The Ultimate Work Out - Damian Ross, The Self Defense Company – The Self Defense Company

The Ultimate Work Out – Damian Ross, The Self Defense Company

The Ultimate Work Out – Damian Ross, The Self Defense Company

The Ultimate Work Out

Develop Combative POWER, SKILL and FAST RECOVERY with this all inclusive regiment.

You may think I’m a machine – train all day, fight and f#ck all night only to get up in the morning and do it again.

Well, I would love to keep that myth going, but the truth is, I get out of shape, I take breaks from training and to be honest – you kind of need to take those breaks to keep your sanity.

All athletes train in a cycle.

There’s time off, start up, ramp up compete/ maintain and then cycle it over again.

The trick is to listen to you body and mind, and allow yourself time off but don’t get TOO OUT OF SHAPE.

The older you get, the higher and longer that road to fitness becomes. So it’s best to plan time off and train smart to avoid injury.

I’m 45 years old an I’m not planning on slowing down until 65 (heck if the Spartans can do it, so can I).

Over the decades I have literally tried EVERYTHING from body weight only exercises to kettlebells. I’ve trained for 5ks and 180 mile relay races. And over all (and experts will agree) the BEST combination for overall fitness, performance and purpose is resistance training, with limited cardio training and functional exercise.

*I should also point out that  nutrition CAN NOT be overlooked. Proper diet accounts for the majority of your success. What you put in, you need to burn off -and it’s better to run your engine on hi-test fuel than the cheap stuff, but that’s another post.

Like I mentioned, there are 3 aspects of popper training: Resistance (Anaerobic), Cardio (Aerobic) and Functional. 

Resistance Training

I lift weights. There’s no way around it. In terms of building bone density, the natural release of HGH in your blood as well as the correct hormones, there’s nothing better outside of a physician. You need to use resistance.

Limited Cardio

People make this mistake CONSTANTLY. When we hit middle age we all start running marathons and in my opinion, “it ain’t good for ya.” It turns men into old women and causes more damage than it does good. Let me ask you….


’nuff said.

Functional Training – It’s important to do activities that engage your entire body and your mind. And while lifting tires is cool (and I do it sometimes myself) and jumping on inflated balls with weights is impressive – it lacks something HUGE, purpose.

When you played sports you didn’t need this because your body was moving and training with a purpose. Now at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if that functiona” training is Basketball or Rock Climbing. But me, I like to kill three birds with one round and train in SDTS Combatives. 

With the SDTS you can take do your Cardio, your Functional Training AND practice self defense. 

Hey, you’re busy, so you better make the most out of your time. Make no mistake. I DEFINITELY take time off from combatives training to surf, do Judo, rock climb, wrestle, cycle, hike, and anything else I can think of, but I always come back to the SDTS.
The SDTS is my foundation because it has a REAL value. 

Being able to do squats on a bosu ball is great…knocking someone out with the edge of your hand – a hell of a lot better.

OK, as promised the Ultimate Work Out.

It’s combines resistance training and SDTS Combatives for an overall effect of functional skill and power with fast recovery times. .

All sets 1 minute rest in between (it moves fast)

Day 1

Bench Press                                                                  4 sets – 5/4/3/10

How to Bench Press Video

Dumb bell Shoulder Press                                 4 sets of 10

How to Dumb Bell Shoulder Press Video

Behind the Neck Press                                          4 sets of 10

How to Behind the Neck Press (Hanz and Franz version)

Cuban Press                                                                  4 sets of 10

How to Cuban Press Video

*Superset 1 exercise set right to the other
10 Tricep Dips and then 12 Lateral Raises

Tricep Dip/Dumb bell Lateral Raise                4 sets of 10 and 12

How to Tricep Dip Video

How to Lateral Raise Video

* Combo: 1 exercise movement to the other
1 Lateral Raise, 1 Front Raise, 1, Rear Delt Flye,
1 Overhead Press = 1 Rep

Dumb bells: Lateral Raise, Front Raise           3 sets of 8
Rear Delt Flye, Overhead Press

How to Dumb Bell Front Raise

How to Rear Delt Flye

How to Standing Dumb bell Overhead Press

CARDIO – 25 Minutes of SDTS Training 

Day 2

Back Squat                                                           4 sets –  5/4/3/10

How to Back Squat

Front Squat                                                         4 sets of 10

How to Front Squat

45 Degree Single Leg Press                      4 sets of 10 (each leg)

How to 45 Degree Leg Press
*Note this shows both legs, you will do only one leg at a time.
Place your foot where it would normally be in the two leg press position.


