Which program should I follow? What’s the difference between the programs?
We have three primary programs – Sustainable Strength, Sustainable Lite, and our home program. Our sustainable strength program is designed around training 4-5 days per week, with a relatively fully stacked gym for about 60-75 minutes. We regularly utilize a barbell, dumbbells, and then sprinkle in other movements with bands, cables, suspension devices, and others. In contrast, our sustainable lite program is designed around training 4 days per week, does not use a barbell, and is meant to take around 45-60 minutes. Our home program is designed around 4 days per week and looks primarily only use common household items like towels, bed sheets, backpacks, etc and should take around 45-60 minutes to complete. Each program is updated weekly.
In addition to the three plans we have our training support which is a vault of plans for rehab, mobility, and specific training. In there you can find programs for knee rehab, ankle mobility, running & lifting plans, and much more! It’s designed to be a support to the three plans, such as in offering solutions – like the knee rehab plan to those who have knee issues limiting them from doing the full weekly program – or helping those who have targeted things they want to work on in addition to the weekly program – like thoracic mobility, ankle mobility, stability, etc.
Should I start on the weekly program?
If you’re someone who is experienced with training similar to ours, you should be good to jump right into the weekly program. If you are not experienced with this style of training, then you have two primary options.
Firstly, you can do the weekly program but you can reduce the volume and the effort to what you feel comfortable with. This can be doing 1-2 less sets of each movement, or doing a few less movements each day, or taking your exertion on each movement to a lower degree, leaving more reps in the tank on each set.
Secondly, if you don’t feel ready for the weekly program with reduced volume or effort, you can go to the training support section of the website and do the base program that we have built for newer trainees. This program is designed for novices and those who are not yet prepared for our weekly program.
When does the weekly program update?
Our weekly program updates every Sunday at 12:01am EST Timezone (Washington DC time). Given that there will be people following this program all over the world, having the program shift on Sundays at this time should accommodate that there will be an updated program every Monday. If you’d like to know what time the program will be updated for you, head over to google and look up your timezone relative to the time in Washington DC. For instance, The program will update each week Saturday at 9:01pm for PST (Los Angeles), Sunday at 5:01am for GMT (London), and Sunday at 4:01pm for GMT +11 (Sydney NSW).
The weekly program will be available for a full seven day period each week, which will allow each person to have full opportunity to go through the program. You are able to write down the program, screenshot the program, or print the program if you need to. If you are consistently training the prescribed amount for each program (4-5 days per week), the weekly program rolling forward each week shouldn’t impact your training sessions as you’ll have a full week each and every week to complete the training.
How do I view previous training weeks?
We do not archive previous weeks of the weekly program. We do this on purpose as we want to work as a group through the program and be united in our efforts, allowing for us to have a cohesive community. As well, this allows us to work through training phases in the intended format together, not randomly jumping between days, weeks, or months.
If you desire keeping previous weeks of programming, then you can write them down, screenshot them, or print them and keep them.
What if I don’t train 4-5x/week? Can I still do the program only training 2 or 3x/wk?
Yes! Sustainable strength is written to be 4-5 days per week, and the lite and home programs are meant to be 4 days per week. However, we make each of our training programs as full body style training, so for those who can only do 2-3 days each week, you should be able to make the weekly program still work well for you. You can modify the training in one of two ways:
Firstly, you can just complete 2 or 3 days of the program as written each week, selecting the days which match to your needs best. Typically we make days 1 & 3 more lower body focused, and days 2 & 4 more upper body focused. If you train two days per week, you can pick one lower and one upper dominant days. If you train a third day, you can just add in either an upper or lower dominant day as you feel best meets your goals.
Secondly, you can reduce the accessory movements and consolidate the training sessions to make sure to work the major movements. Each of our sessions starts with primary movements and ends with accessories, so choosing the movements at the start will be more valuable. Then you can add in accessories as fits your time opportunities.
What should I do if I can’t complete an exercise? I cannot do it, I don’t have the equipment, or I have an injury that limits me?
First thing, do your best to not stress it! This is totally understandable and workable to still get amazing results. Second thing, join the Citizen Athletics Client Facebook Page to be able to use the rest of the community for feedback.
For movements that you struggle with, do your best efforts with completing them. We try to provide options for movements that are more challenging, such as pull ups.
If you do not have a piece of equipment necessary for the exercise, try to sub it out and do the same movement with a different piece of equipment. For instance, if the program calls for an airdyne and you do not have one, try to use a different piece of cardio equipment.
If you have an injury that limits you, then consider checking out the training support program and see if there is a rehab program that you can implement in replacement of parts of the program that you cannot do. For instance, if your knee limits lower body training, then do the movements you can in the weekly program and supplement it with the knee rehab template.
What if I miss a training day? What if I miss a full week? What if I miss a few weeks?
No worries, it’s a part of life! If you miss a single session, just carry on as usual and keep rolling with the program. If you miss an entire week, or multiple weeks in a row, then get back on the weekly program, but just take it a bit easier the first week or few weeks you’re back. If you missed one week, then coming back with just one week easier should be fine. If you missed multiple weeks, then taking a few weeks easier and ramping up gradually is a smart idea.
How long should I rest between sets and exercises?
We generally don’t prescribe rest intervals as it’s dependent on the level of effort and someone’s fitness level. For most compound movements that are not done in supersets, resting 2-5 minutes is ideal. If the compound movement is done in a superset, resting 0.5 – 2 minutes is generally ideal. For more isolation type movements that are not done in supersets, resting 1-2 minutes is sufficient. For most isolation type movements done in a superset, you can generally move right from one to the next, or up to 1-2 minutes. If you’d like a further breakdown on this, we created a video on the science of rest breaks.
Which days of the week should I train? Do I have to train certain days?
Our programs are designed to be done 4-5 days per week, with each day generally being a full body day with either an emphasis on lower or upper body. As such, you can either complete training days back to back, or have rest days between as desired. For most people, completing only 2 or 3 days in a row and having a rest day is often best, then repeating as needed. You can split that up as desired.