throat.

  11. James
    June 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    18 years old, male, 200lb, 5 10″
    1rm Squat/bench/deadlift/press/power clean = 325lb/200lb/365lb/150lb/165lb

    This program looks good but I have a few questions:
    1. If some of my lifts are still early on in the linear novice progression and still have plenty of strength to gain workout by workout, (esp. the presses and cleans since I had multiple shoulder injuries from judo and had to lay off presses for many months, and I started cleaning later on), would I start this program for the all my lifts or only the squat which has stalled out and continue with workout by workout weight progression with other lifts?
    2. My gym only has 5lb plates as the smallest. Should I add 20 or 30lb each cycle to the squats?

  12. Dave K - Nebraska
    May 16, 2013 at 3:55 am

    Am life long endurance athlete who discovered the benefits of strength training via P90x and then CrossFit in 2009/10. Have mixed body weight and CrossFit since.
    I’m at a crossroads though. The chipper/metcon/high rep madness of CrossFit is counter productive to consistent s/b/r (swim/bike/run success). I’ve incorporated elements of Starting Strength since January with a measure of success but now need to take the strength to more of a Y/ local gym level (not a bumper box). I can do a decent squat but have coached (run/swim) enough to know – I don’t got it on cleans/power cleans and at times deadlifts seem to suck the speed out of me.
    So CrossRoads – the Runner’s World type of workouts are laughable to even me at this point. I want a consistent 3 day a week program that includes squats/press (milt-bench)/core. I have access to oly bar, plates, squat rack, bench. I don’t need plyo/burst/metcon training – getting that 5 days a week via 7 s/b/r workouts (3 run, 2 swim, 2 bike primarily at a tempo and speed basis with 2 longer endurance cycles).
    It looks like manly strength may be it.
    Am I nuts? I know the strength, especially in hip, glute, hammy has helped me reach 20 year PRs from 800 meters to marathon (running) and swimming (50 to 500 meter). However the extra baggage from CrossFit WODs has also hampered that at times.
    Is the manly strength what’s outlined here and then applied via my own calender/ spreadsheet log on the 3 session each week – progression?

  13. Dominic
    April 20, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Hey Rogelio

    Im considering starting your program however I have a question. My shoulders are an area of my body I am very eager to improve but notice that you only include a dedicated shoulder exercise, military press, just once a week which to me means progress in this area would be quite slow. I was wondering what sort of improvements do you get with regards to shoulders when doing this program. Thanks


  14. Curious
    April 3, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Hello Rogelio,

    I am interested in starting this program. Right now, I’m a really good runner, and I want to do a Marathon on the 27th of October.

    If I start this now, how much will it affect my running ability? Assuming everything else I do stays relatively constant (I’m in good shape, good nutrition, etc)

  15. D
    April 1, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Hey Rogelio,

    I’ve been using your program for 2-3 weeks now. I like it! The progression is very clear and makes a great deal of sense both to me and my slowly-growing muscles.

    In the article, you mention that you chose the stiff- or straight-leg deadlifts due to limitations on your gym at the time. My gym has a well stocked set of olympic barbells & plates; could I do standard deadlifts, or would this leave my back without enough work to do?

    I have two reasons for asking:
    1) I’d like to compare my progress to the 1RM standards at exrx (redAcorn mentioned in an earlier response below)
    2) My lower back has some small problems. I’m constantly afraid that I’ll eventually wobble while straight-leg deadlifting and aggravate said problems.

    I tried to sift through comments & responses and derive an answer from what’s been posted, but I’m still unsure.

    Thanks for your time!

  16. Ibra
    March 28, 2013 at 8:24 am

    How’s it going, Rogelio. Greetings from Singapore. Yeah, that is how far your appeal has reached, bruh. Few questions. I do not own a bench. Is there an alternative to bench press? If possible, i want to eliminate it from your workout routine. Or is that a dumb thing to say?
    Last question, would plyometrics training or even tabata training on off days affect progress? i do not mind slower progress.
    Thank you man. God bless you.
    Fellow Curly Hair Man.

    • Rogelio
      March 28, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      Hi Ibra,

      Yes, you can replace the bench press with military presses; the bench press is more of a show-off exercise than anything else and I’d rather you lifted stuff overhead and while standing up.

      Careful with Tabata, that stuff can be pretty draining depending on how hard you go. DO it on your off days, but, the moment you start seeing your progress slowing down on the Manly Strength routine, then drop the intensity of your cardio (be it Tabata, plyometrics, running etc).

      Hope that helped and feel free to keep me updated!


  17. Winters
    March 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Rogelio!

    I’m not a guy who can pull off curls, in fact I believe that less is more so I shave my head besides, male pattern baldness runs in the family and I might as well get used to it. Anyway, I found your program recently and because I am going through a rough patch in my life at the moment, I think exercising the hell out of me, will help. So thanks for the program and wish me luck!

  18. Steve
    March 11, 2013 at 12:16 am

    I often run or bicycle for cardio. Is there a good way to fit these into the routine? Like on Tuesday/Thursday I could do my cardio. Would this be too much on the legs?

    • Rogelio
      March 11, 2013 at 2:48 am

      Hi Steve,

      It’s fine, do it on resting days; but, remember, you’re a weight trainer first, then a runner/cyclist.


  19. Jose
    March 9, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Hey Rogelio,

    Fellow curly man here. I’d like your opinion on adding chin ups/ pull ups to this program. I love doing them and was wondering if I put them in somewhere in between the assistance work outs or maybe super set them with the rows? Love to hear your thoughts


    • Rogelio
      March 10, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      Hi Jose,

      The upper posterior chain is developed already with the program, so if you want to add chin ups, do so in a leisurely manner: do 2 sets of bodyweight chin ups on Day 3, and skip the bicep curls for that day. In essence, exchange the chin ups for the bicep curs. Don’t do chin ups on other days.

      Glad to hear of another fellow curly dude, got quite a few doing the Manly Strength program!

      Keep me updated Jose.

      All the est.

