Doesn’t matter if you start weight training with or without a specific goal, you need a good plan to gain something out of it. A simple yet effective training method like Greyskull linear periodization program can be the best way to start your weight lifting journey.
The program helps you work on your strength and muscle hypertrophy simultaneously and effectively.
The utilization of linear progression and the constant adjustment of volume and intensity of the workouts as your progress through the plan maximize the training response. In turn, the results can be achieved faster than many other training methods.
There are different add-ons or plugins that can be introduced with the base program to customize the Greyskull LP program to your specific needs.
The simplicity, versatility, and adaptability offered by Greyskull LP (GSLP) program make it suitable for almost every beginner to the intermediate level lifter.
The creator of this program John Sheaffer has designed the progression increments such that a beginner lifter can gain consistent results using this program for a long period.
What Will I Learn?
GreySkull LP Program
There were many strength progression programs in existence before GSLP for beginners, some bad, some useful, and some good enough. But all of these programs were lacking one thing or another.
The creator of GreySkull LP tried the most popular Starting Strength beginner’s program. It helped him gain some strength but the program failed to improve muscle size and also didn’t achieve the full strength potential.
To rectify these issues, John Sheaffer created the GSLP program. The program is intended for those who principally want to grow stronger and wish to grow muscle size simultaneously.
The beginners and intermediate lifters can utilize the GreySkull LP program for over a year before feeling any need to move on to any advanced powerlifting program.
There are many versions of the program, each version has a specific focus on either muscle growth, fat loss, sports conditioning, or weightlifting strength. The base program is intended to provide overall gains.
Look this is an overview of the program. The spreadsheets provided below are designed for weight calculation and to track your progress effectively. These are not intended for teaching you about GSLP program. For that you should read this book; The Greyskull LP: Second Edition
The base Greyskull LP program is set up around the four main lifts. There are many derivatives of the base program designed to meet your specific requirement.
The general setup of the main program follows the upper body workout then lower body workout sequence. As the heavy lower body workout may affect the performance of upper body workouts, the program asks you to perform the upper body movement first.
On each workday, you perform one upper body lift and one lower body lift as the main lifts for the day. You can include a plug-in or add-on to quicken the results.
You workout on three days a week with a rest day in between the workdays. Typically, the plan suggests working on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays but you can choose to work on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays if you prefer.
The upper body main lifts are bench and overhead press are alternated, among the lower body workouts, squats are performed twice a week and deadlifts once a week.
Exercises and loading
The program has four main lifts that you need to perform with weights incrementally progressing from workout to workout. These four exercises are;
- Bench press
- Overhead press
On every workout, you add up weight to your main lifts using 2.5-pound microplates. For upper body lifts, you increase the weight by 2.5 pounds and for squats and deadlifts, you increase the weight by 5 pounds with each workout.
For accelerated gains, you can choose to add a plug-in. For helping your main lifts and working on the weak points of the main lifts you can do 2-3 accessory moves for each workout.
You can choose the accessories from;
- Barbell rows
- Bicep curls
- Core work
- Leg curls
- Dumbbell shrugs
- Leg extensions
Sets and reps
For the main lifts, all the sets are either 5 rep sets or AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) sets. For squats, overhead press, and bench press you perform 2 sets of 5 reps each and one AMRAP set at the end. For deadlifts, you only perform one AMRAP set with a target of more than five reps.
Greyskull LP Workout
Greyskull LP Base Program
Greyskull LP Plugins
The creator of the Greyskulll LP program also developed some plugins that can be added to the base program in order to target a particular weakness or to work towards some specific goals.
Plug-in is nothing but the combination of additional lifts that can be performed with the main lifts on each workday. There are different plugins for different motives like fat loss, sports conditioning, targeting particular muscle groups, etc.
Example: Greyskull LP with Arms Plug-in
If you wish to improve the size of your arms and decide to focus on arm muscles along with overall strength training and bodybuilding work, then you can add the arms plug-in to your Greyskull LP base program.
The arms plug-in adds 4 lifts, Bicep curls, chin-ups, tricep extensions, and tricep dips. You do bicep curls and chin-ups on the overhead press day and tricep extensions and tricep dips on bench press day.
You perform all the arm focussed exercises after upper body main lifts of the base program and before moving on to lower body lifts. For bicep curls and tricep extensions, you perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps and for chin-ups and tricep dips you do 1-2 sets of 3-5 reps each.
Greyskull LP with Arms Plug-in
Greyskull LP for Powerlifters
There is little variation suggested in the base program of Greyskull LP for powerlifters to make the program more focussed on strength development. Even in this version of Greyskull LP for powerlifters, for the initial part, you follow the base program as it is till you reach the first failure.
