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Staying Strong and Going the Distance Part 3
Staying Strong and Going the Distance Part 3

Staying Strong and Going the Distance Part 3

Today’s blog is part 3 in our series written by Mark Toomey, Senior Instructor and CEO of StrongFirst Inc. StrongFirst operates on the simple principle that basic strength is the building block for whatever type of performance or athleticism you are trying to create within yourself. Yesterday, Mark went into the science behind why a strength program could benefit an endurance athlete. Today, he’s going to show us his program to build strength that will positively affect your endurance capabilities.–Joel

Keeping it Simple
What follows below is a very simple, but very effective three day a week (four if you choose to train both the bench and the standing military press) program based on material from our friend Marty Gallagher, utilizing the squat, the deadlift and the press. Forty-five minutes each session, three times a week (four if you train both presses), one exercise per session. Not complicated, not entertaining, but from our experience, highly effective.

The athlete can perform a one-repetition max of a 200-pound squat, a 300-pound deadlift, a 150-pound bench press, and a 100-pound overhead press. If you’re not at these levels, test to see where you are, and apply a percentage of that weight to those above and reduce/increase the weights suggested below.

We’re going to assume you know proper form in all three lifts and have the proper mobility and stability for each. If you don’t or have any doubts, go see a professional. StrongFirst has thousands of certified instructors worldwide, each can be found on our website, Attempting to get strong without proper instruction first could lead to building strength on top of dysfunction – not recommended.

The Program
Each column shows the weight followed by repetitions. Each combination is to be performed after as many warm up sets as you feel are needed.



Bench Press


Overhead Press


100 X 8

100 X 8

200 X 6

50 X 6


110 X 8

105 X 8

210 X 6

55 X 8


120 X 8

110 X 8

220 X 6

60 X 8


130 X 8

115 X 8

230 X 6

65 X 8


140 X 5

120 X 5

240 X 4

70 X 5


150 X 5

125 X 5

250 X 4

75 X 5


160 X 5

130 X 5

260 X 4

80 X 5


170 X 5

135 X 5

270 X 4

85 X 5


180 X 3

140 X 5

280 X 2

90 X 3


190 X 3

145 X 3

290 X 2

95 X 3


200 X 3

150 X 3

300 X 2

100 X 3


210 X 3

155 X 3

310 X 2

105 X 3

Things to keep in mind
Marty notes that at the end of this cycle, improvements in each lift will generally fall between 15 and 25% over the previous 1 repetition maximum. Not bad. Imagine you could improve your race time by 15% in twelve weeks. Many strength-focused athletes have used this cycle to do just that.

Simple and direct. Want to run longer? Get stronger. What to improve your chances of digging down deep for that final kick? Get stronger.

Combining a simple, uncomplicated strength building program with simple, no nonsense supplements product like Gnarly Whey and Boost allows you to shred, push and crush anything you want to put yourself up against.

Mark Toomey, BS, CSCS is the CEO of StrongFirst, Inc and a Senior SFG Instructor. He serves as a Subject Matter Expert for the Department of the Navy and the United States Marine Corps and has written educational material for fitness companies worldwide. He can be reached at

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