By: Gym Jones

If we don't agree on definitions we cannot have a meaningful conversation. Some of these definitions may be found by linking from the Workout Type field on the Daily Schedule. This page will be a work-in-progress where we will post new definitions or clarify things as the Member site evolves. Like the Named Workouts section we will eventually build architecture to make this easier to search but for now scroll down and read.


A series of movements repeated in sequence, back-to-back. Rest periods are not specified during the circuit. Any rest taken lengthens the duration of the circuit, which reduces total power output (power = work/time). There are many objectives, too many to discuss here, but energy management should not be ignored.

Sometimes total time is used as a measurement. For such measuring to have any meaning all movements must be executed strictly and full range of motion respected. In this case the goal is to do the greatest quantity of work in the least amount of time so high intensity output is expected.

We identify two types of circuits: Complementary and Focus. Complementary circuits alternately stress different muscle groups (e.g. Squat + Pull-up). Focus Circuits stress the same muscle groups in different manner, alternating between grinding and explosive stimulus (e.g. Dead Lift + Box Jump), or by changing stimulus and/or load (e.g. Bear Crawl + Push-up).

Circuits utilizing a heavy load or technically difficult movement should accommodate fatigue with progressive reduction of reps.

Circuit training was originally conceived to prepare deconditioned individuals to begin formal training. Don't expect miracles.

An "open-circuit," a Progression is composed of non-repeating movements. Loads are low to moderate and the number of repetitions is high in order to place greater stress on cardiovascular system than on the muscles, i.e. the player should run out of oxygen before running out of strength. Progressions may last from 10-90 min, with the common duration being 15-25 min.

Sometimes total time is used as a measurement. For such measuring to have any meaning all movements must be executed strictly and full range of motion respected. In this case the goal is to do the greatest quantity of work in the least amount of time so high intensity output is expected.

Progressions should be organized so that more technical movements are undertaken early in the workout when the Central Nervous System (CNS) is fresh. Movements should become progressively simpler as workout evolves. Finishing with Farmer carries or by dragging a sled is about as simple as it gets.

Finishing with a sled drag and carry is about as "neurologically stupid" as it gets. Simple and effective.

IWT, or Interval Weight Training
Developed by Pat O'Shea in 1969 and refined during the two following decades. He published a paper on the subject in the NSCA journal in 1987. An IWT workout typically occurs in three phases:

Phase One of an IWT session involves a set of 8-12 reps of an "athletic lift," and in this phase the lift is usually explosive (e.g. Power Clean, Hang Clean, Jerk, Snatch Hi-Pull, etc). O'Shea recommended these be done at 70% of 3RM but different loads and reps may be used to achieve different outcomes. The lifts are immediately chased with two minutes of free aerobic exercise @ 90-95% of capacity. We take this to mean that the objective is to spend as much of the 2-minute (or longer) interval at 90-95% of Maximum Heart Rate. The free aerobic exercise period is followed by two minutes of rest. This is repeated for a total of three sets (or four if endurance is being emphasized) after which the athlete is rewarded with a 5-minute intermission.

Phase Two follows a similar template: 8-12 reps of an "athletic lift" though in this phase the lifts are slow, and less technical (e.g. back Squat, Front Squat, Deadlift, etc), then two minutes of free aerobic exercise, two minutes of rest, for three sets, and another five-minute intermission (includes the last two-minute rest).

The loads and work interval durations in Phases One and Two may be scaled toward a particular outcome: if explosive power is needed then choose a heavier load, and a more complex movement done for fewer reps, and reduce the length of the aerobic exercise period but not less than 60 seconds. One could also increase the rest periods to ensure full recovery between sets. If using IWT workouts to support an endurance-oriented sport choose lighter loads regardless of the type of movement and do more reps, increase the length of the aerobic exercise period, and decrease the rest between sets to ensure a lack of recovery.

Phase Three involves a circuit of complementary movements, often using bodyweight, 6-12 reps per set, 3-5 sets, with one-minute rest between each. These workouts can be devastating.

