DadBod Training: Creating Your Own 6 Week Program


My gains have stopped. What do I do? I feel like I’m just wasting my time in the gym now.

Periodization, aka proper planning, is your answer.

It can be complex if you’re an Olympic athlete. However, if you’re a dad like myself, it’s simple if you remember these three things:

  1. Getting larger muscles, running faster, getting healthier, etc. is nothing more than achieving a positive adaptation.
  2. A positive adaptation is brought about by stressing the body/mind past its current limitations.
  3. Exercise is stress. Finding the right amount of stress is key in determining a positive adaptation like bigger biceps from a negative adaptation like an injury or overtraining.

So periodization is nothing more than planning the appropriate amount of stress over a certain period so you don’t under- or overtrain.

This is basically what I just said above but in a graph.

The easiest way to do that is to add weight to the bar every workout or every other workout. If you’re getting stronger, that’s a pretty good sign you’re doing the right thing. 

However, after 3-6 months of lifting, you’ll notice that adding even 2.5lbs to the bar requires a Herculean amount of strength and effort. And even at that, it will eventually come to a halt. 

So what now?

Turn up the volume. 

Plan a gradual increase in volume (more sets) over 4-6 weeks, deload for a week (active rest), and then gradually increase volume again with slightly different exercises. 

So if our goal is to hit between 12-18 sets per muscle group per week, we’d start off our 6 week program with around 12-14 sets per muscle group and by week 6, we’d be closer to 18-22 sets per muscle group. 

So let’s just look at one exercise over the course of a 6 week program – the bench press.

The first 2 weeks of the program we may only do 3 sets of 8 repetitions on the bench press. The next two weeks we may do 4 sets of 8 repetitions. Then during the last two weeks, we may increase to 5 sets of 8 repetitions. 

Notice that we don’t necessarily have to increase the weight on the bar. By just adding an additional set and keeping the same weight on the bar for the entire 6 weeks, we’ve increased the stress we’ve placed on the muscle. Viola – positive adapation. 

Of course, you just can’t keep adding sets ad nauseam or you’ll overtrain, injure yourself, or possibly even lose muscle mass.  So after 6 weeks, you can change the exercise slightly and do the exact same thing. 

That’s periodization – planning the appropriate amount of stress so you abide by the progressive overload principle and continue to get results. 

And if you’re not on the DadBod email list, register by clicking the image below. I’ll be sending out my complete exercise list for every body part next week to only people subscribed to the newsletter. It’s free.