Last week I talked about Easy Strength, one of the most respected strength training programs around. What separates Easy Strength from other strength training programs is that you’ll hardly ever use weight that makes you uncomfortable. My curiosity pushed me to try out the program for at least a week. My initial challenge was choosing the right weights. I didn’t want to choose something too light or I’d feel like I was wasting my time. I also added some moderate cardio after my main workouts.
Day One of Easy Strength
The movements I chose were squats, deadlifts, weighted chin-ups, dumbbell overhead press, and farmers walk. After doing my regular warmup routine, I did the following workout.
Barbell Back Squats: Two sets of five at 205 pounds. I normally do 330 pounds for my working set.
Deadlifts: Two sets of five at 285 pounds. I normally do 405 pounds for my working set.
Weighted Chin-Ups: Two sets of five with a 25 pound plate. I normally do 55 pounds for my working set.
Dumbbell Overhead Press: Two sets of five at 45 pounds. I normally do 60 pounds for my working set.
Farmers Walk: 100 yards with a 105 pound dumbbell.
This workout started off smoothly. I was moving the weights easily and didn’t feel like I really challenged myself. I even started to feel a little guilty until the farmers walks came. The workout called for doing a farmers walk with 105 pounds in each hand for a total of 200 yards. 100 yards down and back. I’ve never used that much weight on my farmer walk and I normally rest longer when doing them. It’s hard to measure 100 yards in a commercial gym so I did my best estimation. Carrying the dumbbells down didn’t feel that bad but taking them back was brutal. I had to stop a few times.
Day Two Of Easy Strength
The main thing that changed in day two is that my grip felt weak. It’s probably because of the Farmer Walks from the night before. I also didn’t sleep well. Despite having a weak grip and feeling tired, I did my workout. Luckily, Easy Strength doesn’t ask you to use too much weight ( except for the Farmer Walks). Maybe I just need to get my grip stronger. Everything felt fairly easy and then Farmer Walks came in. I put my ego to the side and only used 90 pound dumbbells this time.
Day Three of Easy Strength
I felt a lot better in day three thanks to a good night of sleep. My biggest challenge at this point was fighting boredom. I’m not used to doing the same workout on three consecutive days. Luckily the workout allowed me to add some weight after each set. The workout for day 3 followed a 5/3/2 rep and set scheme. The first set I did five reps for the same weight I used in the previous days. The second set I did three reps with a five pound increase in weight. Finally, I did two reps in the third set with another five pound increase in weight. When it came to farmer walks, I used 95 pound dumbbells. Day three went smoothly. The following day was a rest day.
Day Four of Easy Strength
That rest day made a world of difference. When I woke up on day four, I was ready to lift some heavy weight till I remembered the point of the program which was to get stronger without having to strain yourself. The program allows you to slightly increase the weight on this day if you’re feeling it. I guess that was good enough for me. I went back to doing two sets of five on day four. On that day, I used 10 more pounds from what I started with. I used 95 pound dumbbells for my farmer walks on day four too.
Day Five of Easy Strength
Day five was the same as day four.
After doing a only a week of the program, I can see why it works. By doing so many reps of a movement over time, your nervous system gets comfortable with it. Since strength is a function of the nervous system, this is very beneficial to increasing strength. Doing all those Farmer walks teaches you how to brace your core. Your ability to brace your core is critical when lifting heavy.
I reccomend this program if you don’t mind doing very similar workouts over a long period. Luckily, this program allows you to do different variations of your core lifts as the weeks continue. Easy Strength takes a lot of discipline. The discipline to do almost identical workouts every training day. Also, the discipline to not add too much weight.
I enjoyed this program because it allowed me joints to recover from the pounding of heavy weights. I also had more energy during the week since I wasn’t exerting myself too much. I definitely plan on doing the full program one day.
Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels
Below is a link of the workout template, wrote by Dan John himself: