The 40/20 Rule for Fat Loss

Now I am a huge advocate of lifting weights and getting stronger. The health benefits and carry over into performance are second to none but when people set about learning to lift weights they, more often than not, go about it the wrong way.

They are all too quick to increase the weight with little, to no regard of proper technique; this is back to front in my opinion. First you must establish technique and then you increase the load.


Technique Is Critical for success

The understanding of technique is vitally important for any lifter but it’s even more important for beginners. Fully understanding what it is you are trying to achieve with a specific lift makes learning it a lot easier. Simply educating new lifters as to the why’s and how’s of each lift can make their learning curve a lot smaller.

Now I will admit that I am extremely anal over technique but this is for good reason. In the past I have made the mistake of loading people too early, yes they can lift it but it’s often at the expense of good technique and the risks far outweigh the rewards. The longer you let this slide the harder the problem becomes to fix, and trust me, its much easier to correct technique earlier in somebodies lifting career than further down the line.

Not only is lifting with poor technique short sighted in terms of progression but it is also putting the individual at undue risk of injury.  I often find that lifting weights gets a bit of a bad rep in terms of people thinking it’s dangerous, this is often followed by a story of someone they know who injured themselves deadlifting. Lifting weights is much like crossing the road….if you do it well it’s perfectly safe but do it wrong and,,,. Well you know what I mean.

It’s important to understand that when it comes to lifting weights it’s more about quality than quantity. Every rep should look perfect, regardless of weight and this is the mentality I try to instil in all of my clients. This is sometimes met with frustration as some people feel that in order to have a good workout they must be moving at 100mph. Now there is a time and a place for this but this isn’t when you are trying to lift heavy, concentration is needed and performing lifts under unnecessary fatigue is only making your life harder.

When it comes to programming for fat loss I use the simple 40/20 rule. The first 40 minutes of the session focuses on quality work, this will include warm up, movement prep and the main goal of the session. This might see us spend 20 minutes working on the deadlift, focussing on technique and then challenging technique with weight. For the final 20 minutes we will focus on quantity this is where we work HARD. Exercise selection here will be slightly less technical with more of focus on work capacity and good old fashioned hard work

By breaking the session up like this it gives clients the best of both worlds, they can focus on strength development, which is often overlooked when chasing fat loss and then at the back end I find other ways to challenge them.  This formula has worked wonders for getting clients stronger, leaner and fitter.


Give it a try and see for yourself.