The Absolute Athlete Workout Program Breakdown

Written by the Boostcamp staff
Feb 19,2024|20 min| 473

Is this the best workout program for athletes?

When it comes to joining a gym, many people join with the goal of competing in strength sports like powerlifting and weightlifting, or for the aesthetic side of things, meaning bodybuilding. Because of those being common goals amongst new gym goers, many workout programs are catered towards them. But what if you want to be athletic? What if you want to be strong but functional? Are there workout programs for that? Well, there are, and a very prominent workout program for athletes is The Absolute Athlete, developed by Hadyn Wiseman, which is available right on the Boostcamp app.

Let’s break down The Absolute Athlete and see exactly why it is the best program for athletes to become strong, functional, and improve their fitness all around.

Who is Hadyn Wiseman?

Hadyn Wiseman is in his 30s and has been training since the age of 4. His journey started with martial arts, and then he moved on to teach himself gymnastics and calisthenics from the age of 15. Everything Hadyn knows has been self-taught and has been able to get him to what is considered an elite level in most of my endeavors. 

Haydn has been crafting my own programs for many years as well as trying out most of the standard ones. He was always impressed with the feats of strength and skill that the human body is capable of and has trained in a wide range of disciplines to try and learn them all. Through that journey, Haydn earned a great deal of knowledge spread across multiple areas. For the last couple of years he has decided to attempt to conquer powerlifting, becoming one of the strongest lifters in the country within two years of committing to the sport. His goal is to have the highest powerlifting coefficient in the UK across any weight class within the next year.

The Absolute Athlete

Hadyn Wiseman designed The Absolute Athlete as a functional program that combines powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and bodyweight exercises to help athletes develop maximal strength, power, speed, agility, balance, and coordination. Not to mention, you could build some serious muscle mass through a program like this.

Let’s break it down a bit further.

The Absolute Athlete Introduction

This is a program designed for those who favor performance above all, meaning they want to perform good at whatever physical activity they are doing. Haydn was always impressed by Olympic gymnastics, their agility and feats of strength, and without a training facility he decided that he would teach himself those moves and start strength training to support them. Over 15 years later Hadyn is able to perform Olympic level gymnastics moves, hold a world record for the most flips in one minute while simultaneously competing in powerlifting at an international level. Hadyn has also become one of the strongest pound-for-pound lifters in the world, and has tried almost all of the standard programs and made many of his own which he and his friends have used. The goal is to improve overall human performance, being able to jump higher, move faster, stretch further, be stronger and be smarter.

Who is The Absolute Athlete For?

The Absolute Athlete program is perfect for intermediate-level lifters and athletes, but may be a bit much for someone who is just getting started in the gym. The program runs for 6 weeks, with a steady increase in intensity each week and a nice de-load week at the end to come off of the intense lifting. There are 3 sessions per week, which allows dual athletes to also train for another sport, or rest and recover in between training sessions. 

That being said, The Absolute Athlete program is a culmination of everything Hadyn has learned over the years, and is aimed at people who want to improve their general metrics and strength standards. Without doubt some of the most important strength metrics are the powerlifting and Olympic lifting movements, however Haydyn also believes there are some important bodyweight metrics as well. A functional program should address these and also aim to improve your balance, coordination, agility, speed and even flexibility. That is what this program seeks to provide. It will lay a solid foundation for any athlete.

Before attempting this program you should have experience with the fundamental powerlifting movements, you can learn these from a number of beginner programs before attempting this one.

Session and Program Structure

After performing the warm up routine, each session will start with a main compound lift, building up to a top single rep. This won’t necessarily be a one rep max, but will still be heavy enough so that the skill element is maintained. Working up to a heavy one rep is common at an intermediate to advanced level in powerlifting and will keep you primed for eventually testing a true one rep max. 

Following the one rep, there will be back down sets on the main lift of the session to accumulate volume as well as build strength. Accessory movements will follow that and all be functional, often including bodyweight exercises that may test your balance and coordination, but overall can help your performance in most other lifts. The Absolute Athlete calls for you to finish with the cool down routine which includes stretching.

By implementing progressive overload, The Absolute Athlete will have you hitting heavier top sets each week. The back down sets will also vary in both volume and intensity depending on the day. The final week of the program will include some lower volume sessions in order to recover before testing max lifts. The Absolute Athlete runs 6 weeks in total and should be followed by a de-load week. You can repeat the program with new maxes entered after the deload week to continue to work towards your next milestone goals.

Program Split

Exercises such as squats and bench presses are performed two times per week with one day focussed on higher intensity, and another day focussed on higher volume work. The volume is performed on the days that allow for the longest rest time before the next session so that you are recovered before performing the exercise again, helping to recover and stay injury free

Deadlifts are performed once per week as these are highly taxing on things like the lower back and central nervous system and will also improve as a by-product of the squat work anyway. Power Cleans are performed once per week as are weighted dips and chin ups.

What Each Day Looks Like for The Absolute Athlete

Day 1

The first day of The Absolute Athlete is focused on all our upper body metrics. It includes a top single on the bench press to keep you primed for heavier loads and is followed by some high intensity, low volume sets, but these increase weekly. Bench fatigue will not be too high from this day allowing perform higher volume with lower intensity on the next session. If you are an advanced lifter, you can increase the number of sets of bench triples accordingly.