Interval training means repeated bouts of high intensity exercise followed by intermittent rest periods, repeated. The most commonly stated benefit is that structuring work-rest intervals allows a higher total volume of high intensity work to be accomplished.

Different work intensities, durations, and rest periods produce different outcomes. Interval structures may be designed to target specific physiological characteristics: heart stroke volume, maximum oxygen uptake, general aerobic capacity, anaerobic threshold (lactate threshold), speed endurance, etc.

Interval structure was originally designed to develop the cardio-respiratory system. However, when applied to muscular efforts it produces "similar" results in the sense that more work at higher intensity may be accomplished.

Workouts focused on the development of maximum force production and muscular recruitment. These include One Rep Max (1RM) efforts or similarly low-rep, high-load efforts using a slow movement with the weight traveling a limited distance (e.g. Deadlift). These are typically heavy, slow, grinding movements with no explosive components to them. Contraction time for each rep may be two seconds, or more.

Rest periods between sets should lengthen as weight increases. We specify 2-3 minutes when the load is over 80% of 1RM

Strength workouts typically feature heavy, slow, grinding movements.

Workouts focused on increasing the rate of force production. These workouts are separated into three categories: Explosive Power, Cardiovascular Power, and Litvinov Conversions.

Explosive Power workouts typically refer to single movements (e.g. Clean) that require extremely high muscular recruitment for durations of less than a half-second. These movements can be done as single lifts or within very low rep sets. Explosive Power workouts also use coupled movements that combine a force component with a speed component which both use the same muscles and neural pathways (e.g. Dead Lifts + Depth Jumps).

Cardiovascular Power workouts refer to sub 90-second efforts of maximum cardiovascular output (e.g. 500m Row, 400m Run). These are likely to be repeated.

Litvinov Conversions, although similar to coupled movements, concentrate on the split second phase of changing gears between the force component and speed component (e.g. Front Squat + Sprint). Usually, the emphasis in Litvinov Conversion workouts is on the transition, the quicker the better. Whatever comes after is gravy, and it could be anything from 20 meters of hurdles to a 400m run.

All Power workouts are concerned with maximum recruitment and force production as quickly a possible. Because intensity is paramount for each lift, set, or conversion, allow a minimum of 3 min of rest between each.

Power Endurance
To define Power-endurance (strength x speed x distance) we use three sub-categories:
Short: high-intensity steady-state effort for 1-4 minutes requiring high acid tolerance and buffering capacity i.e. a well-trained anaerobic system (run 400m, 800m, row [ERG] 500m, track ride 1000m, speed skate, etc)
Long: 4 to 30-minute hard and fast, steady-state efforts at a high percentage of MVO2, requiring both high aerobic and anaerobic thresholds (run 5000m, row 2000m, etc)
Intermittent: intermittent, repetitive explosive power production (fighting, hockey and soccer are examples).

Power Endurance workouts are predominantly cardiovascular in nature, though the cause of stress on the O2 system may derive from any source (row, run, ride, lift, swing, jump, etc). We also use Power Endurance as a catch-all definition to cover "work capacity" when a session does not fall squarely within another category.


Strength Endurance
The capacity of the muscles to repetitively produce (sub-maximal) force independent of limitations imposed by the cardiovascular system. Failure in a strength endurance workout initiates in the muscles, not in the heart or lungs. An example might be 100x Back Squat @ 40-50% without setting the bar down, or the Deadlift test where the player executes the maximum number of reps possible without setting the bar down.

Endurance >90
Our definition of Endurance begins at 90 minutes because this is around the time when fuel, hydration, temperature regulation and a host of other factors begin having a larger influence on performance and outcome. Most can gut it out up to that point.

Endurance sessions typically last longer than 90 minutes and are sport-specific efforts but may be as simple as a hike. Since pace and intensity are the inverse of duration the longer the effort the lower the power output and heart rate. Interval blocks may be included within the Endurance effort. Pace and power output are varied.

Endurance workouts are generally sport-specific efforts.

Endurance <90
If an Endurance effort lasts less than 90 minutes we usually use this term to describe the pace, HR, or power output of the effort. We may also use it to describe the fitness characteristic the workout is designed to support.

