So to keep this quite basic and simple to follow, I have just finished my own version of Brian Alsruhe’s linear strength and conditioning program. Firstly I would be quick to highlight this is a very intense program and would only be for intermediate lifters. High volume; fast-paced giant sets* and 10 minutes of heinous, lung-screaming conditioning at the end. The link to how to set out the program is here: Brian Alsruhe’s Linear Programming
*Giant Sets are a way to cram volume and conditioning into a shorter time period by hitting an alternative muscle group straight after your main set, i.e. Deadlift and kettle bell swings.
This is a 12 week program where the first 4 weeks are 4 sets of 8, the next 4 are 5 sets of 5 and the final 4 are 7 sets of 3, all whilst working the accessory move in giant sets. Essentially you have a 4 day per week split, where you incorporate your deadlift and deadlift accessory one day, squat and squat accessory another day and the same for both bench and OHP. I tweaked it slightly so I could hit each muscle group twice per week instead; i.e.
- Day 1: Bench Press / Squat accessory
- Day 2: Deadlift / OHP accessory
- Day 3: Back Squat / Bench accessory
- Day 4: OHP / Deadlift accessory
- Working in Giant Sets until I moved into the last 3-4 weeks of the program where I wanted to take longer breaks between heavy sets.
- Simplicity: I’m a huge fan of linear progression as it’s simple to keep track of and week by week you’ll see slight improvements in your numbers for deadlift, squat, bench and OHP
- Fitness: The 10 minutes of conditioning at the end will definitely make you fitter, whilst making you wish you and everyone else was dead
- Strength: Clearly you’ll get stronger. Not a powerlifting program as such, but I tweaked it slightly to fit my goals. But for overall strength and fitness, it’s fantastic.
- Muscle / Protein synthesis: Essentially you’re only hitting each lift once per week. On your squat day, you also hit your squat variation. So although you might be getting 12+ sets per week, it’s all on one day and so your potential for growth would be limited.
- Compound movements: I personally found that using giant sets with bench press or OHP was absolutely fine, but after squatting or deadlifting heavy, using giant sets began to hamper my main lifts in the latter rounds.
In terms of my progression, both my squat and deadlift have gone up by c. 10kg, bench press by c. 6kg and OHP by c. 5kg. I should really have a strength testing week again now but I feel rundown and weak, so incorporating max effort lifts would be particularly stupid move (good advice for anyone there!).
Essentially I would recommend this program for people looking to get fitter and stronger. Obviously not for powerlifting specific goals, but for simplicity and overall strength and fitness it’s an excellent free program. That makes you want to die on at least 2 days per week. Plus high calorie burn = more beer and chips.