The bench press is followed by some medium volume on weighted dips and chin ups, which will increase weekly. To add the resistance, you can use a dip belt, weighted vest or a plate carrier, or put a dumbbell between your feet for these. If you cannot perform a bodyweight version of these then use band assistance to help you or use a machine assisted pull up and dip station if your gym has one. Be sure to decrease assistance each week if this is the case, working toward your first unassisted rep.

Inchworms are a good test of body coordination and strength, on the final rep when walking the hands out finish with a plank hold, aiming to beat your time each week. If you cannot do these yet, then start on knees and build up to full reps over the weeks.

As a final finisher, complete two sets of push ups so you have around 3 reps left in the tank without breaking proper form. Make a note of the number and aim to beat it by at least 1 next week.

There should be one rest day following this session.

Day 2

The second day of The Absolute Athlete focusses on explosiveness for the lower body including the top single on squat, which is then followed by some high intensity, low volume sets. Experienced lifters can increase the number of backdown sets as required.

Power cleans are another movement that will make a feature this day, they can be performed before or after squats as preferred. If you can do them, great, but if not and you need to learn the technique then start very lightly, and you can utilize your resources like YouTube to help you. You can also swap them out to a medicine ball throw or similar weighted jumping exercise, just make sure to increase the load gradually each week. The program will also still work if you skip them all together.

Bench may seem out of place here, but it is the best day to get our volume in, giving us a full 4 days rest before the heavier day comes around again. So, sets of 8 it is, increasing weekly.

The accessories here are functional and athletic. Box jumps to improve power and coordination and pistol squats to train balance and stabilization. As you improve you can increase the height of the box jumps. For pistol squats aim for 10 per leg with just your bodyweight first, if you can do that, then perhaps hold a kettlebell or weight plate out in front, this will counterbalance you somewhat and the weight can increase weekly. If you cannot perform a bodyweight pistol squat, then you can use a band to hold onto for assistance

Take two days rest following this session.

Day 3

Day 3 of The Absolute Athlete comes after two days' rest so it can feature the harder, more taxing exercises, which consist of medium intensity deadlifts and higher volume squats. There will be 4 days rest before the next heavier day 2 squat session so this placement will give us enough lower body rest following the volume performed.

The workout starts with a top single on deadlifts. If you are not a powerlifter then you can perform a trap bar deadlift for less injury risk, and better athletic carryover. Just enter your max for trap bar in the onboarding page if so. There are also back down sets at medium intensity, to accumulate the necessary volume followed. This is followed by more volume work on squats. This will be a tough day hence having two days rest before it.

It's important to keep the shoulders healthy given the loads we want to lift on bench, dips and chin ups. Therefore, this day includes shoulder raises, you can superset lateral and front raises, aim for low weight, high rep sets to stimulate blood flow. The Absolute Athlete also recommends adding some rotator cuff work here if you have time for injury prevention.

Sled pulling/pushing is great for fitness and does not cause much fatigue, this is a functional exercise which should get the legs moving again, choose a weight and move for a distance which is around a 6/10 difficulty, mixing up pull (with harness/rope) and push as you please. If your gym does not have a track, then here is your opportunity to add an exercise of choice!

Finally, for the last bit of core work for the week, there will be hanging leg raises, hanging from a bar with straight arms, aiming for control with each rep pulling the toes up to at least 90 degrees or further, maintaining body tension, trying to keep the rest of your body still. 

Take one day's rest following this session.

Warm Up Routine 

Every session of The Absolute Athlete this warm up should be the first thing you do. All exercises should be performed in the specified order. The  only stretching to be performed should be dynamic stretching, no static or isometric stretching should be performed until  the very end of the session which is detailed in the cool down sheet. You should also perform specific warmups for each  exercise during your workout, working up to your first sets of each exercise gradually. 

Cool Down Stretching Routine 

This cool down will be used optionally after any given session of The Absolute Athlete, however it is highly recommended to improve flexibility. This is the prime opportunity to perform static stretching for example working towards front and side splits. When stretching, your body will involuntarily tense muscles to limit the range of motion. This is the body's safety mechanism to protect itself. You should always stretch the largest muscle groups first such as the back, lats, glutes, and shoulders. This is because they allow for a  better stretch on all the smaller muscles which connect to the torso. 

More Workout Routines

Finding a good workout program to put on size and strength is key, and while The Absolute Athlete is definitely a great program, it may be too much for you, or once you have completed it you want to find another great program. Keep in mind that good programs will help with your fitness journey, you would want to find a program that caters to your needs and guides you in the right direction, making sure that you are making the most gains. If you are looking to stay on track and continue with linear progression, then finding a good workout program is the key. Where do you look for a good bodybuilding workout program? Check out the Boostcamp App for some great programs. 

Boostcamp is home to over 50 FREE workout programs that consist of strength, hypertrophy, or functional fitness, or both, from the push pull legs program all the way to upper lower. However, with Boostcamp, you don’t have to just follow a pre-written program, you also can create your own program as well, and track your progress to make sure you are on the right track. That being said, when you are looking to incorporate some arm training to further your powerlifting progress, then check out Boostcamp.

Boostcamp is a great place to find free workout programs, and it is designed to be the last workout app you ever need. You can choose from over 50 different programs designed for strength, hypertrophy, or both, and you can custom make your workouts as well. 

Wrap Up

Overall, being athletic is very beneficial for adding strength, size, and getting through every day tasks. While many programs cater to powerlifting or bodybuilding, The Absolute Athlete is something aimed at improving your performance overall.

Will you be giving it a try? Also, be sure to follow Boostcamp on Instagram and subscribe on YouTube!