Blueprint (Ross Edgley) – Book Summary12 min read

Blueprint by Ross Edgley Book Cover

Three Sentence Summary

Blueprint allows you to map out your perfect roadmap to success in any athletic, sporting or adventurous endeavour. This covers coming back from injury and creating the perfect body capable of adapting to any adventure or event. By blending professional experiences with sports science Ross Edgley has created a user guide to unlock your bodies potential!

My Top 3 Take Aways

  1. Recovery is king, with prehab work playing just as an important job as your base fitness to avoid injury – you can’t complete a marathon with a sprained ankle!
  2. Building up a good base of fitness before specialising in the chosen discipline allows your body to be at the perfect point to adapt to whatever endeavour you choose.
  3. Managing volume and intensity throughout a training cycle is the key to not burning out and to your performance peaking at the right time.

Who Do I Recommend This Book For?

Anyone who wants to take their next step in fitness whether that be an athletic event such as a marathon, triathlon or a sporting event requiring a great base level of fitness. The knowledge can be tailored to anyone’s chosen goals to ensure the best chance of success!

Full Summary

Your Potential

Ever wanted to train like an athlete rather than a gym rat? Peak at the right time for a sporting event? Maybe run a marathon? This book is the roadmap to building your own specific training regime for whatever athletic goal you may have. Ross Edgley is a personal inspiration of mine performing some extreme feats of strength endurance like the worlds longest rope climb and some superhuman stamina being the first person to swim the full coast of the British isles. This book blends together his personal experiences from these feats along with the sports science to back it up. Example workouts and weekly routines are also given however for this summary we are going to mainly focus on the science behind building a training regime rather than giving specific workouts or the in-depth intricacy of the science. With that being said lets start with some basic sports science terminology.


In a training plan for an athletic endeavour you don’t just do the same workouts for the whole time, you do training blocks. These blocks are the basis of periodisation. The whole cycle is known as a macrocycle and is usually one year in length. These are then broken into four seasonal sections known as  mesocycles. These four blocks are Recovery/Prehab, Base, Build, and Peak. Each focus on developing a specific area of fitness. Microcycles of daily habits and weekly training regimes then make up these individual mesocycles and usually range from a few days to two weeks. When people first develop a training plan they often do not focus on a specific timeframe. There’s no set end goal or they haven’t given enough time for the goal to be realistic. Hopefully this should show that anywhere from 9-12 months is the ideal place to start for peaking at the right time.

Recommended Reading: If you’re struggling with sticking to a fitness routine try my summary of Atomic Habits by James Clear for tips!

1. Recovery & Prehab

Volume: Low

Intensity: Low

Recovery is not being a sloth and doing no exercise. On the contrary, this is all about active recovery and focusing on technique and muscle weaknesses. The volume and intensity of training is low with additional emphasis on sleep schedule. This section is most important after a prior macrocycle where you have just peaked for an event or an injury. For injuries it is best to seek the help of a medical professional before jumping back into training. If this is your first time training in this way, this period can be used to set up a strong base and work on implementing the habits of showing up for workouts and drilling technique in low intensity.

Hidden Muscles

Injury avoidance should be the main goal for any macrocycle and strength training has been proven to be the most effective way of reducing injuries in athletes. With this in mind identifying weaknesses in your body is the primary target. This most importantly includes stabiliser muscles. Two most forgotten groups include the scapula and lower trapezius which directly supports shoulder movement and the muscles and ligaments in the ankles and feet. The scapula can be targeted with scapula pull ups whilst the muscles in the feet can be strengthened by doing exercises barefoot thus removing the foam compensation provided by most shoes. By targeting these areas we can future proof our bodies as repetitive action will be less likely to cause injury to the muscle. 

Drilling Technique

Good technique is a very general term and can mean different things depending on the physiology of the person. However the consensus meaning is that the movement is biomechanically efficient. This means minimal energy is lost when it is transferred along the kinetic chain of the body. Poor efficiency puts unnecessary strain on the body and is proven to increase the likelihood of repetitive strain injuries. By focussing on technique during this period not only are you ensuring your body takes the path of least resistance, which will help improve your results, but simultaneously reducing the chance of injury. Take the time in the prehab/recovery mesocycle to lay the foundations of this improved more efficient technique.