  20. Nick
    March 2, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    I started Manly Strength last week and I have a few questions about some of the exercises. I would rather have perfect form than lift great amounts of weight with poor form and hurt myself.
    Some information about myself: I am very skinny and want to put on some muscle mass. I did some weightlifting with dumbbells last summer, but I have never really practiced body building or any serious strength programs before. Oh, and I am growing a mane of curly hair!
    Okay, so…
    1. Squats – I read your article on tips to improve squat form; I stick my butt out when I descend, I stare at a certain place on the wall, I puff my chest out and stiffen my abdominal wall, etc. but the main issue is my shoulders. I arch my back when I squat so as to provide a place for the barbell to rest, but I still find the barbell uncomfortable and I do have some shoulder pain after doing squats. This could be a result of the fact that I am so skinny, so I don’t have much muscles to cushion the barbell and thus it probably presses against my bones. I really don’t want to end up with a hunched back or shoulders that are too far forward, are there any tips that you have about this? Can I do front squats instead? Those seem more difficult though, and I am a beginner.
    2. Straight leg deadlift – I watched the demonstration that you linked in this article, but when I tried to do straight leg deadlift today I felt as if I was bending my back to descend. I know that this is not correct and that my back should be straight, so what exactly am I supposed to bend to descend during the exercise, my hips or something? I am confused.
    Thanks a lot,

    • Rogelio
      March 10, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Hey Nick,

      Buddy, I try to keep up with you folks but my free time is very tight promoting my upcoming book. Let me give you my advice now:

      1) Glad to hear about the curly hair! Have a look at my body transformation in which I used a modified version of the Manly Strength program, hope that inspires you for the body and hair!

      2) About squats, right before placing the barbell on your shoulders (back of neck), shrug the shoulders up and back; this will create a cushioning for the barbell. Even if you’re skinny, you’ll have some meat there for that’s where the trapezium muscles insert (they’re big muscles). Chest up, chin up, fix you eyes on a spot. If you can record yourself, I’ll give you a hand. Don’t do front squats; the Manly Strength program only uses the back squat (even though I love front squats).

      3) For straight leg deadlifts, you must arch your back and pull your butt back as you descend think of touching a wall behind you with your butt. It’s fine if there’s some back rounding. Again, show me a video if you have.

      Don’t worry about being skinny. Got a guy doing my program and he sent me pics after 3 months; guy has put on some good muscle and was skinny too! Work hard and add a bit more to the barbell over the long term.

      Keep me updated.

      All the best.

  21. Amir
    February 25, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks for this. I’m another SS refugee and was also turned off by the power clean. I’m finding out that it seems gaining strength is 99% mental. The rest is physical. (Also, I too have curly hair and rock the shit out of it)

    • Rogelio
      February 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Hey Amir,

      I’m happy to hear that! Add more to the barbell progressively, that’s how you gain strength and fitness. Problem is, 99% of “gurus” and pseudo coaches like to complicate it to pocket money of gullible people.

      All the best.

  22. Adrian
    February 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Rogelio

    I just had some sleep and I was wondering one thing. I am not sure if my mental shape is good enough to do this workout. I’ve been struggling with depression for some years and now I am hitting the gym again since 15 days for 3 to 4 times a week. I try to balance muscle growth and cardio.

    You said your workout was pretty hard and with that amount of squatting I believe you. It must be pretty hard for the nervous system. I am already exhausted from my time in the gym and I dont want to over train… I’d like to do things step by step so while I get in shape I also learn how to be patient.

    I wonder if you have a workout to advise me. I see that you were really out of shape after your Abu dabi “adventure”. I am not that out of shape (I am 6″4 190lbs and 26 years old) but I am very fragile mentally…

    Hope you can help,


    PS: sorry for 2 or 3 replies, I have trouble finding the right words first and english isnt my first language

    • Rogelio
      February 22, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Hi Adrian,

      Don’t worry about the English, I understand you with no problems.

      Listen, your mental health comes first. Depression is a horrible disorder and you need to get that straightened out before moving on to achieve other goals (e.g. get in shape). In my book, I dedicate one whole chapter to mental health and developing yourself through addressing your hair. If you have a Kindle book or can read Kindle, I’ll be happy to send you a copy of my book as a gift because I think my book can help you, my man.

      The Manly Strength program is one tough motherf*cker. Starting Strength is a walk in the park compared to my program. You need to be in good mental shape to tackle my program. If you’re currently in not-so-good mental shape, I recommend you to sort it out first: see a psychiatrist, seek therapy (especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapy aka CBT) and perhaps medication (SSRIs, mood stabilizers, NRIs, DNRis). In the meantime, do lots of cardio and lift weight casually; the exercise will help with sorting out your depression. Once you’re mentally ready, go on my program for 6 months and get in darn great shape!

      Like I say, I’ll be happy to send you my book as a gift if you have a Kindle or can read Kindle.

      My Book: The Curly Hair Book

      I’m currently very busy and my free time is limited but do keep me update with your mental state and what you decide to do, my friend.

      All the best.

      • Adrian
        February 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm

        Hi Rogelio!

        Thank you so much for your reply :) I can read kindle and I will gladly accept your gift! I really need some tips to take care of my hair, I was just thinking about how often I should wash it now that I am working out nearly on a daily basis. I asked my sister about it since she has the same problem and she told me she didn’t know and she had the same question. It’s a mystery, ahah.

        Concerning my depression, I’m already on SSRI but since I’ve began working out again, I feel high on dopamine. The first week was hell, fortunatly I feel like It’s nearly a habit now.

        Today I’ve began my first day of a strength program I’ve found on the internet, it’s called ….. Have you heard of it ? It’s basically like starting strength or stronglift but with less volume so you can add a bit of conditioning.

        Here is the routing I am following:

        On day off I do some fast walking with my dog.

        What do you think about it? If you are busy, maybe answear me some other time, I am in no hurry, I am trying to not rush things this time and do baby steps towards my goal of ultimate health.

        Again, thank you so much.


        PS: I’ve put my email in the required field of this reply.

        • Rogelio
          February 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm

          Hi Adrian,

          That program is fined (I’ve removed the links to it though). It is a watered version of Starting Strength, which at the same time was a spin off program of The Strongest Shall Survive (you can find this program here ).

          Absolutely, it’s baby steps, my man. Also, as you start working out, you will feel happy because your body releases endorphins in response to exercise. Endorphins are your body’s endogenous form of opiates and they have a cascade effect on dopamine levels (which is why you feel high after working out). It’s a pretty cool response and why many people literally get addicted to exercise.

