Welcome to Awaken Training Series! Throughout the program we’ll update this page with answers to the questions coming in through Fitbot. Also feel free to share your workout highlights or form checks on Instagram using #awakentrainingseries and tag us @revivalstrength – you can help each other out as well.
Profile – When you get your invitation to use Fitbot, please set up your password and add some info about yourself. We’d love to see your photo!
Saving Your Info – Keep in mind your Fitbot account will only be active through the twelve weeks of the series, so if you want to save your data you may want to copy it elsewhere. You can hang onto the daily emails if you want to refer back to the workouts.
Demo Videos – Your workout will be emailed to you each day, but be sure to click the “Open in Fitbot” button to go to the Fitbot website (it works on mobile too). Here you will see more details such as videos for each movement.
Notes – Under each exercise is a place for notes, photos, or videos for your reference – use this space to record the weights you used or anything else you’d like to remember about the exercises.
History – Once you’ve built up a history, you can click the clock icon next to each exercise to see it – so you can check your past weights or other notes you’ve made.
Comments & Questions – At the bottom of each workout page is a place for comments – this is where you can ask questions that the coaches will see, or post any comments about how it went for you.
Each workout begins with a warmup that provides a specific focus to begin the session. Feel free to modify as you need to or add additional mobility work. Choose weights with your ability and the purpose in mind (i.e. lighter for warmups, or challenging but able to complete all reps with good form within the rep range given).
When you see a number next to the same letter, the exercises are to be performed together in sequence. For example:
A1) Kang Squat
3111; 4-6reps; rest 60sec x 3
A2) GHD Hip Extension
3012; 6-8reps; rest 60sec x 3
This means to perform 4-6 reps of the Kang Squat at tempo, rest 60 seconds, then do 6-8 GHD hip extensions at tempo and rest another 60 seconds. Repeat this sequence two more times.
Back Squat 30X0; 1.1; rest 15sec between singles with the bar on the rack; 5 sets; rest 3mins between sets (build weight with each set)?
-Cluster Sets – Cluster sets are a form of prescribing repetitions for exercises that incorporate short breaks between reps within a given set. When reading these you will find the repetitions of a particular set separated by a period (ex. 1.1.1, 2.2.2, 3.3.3). There are typically two different rest periods given. One for the duration taken between reps in the cluster, and one for the duration taken between sets.
In the example you gave, the athlete would be doing 1 back squat, placing the bar on the rack for 15 seconds, and the performing a second rep. In this example the athlete a total of 2 reps with a 15 second break between the reps with the goal in mind to potentially achieve a great load for the two reps than if they were performed in one continuous set. Additionally, cluster sets can help train an athletes ability to repeat sub-maximal loads on short rest. Think about a situation in which you might want to power clean 80% of your maximum for many reps in a metcon. By training the power clean with clusters sets you can condition the body to get better at working at higher percentages on short rest.
Many of the exercises in the Awaken Training Series use tempo training for better quality of movement, lower risk of injury, and increase in strength. When you see four numbers (or an X) with an exercise, this tells you the speed in seconds for each component starting with the eccentric (down) movement. X means as fast as possible in an explosive movement. Even if a movement starts with an upward motion, such as a pull-up, begin counting the rep with the downward component.
The order of the tempo numbers is always Down, Hold, Up, Pause
For example, a back squat with the tempo of 30X0 would look like this:
3 – Moving smoothly, use 3 seconds to squat to full depth
0 – Hold for 0 seconds at the bottom (do not pause)
X – Explode up as quickly as you can
0 – Start the next rep after 0 seconds (do not pause between reps)
Be sure to count each second fully.
Not all movements will have a tempo, depending on their complexity and the goals of the workout. Each workout has been thoughtfully designed for effectiveness as well as providing breaks where free movement is encouraged.
When choosing loads, follow the pointers in each workout and make sure you can complete all of the reps for each while staying in tempo.
Segmented clean deadlift – I’m confused about the tempo. The video shown shows 3 pauses (shin, below knee, high hang). I’m confused about how the 3131 tempo fits into the movement. Can you please explain?
-This one will show up again so lets clarify. The video shows 3 pauses on the way up. A 1 second pause at each position will get you a 3 second concentric roughly. Then on the way down you will slow the eccentric down to 3 seconds. Pause at the top and the bottom for 1 second and you have a 3131 tempo.
