A Training Program: “Cosgrove’s Plan”


Introduction of the author of the program

Perhaps it is hard to find online a person who is into fitness and who has never heard of Alwyn Cosgrove. We have difficult training program on Fitscientist: “Variable repetition training by Alwyn Cosgrove”.

Alwyn has become famous thanks to his book, “New Rules Of Lifting.”

Who is Alwyn Cosgrove?

Alwyn is a five-time taekwondo champion. At the height of his career, Alwyn injured his backbone and seemed to say goodbye to martial arts.

In order to understand better how the human body functions, Alwyn entered West Lothian College, earned his master’s degree in human physiology, achieved certification in N.S.C.A. and I.S.S.A., and gradually became one of the most respected experts on strength training in Great Britain, Australia, and the USA.

At a certain point he realized that he needed to develop his own approach to training and set up his own chain of gyms, now known as Result Fitness. Nowadays, current and intended Olympic champions, MMA fighters, hockey players, American football payers, and bodybuilders do their workouts at his gym.

As it is widely known, Alwyn is a popular fitness-blogger, he has Facebook and Twitter accounts where he writes regularly and also talks to his followers.

Training strategy

Cosgrove doesn’t like split training and suggests working the main muscle groups in one workout. Moreover, Alwyn prefers short interval training. He thinks there is no point in spending too much time in the gym. There are many more interesting ways to spend our time.

In order to shorten the training period, Alwyn suggests to group exercises into supersets (a superset is a pair of exercises performed one after another with no rest between sets).

Cosgrove creates his supersets in an interesting way: his supersets include exercises which work antagonistic muscles, for example, Dumbbell Incline Bench Press and Horizontal Cable Row. It is the so called principle of reciprocal inhibition, when a strongly contracted muscle lets a non-active antagonistic muscle relax. Alwyn uses a different number of reps in one set – from 5 to 15. In his opinion, this helps avoid the plateau effect and over-training.

The Training Program

There are only 5 exercises in “Cosgrove’s Plan,” 4 of which are paired in supersets.

  1. Snatch-grip deadlift. A snatch grip is a grip which is twice as wide as your shoulder width.
  2. Superset:

A Dumbbell Incline Bench Press (30-40° incline)

B Smith Machine Seated Row


A Smith Machine Upright Row

B Stability Ball Exercise: take a plank position with your legs on a stability ball. Raise your hips using abs muscles. Take a pause contracting the ab muscles and then go back slowly to the starting position.

3 time per week workouts:

Day 1:  4 sets of 5 reps. Rest time: 90 seconds.

Day 2:  2 sets of 15 reps.  Rest time: 30 seconds.

Day 3:  3 sets of 10 reps. Rest time: 60 seconds.

Comments on the program:

Do the first exercise separately, not in a superset. Do not start doing supersets without having completed doing all the sets and reps of the first exercise. The set of exercises in the program shouldn’t be changed. But you should change weights depending on the number of sets and reps.

Do not overdo. Choose weights so that the last two reps will be rather difficult for you to perform, but you can still do without a spotter.

You can change the number of sets and reps as you like: 5 sets of 6 reps, or 2 sets of 12 reps, but do not change the set of exercises.


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