          Go the gym one day on one day off. Yes, on your day off, take the dog for a walk, keep yourself active and stay positive. I can guarantee you, right NOW, that, if you keep going to the gym and slowly progress by doing a bit more every day, you will be a new man in 6 months. Do the routine you posted as it is not as hardcore as mine; it will still work and will be better for your given situation.

          I have your email and will email you to send you my book.

          Keep me updated through here so other people can also see how you improve!

          All the best.

  23. Adrian
    February 22, 2013 at 2:48 am

    I am so glad I’ve found this website!

    I’ve been depressed for quite some time now and I’m making my comeback in the gym and after 2 weeks of tweaking my routine and looking for a program I thought about doing starting strength or something else that I had find on a BB website. The cult perspective on some of these workouts and me being scared of hurting me doing the Powerclean made me research the subject.

    I thank you for doing this and if someone is reading this message and just starting out, let’s talk so we can motivate each other!

    PS: lol I have curly hair too, I used to hate them because people in middle school would call me a “sheep”, tho now im really happy with them
    PS2: just a quick question: a guy (Justin) here mentioned hack squat and you said “hack squat is pretty meaningless to move a decent amount of weight”. Was it because of the difficulty Justin had to not collide with the butt when he was moving up or because of the hack squat movement per se?

    • Rogelio
      February 22, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      Hi Adrian!

      Thanks for passing by. In your case, it’s as simple as picking a program and just doing it. If it is Starting Strength, then so be it. If it is my Manly Strength program, so be it. Just go to the gym and lift heavier weight progressively. If you decide to use my program, then I’ll be happy to answer any questions. It works, and one of Manly Curls dude is doing my program and he has sent me his progress pics, the guy is putting on good muscle!

      The problem with the hack squat is positioning and the fact that you can’t move as much weight as the deadlift. For my program, hack squats are not valid, but this exercise has its use in certain situations.

      About your hair: brother, read the many articles in Manly Curls or even buy my book which is 230 pages of curly hair talk and making your hair look its best!

      Anyway, let me know what you decide!

      All the best.

  24. Nathan
    February 20, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Hi Rogelio,

    By Straight Legged Deadlift, did you mean:

    The website labels the movement as “Stiff Legged Deadlifts”. I just wanted to be sure since I constantly visit that particular website for exercise demonstrations.

    • Rogelio
      February 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Nathan,

      Correct. That is how you can perform them.

      All the best.

  25. Xavier
    February 8, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Hey Rogelio, First off this site is a goldmine of information and probably one of the best things I stumbled into. So far I’m on my 2nd day of manly strength and already I’m enjoying the hard work of the program already.

    My schedule has me going Tuesday Thursday and Saturday however I have personal family obligations that might get in the way of being able to hit the gym on Saturdays. I’m not looking to change the structure of the program nor am I comfortable with the idea of losing out on a 3rd day of training in the week, but the possibility does exist. I generally do cardio or stretching on my off days already and only have access to dumbbells at home.

    My question is if I can only train twice a week should I just rotate the training days (like doing my day 3 workout on Tuesday and day 1 Thursday, etc)or is there something you would recommend I do in case I can’t make it to the gym? Thanks

    • Rogelio
      February 8, 2013 at 5:37 am

      Hi Xavier,

      Do Day 3 on the first day of the week (e.g. Tuesday), then do Day 2 on next training session. However, leave 2 days instead of 1 between Day 3 and 2. Like this:

      M: off
      T: Day 3
      W: off
      X: off
      F: Day 1 (not on Wednesday)
      S: off
      Su: off


      However, if you see yourself not being able to regularly stick to my program as it is, then either fully switch to my recommendation above these lines or try another program. I’ve designed this program so as to take advantage of increased progressive workload capacity, and it won’t work optimally if you break the schedule.

      Hope that helped.

      All the best.

  26. Meztek
    January 22, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Am enjoying this program so far. Just started my second week today.

    Any ab work for this program?

    Also – am tryin to add more muscle. Am at 173, 20% body fat. Eat 3 meals/2 snacks, high in protein, low in starches. Drink a BSN Syntha-6 with breakfast, and one before bed.

    Any recommendations?

    • Rogelio
      January 22, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Hi Meztek,

      Your abdominal wall is getting enough stimulus with the compound exercises and the leg raises.

      Train hard and progressively eat less.

      All the best.

  27. Caroline
    January 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Is there a similar training program you would recommend that incorporates the Olympic lifts?

  28. Keith Goeringer
    January 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    My question is on day 3 are the weights used for the 4 reps a progression or all the same weight. Day 1 is a progression. Is that 4th set a work set or are they all the same?

    Day 3 has you using the same weight as Day 1 and doing 5 sets of 4 repetitions. You should be able to do four reps on all sets if you chose the right weight for Day 1. It is imperative to start the first week with these 5 sets of 4 reps because your goal is to now work up to 5×5 in the coming weeks. Again, increase ONE rep every week so in the second week, your sets would be: 5 reps, 4 reps, 4 reps, 4 reps and 4 reps. On the third week you do 5,5,4,4,4.”

    • Rogelio
      January 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Hi Keith,

      The new training block is started by doing 5 sets of 4 reps. Then, you increase one of the 5 sets by 1 rep per week until you hit 5×5.

      Hope that helped.


      • Keith Goeringer
        January 5, 2013 at 8:53 pm

        are the 5 sets all the same weight?

        • Rogelio
          January 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm


  29. Giovanna
    December 25, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Thanks Rogelio for the reply.

    What makes the difference in your vs Bill Starr’s training? I recently purchased the book and I am currently reading thru it. I like the fact that you are here for questions, and I am wanting to proceed with your program. You are not stearing me from your program, so therefore you feel it is acceptable for a female.

    Also, would I want to wait and start in a Monday if M,W,F would be my schedule and today I did upper body? Or could I dig in on Wed?

    Thanks and Merry Christmas

    • Rogelio
      December 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Hi Giovanna,

      The difference between Bill Starr’s The Strongest Shall Survive (TSSS) and mine is that TSSS calls for daily regulation of effort via the Heavy/Light/Medium concept. My program, on the other hand, calls for hitting maxes every training day, but then every 3 weeks a 1 week is inserted to do active recovery. Both programs incorporate active recovery in their own ways.

      TSSS is a great book and Bill Starr is an excellent coach . The only issue with TSSS is that it calls for doing the power clean, which is a lift that needs to be supervised when learning it to fully reap its strengthening potential. I’ve been an Oly lifter (as was Bill Starr), yet I would use my Manly Strength program whenever I could not train as an Olympic lifter, thus you won’t find power cleans in my program (despite I have written an extensive tutorial on this lift in my site).

