Understanding Exercise Pairing – Labeling In A Workout

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The labeling system we use in our programs might be new to you and seem odd at first glance, but is really quite simple and will easily become second nature.  This is not something we created on our own and has been used for years by coaches across the fitness and strength industry. You will notice a combination of a letter and a number on the far left column of each program next to each exercise name.

Letters & Numbers

Letters indicate an exercise group.  All exercises with the same letter are performed in a sequential fashion until all sets have been completed. Numbers simply indicate the order of the exercises within a group. Just like reading a book, you will follow the workouts from left to right and then down to the next line.  When reading the workouts, you will perform the indicated reps with the prescribed tempo and take the rest period written before moving down to the next exercise in the group.  Once you reach the end of a group you will go back to the first exercise listed and repeat the process until you have completed the appropriate number of sets before moving on to the next group. Do not skip the rest periods! The rest periods within a group can have a significant influence on what type of stimulus you will get from the workout.  If there are four exercises (B1, B2, B3, B4), doing them one after the other will have a drastically different effect on what type of stimulus is created compared to if you were to rest 60 seconds between each exercise.


Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Barbell Squat 5 6 4010 180
B1 Hack Squat 4 8 3110 120
B2 Leg Extension 4 8 3011 120
C1 DB Curl 3 6 3011 0
C2 Incline Cable Curl 3 6 3110 0
C3 Neutral Grip Curl 3 12 3010 180

In this example, you would perform 5 sets of barbell squat with 180 second rest. Next, you would move to a super set of Hack Squat and Leg Extension with 120 seconds rest after EACH exercise for 4 sets. Finally, a trio-set of bicep exercises with no rest after the DB Curl or Incline Cable Curl.  Once you rested for 180 seconds after the Neutral Grip Curls you would repeat the tri-set two more times.

The pairings of exercises is just one of many valuable tools N1 applies and can be utilized to accommodate a variety of stimuli in your training when applied appropriately.

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