In my interview with the great Dan John (part1, part2) he talks about Park Bench and Bus Bench workouts. As always Dan has a great knack for simplifying training approaches and I think it is a great analogy for training. In case you don’t know what he means here’s my two cents and some examples of programs you could use for either…
Park Bench Workouts
“Long term consistency always trumps short term intensity” – Bruce Lee
Park bench workouts are ones where you are in no rush to make massive gains. They should take up the majority training calendar. Think slow and steady. Practice your technique and slowly progress.
Here’s a type of Park Bench workout I’ve been using with success recently: Pick an exercise and perform 4 sets x 4 reps at the first workout. Make sure the weight isn’t too heavy and you are certain you can perform 4×4 comfortably with good form. At the next workout perform 4×5 and the following workout 4×6. At the fourth session increase the load by 2.5kg for upper limb exercises and 5kg for lower limb exercises. If you start with the right load usually around 70-75% 1RM you will be surprised how long you can progress with this method. Remember though slow and steady and focus on technique that is the real secret to Park Bench workouts.
Bus Bench Workouts
These are the type of programs you see on the cover of bodybuilding magazines! You want to use these types of workouts when you need results fast. Contrary to Park Bench workouts, Bus Bench should be used sparingly throughout the year maybe only 2-3 times per year.
You see, mentally and physical you can’t train balls to the wall Bus Bench style week in week out. Use them for peaking for a competition or challenge but not frequently and never back to back.
Good examples of Bus Bench workouts are the Smolov Squat Routine, The Abacus Method, The 20 Rep Squat Routine, The Velocity Diet and any peaking routines you can find!
Bus Bench workouts are great, don’t get me wrong, everyone will benefit from the mental and physical challenge. Plus everyone wants the #Gainz. But it is important to remember that you need to save them for when the time is right.
I hope that has helped you understand the Park Bench and Bus Bench workout analogy better. Once you’ve figured out which is which you will know when and how to use them for your best strength results.