If the player rows 30 minutes at a heart rate of 130-135 it is considered an Endurance <90 effort. If the player rowed that same 30-minute piece trying to maintain an HR of >165 the effort would fall into the Power-Endurance category.

Breathing Ladders are considered Endurance

Tag Team
Generally describes any effort undertaken as a team, made up of two or three players. One movement is chosen as the "control" which has a fixed number of reps, distance, etc. while the other movements are scaled to it (e.g. Player 1 (P1) Rows 500m, Player 2 (P2) does Ball Slams until the 500m Row is finished, then switch positions and repeat).

Team Ladders indicate that players are alternating as they progress up the ladder (e.g. P1 performs 1 rep, P2 performs 1 rep, P1 performs 2 reps, P2 performs 2 reps, etc).

A series of "mini" workouts done one after the other with a 3-5 minute rest between each. The "mini" workouts should not last more than five minutes, with the total volume accumulating to around 20 minutes of high-intensity work. Because of the significant rest period, each "mini" should be treated as an individual workout, so each one should be done at maximum intensity.

Sprint Starts often come up during Accumulation workouts.

Breathing Ladder
Workouts that utilize a specific method of breathing while lifting weights to elicit an aerobic endurance training effect. We have defined two goals for the Breathing Ladders: Using a rep/load/movement structure that puts the athlete into a "panic breathing" situation to learn breath control and efficient recovery in a fixed/limited time frame or using rep/load/movement structure to trick the athlete into a high volume/long duration workout. Since the goal in both cases is oxygen consumption and efficiency we choose big, compound movements because the more muscles are working the higher the oxygen demand. Then we structure loads and reps depending on which of the two objectives (breath or volume) is predominant. Ultimately, both will be achieved.

A detailed article about Breathing Ladders is posted on the Public site.

Single Movement Mind Fuck: Like it sounds, a single movement repeated for long duration. It is essentially a head trip though the physical stress may also be significant. Examples: 100x Get-ups, the One-mile Tire Drag, if a Breathing Ladder is long enough the term would apply, any 100 Rep Challenge, maximum number of anything in 60 minutes. A good playlist will be helpful.

100x Turkish Get-ups is a fine SMMF.

Easy effort, typically something smooth (row, bike, swim, Nordic ski, etc) 30-60 minutes long, undertaken at very low heart rate (<65% of MHR) to move blood around, flush by-products of previous day's effort, and create demand for food. Active recovery is always better than simple rest. Recovery should be considered a significant component of every training program.

Other Terminology

Sprint Start
Acceleration from standing position while pulling against resistance. We generally use Jump Stretch Bands for resistance. We specify this brand because if all use the same brand then the colors, which denote the level of resistance are the same across the board and we are talking about the same thing.

We have adult males sprint against green or blue colored bands while going forward. Sometimes we reduce the load to green for backward sprints. Females usually use purple or green bands going forward, and purple going backward until they adapt to the movement and load, then we increase it (the difference in color/resistance is tied to body weight and neuromuscular “knowledge” rather than strength).

The level of resistance and the number of repetitions chosen also depends on the training objectives: the outcome of 5x5 Sprints @ blue vs. 3x10 Sprints @ green is very different. The former favors strength, the latter stresses CV fitness. Choose accordingly.

Players usually wear a shoulder harness to sprint forward, though not exclusively. Players usually wear a waistbelt to sprint backward, though not exclusively. We also sprint while dragging chains as resistance for a distance of 10-15m. When doing these we attach the load to a wasitbelt to allow a more upright body position and proper (pocket-mouth) arm movement.

LT, or Lactate Threshold
In general we use the old definition of 4 millimoles of lactate per liter of blood volume, and the term is sometimes used interchangeably with anaerobic threshold. High blood lactate values are indicative of muscle cell acidity. Lacate is NOT the problem, hydrdogen ions are the problem.

