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Train for the April Challenge

Stuart’s sample workout plan to complete the April Challenge and thrive beyond


The April challenge is out! If you excitedly opened up the email and looked at the workout only to suddenly have self-doubt creep in on whether you’re up for it, then we’re here to help.


The Challenge is designed to be accessible to everyone who is looking to push themselves mentally and physically but also so that you can have fun doing it, improve and accomplish something new.


Stuart, who is in the midst of training for the London Hyrox next month and has switched from a strength focused training plan to a hybrid approach more recently has written a sample training programme for those of you who are looking for some guidance on how to work up towards tackling the April challenge and continuation of training beyond.





The April challenge is great as it features a bit of everything. A bit of endurance, pushing, pulling, carries and explosive movements, working all of the energy systems as well as most of the primal movement patterns.


In the first instance, you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses in all the movements presented in the challenge. I suggest two ways to test for this. Firstly, if you're going for Hero, you could attempt the challenge at the Warrior level and make a note of your times in each segment and how many breaks you needed to take during the reps. It'll be clear where your weaknesses and strengths are.


The second way to test, if you're hoping to complete the Warrior level is to practice the movements and do the Warrior Level at 50%. Half the distance/reps of each exercise but keep the weights the same. If you can't finish it, don't worry, you will be a warrior after dedication and hard work.


All workouts are designed to be performed in a fully equipped gym assuming you have all the equipment to complete the challenge. For more customised training plans, please do get in touch.


4 Week Plan


3-day a week plan


Day

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Monday

Workout 1 (70%)* 

Workout 1 (80%)* 

Workout 1 (90%)* 

Workout 1 (75*)

Tuesday

Rest

Rest

Rest

Rest

Wednesday

Workout 3

Workout 3

Workout 3

Workout 2 (75%)

Thursday

Workout 2 (70%)*

Workout 2 (80%)*

Workout 2 (90%)*

Workout 3

Friday

Rest

Rest

Rest

Rest

Saturday

April Challenge Test

April Challenge Warrior**

April Challenge

Berserker**

April Challenge

Hero**

Sunday

Rest***

Rest***

Rest***

Rest***

*See weight progression below.

**Either go up to the next level or strive to improve time on previous week.

***Feel free to replace one of the rest days with Workout 4.




Workout 1 - Full Body Strength and Conditioning


Start with a dynamic warm up.


Part A


Exercise Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Weight

Notes

A1

Barbell Back Squat

5

5

2 minutes

70% of 1RM*

Don’t skip leg day - nuff said.

A2

Barbell Bench Press

5

5

2 minutes

70% of 1RM*

Compound Push movement to build a strong chest, shoulders and triceps.

A3

Barbell Bent Over Row

5

5

2 minutes

70% of 1RM*

Compound Pull movement to build a strong back, biceps and grip.


Part B


Performed as a circuit. Repeat 3-5 times. Rest as needed. 


Exercise

Reps

Weight

Kettlebell Swing

15

As per level

Squat Jumps

15

Bodyweight

Farmers Carry

20m

As per level


Part C (optional if you’ve got time)


1000m Row


Note: Part A and B should be comfortably completed in an hour. If you’re taking longer than you’re resting too long. 


(leave a day in between Day 1 and Day 2, feel free to do sports or aerobic training such as low level running, rowing, cycling, swimming, walking, rucking, etc)


Workout 2 - Full Body Strength and Conditioning


Start with a dynamic warm up.


Part A


Exercise Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Weight

Notes

A1

Barbell Back Squat

5

5

2 minutes

70% of 1RM*

Don’t skip leg day - nuff said.

A2

Barbell Bench Press

5

5

2 minutes

70% of 1RM*

Compound Push movement to build a strong chest, shoulders and triceps.

A3

Barbell Deadlift

1-3

5

3 minutes

70% of 1RM*

Complete 5 sets but work up to a heavy final set. Option to complete 3 heavy sets if you can recover well.



