Chop Picket, Raise Water…Repeat | StrongFirst



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“Ahead of enlightenment, chop wooden, lift water. After enlightenment, chop wooden, lift water.”—Zen Buddhism

The Crucial Should be Achieved Frequently

After some uncommon downtime, I used to be looking at the display “Lifestyles Underneath 0” at the Nat Geo channel. It’s a documentary TV sequence concerning the day-to-day problem of dwelling off the grid in far off spaces of the Alaskan desert. I’m no longer going to lie, some critical envy washed over me as I watched the display’s primary characters undergo their day-to-day chores of survival. Laborious paintings combined with peace, quiet, and unending scenic attractiveness! The primary purpose of the nature I used to be looking at that exact day used to be actually simply on the lookout for some dry deadwood to cut and lift again to his cabin and arrange a redundant water supply via iciness so he may realistically lift it in the course of the deep snow. I take one thing as simple as this totally without any consideration, however for him it’s completely important for his precise survival. He simply had to chop wooden and lift water. Regardless of the elements or what else wanted doing, the ones two duties needed to get performed.

Axe on wood

The comparability hit me once I checked out my coaching, which used to be within the early days of the pandemic. Rigidity and uncertainty gave the impression to be at a boiling level regardless of your state of affairs. I knew coaching shouldn’t be a supply of both of the ones issues. It will have to be low tension and easy sufficient to perform persistently every week and coaching day, but additionally quilt the elemental bases in elementary power and conditioning.  And for me to stick sane, I wished a forged basis of bodily exertion to return again to week in and week out.

The Part Portions

So, like many running shoes, I ripped off manner smarter other folks than me and hybridized a pair systems to my liking. Input the “Chop Picket, Raise Water Program.” The root of this system is composed of 3 portions: The Fast and the Useless, Simple Energy-Lite, and a pleasing “well being finisher,” or one thing I’ve dubbed Getting-Previous-Doesn’t-Have-To-Suck coaching.

The Fast and the Useless is a minimalist, all-around protocol devised through Pavel via his intensive analysis into Russian recreation science, biochemistry, and volunteer case research. The protocol is both kettlebell swings mixed with dynamic pushups, or a wholesome serving to of snatches. I discovered it to be the very best resolution for a time that required minimalistic, low tension coaching that still supplied prime go back on funding.

The one-arm kettlebell swing

To counterpoint Q&D with some power paintings, I added a scaled down model of Simple Energy that concerned with two lifts, a press and a call between deadlift or squat. The 2 lifts have been performed as a superset with numerous intensities and rep schemes which I rolled cube to resolve.  A die used to be rolled on a daily basis for depth and a moment roll for reps following the desk underneath. (Rolling a 6 on depth is 85% and is at all times performed as 5 units of 2.)

Easy Strength Lite intensity and reps table

An alternative choice is to agenda your mild, medium, and heavy days to recur persistently each week. Mild days (75%) have been 3 units of 5, medium (80%) 5 units of 3, and heavy (85%) 5 units of 2. The order of those classes can also be numerous, however my most popular order is medium depth on day one, mild on day two, and heavy on day 3. Each and every week (if the former week used to be simple sufficient and not using a deterioration in rep high quality) you’ll be able to building up the weights quite. After 3-4 weeks, I might recommend a deload week through decreasing the intensities to 50%, 55%, and 60% respectively, then recycle.

Performing heavy deadlift

Some Q&D days you could roll for 5 rounds of your swings and pushups or snatches, totaling 100 reps for every motion. In line with private enjoy, I like to recommend you skip the Simple Energy-Lite phase on the ones days.

The ultimate phase is a pleasing “well being finisher.” It’s a easy aggregate of 2 kinds of workout routines, a lift and a heavy ab workout. I roll cube for those as smartly and re-roll if I am getting the similar quantity two days in a row. I shoot for 5 rounds of each the carries and abs, and I do the abs for 5 reps every set. This implies the ab workout routines want to be a troublesome variation or development (for you), however attainable. I additionally throw in a couple of workout routines that paintings on my weak spot, that are the knees and ankles for me.  On this instance I used body weight single-leg deadlift for a 30-second isometric cling, sluggish body weight squats with a 2:1:2 (down:pause:up) pace, and finally assisted body weight pistol squat. Right here’s an instance of choices I used.

Carries and Abs table

A Pattern Week

Chop Wood, Carry Water sample week
Click on on symbol to amplify.

I haven’t spelled out a complete program right here, however if you get right into a rhythm, the tempo and quantity of labor performed every coaching day may be very stress-free. I do know, I do know, that turns out somewhat loopy, however my scholars and I appeared ahead to coaching all the way through this system as a lot or greater than some other we’ve attempted. The randomized selection by way of rolling cube for every phase however maintaining the variables inside an outlined set of parameters helps to keep the educational fascinating, efficient, and occasional tension. One superb facet be aware is that some press and squat PRs have been set through each my scholars and me all the way through this protocol, which have been giant “what the heck” moments since we weren’t coaching to top. One pupil went from a perfect double kettlebell press with two 32kg for a unmarried to a 2-rep max with a couple of 36kg. Every other advanced the barbell army press from 185 kilos for a unmarried to 185 for a triple. And in the end, some other accomplished a non-public perfect barbell overhead squat of 235 kilos for a triple from a perfect of 215 kilos for a unmarried.  


Again to the name of the item. The theory in the back of this used to be to create a program that wanted little idea, but additionally saved issues numerous sufficient to stay fascinating whilst nonetheless hitting the entire essential issues that (very similar to surviving within the woods) want common consideration. Consider it or no longer, this easy program improves energy manufacturing, gait, normal power, and particular core power. Upload some mild get-ups and versatility paintings and also you’re golden. Advanced conditioning did occur, however purely as a byproduct.

I’m an enormous fan of minimalistic coaching with matching programming. With the entire chaos and uncertainty on this planet, I sought after to return house to my braveness nook, punch in, roll cube to resolve the night time’s program, do the paintings, and punch out. Chop wooden, lift water…repeat.

Jason Marshall
Jason Marshall is the landlord of a efficiency coaching studio in Lubbock, Texas known as Lone Famous person Kettlebell. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Workout and Game Science from Texas Tech College in 2001. He’s recently a Grasp Trainer with the StrongFirst group. He additionally holds a Qualified Non-public Instructor designation from the Nationwide Academy of Sports activities Drugs.

Jason trains athletes and scholars of power from all walks of lifestyles starting from many various populations for fats loss to development in motion high quality for a greater lifestyles. Jason has been concerned with aggressive athletics by way of many sports activities since his youth. He’s nonetheless aggressive as a drug-free, unequipped powerlifter, with festival bests within the 181lb weight magnificence of: 463 squat, 319 bench, and 617 deadlift.

Jason can also be contacted through e-mail for training and session at

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