      Start a fresh training week. Do your current routine’s training for the rest of this week, then take next week to introduce yourself to the new routine (i.e. don’t go hard). Go through the motions of each day, and bear in mind that squatting 3x week will devastate your legs in the beginning (hence the need to go easy your first week!).

      Hope that helped and Merry Christmas to you too!


  30. Giovanna
    December 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Your program looks great as well as all the info you give! I am wondering if the program would fit for a female? I am not new to exercise, but new to the concept of lifting heavy. I have been doing a split x4/wk for about 1.5 months. Can I just jump into your program or do your recommend something else. My goals are to get strong and lean. I am 38 5’1″ and about 101#. Is there any room for cardio?

    Thanks Rogelio

    • Rogelio
      December 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Giovanna,

      I haven’t had a female on this program (only had males), and this program is tough as you have to work hard every day and doing full body exercises. The main problem with you ladies is that, typically, you’re all put on a fancy-pansy training program by a Jersey Shore-like gym trainer who knows nothing about getting strong and lean, thus you ladies are not used to training hard, and starting on a program like mine can be a shocker. However, women can train as hard as men (and even harder, I’ve seen) and, with my program, the only limitation will be how hard you want train. Strength training is a vocation (you either like it or not), so it is great that you want to truly get stronger and lean.

      Ok, enough of the introduction. My answer:

      Normally, I recommend females to back off a bit of volume from a typical male-oriented program. However, in the case of my program, I would say to give it a go for 3 months as it is (i.e. follow the program exactly). Now, if you find after 3 months that you are not progressing enough (adding reps weekly), then back off the volume (but not the intensity!) on Day 3: instead of doing 5 sets of 4 reps on Day 3, do 3 sets of 4 reps for all prescribed exercises of Day 3 (i.e. you will remove 2 sets).

      Yes, you can do cardio: always do your cardio after strength training or on your off days, 30-45 mins of your favourite cardio exercise is enough. Bear in mind that the key to being lean (and sexy) is nutrition: you need to monitor your calories while adding more weight to the barbell.

      I welcome your progress updates, and certainly do feel free to contact me after 3 months so I can gauge your progress. All in all and like I’ve said, do the program as it is, but take into account that this program is hard, and you will have to work for your reward (your reward will be immense).

      Any questions, let me know.

      All the best.

  31. redAcorn
    November 20, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Need input on calibrating after 2nd Deload week, please.

    So, I’m wrapping up the second deload week. The program is going quite well, and now it’s time to move up in weight. I read the notes about adding 25 for squat, and 10-15 for bench and row, but wanted your input on my current weights compared to 2 rep max and if I need to calibrate beyond the +25 and +10-15.

    Here’s where I’m at currently, before moving up in weights starting next week. They are novice numbers at best, but getting better. (numbers are odd b/c bar is only 32 lbs)

    squat: 152 x 10; 2 RM @ 252
    bench: 132 x 10; 2 RM @ 182
    row: 92 x10; 2 RM @ 162

    With those numbers, the program reads is should bump to
    squat: 177 x 5
    bench: 147 x 5
    row: 107 x 5

    Does that sound about right to you? I’m thinking my working weight is too far off from my 2RM and needs to be brought up, but wanted to ask you. What are your thoughts on the difference in working weight v. 2 rep max?

    Thanks again!

  32. redAcorn
    November 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Hi, again. I had a question regarding benchmarks and ratios.

    Are there certain benchmarks you recommend an individual trying to hit for “general fitness?” This site has a 1 rep max breakdown, but excludes rows. Do you know a better chart?

    I’m 6′, 205, and 36 years old. I’m not trying to break any records, but want to be in good shape for my family, and myself, of course. I was originally, thinking of trying to get to working weights of squat: 300, bench: 225, row: 200? Do you think that’s undershooting it, or about right? Should those benchmarks be 2 rep max instead of working weight? Should I aim for 400 on squat? What about bench and row?

    Also, I’ve seen discussions regarding ratios of weight such as:
    Squat 2 x bw
    bench 1.5 x bw
    dead 2.5 x bw


    What are your thoughts on a ratio and can you suggest one for your big 3 in this workout? Sqaut:Bench:Row.

    Thanks, as always!

  33. Cassanova
    November 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I’m going to try this and will let you know how it goes.
    Happy I don’t have to drink a GOMAD a la SS.

    • Rogelio
      November 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      LOL GOMAD is quite the extremist approach when it comes to nutrition.

      Let me know how you fare with my program.

      All the best.

  34. Alex
    November 5, 2012 at 5:01 am

    Hi Rogelio,

    Great site with really solid insights into fitness and strength training.

    I am 41 years old, have been working out on/off for most of my adult life and have, like many, tried many different routines, plans, etc. Now that I’m 40, I want to be healthy, first and foremost. What this means to me is that I don’t want to eat incessantly, I’d like to pack on some more muscle but would like to remain lean. Ok, here is what I’m working with:

    – 6’1″, 180 lbs, appx 15% body fat
    – I follow a fairly low carb ‘paleo-type’ diet (primal blueprint) and feel good eating while foods, minimal processed junk and very little grains and bread
    – I have access to a full gym, with a few limitations
    ***- I can do 3x/week, but not for 90 mins. I was wondering if there’s a legitimate way to reduce workout times to 30-40 mins/session, without compromising too much ?

    I look forward to your advice and thoughts.

    Continued success!!


    • Rogelio
      November 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Alex,

      Hope all is well and congrats on your progress!

      This routine could last less than 90 minutes, and you could do it in 40 minutes too.


      – For Day 1: only rest 1 minute between ramp up sets. Last set is only 2 mins rest, not more. Skip accessory lift
      – For Day 2: all sets are done with one minute rest, not more. Skip accessory lifts
      – For Day 3: same as in Day 2.

      Done and dusted. If you have some more time left, either stretch a bit more or throw in one accessory lift.

      The most important thing is to always work hard on the first 3 exercises of the day.

      Hope that helped.

      All the best.

