Tuesday Q+A: FlowFit help, how to setup a beginners program by John Sifferman

FlowFitQUESTION: Hey John, how are you?

That video of you performing the flowfit exercise is intense! I can’t do that haha, anyway i was really hoping you could please help me out choosing my routine. I just bought the dvd and on it it says its a 4 phase program but Scott did not specifically tell you which workouts to do or what routine to follow. On the dvd, there are 7 exercises and 4 flow exercises. For a couch potato such as myself, which exercises do i do and for how long? thank you very much for your help!


Here’s the video I think Stab is referring to:

FlowFit Circuit Training

ANSWER: Hey Stab,

That’s a good question because Sonnon does leave it a little open-ended as to how to begin with the FlowFit program.

Like you said, there are 7 exercise families, and 4 Flow chains. Each of the 7 exercises has 4 levels of difficulty. So, there are really 28 exercises in total. Those 28 exercises are then chained together in a circuit fashion (one exercise done after the other), to create Flow chains. Since there are 4 levels of difficulty, respectively there are 4 flow chains.

The first thing I recommend you do is follow along with the exercise instructions on the DVD and establish what your current level of conditioning is for each exercise. Essentially, you need to figure out which level of difficulty you are prepared for, level 1 being for beginners, and level 4 being for advanced trainees.

I would write down which level you are at for each exercise (maybe a 2 for squats, and a 1 for forward presses, etc.). Once you have done that, you have two options. First, you could identify if there is a certain difficulty level that you are prepared for across the boards. Maybe you logged mostly 2’s during your conditioning assessment. In that instance, I recommend you just start by following the 2nd Flow Chain (which is comprised of all “Level 2” difficulty levels).

Alternatively, if you have a wide variety of conditioning for each exercise (a pretty even split of 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s), then you could just create you own flow chain with each respective exercise. If some exercises are much easier than others, then it might be a good idea to do this. So, you may do something like this…

Level 3 squat
Level 2 forward press
Level 3 swoop
Level 2 twist
Level 1 springing twist
Level 2 reverse spinal arch
Level 1 spinal rock

I do think there is value in going through each program in its entirety. So, if you discover that you have mostly 1’s or 2’s, then I highly recommend you start with the respective Flow Chain and just stick with it until you’re ready to move on. I will agree with Sonnon and stress the importance of incremental progression. It’s a big mistake to jump into a more difficult program than you can handle. You will be much more likely to succeed long term with your FlowFit training if you take baby steps to progress.

Once you’ve figured out which FlowChain to use, now it’s time to setup an actual program. There are a lot of ways to do this, and I’ll share one method that I like best. It’s a two-step process…

1) Increasing Volume – in the beginning your first goal should be to perform each exercise with near-perfect technique. Once, you have done this, then it’s time to work on adding training volume (AKA doing more total work). You can do this by increasing the number of times you complete a Flow Chain.

So, if you did 6 Flow Chains your first FlowFit session, then I recommend you aim for 7-8 on your next session. I recommend you move up to 14-20 repetitions before increasing your effort.

2) Increasing Effort – Now that you’ve increased your training volume, it’s time to up the effort. I like to do this by decreasing my rest breaks in between Flow Chain repetitions, or by performing the exercises a little faster. Depending on how much time it takes you to complete your Flow Chains (a good goal is one chain per minute), will determine when it’s time to up your effort.

So, for example, if you’ve been taking 30 second breaks in between each Flow Chain repetition, cut that down to 15-20 seconds for a much more difficult session. I usually try to finish each Flow Chain in under a minute, and whatever time I have left in that minute will be my rest break.

I do want to stress Sonnon’s instructions to make sure your technique is near perfect and that you are not experiencing any significant pain or discomfort before moving on into a higher exertion FlowFit training session. It’s just not worth the risk of overtraining and injury.

Once you can do a Flow Chain for 14 repetitions in 14 minutes, with excellent technique and minimal discomfort, AND you are not working too hard to do it (effort less than 60% of MAX) – THEN it’s time to jump to the next Flow Chain.

To your health and success,

Fitness Professional and Clubbell Athlete

P.S. To pick up a copy of FlowFit, click here.


3 Responses

  1. Love the blog bro, and your a fellow undergrounder ;)

    Keep it up!

    -Matt Holmes

  2. Keep killing it at Body Synergy, Matt. ;)

  3. I’ve just bought both Flowfit and Be Breathed. Which one would be the best to start with first?

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