The Unsalted Nuts And Bolts Of Lifting

Let's assume you remember some elementary science and know that your body is made of atoms, atoms form molecules, molecules combine to form compounds, and those compounds somehow come together to form interesting pieces of flesh like blood, skin, and hair (among those lucky enough to have any). Put together those pieces of flesh in the right way, and you have an organism.

Repetitions—individual lifts—are the atoms of strength training.

Sets—combinations of repetitions—are the molecules.

Exercises are compounds—that is, they're performed in sets of repetitions, and you can change the sets and reps around any number of ways to produce different compounds.

Workouts are collections of exercises you decide to put together and perform in one session. At this point, you have something that you'd recognize as part of an organism.

That organism is your program.

Just as your liver or rib cage is pretty worthless outside the context of your fully functioning body, so a workout is just a curiosity when you consider it in isolation. Alwyn could write the greatest program ever put into an Excel spreadsheet—and even I could write a decent one—but if you don't use it within the context of a program, it's of little use to you.

Let's take a closer look at each component.

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