  35. Justin
    October 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Hi Rogelio!

    many thanks for an informative site! I am new to weight training, and just became a member of my local gym. I have been in gyms before, though, although that is a long time ago. I will be following your program, have been in the gym for two times now.
    Unfortunately my gym has no squat rack (it has a Smith machine, though). Now I just pick the barbell up from the ground, but I feel in my joints that that is much more tiring / painful than having it on my back. So I have the feeling the squatting is now limited by what can be comfortably be picked up, in stead of what I could do squatting.
    I looked around how others have solved this, and found that I apparantly should never be using a Smith machine. Alternatives for a squat rack might be using free pins on the Smith machine (all on the unreachable site of it) or using the highest pins on the bench press bench (fairly low and there is a little platform attached to the headpiece, presumably for a spotter, that makes it very difficult to pick up from there). Other suggestions include using a Power Clean to pick the barbell up from the ground (but you advise against Power Cleans for beginners) or using a technique that seems even more risky to me: the Steinborn Lift.

    What would you advise me? as I see it I have the following alternatives to choose from:
    1) pick it up from the floor, lift it over my head, and do the ‘normal’ back squat. This is what I did until now. The picking up is more limiting than the squatting itself I think.
    2) the back hack squat. Seems difficult to not collide with the butt when pulling up. And I guess I am training different back muscles?
    3) Use free weights (my gym has them up till 45kg a piece and I have now a bar of about 30kg so I guess I could be doing that for some time)

    I guess the most obvious advise is to change gyms. I won’t do that (and rather progress less quickly) because a mate of me is going there, so we can go together and the likelihood of me going at all is dramatically increased. And, of course, membership for the coming year is already paid now.

    Sorry for my very lengthy question. English is not my native language so I might have used some uncommon combinations of words, I hope it is understandable. Thanks for your great and informative site! I hope you do have the time for an answer!


    • Rogelio
      October 23, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Justin,

      I hope all is well and I’m glad you enjoy my site! Don’t worry I understood your problem.

      About your question, I will have you know that I actually did a variation of this program using a Smith machine for squats (it was during the time I did my 4-month body transformation). In fact, this program stems from my need throughout the years to train wherever I went or lived in, so it factors the fact that one may not always have access to a barbell and stands.

      Ideally, you want to do back squats with a barbell alone. However, if you only have a Smith machine (SM), my advise is to go with it. The SM has been demonized and its disadvantages have been blown out of proportion. If you are unwilling to move to another gym, my advice is to go with the SM, mostly because the hack squat is pretty meaningless to move a decent amount of weight, you might as well do a proper deadlift instead. When doing a SM squat, make sure to place your feet a bit to the front so that you can go deep in the squat.

      With that said, I would suggest you to give moving to another gym a second thought as training alone should not be putting you off. It is in your interest to learn to train alone because worst comes to worst, you will have to train alone at some stage (buddy is ill, you are on holiday, you move to another place). Training alone helps you to learn how to pump yourself mentally; relying on someone else for mental energy will become a disadvantage over the long term, so you might as well learn now that you are beginning your hopefully lifelong journey to weight training and health.

      Lastly, while I do suggest for absolute beginners to do the power clean supervised, you can give it a go with my tutorial and learn to power clean. You can power clean the barbell to your shoulders and then do front squats instead of back squats. In such extreme case as is yours, I approve changing theexercise from squat to front squat. This is how you should do the power clean and front squat:

      Let me know how you progress, buddy.

      All the best.

      • Justin
        January 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm

        Hi Rogelio!

        apologies for not writing again in such a long time. I must thank you for your very informative detailed answer! That was great, and helped me stopping to fuss about things and just use the Smith machine.

        I found quickly that with the SM one can lift a lot more weight than with a barbell alone. So I adjusted accordingly. I read somewhere that every SM can be different, so I guess there are not really values available to go by.

        On progress: it was difficult in the beginning because the free weight section attracts the dominant, naked shoulders, young, confident and loud crowd. This is certainly a factor that makes any free weight training program difficult for some beginners, as opposed to programs using machines.

        After five weeks I had to stop for three weeks (jobs abroad) so now, to pick up again, I have just restarted at week 1. If this happens often I guess I will never progress past week 6, but at least that is already better than not training at all.

        About the weights I use: I do not know what the barbell weighs. It seems not very havy, I would estimate around 10kg.

        day 1:
        squat (Smith machine) 35 kg
        bench press 25 kg plus barbell
        barbell row 30 kg plus barbell

        day 2
        squat (SM) 27,5 kg
        military press 7,5 kg plus barbell
        barbell row 27,5 kg plus barbell
        chest fly 2 x 7,5 kg

        day 3
        as day 1 plus
        straight leg dl 25 kg plus barbell
        bicep curl 2 x 7,5 kg

        There is not really a question here, but you asked for an update on progress :) Feel free to not write back, you are busy enough as it is. Thanks again for the program and all your efforts, you got me on track!


        • Rogelio
          January 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm

          Hi Justin,

          Great to hear from you. Don’t worry about the loud guys in the free weights section; they look more ferocious than they really are.

          In any case, glad to know that you have established the base weights to start working on. Keep me updated!

          All the best.


  36. redAcorn
    October 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks for posting this information. Seems like a great workout and I’ve just begun this week. I had some questions as I work through the program.

    1. I haven’t done barbell routines in many years. When trying to determine the working weight in Day 1, is it best to just put some weight on the bar and keep increasing it until I hit the 5 rep max (with 2 left in the tank)? Should this be done on day 2 as well (though there is more of a reference point with day 1)
    2. After working weight is established on day 1, should the ramp-up sets be re-calibrated to a more even distribution of weight increment moving forward? (e.g., if I just added 20 lbs after each ramp up set until I hit max, it could probably be redistributed to more even blocks of 30 or 40 lbs or something)
    3. On Day 2, the working weight should be different than Day 1, likely 20% less weight, correct? Seems silly to ask as you’re shooting for 2×8 instead of 1×5 for a working weight, but wanted to ask anyways?
    4. Should I do any ramp-up sets on Day 3, or just stretch/warm-up and hit it 5×4 at full work weight?

    That’s it for now.


    • Rogelio
      October 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm


      Let me address your points:

      1) Correct. As an absolute beginner, I would actually recommend you to take a week to work out your 5 and 8 repetition max (RM). This max is not a grinding all-out max, but rather, a set in which the last repetition is just about to break form, this means that for your 5RM and 8RM that you will work out, you will actually be able to do about 2 more reps in each of the RMs if you pushed and hyped yourself. There’s no need to be killing yourself now, in about 8 weeks you will be doing the real manly work, and that’s when you will learn that in weight training, there’s a mental aspect that is just as important as the body’s ability to lift a weight.

