My “Perfect” Workouts

I’ll admit it.

I’m always on a quest for the “perfect workout.”

I know it doesn’t really exist, and that it’s actually relative to each individual and his or her goals.

Since I gave up Olympic lifting last year, I’ve been kind of lost.

Sure, I do have some goals – Press 300lbs overhead and Deadlift triple bodyweight. But I also want to do that in context of my bigger goal – becoming a Dad.

My son (Wow – can’t believe I just typed that…) is due 3 weeks from today. I am excited, but feel way less than ready. There is so much left to be done I feel like. And trying to come up with the “perfect workout” to fit my criteria for being a dad has been tough.

Essentially, I wanted to regain all of my movement abilities that I had lost years ago. And that’s mostly happened. And I wanted to get more stamina. Well, that hasn’t happened at all. In fact, I’ve really just been playing around since September. I only just started some “heavy” strength training again, because, in this case, it’s relative.

Yeah, my relative strength is way up again – closing in on 20 pull-ups at approximately 205-210, but my absolute strength is down. No worries, it’s on it’s way back up.

I feel the need to blend in bodyweight, barbell, and kettlebell work.

So I settled on the following format.

2 Days Barbell and Bodyweight

2 Days Kettlebell

Barbell and Bodyweight Days

These are Pushing and Pulling days, with the emphasis on the Press and the Deadlift, with one day for each of them. The assistance work is bodyweight with additional load. Parallel Dips and various forms of Pull-ups are my bodyweight exercises of choice right now for upper body assistance and Lunge work for lower body. Can finally, finally, finally do these with my pelvis completely screwed on and on a “beam” – or with a tight stance. Feels great.

These are typically longer days – one day on the weekend, one day mid-week.

Kettlebell Days

One day is doubles work focused around the Clean and Press and the Front Squat.

The other is singles work focuses around the Snatch.

Yeah, I know, it looks suspiciously like an Olympic lifting program. Old habits die hard I guess.

My kettlebell days are very short – no more than 30 minutes. Sometimes as short as 15 minutes. And they’re usually sandwiched in between clients at my studio, where the majority of my bells are.

I really like these shorter workouts. I can make them really hard if I so choose – push up the density, which is one of my favorite loading methods – and I can be done before I have time to think about it. They are the keys to some long term progress I feel. They’re hard enough to stimulate some adaptation, but short enough to allow recovery – which is important for a guy who’s about to be a new dad.

When the little guy finally arrives, I’ll most likely make all my workouts super-short. Ok, maybe I’ll keep one long one, just for the pure enjoyment of lifting the iron, but I have a feeling I’ll be pleasantly distracted. Good thing I have equipment at home…

That’s it for now.

10 comments… add one
  • Scott Iardella Mar 23, 2011 @ 14:02

    Geoff, just a quick congrats on being only 3 weeks away from having a new family member! That is Awesome. I think your current program will serve well when your new son arrives.
    I can tell you that about a year ago, when our second arrived, I didn’t miss a beat with my kettlebell training. That’s the beautiful thing about it. Those short, but focused workouts are wonderful, especially when you have a Major life changing event, like having a baby! I know you know this, but it changes your whole life (for the better!)
    Enjoy it, best of luck, & keep on training!
    Best Regards, Scott Iardella, RKC

  • Max Navo Mar 23, 2011 @ 14:34

    Geoff, I have been following your blogs for quite sometime. Thank you for all the information. However, I would’ve never thought that an ol’ Oly Lifter like yourself would perform sets of bodyweight lunges…. Do you prefer bodyweight lunges to bodyweight squats? With much appreciation, Max Navo.

  • Michael Mar 23, 2011 @ 15:00

    Congrats Geoff, those 3 weeks will fly by and here’s a nickels worth of free advice… get your hospital bag packed. Your son may not have gotten the message about dlhdthe doctors due date!

    I’m in the same boat as you, busy Dad, trying to keep the workouts going. Home gyms are the best. On those KB days, you can be done in the time it would take you to drive to the gym! And when your boy gets big enough to start reaching for your bells, that will really make you feel great!

