page title icon The +2 Method

The +2 Method was designed to enable steady gains in strength while reducing risk and preserving work capacity. It forms the basis of resistance training in ArmyWOD programming.

The strength developed with the +2 Method serves as the foundation for all other ArmyWOD training as well as increase performance so you can succeed and excel at all other life activities. It is deliberately designed to be an appropriate starting point for Warrior Athletes of all levels, from boot to senior leader. It is also time efficient so as to be easily incorporated into existing training routines, or leveraged as a maintenance program when time is restricted.

There are only five lifts that need to be trained: squat, press, deadlift, barbell row, and the pull-up.

There is just enough room for training on instinct.

Remember, the intent is to enable steady gains in strength while reducing risk of injury and ensuring energy stores for agility and work capacity workouts.

The Basics

  1. Complete the resistance exercises for the day.
  2. For each day you successfully add two reps on the last set, add 5lbs to the next workout for that lift.
  3. At the end of the four-week cycle, subtract 15lbs (or three pull-ups) from each lift and start again.

Squat, Press, Barbell Row

For these lifts, use two to three initial sets to work up to your working weight. Then, complete three sets of five repetitions. On the last set, attempt to perform five repetitions, plus two bonus reps. If you successfully perform the two bonus reps on the last set, add 5lbs to the lift on the next workout. If you only hit five or six reps, keep the weight the same on the next workout.

At the end of the four-week cycle, subtract 15lbs from each lift and start again.

Deadlift

The deadlift is different primarily because we follow a different rep scheme. The reason for a different rep scheme is because the deadlift is tested on the ACFT as one set of three. Essentially, we train in sets of three because we test in sets of three. In addition, the deadlift can be very taxing on our energy pathways at higher loads. Since one of the goals of the +2 Method is to preserve work capacity for follow-on training, we only want just enough volume to achieve muscular adaptation which translates to gains in strength.

For the deadlift, use three to four initial sets to work up to your working weight. Then, complete two sets of three repetitions. On the last set, attempt to perform three repetitions, plus two bonus reps. If you successfully perform the two bonus reps on the last set, add 5lbs to the deadlift on the next workout. If you only hit three or four reps, keep the weight the same on the next workout.

At the end of the four-week cycle, subtract 15lbs from each lift and start again.

Pull-Up

There are two methods for the pull-up, weighted and unweighted.

Unweighted

No initial sets are necessary if you are not using weight. Start with three sets of one rep each, aiming to go +2 on the last set. Each time you achieve +2, add one rep to all three sets on the next workout. When you reach three sets of 10 strict pull-ups +2, you can begin to add weight instead of reps.

Weighted

Use one or two initial sets to work up to your working weight. Then, complete three sets of eight repetitions. On the last set, attempt to perform eight repetitions, plus two bonus reps. If you successfully go +2 on the last set, add 5lbs on the next workout. If you only hit eight or nine reps, keep the weight the same on the next workout.

All pull-ups during resistance training should be performed strict.

The Four Week Mesocycle

Here is the four-week cycle.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
Week 1Squat
Press
Deadlift
Pull-Up
Squat
Press
Barbell Row
Pull-Up
Squat
Press
Week 2Deadlift
Pull-Up
Squat
Press
Barbell Row
Pull-Up
Squat
Press
Deadlift
Pull-Up
Week 3Squat
Press
Barbell Row
Pull-Up
Squat
Press
Deadlift
Pull-Up
Squat
Press
Week 4Barbell Row
Pull-Up
Squat
Press
Deadlift
Pull-Up
Squat
Press
Barbell Row
Pull-Up
Table 1: The Four Week Mesocycle

Principles

Principle 1: Master the Basics

Learning how to move a weight teaches you a lot about yourself. Physically, you learn the nuances of how your body moves and reacts to changes in force. As you become more aware of your physical self, you are better able to make predictions and judgements about what you can handle.

Mentally, you learn that you do in fact have ultimate control over your body. You are fully capable of adapting to your environment and overcoming fear, anxiety, and worry purely through mental processes. You can make yourself comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.

To do this, you don’t just throw yourself into a situation you are not ready for. You have to start with the simplest effective movement first. In terms of the +2 Method, that generally means you start with an empty barbell first and progress from there. Doing this take time, but you have to build the foundation before you can build the house on top of it.

Mastering the basics and progressing slowly with sub-maximal loads ensures we do not interfere with our other training goals, and allows for more progress over a longer period of time.

Principle 2: Track Everything

Results are based in facts. These facts are obtained from measurable, observable, and repeatable data. Without the data we cannot be honest with ourselves simply because we are naturally biased. We tend to overestimate what we perceive as a good performance and underestimate the bad.

At a minimum, you should track your weight and/or bodyfat percentage, hours of rest each night, and current load for each lift. While, not absolutely necessary, you should also track your food and water intake, particularly if you have trouble gaining or losing weight, or if you are trying to optimize your nutrition.

Principle 3: Celebrate Your Wins

No matter what your starting point is, you should be proud of your accomplishments.

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