BadgerWOD: GainZ Level 1 Instructions

The Idea:
Level 1's ranges from those who've never worked out in their life, to those who have been working out but never seriously followed a powerlifting/weightlifting/strength & conditioning program before, to those who have taken a long long break (months or years) from lifting. 

As a Level 1, you actually have more strength than you realise. However, L1's have yet to be conditioned to tap into the dormant strength to produce maximal effort consistently without sacrificing the integrity of your technique. Therefore, the goals of the L1 programming is to 'program' good habits of keeping good form under duress into your body, as well as to slowly explore the boundaries of your actual strength levels. Basically put, you may be able to actually deadlift 100% of your bodyweight, but because your brain is not yet prepared to control those kind of weights well, you may end up hurting yourself when you try. As such, we want to progressively increase the weight and allow your body to adapt to the specific lifting patterns to the point where you can eventually be able to by default do the safe movements even under heavy loads. There is only one way to do this - doing the same thing over and over and over again.  


Every workout starts with a mobility drill. Stretch out/foam roll all your major muscles especially the hip flexors, inner thighs & hamstrings because better mobility in these areas equates better form. For reference, you can check out the Badger Drill mobility page. After that comes the Pre-WOD. The usage of the Pre-WOD is to prepare your core muscles and central nervous systems for heavy strain - in essence, to 'wake them up'. Once you finish the Pre-WOD, move on to the Routine as written in the WOD card and finish it off with a Post-WOD. Post-WODs are meant to be relatively easy, low in intensity, and helps you reinforce your supporting muscles when it comes to lifts. The Good Mornings are there to help make your back stronger so make sure you do them during the Post-WODs - they're meant to be done using a light weight anyway.  Once you're done with Post-WODs, you can finish of with some quick stretching to end your session. 


Be mindful of the exercises:
Some days you're going to do strict press while some days you're going to do bench press. Some days barbell rows at 5 sets, while some days just a single set of 5 deadlifts. The program is intricately structured program so make sure to pay attention to the WOD card in order to avoid making mistakes. Glance through the card every time its posted to make sure.


Weight Selection:
Start off with a tolerable/light weight that you KNOW you can do with a completely perfect form for the total assigned number of reps according to the WOD Card. Record your weights in your smartphone Notes app or a notebook for tracking. You are going to perform the movement as stated, and the next time you go back to the same movement, you're going to add 5lbs (or 2.5kg) to your previous weight and do that. This only applies to the ROUTINE. 

As an example, if on Monday you did 5x5 Back Squat @ 20kg, the very next time (on your next workout day) you do 5x5 Back Squat you'll do it at 22.5kg instead of just 20kg. Make no mistake - the progressions are going to be fast, and they are going to be tough, as you'll be squatting 3 times every week which means you'll be increasing your squats by 7.5kg PER WEEK! At the end of the Phase (6 weeks), you can be proud to say that your squat weights for 5 reps would have increased by 45kg (7.5kgx6 weeks). If it doesn't - no fret. Everybody have different physiologies and lifestyles which may or may not support fast gains. Just keep doing your best because whatever strength gains you get are still gains nonetheless. 


Avoid getting injured, and make the best usage of your time (technique):
Be a perfectionist. Do not sacrifice form for numbers no matter what. If on Monday you only managed to perform 4 reps of squats properly instead of the targeted 5 reps with a given weight, it means that for your next Squat session you shouldn't be increasing the weight just yet - save it up for the next session. Squat with the previous weight until you can get strong enough to do 5 reps properly, then only do you increase. Definition of a 'rep' means that you have to meet the movement standards as much as your body would allow. Not all of us will be able to squat ass-to-grass, but if your mobility allows you to do it from the 1st rep, there is no reason why you can't do the same on your last rep, except maybe you're carrying too heavy. 


Form breakdown happens when fatigue sets in. This is normal - which is the reason why you absolutely must rest in between every set. Use a minimum of 60 seconds if you find the set easy, and rest up to a maximum of 2 minutes if you find the set to be difficult. 


If you are still sore from the previous workout:
That'll make it more important to warm up properly. Do the Pre-WOD, then go for a short 1km run, or practice your rope skips/double unders. Move around. By the time you finish the Pre-WOD, you should be significantly less sore and likely no longer sore at all.