  • Billy Meyer Mar 23, 2011 @ 15:31

    Geoff… I’m really happy for you guys and hope the delivery is safe and swift. Thanks for sharing how you think. It helps me in how I approach my workouts. I am a father of two. I don’t know if you have a bonus room or two car garage, but the garage especially can be turned into an awesome gym for pretty cheap for your barbell stuff. Lucky, you have a studio for bells. Again… thanks for sharing your thoughts. And here’s to you continuing to achieve your strength goals and managing that with the dad role. Oh, hope you have factored sleep into your recovery and programming.. haha!!

  • Russ Moon Mar 23, 2011 @ 15:51

    Tried the lunges in your honor last week with a heavier weight than usual and they generate power and the power to lock your core into an immoveable position. Also tried tip-toe firemans carry for balance and stability work. So you have moved me from no warm-up=”ticket to Injuryville” another one of your all time humorous remarks to stretch and core work first.

    Agree with the density, as you told me “it’s not how much you can work out ….it is how much you can adapt/recover from”. So I keep going for more “intensity” through form that is more pure. This is telling me I am heading in the right direction.

    Fatherhood – I don’t if I recall anyone who after the fact said “I was totally ready.” It’s not what happens, it is all about the recovery.

    Next time I visit, I’m bringing tripod and camera to film the carnage.
    So I took the three steps back from 48kg down to 24kg, cut the volume and can feel the adaptation happening like JiffyPop. When the reps doubled I was like, do they get tired of being right ? I doubt it, just keep swinging. Started grip training with CoC Trainer, feel more connected due to grip becoming stronger.

  • eddie sanders Mar 23, 2011 @ 16:16

    Congrats Geoff, on the new arrival, i am in the same boat i have gotten lazy and just gotten started back 2 weeks ago, i have been doing a mix of basic bent over rows, military press’s, bench , curls and squats doing a mixture of cluster and rest pause training and then snatch’s and press’s with kettlebell’s. so far so good. thanks for all the help advice on your blog

  • Eric Moss RKC Mar 24, 2011 @ 4:25

    take naps. Once your son is born you’ll never nap again 😛

    btw I found myself with a couple extra pounds from the winter so I decided to give burn a go. In 2 weeks I went from 157 to 149, I ate like a slob (birthday parties, St. Patrick’s day etc.) and I even put off one of the scheduled training sessions. There is something pretty awesome going on there.

  • Mark Macknis Mar 24, 2011 @ 7:00

    Geoff……Get your sleep in now, brother. One trick I picked up with my two daughters is a way to get him to fall asleep.

    You can hold your baby sideways, parallel with the floor, (like a fullback would hold a football). I them used one of those exercise balls to sit on and bounce them to sleep. It never failed.

    Of course you might need to wait a few months while he picks up some weight and size.

  • Caleb - Double Your Gains Mar 24, 2011 @ 22:28



    Triple Bodyweight Deadlift!

    What do you weigh now?

    I just did a meet here in VA in the 123lb class, pulled a 370 deadlift. Was pissed cause I missed it first attempt (didn’t focus on SPEED!) and I’ve pulled 405 in the gym 🙁

    Pressing 300lbs overhead? Holy crap dude. What’s that like 1.5x your BW?

    I’m still hoping to bench that soon — did 175 at the meet with the powerlifting pause on the chest — got stapled by 195. Pause on the chest kills me.

    Surprisingly, squatted a 350 relatively easy for me (and little high if I say so myself, but got three white lights!) — that’s a PR for me — so was happy about me.

    I just read your other article over at DD and after missing the 370 the first time, getting pissed and focusing on just ripping it off the floor — I believe more and more that rep speed is vital even on the “Grind” lifts.


  • Evan Mar 28, 2011 @ 12:17

    The best part about kids is when they get older and WANT to workout with Dad. I have athletic daughters who love KB and body-weight workouts. The excitement of the first perfect push-up / pull up or 20 reps of KB squat press is priceless. Enjoy them while their young it goes by FAST!!!!!

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