You keep adding the weights to your lifts by 2.5 pounds to upper body moves and 5 pounds to squats and deadlifts on every workout till you are not able to perform the 5 rep set. In the base program, you go down by 10% of the weight here, but in the program for powerlifting, you drop the reps instead of dropping the weights, which places focus on the strength.
Once you fail to finish the 5 rep set, you continue further with 2 three rep sets and 1 AMRAP set for all lifts except deadlifts, you perform only one 3+ AMRAP set for deadlifts. Other than this, the schedule and sequence of the exercises remain the same.
Weight progression continues at the reduced number of reps till you fail to finish the 3 rep set. You deload and restart from this stage.
Greyskull LP for Powerlifting
Peaking for a Powerlifting Meet
The Greyskull LP may be the only program for beginners that includes a plan for peaking up to competition day or meet day.
- In the six-week peaking plan, you need to do additional heavy single for the lift you are planning to compete for or set the personal record. The heavy single should be performed after finishing the AMRAP set.
- The weight progresses linearly on every workday for the heavy single. In the meet week, you don’t perform the AMRAP sets to allow the muscles to recover and to keep you at the peak of your strength.
GreySkull LP Program Spreadsheet
To get the maximum benefits from any workout program, you need to follow it exactly in terms of sequence, exercises, sets, reps, and weight progression. This can be a tedious task if you don’t have any system in place to guide you through the task of progress tracking and calculating the weight progression.
Here are some spreadsheets that can be downloaded and customized to your requirement. These GSLP templates will help you in weight calculations and tracking your progress.
1 Year Greyskull LP Logbook
This spreadsheet is created by Reddit user u/StopMotionAbed. To use this template as your logbook for a year (52 weeks) of weight training with the Greyskull LP program, all you have to do is click on the link save a copy, and put in the values of weight and reps in the green cells of the first sheet.
In sheet 2, you get the whole one year schedule for main lifts along with the expected weights for a particular session. You can log in the number of reps achieved in the AMRAP set to track your progress.
You don’t have to worry about reset or error in initial weight selection, as this google sheet has built-in reset and it automatically doubles the weight increase if you hit more than 10 reps in the AMRAP set.
This google sheet also has a progress chart included in it, that will be plotted as you keep logging in your number of reps for each workout session.
8 Week Greyskull LP (GSLP) Spreadsheet Calculator
This is a simple, easy to understand and use google sheet for the Greyskull LP base program. It has two excel sheets, one metric and one for imperial weight units.
After you save the copy of this GSLP template and put in your numbers, it gives you an 8-week schedule with suggested weights for the GSLP base program.
This excel sheet has the suggested weight calculations for warm-up sets too. You can also manually track your progress for chin-up and bicep curls in this excel sheet.
You can record the number of reps achieved in the AMRAP set and track your progress. The spreadsheet also has a reset calculator which can be used to calculate the deload weight after the failed attempt. You can restart the schedule from those weights.
Specificity Of The Program
In essence GSLP is not developed only for powerlifting. The program works best for the beginners, who have the scope and need to develop both strength and muscle size simultaneously.
We can understand from historical data and the EMG study that as the fatigue increases, the motor control decreases. And as the number of reps in one set increases, it induces more and more fatigue.
It is evident that in the beginners, the motor control erodes significantly after the first five reps due to muscle fatigue. This metabolic fatigue is useful for the muscle hypertrophy but not desirable or ideal for strength improvement.
The GSLP incorporates the first two sets of 5 reps. That contributes largely towards strength improvement and a little towards muscle hypertrophy. The last AMRAP set, however, works to enhance the muscle size.
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What Is GSLP?
GSLP stands for GreSkull Linear Periodisation. It is a power-building program for beginners that helps them grow in size and strength.
How Long Does Greyskull LP Take?
It is a simple program with linear progression which can be used as long as you keep gaining results from it. Typically a beginner can use the program for around a year before feeling the need to move on to other advanced programs.
How To Get Stronger With Greyskull?
Following the Greyskull LP base program till the first failure, then switching to Greyskull for powerlifters is the sure and fastest way for strength improvement with GSLP.
What Exercises Should I Do In Greyskull?
You perform squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press as the main lifts in Greyskull. For accessory work, you can choose from many complimenting exercises like curls, tricep extensions, push-ups, chin-ups, etc.
What Are The Common Complaints Of GSLP?
The GSLP includes more of the push movements, GSLP has too low volume for hypertrophy and GSLP has higher rep sets that are not suitable for powerlifters. These are the few complaints about GSLP.
If you are a beginner and looking for the one program to follow that can get you assured results then look no further than GSLP.
You can work with it for faster results in your initial days and in the process, you will build a strong foundation for more advanced workout programs.