What does it mean to perform a 9min GRIND – move with purpose?
-On day 3 of the program you were introduced to the 9min Continuous GRIND prescription. This is a coaching tool to help give athletes permission to move with purpose and focus less on the total work load you can accomplish. Make it your focus not to perform the most rounds possible, but rather execute the movements perfectly, choose loads that make you have to slow down, and simply grind through the movements.
What does a slash mean such as row 300/250m?
When you see a slash this is the prescription for male/female athletes. Feel free to alter as needed if you are scaling.
For the squats presses and deadlifts I’m assuming that we build to a heavier weight for the 5 sets as the reps decrease?
-Generally, for the purposes of this program and many others, as reps decrease throughout your working sets you will want to increase load. Similarly, from week to week, as similar movement patterns show up and repetitions decrease, these are opportunities to increase load in a somewhat linear fashion. How much load you can increase will vary from person to person, but the goal with these weekly progressions of similar patterns is to allow you a chance to progress in load and movement quality.
Should I scale up on the body weight exercises (add weight vest or add reps) if I can somewhat easily complete the prescribed reps at the correct tempo, or do you recommend just sticking to the program as written for now?
– Bodyweight exercise like the strict pull up, push ups, or dips, are all considered weight training movements to us. You are working against your own bodyweight! With that said, in any weight training exercise, as you get stronger you will be able to increase load. This goes for the traditional bodyweight exercise when we prescribe them in the A/B/C portions of your training. Get a weight vest, place a dumbbell between your legs, or hang some weight form your waist with a chain.
For day 1, should I be building in my sets or hit all working sets at the same weight?
-How to approach loads in the program: You will use the tempo and rep range to guide loading. You should load such that there is great mechanics, holding the tempo perfectly, and hitting the rep range you are prescribed. We aren’t prescribing loads or percentages in our program since we have so many different types of athletes participating. You also will feel different every single day and 80% one day may tax your CNS in a way that it doesn’t on another day. The greatest tool I’ve learned in my training over the years is to listen to my body, load and exert effort according to what I have available to me on any given day. You have to earn the right to go HEAVY and to enter the pain cave. If you haven’t done your homework with sleep, food, recovery, then just come in and move with purpose, lower loads, and sweat. You will be your own guide for your loading, and remember that next week we will be hitting a similar movement pattern so you can increase then.
Should/Can we be adding in supplemental crossfit style conditioning pieces? I feel the need to do a little more conditioning, but that could just be because I’m used to doing a lot of conditioning day to day.
-You can do anything you want with your fitness journey. This is your pursuit and ultimately we are here to encourage you to find fulfillment. With that said there are some things to consider when you think about adding in additional programs. The combination of multiple training programs that are not written with one another in mind will always complicate results. It takes a deep understanding of the stimulus of each program to determine how it will effect the goals of concurrent training. The Awaken Training Series has conditioning built in and over the course of 12 weeks it will build. However, it is impossible to perfectly meet the training needs of every participant with one program. For some participants the conditioning will feel very hard and bordering on over reaching. For others it will feel like a dramatic decrease in volume. One suggestion would be to try and stick with the program as written for a few weeks. If you are overtrained from relentless volume to start, then it could be just the break you need to regain some lost energy. But always remember, this is your fitness journey, and you get to choose your own path. If you wish to have a plan built just for you the accommodates all your needs, we encourage you to hire a coach!
Are there any recommendations for building a cardio engine? I see this is the functional bodybuilding program but how will one address steady-pace aerobic work these first weeks?
-There will be a modest amount of breathing work in this program. Follow along as prescribed and you will experience this. If you wish to add in extra aerobic steady state work, know that there can be complications with layering multiple programs on one another. It can be done smartly and you can get guidance from one of our coaches here at Revival Strength as a separate service. There isn’t an easy answer, but I will suggest that if you do add in aerobic work, do those session and break for at least an hour before these sessions. Also ensure they are sustainable work sets that leave you feeling good so they don’t take away from our work here.
What can I do instead of sled push?
We have seen athletes strap weight plates down to a plyo box and push the heavy box instead. Likewise, you can push a heavy jerk block across the rubber floor. You can also push cars that are in neutral (seriously). Just be sure someone is inside to stop it from rolling away. If you want to be creative you can tie a band to the rig and wrap said band around your waist. Then you can try to run away from the rig against the resistance of the band for an allotted length of time.
