A Week in to the 40 day Program

I blogged earlier in the week about a pretty big goal that I have set for myself this year.  Dan John has written about a 40 day program and it is something that works. The best thing about it is that it is practice. I get to workout/practice nearly every day. It really makes me view my workouts like a practice.  When I played football we practiced 4days per week, had a game and then watched videos on Saturday morning. 6 days per week dedicated to football. This is no different.  I tried this program about 8 months ago and I definitely saw some strength gains in my bottoms up press. I went from barely being able to bottoms up press a 24kg bell to jumping up to a 32kg bell. That is close to a 20lb increase which is great for a one arm lift. It actually only took me about 20 days to get there. So what is the 40 day program. Well in short, pick 5 lifts and do the same lifts every day or nearly every day for 40 days. You roughly do 2 set so 5 repetitions (there are a couple good variations) and go as heavy as you can for that day. You aren’t to push to failure or miss lifts. This isn’t supposed to be a sniffing ammonium capsules and slap yourself in the face heavy either. The premise is to lift heavy, but not to failure and only do 2 sets per day. This will allow you to train daily without over working your CNS and over training. You are building up volume over time. Simple, right? Well yes it is simple but not easy. The reason it isn’t easy is because it is too simple and many get bored and feel like they need to be doing something else.  It is really important to just engage in the process and let the results come. After my first time around I learned a few things. I could measure the bottoms up press gains since I knew the baseline and I really wanted to improve since my starting point was pretty weak, but the other lifts I chose didn’t really carry over to anything I could measure and I applied some things wrong.  Some of the mistakes I made was doing single legged deadlifts for 40 days. I don’t really know why I chose them except for the fact that I thought it would be cool to do a heavy one, and I really didn’t get there because at the end of the day it really didn’t mean much to me.  The other mistake I made was I didn’t go heavy /intense enough on my pullups.  I can rep out close to 20 strict pullups in a row and I chose to do 2 sets of 5-10 pullups a day. Granted I don’t think it hurt my pullups, but just doing 10-20 pullups a day wasn’t going to really increase my 20 rep max pullups. I really should have done weighted pullups. I was too afraid to go to intense. This time around I have 5 lifts and So far the first week has been the best week of lifting I have had in a very, very long time.

THE GOAL(not at the end of 4o days but the long term goal)

The Beast Tamer Challenge: Do a Pistol, Strict Press, and Pullup with the 48kg (105.5lb)Kettlebell.

The LIFTS for The 40day program

  • Pistols
  • Double Presses
  • Weighted Pullups
  • Deadlifts
  • Ab Roller
  • 1 arm swings

So here are the variations I will be doing. The first time around I did pistols, and after about a week I developed some hip issues and had to back off the pistols so  I will be throwing in heavy front squats once or twice per week. Another modification I am making is I am going to do Double Push Jerks 2x week to allow me to get a heavier load above my head. The deadlifts for the first two weeks will be deficit deadlifts since I usually miss max deadlifts from the floor.

So far this week has been amazing. I worked out 4 days in a row and yes I was a bit sore but my body feels better than it ever has.  I took day 5 off to rest and will hit it again tomorrow. At the end of the 4o days I would like to be able to press and pistol the 44kg kettlebell which would be a huge Personal Record for me. I would also like to be able to deadlift 2.5 x bodyweight. SOunds like a lot but I am so close already and I think the 40 day program will provide the results.


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