David Ball PT

Storm Fitness PT

Functional wave

A big shift in trends seems to have happened in the last few years with more and more people realising the benefits of lifting weights ahead of the treadmill and exercise bike. Most  people seem to now understand the benefits of lifting weights ahead of the stereotype machine cardio workout and I’m always trying to persuade my clients that lifting weights is for more than just “bulking up”.

However in the past I’ve noticed that some of my clients do often struggle with the different demands of a strength range when the reps come down, The first time the client has moved onto lower rep sets it can be a big shock, the whole feeling of the set is very different, the slower speed of the bar, the immediate feeling that the weight isn’t going to move requires a real commitment rather than immediately quitting when the weight doesn’t fly from the floor.


So i’ve found trying the client on a functional wave program is often a great way to get someone stronger but also to slowly convince them of what they are really capable of. I typically use a rep scheme of 7-5-3 for each wave, this workout therefore has strength benefits as well as muscle growth benefits.

Here is an example of a functional wave I used with my client Kate over the last four weeks, using a deadlift as our exercise.

(I also finished with a set of 12 as a finisher).

Wave 1 Wave 2 Wave 3
7 45kg 47.5kg 50kg
5 50kg 52.5kg 55kg
3 55kg 60kg 65kg
12 N/A N/A 40kg


In the 1st attempt at this programme, Kate was hesitant over each lift, the heaviest lift was 55kg for 3 and she didn’t believe she was capable of more, by week 4 she was lifting 65kg for 3 and confident of lifting more. By slowly increasing the weight set by set only by small amounts she gained confidence and realised what she was really capable of. She now goes into a new program with a far more accurate idea of what she is really capable of and the benefits will continue. (In the picture above she’s lifting 67.5kg for 3 in her new programme)


Try this workout yourself, it’s a great option for long term lifters as well, try any big compound lifts such as deadlifts, bench press, squats and rows. If you move the weight up and are unable to complete the reps then finish there and move onto a different exercise. You should be able to complete at least 2 waves or you’ve started too heavy, and if you feel like you could continue to up the weights after 4 waves then you’ve probably started too light.


If you’d like some help with a workout plan or nutrition guidance then message me, David, at info@storm-fitness.com, follow me on instagram DAVIDBALLPT, twitter @ballavont.


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This entry was posted on February 26, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .
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