T Nation

Built For Bad Strength Circuits


Hi Christian,

To cut a long story short I am entering the off-season as a 27 year old semi-pro rugby player. I work full-time and won’t be back playing rugby for another 6 months due to commitments off the field. I have recently not strength trained very frequently towards the end of the playing season due to working 40 hours per week and playing 28 competitive games throughout the season - admittedly tough to balance & in a perfect world I would have preferred to train more.

I am planning on doing the “built for bad” strength program starting next week, as I currently have no other training requirements now. Would it be too demanding on the nervous system to include farmer’s walks at the end of each of the 5 sessions weekly? I believe it would be beneficial to improve grip strength as much as possible. How could I include this, if advised please?

Furthermore, would the front squat, snatch grip deadlift, military press, floor press & power clean be a recommended selection of exercises for a sports influenced gym goer?

Any feedback always appreciated.



It shouldn’t be too hard neurologically for people with low stress levels and those who handle pressure well (those who perform great in competition and in stressful situations).

Those who will do the best on this program are one of these two profiles:

Extremely verbal, talks a lot, talks loud
Always wants to be the leader , the center of attention
Doesn’t deal well with authority
Very high self-esteem/confidence
Extreme competitiveness (trash talker, sore loser and winner)
Needs to win in every situation
Tends to burn the candle from both ends (very intense, but burns out easily)
Hate rules
Want to do things his own way
Love to convince others that he is right
Very “goal driven”
Seeks conflict
Doesn’t care what other people think of him
Low ampathy
Acts on impulses and emotions
Amazing under pressure
Loves to take risks

Explosive personality: very calm most of the time; when he explodes a few minutes later it’s as if nothing happened
Seeks out intense activities (thrill seeker)
Constantly needs to try new experiences
High self-esteem/confidence
Very competitive (but not to the extreme of 1A)
Very easy motor learning, great natural athlete
Fast, agile, explosive naturally
Very good at multi-tasking
Very “goal driven”
Is not affected by what others think of him, but still has consideration for them
Very good under pressure
Loves to take risks

These guys can do the program as is designed in the way of loading and frequency.

Others might need to either go 3 or 4 days a week (even the two types mentioned above can do it 3-4 times a week).

For farmer walk, if you want to include them, they have to be part of the circuit. Adding them is akin to adding a 6th strength movement.

A good circuit would be:

  • Front squat
  • Military press
  • Farmer walk
  • Floor press
  • Power clean

*For farmer walk 1 rep = 10m… so set of 5 is 50, set of 4 is 40m, etc. adding weight from set to set

Also, one thing I learned is that the load should be a bit lighter than what originally recommended in the program. Those percentages will be hard to hit on a daily basis. I like to keep the percentages/load high on the first session (even making it an all-out session) of the week and then going down 5, up to 10% on the other sessions depending on fatigue level.


Thank you very much for the depth of your feedback.

I can comfortably say that I do not fit either of those profiles, so will opt for 4 sessions instead of the 5 based on your recommendations above.

Finally, would a Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat split be advised & if I were to aim for a 1RM of 100% on Mon/Fri & a 1RM of 95% on Weds/Sat, should this allow for progress over the course of 6 weeks?


yep that’ a good daily schedule… might shoot for 100 mon, 95% fri, 92% tues, 90% sat