Calf Raise/Hanging Leg Raise                4 sets of 12/12

How to Calf Raise

How to Hanging Leg Raise

Ab Roll out                                                          4 sets of 10

How to Ab Rollout

CARDIO – 25 Minutes of SDTS Training

Day 3

Weighted Pull up or Regular Pull up          4 sets – 5/4/3/10

How to Weighted Pull Up

Dumb bell single Arm Row                               4 sets of 12

How to Dumb Bell Single Arm Row

Incline Dumb bell Curl                                       4 sets of 10

How to Incline Dumb Bell Curl

COMBO                                                                               4 sets of 8
Dumb bells
Zottman Curl, Cross Body Curl
and Pronated Curl

How to Zottman Curl

How to Cross Body Curl

How to Pronated Dumbell Curl (don’t blink)

CARDIO – 25 Minutes of SDTS Training

Day 4

Incline Bench Press                                              4 sets of 6 & 6 Drop Set*

How to Incline Bench Press

*Drop Set is when you do one set and then drop the weight by  about 40% and do another set immediately after. In this case you would do 6 reps of 100 pounds and then drop the weight to 60 pounds and do another 6 reps.

 Incline Dumb Bell Bench Drop*                   4 sets of 6, 6 and 6

How to Incline Dumb Bell Bench Press

*Bench Drop is when you take an adjustable bench press, start it at a high incline for the first 6 reps, drop it to a medium incline for the next 6 reps and then flat for the last 6 reps. So it’s essentially 4 sets of 18 reps (it’s a bear).

Cable Flye High to Low                                         4 sets of 10

How to High to Low Cable Flye

Close Grip Bench Press                                        4 sets of 10

How to Close Grip Bench Press

COMBO                                                                                3 sets of 8

Tricep Pushdown, Tricep Dip, 
and Narrow hands push up

How to Triceps Push Down

How to Tricep Dip

How to Narrow Hands Push Up


CARDIO – 25 Minutes of SDTS Training

Day 5

Dead Lift                                                                        4 sets – 5/4/3/10

How to Dead Lift

Romanian Dead Lift                                              4 sets of 10

How to Romanian Dead Lift (RDL)

Zercher Squat                                                            4 sets of 10

How to Zercher Squat

Weighted Incline Sit Up                                     4 sets of 10
or Incline Sit Up

How to Weighted Incline Sit up

Barbell Landmine                                                  4 sets of 20 (10 each side)

How to Barbell Land Mine

CARDIO – 25 Minutes of SDTS Training

Day 6

Body Conditioning 50 Minutes SDTS Module 6 

Day 7


Points to remember.

  • You can substitute SDTS Cardio for some other functional exercise or ADD running, walking or cycling for 20 to 30 minutes in addition to your SDTS Training.
  • You can also take Day 6 off so you will have two days off. But If you did that I would insert that rest days 4 and day 7.
  • Try to SLEEP. Sleeping is when your body repairs itself. The more sleep, the better.
  • Take every 7th week OFF. Train for 6 weeks, then rest or 1 week. This will give your body time to repair.
  • Plan to miss workouts. That’s life, just be consistent. If you miss day 1 you can just push the cycle back a day  so you train the correct body parts in the right order.
  • If you have access to the equipment, the weight training will take no longer than 45 to 50 minutes. Your total investment of time should be about 1 hour and 2o minutes MAX.

If you have any questions, post them in the Insider Forum HERE.

See You on the Inside,

Damian Ross

Founder, The Self Defense Company

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Published by Damian (Instructor)

Founder, The Self Defense Company

Join the Conversation


  1. Hi Damian,

    Do you reckon the workout programme you are talking about is good for struggling ectomorphs like myself? Cheers.

    1. HAHAHA- Coming from a struggling “endoomorph” like myself I would say YES (and I’m Jealous). The real question is can I do this if I’m out of shape?

      Yes, but you’re going to have to be patient. Start LIGHT and start slow.

      The things you’re going to have problem with are Pull ups and Hanging Leg Raises. Substitute Lat Pull downs and Leg Raises on the machine where you can put your weight on your elbows.

      Just manage your time. Cut your workout short if it goes over 90 minutes and use the two rest days (Day 3 and Day 7).

      Now with your training as an ectomorph you’re going to need a TON OF PROTEIN. Like 1.75 grams per pound of your goal weight per day.

      That means is you’re 150 pounds and want to get to 175 you need to eat 306 grams of protein per day!!!

      Yep, that’s a lot of shakes – get Whey Protein and have at it.