What if I don’t have double unders?
Double unders can be substituted for with single unders. We believe that the skill of jumping rope is a key skill to master and single unders are a great way to build eye-hand coordination necessary to build double unders. Triple the number of double unders and perform singles.
What can I sub for assault bike?
Rowing and or Running can be substituted for biking in similar calorie and distance prescriptions.
What can I sub for a weighted rope?
You can use a regular rope with the same amount of reps, or double the amount of reps for an added challenge.
What can I sub for ring work?
For high ring work you can use a pull up bar, and for medium and low work use an empty barbell in a power rack. You can also get your own set of gymnastics rings inexpensively from Amazon.
More Substitution Videos: GHD, Rope, Incline Bench
Here are some videos from our coaches on these substitutions.
I do just have a question: do you recommend anything for cool down/post-workout stretching? Thanks!
-At the end of a session it is always advised to cool down. Cooling down is typically a cyclical aerobic piece and is done at low intensity. The purpose being to move blood through the extremities and to allow the core body tempo to come down. Spend 10mins on an exercise bike or go for a 10min walk.
For warm ups, do you suggest any other mobility or just start with what’s posted and add personal mobility movements to the end of the work out.
-The warm ups are provided for a few reasons. The movement patterns in the warm ups are specifically chosen to prepare for the days working sets. They are also opportunities in some cases to build some skill and stability. The warms are also provided for participants that are used to being guided not only through their training, but also through their preparation practices. It is our hope that through this program you will learn what it means to warm up as well as train. You will take lessons from this program that you can then apply to your training beyond the 12 weeks. With all that said, if you wish to add in your own personal mobility movements, and you feel confident in doing so, then by all means prepare yourself this way. You know yourself better than anyone else.
When I see 85% effort on a prescribed set, how should I interpret this?
Perceived effort is a very important training tool. Starting to learn and better understand your body’s different levels of exertion is a key to fitness success. We don’t always want to be going 100%. That can lead to burn out, break down, and in some cases regression. What we often aim for in training is working at sub-maximal levels so we can produce good amounts of power, while maintaining great positions, and keeping a focus on quality. If we get really good at this skill we will be able to work hard every session without crossing the threshold into “burn out.” You can build a tremendous amount of fitness while staying fulfilled and avoiding the pain of too much.
With all that said, 85% is an effort level we refer to that is perfectly aligned with the description above. It should be a pace that pushes you and challenges you, but with the given rest periods allowed for in the working sets, you should be able to replicate the efforts over and over again. If you find yourself slowing down every set, then you are likely pushing past this threshold.
We will introduce other percentages along the way. Keep in mind that there is no exact pace we have in mind for any given %. We are all different and have our own unique needs. On Monday 85% may feel different than Thursday. The bottom line is that you need to learn that you have different exertion levels and that some days and some session are all about sustaining, and others might be about pushing to failure. Be sure you know what each feels like.
Any suggestions if I’m suffering from an cardigal damage in my knee and not able to squat heavy!? Working on technique or any substitutions for squats!? Thanks!
-You should always defer to an in person coach to help you understand your movement restrictions. Injuries are too complex to guess at from afar. Through this program you want to learn about your body. Focus on your movement quality and use those movements to learn your body. Loading should not be a goal with these patterns around your injury.
What kind of supplements do you recommend to take during the program? What is optimal for a good recovery? Thanks!
-Post training we encourage you to get on a quality protein supplement. Revival Strength and the Awaken Training Series is powered in part by Revive-Rx Nutritional Supplements. They offer a great 2:1 Carb to Protein post workout supplement called Recover. This is ideal for post training and recovery as it delivers a great balance of essential amino acids from protein, and required carbohydrates to replenish glycogen and kick start re-building hormones.
I didn’t have time to do finish a part of my workout…Should I do tomorrow to make it up?
-Generally I don’t believe it is wise to “make it up” on a future day. The body needs rest on rest days regardless if you finished the full session. In addition, adding previous days work to another training session will potentially overlap movement patterns in a way that is detrimental to the new session.
What if I only have three days a week to work out?
– If you don’t have five days per week to train, choose three workouts per week and rotate which days you choose evenly. That way you get a dose of everything.
The best way to ask questions is to post in the comment field at the bottom of each workout. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.