Exercise Express Wlog – 2018, Week 1 – Brandon

Exercise Express Wlog – 2018, Week 1 – Brandon

It’s 2018 and it’s more of a transition week of training. That means it’s time for some insight into how I plan out my next phase of training.

Multi tasking.

A post shared by Brandon Hahn (@liftingdad) on

Proof that I do cardio, lol.

Training Protocols

I needed a way to continue to increase work capacity and there are several ways to accomplish making those increases. Progressive overload is a means of increasing work capacity in itself, because week by week you are adding weight or adding reps. The body needs to adapt to this new stimulus or regress. The body will progress for a period of time before it’s essential to lighten the load and de-load for a rather short period of time.

Now that I’ve added some confusion, let’s continue! Training should be about progression and that’s generally the motto for life. It’s important that you plan properly to make sure you are not in the same place 6 months from now or 6 years from now. As stated above, you slowly increase work capacity by utilizing progressive overload. However, there’s a certain point where you can’t increase the weight or increase the reps. The options for moving on to another phase are quite limitless with some broad strokes of what would NOT be ideal.

My means of continuing to make progress was to move to some extended set protocols. These protocols allow you to add a bit more volume to your workouts. You also increase overall work capacity, while not being too draining on your CNS (of course, there’s always the OD factor in training, so be cautious here).

OD Factor: People tend to assume that if a little will help, then adding even more will really kick things up more. This often leads to burning out faster or injury. Add slowly and see how your body reacts. This way you have another step or two you can take before having to deload. Adding in too much does not allow you or your body to process these results in a timely fashion. Think of adding salt to a dish. NO ONE opens up the shaker. You add a little and taste. That’s the same protocol you should use when adding in these extended set protocols (or any additional training volume for that matter).

The following extended set protocols were added to my training for the final set of each exercise grouping. This level of volume increase should not be utilized by beginners. Your body’s are absorbing training increases so rapidly that it’s ideal to take smaller steps. This allows further progress and limits injury as your body is adapting to training stimulus in general.


This method has been popularized under different names and has different aspects that all-in-all leads to an extended set. The rest-pause method I utilize is very similar to the DC rest-pause protocol. In this method you use your working weight for the final set (programming varies greatly so there’s no hard and fast rule on what weight is ideal here). I normally use my previous set’s working weight. I will rep that out for as many complete AND unbroken reps as possible. I rack or set down the weight and then rest for 10 seconds (usually 5 breath’s). I then complete another set for as many complete and unbroken reps as possible. That’s the rest-pause method I use.

Drop Sets

Drop sets also vary greatly, but the major component of this is reducing the initial working set weight to a lighter load. The amount of reduction depends on how far into “intensityville” one decides to travel.

Intensity is the most misused word in training, but that’s a topic for a different day.

My protocol is to use my previous set’s working weight and I will rep that out for as many complete AND unbroken reps as possible. I then will reduce the weight down by 20-30% of that weight. The rest period between this drop set is the amount of time it takes to set down the first pair of dumbbells (or unloading a barbell) and then picking up the next set’s weight. We could go into a few studies on the proper amount of weight reduction but between 20-30% is the overall consensus (erring more on the side of 25-30, but that depends on the weights you have to allow such level of reduction). Once the reduced weight is picked up, I will rep that out for as many complete AND unbroken reps as possible.

Peak Contraction

This protocol takes a bit of pain tolerance and can be utilized in several different ways. I’ve spelled this one out exactly so it doesn’t confuse people. The exercise I choose for this exercise will have a peak contraction hold at the very last complete repetition. I then hold that peak contraction (while using the current working weight) for as long as possible.

It is possible to do a similar protocol with a static hold while using a lighter working weight. This is more ideal because you’ve likely accumulated a level of fatigue during the working weight set to be able to hold a reasonable amount of weight. Imagine doing a 225 pound bench press to failure. Then hold that barbell at the bottom position of the bench press without it touching your chest. When I say imagine it, I mean imagine it because that would result in severe injury or worse. This protocol would be more useful after a set break or a major reduction in weight. I would have my trainee’s hold the bottom position of the bench press while doing a door frame pec stretch (aiming to keep the feet further back to slightly load that position with some body weight).

There you have it. Another week is in the books. Let’s rock out 2018! Any questions, please comment below or email me at brandon@exerciseexpressusa.com

Oh yeah, Diet…. here you go!