BIG 24 STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRAM
This 7-week training program is designed to add significant strength to athletes without significant weight gain. It is our most intense and successful program for building strength. Big 24 has been improved and updated multiple times. This is Version 4, updated November 2016.
Big 24 is a progressive, intense, 6-week, gym-based training program. You will train 5 days/week for a total of 30 training sessions.
This training program can be completed in a commercial gym with basic free weight equipment, but it is much easier to complete the program using Olympic weightlifting equipment, especially rubber bumper plates.
The program is built around these exercises:
- Back Squat – One of the key lifts to build strength. High bar or low bar doesn’t matter, pick one and be consistent.
- Kettlebell/Dumbbell Walking Lunge – Unilateral total leg smoker. Keep your midsection tight to prevent tipping toward one side.
- Hang Squat Clean – Simple Olympic movement.
- Push Press – Builds power transfer between the lower and upper body and overloads the shoulders to build strength.
- Bench Press – Builds upper body pressing strength.
- Weighted Pull Ups – Builds upper body pulling strength.
The power of Big 24 comes through these exercises and a simple but aggressive progression. The name “Big 24” is derived from the number of total reps you will perform for most of these exercises during the training sessions, except for Hang Squat Clean and Push Press, which is 18 total reps.
During the Lower/Total Body Big 24 training sessions, you will do 8 sets of 3 reps (24 reps total) of Back Squat and Kettlebell/Dumbbell Walking Lunge, and 9 sets of 2 reps of the Hang Squat Clean.
During the Upper Body Big 24 training sessions, you will do 8 sets of 3 reps (24 reps total) of and Bench Press and 9 sets of 2 reps of the Push Press (18 reps total). You’ll also complete 8 sets of weighted pull ups.
As you work through the program, be sure not to push the loading progression. Be patient, not greedy, and complete the training sessions as prescribed. By the end of the second week, you’ll find working through the Total Body Big 24 is like going to battle with the barbell. It is very intense.
Also, don’t skip ahead. Complete the training sessions in order.
Finally, the training plan also includes a short, 1x/week work capacity/core training session build around 10 minutes of shuttle sprints and 10 mintues of Chassis Integrity work.
- Monday – Back Squat, Walking Lunge, Hang Squat Clean
- Tuesday – Bench Press, Weighted Pull Up, Push Press
- Wednesday – Shuttle Sprints, Chassis Integrity (short session)
- Thursday – Back Squat, Walking Lunge, Hang Squat Clean
- Friday – Bench Press, Weighted Pull Up, Push Press
This plan can be completed in any commercial gym with barbells, a rack, and dumbbells. In addition, you will need a stop watch with an interval timer for the 40-foot and 300m Shuttles (Ironman Timex is best). You’ll also need a backpack you can add plates to for weighted pull ups.
How long should the training sessions take?
What if I can’t keep up the Monday to Friday Training Schedule?
If for any reason you cannot keep this Monday-Friday training schedule, do not skip a training session. Rather, complete all the training sessions in succession. Whatever the schedule, always take two days a week, ideally together, as total rest.
What if I’m not an expert with the Olympic Lifts?
You need some familiarity with the Hang Squat Clean to work through this program, but you don’t need to be an expert or accomplished Olympic weight lifter. You’ll be fine.
What about unfamiliar exercises?
Learn them or brush up here: http://mtntactical.com/category/exercises/
What about my diet?
Eating well does not take rocket science. It takes discipline. Here are our recommended diet guidelines:
6 days/week – eat as much meat, vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts as you want – no restriction. Drink only water, coffee or tea. Do not eat bread, pasta, or grain of any kind, no potatoes, corn or other starchy vegetables. No sugar, candy, soda or alcohol.
1 day/week – cheat like a mother. Eat/drink anything you want.
What about supplements?
We don’t take them. If you, we’d recommend only drinking a 20-30 gram whey protein shake 15 minutes before and/or 15 minutes after training.
What if I have more questions?