      2) Correct. I have left the ramping up of sets as you like. The point is that you should be feeling fresh and ready for your working sets (e.g. your last set of 5 reps). 20-40lb jumps sounds correct for exercises like the squat. If you are fatigued by the time that you get to your work sets, you are using too much weight in your ramp up sets.

      3) Not a silly question. Yes, it’s about 20%: in absolute terms, doing 2 sets of 8 reps will use the same weight as if you did 1×10. Don’t worry about % though as some people have more fast twitch fibers than others, which means that the difference between what they can lift for one set of 5 reps and 2 sets of 8 reps will vary too much too think of %s. Establish your RMs as per Point 1 and then go from there increasing a rep per week.

      4) Correct. I will actually make a remark for the ramp up sets on Day 3 when I get some time. I’ve had a lot of people like you who are completely new to weight training wanting to start this program, and I feel that I initially wrote the program without making special consideration to you guys, so I will try to make it as clear as possible. I suggest you to use the same ramping up weight as you used for your Day 1 (so do 4 ramp up sets then start 5×4).

      If you have more questions, feel free to ask them.

      All the best.

      • redAcorn
        October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm

        Thanks for the answers. Everything has been going smoothly and I’m getting ready to enter the first de-load week.

        For Day 1 of de-load week, what do you recommend for the warm-up sets? 4×5 based on weekly Day 1 sets? Or, some sort of 4×2?

        Also, for regular day 3 exercises, like deadlift and bicep curls, what do you recommend for warm-ups? What about for the flys? I had just used 3×12 for flys, 4×5 for deadlift and 4×5 for the curls. Does that sound about right? I wasn’t sure how many reps were needed to warm-up for the higher rep work sets. e.g. 15+ reps on deadlift or 12+ on flys.

        Thanks again!

        • Rogelio
          October 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm


          Glad the program is going well.

          Day 1 of the deload week, simply work up to your heaviest weight in sets of 2 reps. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, just record the sets and keep going until you hit your 2RM. Don’t do sets of 5 reps, all warm up sets are sets of 2 reps.

          For Day 3 and for the stiff leg deadlift, I advise you to just do your ramp up/warm up sets in sets of 5 reps, then hit your working set of 15 reps. For Flys and curls, you can go straight to your work sets or do 1 warm up set of 5 reps, up to you.

          All the best.

  37. Kevin
    September 29, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Confused a bit about Day 2 and the number of sets. In some parts of your post it seems as if there should be 5 sets (“work up to 2 sets of 8 repetitions in 5 sets, first 3 are ramp up sets and then do 2 working sets”) but 5 sets is never mentioned again for Day 2 and all references thereafter always mention 2 sets only. Does Day 2 have 5 or 2 TOTAL sets? Thanks, looking forward to starting this workout. It looks like a beast indeed…

    • Rogelio
      October 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Hi Kevin,

      It is 2 working sets for Day 2 (out of a total 5 sets). The reason for not mentioning all the time that there are 5 sets on Day 2 is that it is implicit, but I do understand that it can cause confusion in some as it is a very lengthy routine tutorial, so feel free to ask whatever doubts you may have.

      As I say, Day 2 consists of 5 sets but the first 3 are progressive ramp ups leading to 2 final sets of 8 sets; these 2 sets of 8 reps are increased by adding 1 extra rep per week to only 1 set at a time of 2 sets.

      Let me know of any other questions. The program is a tough one that will yield fast results, so any questions, feel free to post them here.

      All the best.

  38. Josh
    September 27, 2012 at 2:13 am

    Hey Rogelio, I am enjoying your blog and am beginning this program.

    Question for day 2: For chest flyes, how many reps do we need to hit before increasing weight?

    Also implementing the power clean a la your instructions in an earlier comment. I’m excited to see how this goes!



    • Rogelio
      September 27, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      Hi Josh,

      Because chest flyes are left as a finishing movement, I have left its increasing of weight at your discretion. In my case, I would use the same weight until I could hit 2 sets of 20 repetitions, and I recommend you to do the same as chest flies are an isolation exercise and, thus, work best with high reps.

      Increase 1 rep per week until you hit 20 reps on both sets for chest flyes. Then go up by 2.5-5lbs and start again at 2×12.

      I have left the increasing of exercise weight at your discretion for any of the exercises outside of the Big 3 on every training day (i.e. the finishing exercises). For example. for straight leg deadlifts you can go up to 1×20 or even 1×30 before moving up in weight, although do remember that, no matter which exercise, you always increase 1 rep per set per week.

      You’ll get good in the power clean with my tutorial; I have lost count of how many lifters and coaches are using it, and they have all reported a rapid improvement in their technique and weights.

      All the best.

  39. wayne
    September 11, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Hi there. Was looking at starting your programme but just need to make sure i understand properly. On day 1 of week 2 do you increase all sets of the workout by one rep (eg 5 sets of 6) so including ramp sets or just the final set? Also on day 2 are ramp up sets also in sets of 8 and kept at 8 while increasing the work sets from week to week? I cant wait to start and am looking forward to seeing progress.

    • Rogelio
      September 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Wayne,

      Only increase by 1 repetition the work sets in each training day. This means that on Day 1, you will leave the ramp up sets as 5 reps and only add 1 repetition per week to the final 5th set. Thus, in Week 2, for you training day you would do the 4 ramp up sets with the same 5 reps and weight load you used for Week 1, and you will then increase 1 rep on your 5th set to do 6 reps.

      For Day 2, the same pattern is implemented. Ramp up sets are only done with 8 reps, do not increase them. The only repetition increase occurs in the 2 final sets (remember, each week add 1 repetition to one of the two sets, not to the two sets). Thus, in Week 2 you leave the ramp up sets with 8 reps, and you do 9 reps for your 1st working set and do 8 reps for your 2nd working set.

      All the best.


  40. Hemant
    September 7, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Your program looks great. I’m new to iron game, and am trying to lose fat while gaining fat. Would you recommend carb and calorie cycling while being on your program? I’m 169 lbs at 6’0′ and have been told that I’m roughly 20% body fat.