    2. @ Damian Haha the “which body is better for health and performance” picture was the exact inspiration for this
      @Jared If I may chime in, there is no such thing as endomorphs, ectomorphs, or mesomorphs, only varying degrees of training experience/actual work(forceXdistance) done by your body’s muscles throughout the course of one’s life time that is responsible for one’s musculature. Likewise, there are only varying degrees of weekly caloric surplus accumulated throughout the course of your life. In other words, those “naturally gifted” athletes were simply getting into the habit of doing pushups and not overeating from a VERY EARLY age whereas the “pure endomorphs” fell into the DEBT of excess calories which needs to be paid off and the “pure ectomorphs” simply haven’t been training hard enough with enough intensity & frequency and are likewise playing catch up. Compare Kid A that does a couple thousand pushups a year vs Kid B that does a couple dozen. Fast forward five years later when puberty kicks in, and Kid A will be pushing himself even harder & putting on a TON of muscle and while people will play the genetics card, the MAIN reason is simply due to the WORK done over TIME. The process of actually gaining LEAN MUSCLE and NOT a combo of MUSCLE w/ FAT is SLOW and can’t be rushed by force feeding yourself extra protein. Also, keep in mind that if you want to be BOTH lean and muscular, which I’m assuming every red-blooded male is, you may not be as heavy as you’d like to be at your ideal bodyweight since like height, your ideal bodyweight is also a determined set point by your genetics.
      @Dallas Just take Sundays off every week and you’ll be fine, but as Damian said, it’s really more of a psychological than a physical issue. While athletes are motivated by the season aka getting paid and getting fame, for guys like us, there is no true off season. If you’re training for pure performance, it’s easy to “lose motivation” since you’re not getting paid, but if you’re training to LOOK BETTER NAKED, than the motivation will be there 365 days a year. That’s really all it comes down to.

  2. The biggest issue for me is the whole rest thing taking that 7th week totally off. If I take more than 2 or 3 days off I start getting withdrawal symptoms lol. And sleep is another thing lately I’ve been having trouble staying asleep more than 4 or 5 hours at a time then I wake up and can’t fall back asleep again and I feel it’s starting to affect my gains also because after many nights of it it starts to wear break you down maybe part of the problem is temperature we’re still having hot weather down here and I can’t afford to keep my AC at a temperature cool enough that I sleep best at. Do you have any suggestions on how to fall asleep and stay asleep a solid 8 hours each night I’d really appreciate it?

    1. Regarding the week off – that depends on you. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but when you’re work outs get stale or you just don’t feel motivated you need some time off. Even if it’s just a few days.

      Now the sleep issue can be a number of things, usually there’s an emotional. When there have been times of stress in my life, I hardly sleep. You may need to get some other things right and then the sleep thing will take care of itself.

    2. In regards to sleep, my advice is take a cold shower before going to bed and to leave the window open SLIGHTLY so some air can get in without it being completely obvious to potential home invaders (you said you lived in a fairly safe neighborhood right?) Keep in mind that If it’s dark outside, most people won’t generally see/notice if your window is cracked open just slightly.

  3. Yeah I was wondering if you guys have ever heard of central nervous system burnout that can occur if you’re overtraining for a long period of time where it causes things like your physical performance to decline, chronic fatigue, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, appetite problems, depression/nervousness, etc. and if it’s something that can really happen?

    1. Yes, absolutely. Over training is a problem among elite athletes. Especially fighters and other sports like track and field that compete year round.

      The first time I heard about this happening was my grandfather. He used to train boxers and he would tell me “Don’t leave your best fight in the gym.”

      It’s simple, after a while your body just starts to break down. Too much wear and tear.

      This is why you need to pay attention to yourself. The problem is some people may think they have this, but they’re just sore or lazy.

  4. Another thing is my training regimen consists of 3 days a week of strength training but each day I do a full body circuit and concentrate mostly on compound lifts like squat, deadlift, barbell row, military press, bench press, etc. Then five days a week I do cardio(SDTS drills) and of course YW’s prescription of 100 pushups a day lol. Does this sound good to you guys or do I need to alter my program to look more like Damian’s 5 day split?

    1. Really? You’re asking?!?! Shit – I did all those son. :).

      Pavel’s Power to the People is that EXACT work out.

      DEAD LIFT, Single Arm Military Military Press with the Long Bar, Bench and Straight Bar Curl

      3 sets of 5 as heavy as you can go (plus you can do as many sets of 5 as you wish).

      It got me strong (which I liked) but not as strong as this.

      Since I began lifting in the 80’s (back when we did Chest and Tri’s on Mondays and Wednesday, Back and Bis on Thursday and Legs on Friday).

      This program or something similar to it will get you jacked (and strong).

      If you didn’t know I tore my pec about 12 years ago when 330 dropped on my chest. I stopped lifting and did strict body weight stuff. About 4 years ago I started lifting again.

      Two years ago I began training heavy. Or at least trying to until I did this and another program similar to this (Thanks to my Trainer Meg) that got me benching close to 300 again. I’ve been doing this for the last 8 weeks and I’ve had HUGE gains.

      That being said…try it. That’s the only way you learn anything.

