Dadding properly requires a lot.  Not only do we have to direct our attention toward getting and keeping our asses strong but we also have wifey to adore, kids to crack down on, and shit to get done.  In order to be a Strong Dad, and get quality work in, you have to budget your time and get the most out of every task.    

Focusing your effort and forgetting fancy will get you strong, quick!   

Tip #1

Training on a time budget requires focus.  

If you only have an hour to train its best to focus on a simple goal or task.  For instance, in the training session above the goal was back strength.  Staying in the back lane allowed me to get a lot of quality work in.  Not only was I able to get a my heavyish deads in, but I was also able to mobilize, put to practice some new tips passed along by two coaching buddies (both of which are also strong dad’s – @drjewett, @papayats), and also hit a nice auxiliary triplet.  

Take my goals out of the equation.  If you have limited time to train you simply need to determine what you want and begin working toward it.  I talk to a lot of folks smitten with functional fitness and they get into the gym and run around like a chicken with their head cut off trying to learn nine new moves and muscle ups.  Let me give you some advice, there is nothing more functional that being strong AF!  

That said, if you want to comb a few second off your mile focus on running. If you like downward facing dawg, stiff as a board, and need to take a chill pill, hitting a yoga class is also ok.  If the Open beacons, by all means find a solid CrossFit gym in your area and go to task.

The point is when you don’t have all day to train you can’t have a list of goals to attack that takes all day to read.  Focusing, and prioritizing your training, leads to more gainz whatever you choose to accomplish.

Tip #2

Forget fancy programs and keep things simple.

I am playing in powerlifting-ville for a few weeks.  I have worked a barbell for a long time but really have never dedicated myself toward strengthening the powerlifting barbell variations for any real length of time.  With that in mind I have started my powerlifting journey with a very basic linear progression.  Each time I dead, squat or press I hit 3 sets of 5 and increase the load over those working sets by 5-10 pounds.

I have to say at first I thought I would be bored but that has turned out to not be the case at all.  With this simple strength protocol I am in and out of the garage lickety quick.  Also, there are many days where I have a few moments to spare to tackle extra movements.  Or, like in this session, I spent extra time during my build up to practice new skills and mobilize.  The simplicity of the program allowed me to experiment with new movement concepts and pack in a few extra exercises.

Once you tap out your linear progression spice things up with a program or movement variation.  Doing so will ensure you develop a nice training base, stay safe, and integrate new movements and ideas.

I have said this before and really mean it.  

If the program looks complicated on paper you are going to waste time thinking about it.  Thinking is not GAINING!  Forget fancy and get linear folks.  If you already have a strong training base practice new exercises you have limited time with, reset with a hypertrophy phases, or find some other new twist build up a hidden deficiency.  Doing so will allow you to tinker with new skills, apply thoughtful prep, and also afford you the opportunity to integrate solid auxiliary efforts.   

Being focused and forgetting fancy will put you on the path to being DAD STRONG, not dad wrong, dad injured, or dad pissed off that he feels like he is wasting his time training.

Add this back session to your training routine for the next 6 weeks, keeping everything the same except for two things.

First, each new workout increase the load of your working sets by 5-10 pounds.

Secondly, on the supersets increase the reps per set by 1 or 2, it will add up quick.

You can also do either a Sumo or Conventional deadlift variation.

Warm Up: 5 Minutes of 20 Single Arm Swings (10 each arm)/50 Rope skips (not pictured) or anything monostructural to get you sweaty/10 reps with Empty Barbell.

Build Up: Mobility plus Practice

Set 1: 2 minutes of Cat Cow (entire back focus) + 1 rep 60%ish of working load for tension and control.  Break the barbell of the floor and hold for :05, raise up thoughtfully, not aggressively, lower for a silent return.  

Set 2: 2 minutes Smash and Rotate (low back focus) + 1 rep 75%ish of working load for tension and control.  Break the barbell of the floor and hold for :05, raise up thoughtfully, not aggressively, lower for a silent return.  

Set 3: 2 minutes of Sit and Reach (upper back focus)  + 1 rep 90%ish of working load for tension and control.  Break the barbell of the floor and hold for :05, raise up thoughtfully, not aggressively, lower for a silent return.  

Set 4* Bonus mobility.  I hit an extra move focused on my lower back because it was tight.  Add this, use it, or lose it.  Also feel free to continue loosening up between working sets.  However, as the week moves on be sure not to let this extra work impact your working efforts.

Working sets.  Sumo Deadlifts 3 sets of 5 at 130 Kg.  Start anywhere you like.  I tell folks a perceived 75% is always a safe bet.  I am on my second session and began at 125 Kg.  Your mistake will be starting to heavy, don’t!  It’s always better to start lighter!  

Superset: 3 rounds of Straight Leg Lifts, Supine Rows, and Chin Ups.  I started a week back with 8’s.  Again start where you can with exercise variations that you can hit full ROM.  

Get Right!  Be sure to have some sort of closing effort that brings closer to your workout.  I hung upside down for 8 minutes.  More on this in a future post, but a common issue with folks training on a time budget is their body never checks out of the session.  End your session with simple stretching and deep breathing and you will be on the road to recovery, more fasterly!

My old man had an inversion table collecting dust so I kicked his ass and took it from him, it’s the least I can do to use it.  You do not have to get upside down but I will say if you can, do so!  Not only will you decompress your back but I find when I hang for a bit I hit the hay quicker and harder that evening.

I’d love to know your thoughts, help you track your progress, review your movement, and answer any questions you have about applying focus and not being fancy.  Be sure to talk training with me on Instagram, twitter, Facebook, and/or by commenting below.
My inbox is also always open to a motivated dad (joe@joesbarbell.com).