    • Rogelio
      September 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Hi Hemant,

      Absolutely. You can body recompose (that’s the term for what you are describing) on this program. It is a shorter version of the program I used for my body transformation here:

      Carb and calorie cycling is fine and you will get rapid gains since you are a newbie. Just make sure you know what you are doing: are you following any specific nutrition expert or reading any book on this nutritional approach?

      All the best.

      • Hemant
        September 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm

        Thanks for your response. I’ve hired a nutritional expert who has put me on leangains style program with carb cycling (around 300g crabs, 160g Protein, 40g fat on training days and 50g carbs, 170g protein and 70g fat on rest days) with a 16 hour fasting and 8 hour feeding window. I train fasted, after ingesting 10g of BCAAs. I’m three weeks in starting strength, and I failed to increase my strength significantly, except for in deadlifts and benchpresses.
        My squats are extremely weak. I started off with 85lbs half squats, but now, as I have perfected my form(Deep Squats) but am able to only squat 60lbs!
        As you can see that I’m on 10% caloric surplus on training days, and around 25-30% deficit on rest days, would you recommend modifying your program with this feeding pattern?

        • Rogelio
          September 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm

          Hi Hemant,

          Yes, you can do it with that nutritional approach. I lift in a fasted state and haven’t noticed any decrease in strength gains. I recommend you to do your eating AFTER the training in that 8 hour window that you mention.

          Nutritionally, you have a good foundation. Check out my article on common mistakes of the squat and how to correct them:

          The good thing about this program is that it has you practising the full squat frequently so that you will grease the groove so to speak of the squatting motion.

          I think you are ready to start solidly. Feel free to update me on how you progress.

          All the best.

  41. mattias
    August 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Hi rogelio, just starting with your program and I have a question. For day 3 which weight do you work with? Is it the work set weight?
    I’m from sweden so maybe i don’t undetstand the instructions properly. Thanks

    • Rogelio
      August 22, 2012 at 12:03 am

      Hello Mattias,

      For Day 3, you will use the weight used on Day 1 for all prescribed sets on each of the exercises. So, if you worked out to a set of 5 reps with 300lbs on Day 1 for squats, you’d do 5 sets of 4 reps with 300lbs.

      All the best.

  42. Jerry W
    June 12, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Hey Rogelio,

    I came across your program as someone posted a link to it in a forum I visit frequently. Your program looks great and I like that it calls for adding an extra rep on every training day as I like to leave the gym knowing a surpassed myself everytime. I have read you also recommend “Strongest Shall Survive” by Bill Starr.
    Since I am looking to start a new program, which do you recommend? I am an intermediate lifter according to Rippetoe’s strength standards.
    Looking forward to what you have to say
    Jerry W

    • Rogelio
      August 21, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      Hello Jerry,

      For some reason, I missed your question, just read it now!

      The good thing about my program is that my program uses conventional exercises which are easy to learn and that most intermediate lifters are well acquaintanced with. On other hand, Bill Starr’s program uses the power clean which is a tricky exercise requiring a good tutorial system and/or owning the actual book where coach Starr goes in-depth about all exercises and gives plenty of great training advice.

      For what is worth, here is my power clean tutorial (used by coaches already):

      I would recommend you to start my program now. Get used to the high frequency of hard work training and order yourself coach Starr’s The Strongest Shall Survive in the mean time. Read it, study it and make sure you understand it. Then, if you feel up for the challenge, switch to his routine from mine. However, give my routine a good 6-12 months before changing.

      All the best.

  43. John Suarez
    June 12, 2012 at 2:34 am

    This is an excellent routine Rogelio, I dig the fact that it has high repetition work and that it has you working hard every training day until the deload. I am currently doing a 4-day bodybuilding split but want to give fullbody a go and I really like your routine. Any recommendations you have for my transition from a bodypart split routine to yours? My ultimate goal is aesthetics but I want to prioritize now strength and bulk (muscle everywhere).

    Many thanks dude, I really appreciate the tutorials you have written on the clean and press and power clean (been using them for my shoulder and back days).

    • Rogelio
      June 12, 2012 at 3:07 am

      Hello John,

      Thanks for the kind words. My advice is to follow the program as explained because I have designed the first week to be an introductory week which will prepare you for what is to come. You have nothing to worry on that front and your body will get used to squatting 3x week fast if you follow the program as outlined.

      The only issue I see is in terms of mentality changes. This program is what I call a holistic training program. It approaches working the body as a unit, just like other fullbody programs do. You may feel that you are not training enough because you are only training 3x per week but, trust me, when the time comes for the deload, you will be desperate for it as a 3 week block of training hard the whole body on every workout is a tough beast to ride, which will pay off if you put your mind and muscles to it.

      Any other questions, let me know and feel free to update me on your progress.

      All the best.

  44. Andy
    May 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    What’s up Rogelio

    Badass program. I was doing haphazard full-body work for a while, with my only focus being on specific goals (2x bodyweight Oly Squat and form-perfect bar muscle ups for reps, etc) and Manly Strength went a long way toward guiding me to some planning discipline. I love how it lets me squat often enough for my liking.

    ANYWAY my question is:
    How would I integrate the Power Clean into this program? I really want that to be part of my training, for its obvious and numerous benefits. It just seems like a brutal exercise to be just ‘sticking in there’ parallel to the squats and heavy upper body compounds, with the same rep scheme (like in Only the Strong Shall Survive). I feel like my body is handling the program right now as-is, especially because I was already adapted to frequent heavy squatting, but I definitely don’t want do derail what I’m doing by throwing in something intense like the PC.

    Thanks man

    • Rogelio
      June 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Andy,

      I am glad you like the program and are finding it useful. It certainly works and kicks one’s ass as you have to work hard every training session.

      With regards to the power clean question, I designed this program while aware that the power clean is a good exercise (heck, I have written a popular tutorial on the power clean itself!). Thing is, it is difficult to teach good technique on the power clean and it is very easy to do reverse curls instead of power cleans. Thus, this program is BEST left without modifying it, much less adding in power cleans.

      If you want to introduce power cleans, my advice is to use Bill Starr’s The Strongest Shall Survive:

      However, I understand that you like the program structure that my Manly Strength program offers. Thus, if you really want to introduce power cleans to my program, do as follows:

      1) Replace power cleans for barbell rows on Day 1 and Day 3. Do the stipulated bb rows on Day 2

      2) Do power cleans as the first exercise of the day. Follow the same set/rep structure

      3) On day 3, use 70% of what you used on Day 1 and do 10 sets of 2 reps. This is for technique practice, don’t rest too long, 1 minute rest between sets and do power cleans AFTER all your exercises for the day. Emphasize doing the technique properly and study and apply my power clean tutorial. You can find it here:

      Let me know how you progress/do!