  5. Do you care to tell what your current maxes are now just by looking at you I would guess you could bench 350 and squat like 500 lol. And for rep and set ranges I usually do 4 sets of each exercise and keep my reps in the 6 to 12 range cause that’s what is supposed to be ideal for muscle growth. Except on squats, I work out with my garage weight set which only goes up to 260 and now I can get 100 reps with that so I just keep going until fatigue. But your workout seems better in the sense that you are less likely to overtrain since you’re only hitting each muscle group 1 to 2 days a week but when you hit it you hit it really hard and good.

  6. And of course building functional strength and conditioning is good and my primary reason for training but as YW put it a big side perk of working out is looking good naked which is something we all want too and will make our wife/lady friends happy as well. And like you I’m a big eater and when you eat you gotta either burn off the excess calories or use it to build muscle or it converts to fat which not only makes you ugly but kills your stamina and most importantly health also.

    1. Reed Rothchild, did you just ask me what I bench?

      Nutrition is a whole other post and discussion.

      There is a science behind it – rep, weight and exercise.

      10 to 12 reps will get you where you need to do – you also need some heavy sets along with some fatigue/super sets.

      For what we do you need fast recovery – that’s why the short time in between sets.

  7. Hi All,
    this Ultimate Workout is interesting, but since I have made my home based gym following the SDTS instructions, and honestly I don’t have access to a gym to get various benches, leg presses, etc.
    in order to do some home-made weight workout, it could be possible to buy something like this:

    So I elaborate my personal mini-workout (also based on my personal needs):

    2 min rope
    Class Work Stretching (Damian + Roger exercises)
    Medicine ball from hell (mod. 7)

    2 min rope
    Class Work Stretching (Damian + Roger exercises)
    Ab Roll out 4 sets of 10
    Barbell Landmine 4 sets of 20 (10 each side)
    Bench Press 4 sets – 5/4/3/10
    Dead Lift 4 sets – 5/4/3/10
    Back Squat 4 sets – 5/4/3/10
    Dumb bell Lateral Raise 4 sets of 10 and 12
    Dumb bells Overhead Press 3 sets of 8
    Dumb bells Rear Delt Flye 3 sets of 8
    Calf Raise 4 sets of 12/12

    Conditioning (Mod 6)

    2 min rope
    Class Work Stretching (Damian + Roger exercises)
    Medicine ball from hell (mod. 7)

    2 min rope
    Class Work Stretching (Damian + Roger exercises)
    Ab Roll out 4 sets of 10
    Barbell Landmine 4 sets of 20 (10 each side)
    Close Grip Bench Press 4 sets of 10
    Front Squat 4 sets of 10
    Dead Lift 4 sets – 5/4/3/10
    Zottman Curl 4 sets of 8
    Cross Body Curl 4 sets of 8
    Dumb bells Rear Delt Flye 3 sets of 8
    Calf Raise 4 sets of 12/12

    Conditioning (Mod 6)


    it would be great to have your opinions :)

  8. Aldo the work out looks GREAT. However, that domyos weight set up looks, how can I say it…”finocchio”. :)

    I know space is a little tight. In a perfect world you can pick up a used bench and Olympic Straight bar and you’ll be able to everything or adapt it.

    Sand Bags are also a great alternative.

    If you have an:

    Adjustable Bench like:

    A pull up bar

    A Straight Bar with some weights

    or instead of the weights you had a sand bag or two):

    Some dumbbells and changed the single leg press to a single leg squat you would not need anything else.

    You can modify these exercises to accomplish the same effect.

    Also, don’t buy anything new – people always by gym equipment and need to get rid of it.

  9. Hi Damian, “finocchio” was the same word that passed trough my mind after a second sight at that Domyos set :D well I must admit that those tools are more suitable for women.

    Actually I was looking for something portable, I mean a suitcase with weights, bar and dumb bells inside) probably this one is long way better and decent:

    Also a sand bag is a good idea for limited space! And, to follow your other advice, I’ll be searching something used!

    It is very important, too, that you find great my personal workout, I was wandering if I could proceed in a right way, that’s the most important thing!

    Thanks a lot for everything! :)

  10. Oh, that looks MUCH better (I thought I lost you there for a moment).

    Yeah, try to source the used stuff first and be creative. look at the movements and then think of a work-around.

    You can even use empty water coolers jugs and fill them to increase resistance.

  11. Don’t worry Damian, you won’t lose me, expecially not about that! :D

    Again, precious suggestions, thanks!

  12. Awesome post. Mr. Ross, don’t you switch up your workouts every now and then? I mean, you can’t be doing this workout over and over again.

    1. I do vary it from time to time but I always come back to this one. Maybe I will take a few weeks once or twice a year and do something like Crossfit, of bodyweight oriented stuff…or I go the other way and do really heavy sets.

      But no matter what, I come back to this work out.

  13. Thanks for some other informative site. The place else may I get that type of information written in such an ideal approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am just now operating on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

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