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Alan Thrall is a United States Marine Corps veteran with a passion for strength training. After completing his military service, Alan opened a gym Untamed Strength, which caters to strongmen and powerlifters. The gym is located in Sacramento, California, but if you’re not in the area you can take advantage of his articles and videos.
Besides being a successful business owner, Alan has years of training experience which he uses to coach others. At the time of this article, his YouTube channel has nearly 700,000 subscribers with a plethora of helpful videos. His gym is open 24 hours and he provides several different membership options.
Throughout the remainder of this article, I will be describing the Untamed Method and how it compares to other powerlifting ideologies.
The Philosophy Behind The Untamed Method
The method is named after Thrall’s gym and resembles most basic strength training programs. You can expect the following when incorporating this method:
Compound exercises – Like most strength-focused routines, this one also focuses on compound lifts. Particularly, you can expect squats, bench press, deadlifts, overhead press, and accessory movements to benefit these exercises.
Accurate progression tracking – Unlike some routines that are based on assumptions, the untamed method is contingent upon accurate progression. You will follow percentages based on your one-rep maxes and strive to add weight regularly.
No particular fitness level required – You do not have to be an expert to pick up this program. In fact, you can start with the bare minimum and end up with great results. The point is to figure out your starting point and improve from there, so you should never be discouraged.
Strength gains – No matter how strong you are initially, the goal is to progressively become stronger on this program. The main objective is to increase your one-rep max for all four of the major compound exercises.
Outlining The Program
I will not go into detail about the exercises performed in this program, but I will explain a bit about how everything works. For a detailed explanation, I recommend watching the video below which explains the exercises and terminology.
Most often you will be doing 8 reps of a given exercise at a certain RPE. RPE is rated perceived exertion, or basically an estimate of how much energy you’re exerting to perform a certain weight.
You have likely dealt with percentages of your one-rep max before, and RPE is quite similar. The higher the RPE, the more difficult your set will be for a given amount of reps. Likewise, a smaller RPE means that the set will be less difficult.
Just like percentages, RPE is based on your one-rep max for a particular exercise. RPE is more of a theoretical value compared to an exact percentage, but they are just as effective. There are several good calculators to determine your RPE which I recommend taking advantage of.
The Untamed Method incorporates percentages and RPE in your sets. For most exercises, you will complete your last set at a percentage of your one-rep max instead of a certain RPE.
You will notice that the program becomes more intense every few weeks. This is standard for every powerlifting program because if you’re not training heavier you will never get stronger.
Understanding Myo Reps
Occasionally you will see this phrase throughout the program. Myo reps are reps performed after a very short pause between sets. For example, about 10 seconds after finishing one set of 12 rows (activation set), I would do another set of five.
Alan Thrall recommends an activation set before beginning your myo reps. The activation set requires you to go nearly to failure with a moderate weight. It might sound like you will get fatigued, but the goal is to maximize muscle fiber recruitment.
After performing the activation set, take a short rest and proceed to do working sets in your designed rep range. You will then repeat this until you can no longer complete a full set for the given number of reps. Generally, each set consists of 3-5 repetitions.
You will not always be doing myo reps on this program, but they are a nice added bonus. Not only do they add quite a bit of volume, but your muscles will become more conditioned over time.
The Untamed Method is a great strength program for any fitness level. On paper, the program might look rather difficult, but it truly resembles a basic powerlifting program once you understand the terminology.
Like I’ve mentioned previously, Alan Thrall has multiple helpful videos about this program on his channel. If you are struggling to grasp any ideas, I recommend watching his videos or reading his articles.
My favorite aspects of this program are the volume and simplicity. A lot of beginner strength programs simply do not have enough volume, but Alan makes some changes to that norm. Just remember that this program is designed for strength as opposed to hypertrophy.
If your main focus is to build muscle, check out a solid PPL routine. Similarly, if you feel as though this program is too complicated, there are plenty of other beginner strength programs.