      All the best

      • Andy
        June 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm

        Thanks, I appreciate it. Yeah I realize that there’s never too much room to mess with any 5×5 type of program. I feel like my PC form is decent, I have taped myself and run it in slow motion many times, and got many practice reps under my belt to get it right…turning the elbows out and using a hook grip really were the best cues for me, as it was really tough to stop myself from instinctively pulling the bar up in that split second of explosion.

        • Rogelio
          June 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm

          Hi Andy,

          Then, if you are confident with your technique, my advice is to then give the modifications to my program that I mentioned previously a go. I prefer to train with the progression that I use with my Manly Strength program and understand that you may feel inclined to use my program still with power cleans.

          As I said, feel free to keep me updated on your progress!

          All the best.

  45. bennyha
    May 19, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Hey Rogelio. Great site! Just found it via google and have been reading a lot of your articles. I had a question regarding your routine. I was wondering if one could replace weighted chin-ups instead of barbell rows for the main back exercise in the program? I like these much better than rows and never feel like I get good back stimulation during rows. Also, my lower back gives me problems, so I feel like rows after squats beats up my back too much. Also, if one wanted to add regular deadlifts to the program (my favorite exercise), how could I do that? I know not too change up too many things, but I really like your program concept and would like to train using your principles but just with a few different exercises. Thanks!

    • Rogelio
      May 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm


      I wrote the program with those exercises because they synergize each other greatly. Bear in mind that this program is aimed towards increasing strength and overall muscle and I find barbell rows to be great for this purpose. Likewise, just because you “feel”” weighted chin ups better than barbell rows, it doesn’t mean that they are better to build muscle/strength. Never go by feel or soreness to assess the effectiveness of an exercise.

      However, I can understand your preference for chin ups, if anything because you feel them better in your back. While I recommend you to stick to the routine as I have written it, you have these 2 other options:

      1) Replace the barbell rows with chin ups but then throw in lower back extensions on every day done before the hanging leg raises (1×20).

      2) Leave the barbell rows untouched and throw in 2 sets of high repetition chin ups (+10) on Day 3. Do not do them weighted, just go for as many reps as you can do in 2 sets and try to do one rep more every Day 3.

      As for deadlifts, you could do them on Day 1 and keep the barbell rows on the other 2 days (plus you already do stiff leg deads on Day 3). You can deadlift more than once a week but then you would have to change the program even more which I don’t recommend. This program works and will kick your ass because you will be working hard everyday (hence the need to deload).

      Feel free to update me on how it goes and how you progress.

      All the best.

  46. Michael Chamizo
    May 15, 2012 at 3:11 am

    Hey Rogelio, there’s something that i did not quite understand about the ramp up sets. Should the ramp up sets for bench and rows be 25 to 100 lbs as well? it just seems like a huge gap for something very low in weight.

    • Rogelio
      May 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      Hi Michael,

      25lbs to 100lbs is a range I recommend if you are building up to weights that allow for such increments and which I ultimately leave up to you. Feel free to do your ramp up sets with lower increments, the point of the ramp up sets is to warm up, practice the technique of the lift and prepare your mind for the final hard set.

      Remember that you only have 4 sets to hit the go-for-broke final 5th set and many times a lifter will find himself struggling with the 4th set because he has been using too low increments for the preceding sets (e.g. only 5 or 10lbs). By all means, feel free to add weight slower but if the 4th set is feeling too heavy, you haven’t ramped up adequately.

      In fact, when I have coached guys who were in their beginner stage, I would count doing 5 repetitions with the Olympic barbell alone as the first set (an olympic barbell, the 7 foot long weights about 45lbs).

      However, I appreciate your point and I will edit this part so that it emphasizes even more that you should go by gut feel instead of a particular number.

      All the best.


  47. Miami Heat
    July 31, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Finally, a program that is focused on building strength and doing the big lifts.

    Thanks for that, I will be bringing a copy of this program to our coach and see if we can change to this as he is having us do a kind of bodybuilding program which is not working enough.

  48. Tyrone
    July 28, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Hi Rogelio, I am on the second week of Manly Strength. Enjoying the change of training to a more frequent manner. One thing though, I am finding soreness to be more than I am used to (was doign a traditional bodybuilding split), do you have any recommendations for soreness? I am trying to get a min. of 7 hours of sleep. Thanks!

    • Rogelio
      July 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Hello Tyrone,

      Make sure to eat sufficient protein, have a source of animal protein (e.g meat, fish, dairy) on each meal. If you are vegetarian, mixing beans with rice or other mixed grains works great too. Moreover, stretch your muscles after the session and on your off days so as to ameliorate the soreness. The soreness will go down after the second week as your body adapts to the increased frequency of using your body!

      All the best

  49. Kev
    July 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    One of the best training programs out there to get big, thanks for posting it.

  50. BBer in training
    July 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Strong program. Loving the idea of squatting frequently, I actually love the exercise.

    Ill talk with my training partner to switch our routine to this as we are currently doing a 4 day split, squatting two days.

  51. Brendan
    July 8, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Can the military presses be seated?


    • Rogelio
      July 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

      No. All exercises should be done standing unless otherwise noted i.e lying leg raises and, of course, the bench press. The purpose of this program is to get strong, and all the exercises in the routine directly or indirectly strengthen this key area.
      All the best,

  52. Strong Bull
    July 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Love full body routines, once I am done with my last 6 weeks of my current routine I am going to be giving this one a go.

    • Rogelio
      July 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

      The good thing about this routine is that it can be used year-round so there is no need to be jumping from routine to routine every 6 months.
      All the best,

  53. Adam W
    July 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Wow, that looks awesome although I am used to only squatting once a week. Is it ok to go from a split routine straight into Manly Strength? Thanks

    • Rogelio
      July 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      Yes it is ok to go straight from a split routine to Manly Strength. Just make sure to start with a conservative weight as outlined and prepare yourself for some difficulties walking the first few weeks. Also, get a solid 8 hours every night of sleep to make the most of your recovery.

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