Part B


Performed as a circuit. Repeat 3-5 times. 


Exercise

Reps

Weight

Rowing Machine

250m

As per level

Sled Push

12.5m

As per level

Rest

8 Deep Breaths



Part C (optional if you’ve got time)


10 minute easy run (Zone 2 / nasal breathing only) - This should feel very slow.


Workout 3 - Aerobic Training


Today we’re going to focus on your aerobic base. The better base you’ve got, the quicker you’ll be able to recover in between exercises resulting in a faster overall time.


Alternate


Row: 20-40-60-80-100 calories

Run: 200-400-600-800-1000 metres


NASAL BREATHING ONLY. 


You’ll start with 20 cals on the rower, then run 200m. Then back to the rower for 40m, then back to running for 400m, and so on.


This is aerobic work meaning that it needs to be slow Zone-2. Best way to regulate speed is to ensure nasal only breathing. If you start breathing through your mouth, you’re going TOO FAST, and need to slow down. It’ll feel slow. This is not a capacity workout but instead an aerobic base workout. If it feels slow, then you probably need it!




Workout 4 - Aerobic Training - Optional Recovery


If you wish to do a bit more training and work, feel free to do additional aerobic training to build that base and get some active recovery.


Level 1: Zone 1 Recovery Cycle.

Up to 45 minutes on the bike, very easy, just to turn the legs over. If you go outside on a bike, as opposed to using a stationary bike, try to avoid too many hills as you don’t want to overly fatigue your legs.


Level 2 - Zone 2 Recovery Run or Row.

30-40 minutes either on the treadmill, rower or outside. Pace wise this should feel nice and easy, and at a pace where you can just about hold a conversation. Feel free to use a bike / row / ski in place of running if you would prefer.


Workout notes


*If you know you’re 1RM, then you’re golden. If you don’t, then you can use a standard calculator such as this one or if you really have no idea, then use a weight where you can complete about 6 or 7 repetitions with good form before failing. If you can hit 6 reps on all 5 sets, then you need to increase the weight. If you fail to complete 4 reps, then you’re a bit too heavy. Either decrease if it’s on the first set or keep the same if it’s on the final set. 


Progression

This is a generic workout but will be effective for most people. The best workout is the one that is designed for you, with your goal in mind, your training history, your injury status and current fitness level as well as time availability in mind. Hit me up and I’m happy to help out.


This is a 4-week example but as you know, rome wasn't built in a day and if you enjoyed this month, please find a 6 week progression block below that you can follow.


You can progress nicely on this for weeks, or even months. Please find a sustainable progression plan below.

Week

Sets

Reps

Weight

Notes

1

5

5

70% 1RM

Make sure to do a few warm up sets working up to 70%.

2

5

5

80% 1RM


3

4

3

90% 1RM

Note a reduction in sets and reps due to heavy weight.

4

5

5

75% 1RM


5

5

5

85% 1RM


6

4

1-2

95% 1RM

Note a reduction in sets and reps due to heavy weight.


After week 6 you can take a rest week where you drop the weight and focus on recovery. You can also re-test your 1RM and plug in the numbers and then start at Week 1 again and run the program almost indefinitely.


Substitutions


Feel free to do the following substitutions depending on your skill level and equipment available to you.



Exercise

Movement Pattern

Substitute Exercises

Barbell Back Squat

Squat

Barbell Front Squat, Goblet Squat, Leg Press, Zercher Squat, Box Squat.

Barbell Bench Press

Push

Barbell Overhead Press, Dumbbell Bench, Chest Press Machine, Dumbbell Overhead Press, Shoulder Press Machine.

Barbell Bent Over Row

Pull

Seated Row Machine, Wide Grip Pull Down Machine, Pull Up, Chin Up, Dumbbell Row.

Barbell Deadlift

Bend/Hinge

Romanian Deadlift, Dumbbell Deadlift, DB Romanian Deadlift, KB Deadlift.


Image Credit: OpexFit




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