A Guide To JB Programming
It’s important to us that you have an active understanding in the process of your own development. Just turning up and doing the work is not quite enough for us. We want you to understand the WHY behind it all, and we would like to think that over the months, years, decades that you train with us you would develop your own views and opinions which would in turn contribute towards our body of work.
We consider ourselves teachers which makes you guys Students. Rest assured, sometimes the tables do turn (and we are most definitely students in other areas of our life), but at our JB gym we are mostly playing the role of teacher
So what, you say?
In any successful Teacher-Student relationship, communication is paramount. Effective communication allows us to guide you through your practice in exactly the way we intend you to do so. The cornerstone of any effective communication, and especially prominent when dealing with technical matters, is understanding the terminology that is commonly used. This makes for quick communication
And so, here is a breakdown of JB Programming and it’s Terminology
The content of our warm ups will generally vary depending on what the work to follow is. We will always spend 10-20min warming up before getting into the tough stuff. The purpose of a warm up is to:
- raise the core body temperature
- lubricate the joints
- prime the muscles that will be used
- activate the central nervous system (this is where you will see games and whatnot playing a role)
Keep in mind that within a 60min class there is only limited time for a warm up before getting into the work. Many of us have pre-existing injuries/limitations that might require more specific warming up, and this should be done before starting class. Establishing what that might be is something that Teora or Joey can help you out with.
SETS & REPS
When dealing with exercises, they generally fall into two different groups – sets and repetitions (or ‘reps’).
- A ‘repetition’ (rep) is one single repetition of an exercise
- A ‘set’ is a group of reps
When writing our programs it’s easier to keep it brief, and so instead of writing: front squat, 5 sets of 6 reps
we would instead write: front squat 5×6
*remember its Sets & Reps, not Reps & Sets
MORE ON SETS
When listing a variety of exercises to be completed within a workout, its important to understand the order they are to be completed in. We use a shorthand to indicate this (a1, a2, b, c1, c2 etc.) as demonstrated in the following program:
A1/ front squat x 6
A2/ box jump x 8, 6 sets, rest 120s
B/ goblet squat x 10, 4 sets, rest 90s
C/ broad jump x 12, 3 sets, rest 60s
In this example, exercises A1 and A2 are to completed in sequence with a 120s rest after A2. This is repeated for 6 total sets. Exercises B is by itself and so you would complete all 4 sets, taking 90s rest between sets. Exercises C follows the same idea as B only with less sets and a shorter rest. Supersets are when more than one exercise are grouped together in sequence as in part ‘A’.
Tempo is the speed of a movement, and can also be called a lift ratio or a cadence. This will be signified by 4 characters, generally numbers which will indicate the duration in seconds of all 4 parts of the exercise at hand.
ie. front squat 5×6, 4021 tempo
4 indicates the duration of the eccentric, or lowering phase of the movement
0 indicates the duration of the pause at the bottom phase of the movement
2 indicates the duration of the concentric, or lifting phase of the movement
1 indicates the duration of the pause at the top of the movement
In this front squat example you could see that from a standing position it would be 4 seconds lowering down to the bottom, then no pause at the bottom coming straight back up over two seconds, and then pausing for one second at the top before going back down for the next rep.
*its important to note that the first number of the tempo is ALWAYS the eccentric phase of the movement.
Sometimes as ‘X’ will be used in a tempo – like 30X1 or 81X1, which indicates that phase of movement should be executed ‘as fast as possible’.
Specifying the tempo allows us to target certain outcomes of an exercise such as joint stability, explosive power, static strength, technical improvement, addressing weak areas etc. If you have trouble counting in seconds you can always run a Metronome app on your phone at 60bpm while you train. We are not even kidding.
Along with all that we also prescribe rest periods, generally in seconds. These are to be adhered to strictly as they are an instrumental part of effectively guiding you through the workout. Sometimes you may not feel the need to take as much rest as we have prescribed, but then you are the one that is reading this so you don’t really know WHAT you need do you. Use a clock and stick to the rest. If unsure why, just ask us. The inverse is also true – if we say there is no rest period, then it means there is no rest period.
*We do A LOT of strength training at the Jungle Brothers, and strength training requires longer rest periods than what most commercial fitness outfits would generally prescribe. The reason is that you need adequate rest in between sets in order for your muscular energy to replenish, which then allows you to work at a high intensity (relative to your maximal effort) on your next set. If you are not resting adequately, you would be working in more of an aerobic, or endurance based environment and that would achieve a different physical outcome.
You will commonly see certain exercises with a prescribed rep-range rather than a specific number of reps. For example:
c1/ chin up x 2-4, 41X1 tempo
c2/ push up x 2-4, 41X1, 5 sets, rest 120s
The rep range here is 2-4, and that means you have the option to choose how many reps within that range you would like to do. Ideally you would aim at the lowest of the range (2) and complete all 5 sets in the workout. Next time around you might look to increase to 3 reps, and over time you would achieve 5 reps for all 5 sets.
*Pro tip – start moderate and go for consistency across ALL of the sets, rather than maxing out 5 reps on the first set and then having to drop right back in subsequent sets because you went too hard too soon.
In the situation that the rep range is prescribed for weighted work ie. barbell deadlifts, you would aim to complete all sets at the top of the range before going up in weight. Once you hit the top of the rep range however, you MUST go up in weight and drop back down to the bottom of the rep range.
We use ‘landmarks’ to indicate progression within a particular movement pattern. On a given day we might be working on a particular pattern, lets say ‘pressing’, but considering the varying levels of training experience/ability etc. present in the group, people might be working on different landmarks of that pattern. Below is our pressing landmarks which as you can see increase in complexity as the list goes on.
- incline push up
- push up
- box dip
- ring dip
- weighted ring rip
The idea with these landmarks is that once you have successfully achieved one landmark for 5 or so reps, you would be able to move on to practicing the next landmark. Being proficient in a particular landmark will generally ensure that you maintain proficiency in the landmarks that precede it (due to the required strength and skill of each movement).
A gradual cool down is great, however it is not always an essential piece of a workout. The traditional myth is that stretching post exercise will reduce muscle soreness in the days following, but this isn’t actually backed up by any science. The main purpose of a cool down is to:
- relax the central nervous system
- give some love to areas that need it
- stretch out the tissues
In the case of a 60min class there generally isn’t much time left for cooling down once the work has been done, and so this means that YOU have to take responsibility for it. We suggest you take 10-15mins and work on the areas that you ‘feel’ you need.
Lets say that todays workout looked like this:
a1/ chin up x 2-4, 41X1
a2/ box dip x 2-4, 41X1
5 sets, rest 90s
b/ complete 5 rounds of:
ring row x 10
push up x 10
KB swing x 15
You could assume that after all that pushing and pulling in part a and b, the elbows and shoulders would be wanting some love. Maybe it’s just a gentle stretch, some movement drills you learned in the warm up, or something more specific like some light weight elbow-flexor work to address that RSI you have from being at the computer all day – again, this would be something you would establish with Joey or Teora. You could also assume that you would be feeling pretty worked through the posterior chain after all that KB swinging, and your CNS would probably be lit up like a christmas tree following the aerobic nature of part B, so some static passive stretching of the glutes, hamstrings and lower back would probably do a good job of lengthening those muscles out again AND relaxing you a bit before you head home and eat dinner.
Its about ‘feeling’ what you need, and then adding in the extra bits of work accordingly. We are constantly dropping little gems in our classes for you to pick up for yourself, you just need to look. And if ever in doubt, just ask us.
As mentioned earlier on in the piece, it’s important to use that you have an understanding of the process behind our development.
If you are ever in doubt of any of this, just ask us.