When blood lactate values increase to 6-8 mmol/L coordination and efficiency may be negatively affected. Regularly high lactate values impair aerobic endurance capacity. However, some individuals have a lactate threshold of more than 4 mmol/L. Threshold values of up to 6mmol/L and higher have been observed. The threshold itself may not be as easy to change as the body's ability to process lactate: when the amount of time one is able to spend at 9mmol/L increases this may not reflect changes in threshold values, rather it may indicate improved lactate processing capacity.

Specific training structures and intensities are used to increase the threshold. The faster or harder the athlete can go without producing debilitating levels of acidity, the longer he or she can maintain such a pace, and the more fat may be used as a fuel, which does not produce acid.


MHR, or Maximum Heart Rate
This value may be used to scale output for the player who does not have access to a power meter, or in a sport where power measurement is not possible. MHR is tested using sport-specific movements because different movement demands will produce different maximums and they are not necessarily transferable, i.e. you cannot use the MHR from swimming as a guide for running. The test should be repeated once or twice annually (though few ever do so) or information can be gleaned from race data where HR is usually quite high. Do the test 2-3 times spread over a couple of weeks. Allow adequate recovery between tests (one week).

1) Warm-up: 10-15 min easy, several progressions to threshold HR, i.e. “Openers” to open up the circulatory system and prepare the body and mind for the hard effort to come.
2) Two minutes all-out sprint (sport specific)
3) One minute rest
4) Two minutes all-out sprint (record HR during last 20 seconds)

As an alternative Peter Janssen suggests, “warm up, then do an intensive ride/run for 4-5 minutes, sprint the final 20-30 seconds.”


1RM, or One-Rep Max
One-rep max: the maximum load one is able to lift, pull, move, etc for a single repetition. Several methods of working up to a 1RM test exist. We start with a general warm-up, then a specific warm-up, work up to theoretical 1RM (T1RM), then fire.
General Warm-up: 10-20 minutes low impact aerobic activity, then medicine ball throws
Specific Warm-up: 10x @ 35% of T1RM, 5x @ 55-60% T1RM
Work-up: 2x @ 75-80% T1RM, 1x @ 85-87% T1RM (revise as needed according to feedback), 1x @ 93-95% T1RM
Test: 1x @ Predicted 1RM (if it was easy, increase load a logical amount), 1x @ new predicted 1RM (if it goes take it, if it was missed, reduce load to 90-95% of successful 1RM and fire a perfect lift to set the psycho-physical memory and stop)
Only 5-6 top-end lifts are possible so if it hasn't happened by then it probably won't, on that day.
While it may be a PR this 1RM is not the best lift one can make because the stimulus is generally not adequate to "inspire" a true Max Effort. The load should be considered a "gym max" or as Dan John calls it, a "kinda max". In any case this is the current 1RM and it changes throughout the year.

When a Tag Team workout is well designed EVERYONE suffers equally.


Abbreviations: once you know the full term you may search using the main Search tool or Gallery Search tool to find a picture or description of the movement in question

1RM: One-rep Max

BB: Barbell

C&J: Clean and Jerk

DB: Dumbbell

DL: Deadlift

FLR: Front Leaning Rest (top of Push-up, arms locked-out, solid plank position

FSPP: Front Squat Push Press

GHD: Glute-Ham Developer (a bench designed to do the Glute-Ham Extension [GHE], also used for Sit-ups)

GHE: Glute-Ham Extension

HSC: Hang Squat Clean (start from Hang position, Clean the barbell, catch it in full Squat)

HSPU: Handstand Push-up

HSS: Hang Split Snatch (start from Hang position, Snatch the barbell, catch it in a Split position)

KB: Kettlebell

KBS: KB Swing (usually means two-handed, standard swing)

KTE: Knees-to-Elbows

MHR: Max Heart Rate (determined by an actual test, not a formula)

OHS: Overhead Squat

PP: Push Press

PVC: refers to a 7-foot piece of "plastic" PVC pipe

SLDL: Single-leg Deadlift (we use these interchangeably ...)

SLDL: Straight-leg Deadlift (we use these interchangeably ...)

SSLDL: Semi-straight-leg Deadlift

TGU: Turkish Get-up

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