Sleep Schedule

Ensuring you get around the 8 hour requirement of sleep is crucial for optimum recovery. Some simple tips to follow are:

    1. Reduce caffeine consumption especially in the afternoons and evenings.
    2. Digital detox at least an hour before bed to prompt melatonin release.
    3. Exercise during the day especially in the evening to help control the sleep cycle. This can be anything from yoga to strength work.
    4. Ensure room temperature (if possible) is between 16ºC-19ºC (60ºF – 67ºF).
    5. Morning sunlight helps with the natural reset of the sleep cycle inhibiting melatonin production.
    6. Eat cherries before bed (natural source of melatonin) to aid falling asleep!


  • 5 sessions: 3x strength based pre/rehab and 2x endurance based.
  • Strength based: Pull, Legs, Push focusing on technique and stabiliser muscles for prehab (around 30min sessions).
  • Endurance: slow max 45mins focusing on technique.
2. Base

Volume: High

Intensity: Low

This mesocycle is defined by high volume at low intensity. This improves the bodies work capacity which will allow you to adapt to the strain of training and not get injured when you start to increase the intensity. This focuses on general physical preparedness essentially bullet-proofing the body and establishing mental resilience.

Training to Train

You can’t just jump into any training routine as either the volume or intensity will be challenging. By training to train you increase the volume gradually at low intensity to establish base fitness that allows specificity in the future. This is best described as training general physical preparedness which is devised from the Soviet Union and is a varied jack-of-all-trades regime that allows the body to efficiently run, swim, jump, climb etc… Basically doing a varied amount of endurance and strength based activities and reducing sport specific training to as little as 10% of your regime.

Aerobic Base

Establishing a large aerobic base is best for endurance sports as you’re using oxygen to produce energy. When you sprint you’re bodies demand for oxygen is greater than what we can replenish through inhalation. This results in you’re anaerobic system kicking in which produces lactic acid. This build up is unsustainable and causes muscle cramps. The threshold of you’re anaerobic system kicking in is around 70% of your maximum heart rate (approx. 220 – your age). By performing endurance activities at a heart rate below 70% of your max you will be training your aerobic system. This in turn strengthens your cardiovascular system, reducing your resting heart rate and so builds up a larger buffer before breaching that 70% limitation. This is known as zone 2 training and is assessed simply by being able to still talk in complete sentences while performing exercise.

Mental Fortitude

For any event mental toughness is just as big a factor as your physical fitness. This should be trained consistently so that, come the day of the event, you are prepared for any eventuality. A simple way to train this is by performing workouts outside and embracing the elements. This means training through rain, wind and the cold winter (when safe). This will instil a spartan attitude to training that is very hard to break and will give you an edge come the event.

Recommended Reading: For a quick and easy mindset routine try my summary of The Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof.


  • 8 sessions: 3x strength sessions, 4x Endurance based, 1x General physical preparedness session.
  • Strength: same split with slight increase in volume per session.
  • Endurance: zone 2 (60/70% of max heart rate) for around 60 minutes.
  • GPP: session based on full body movements.
3. Build

Volume: High

Intensity: High

As the name suggests this next phase takes the base fitness you’ve created and increases the stress by upping the intensity. This means keeping the volume high but slowly upping the intensity of the sessions. The past two mesocycles have been very broad however this stage begins to specialise more to your chosen goal resulting in increased focus on technique.


This transition from general to specific means the removal of all exercise that doesn’t contribute to your goal. All endurance exercises will be performed in your chosen discipline i.e. no swimming if you’re attempting a cycling event. The sessions will focus even more on specific form and getting your technique perfect to ensure efficiency. Even the strength sessions will be specific replicating the movement patterns of the chosen activity and ensuring all the stabilising muscles for these movements are strong to reduce injury. The split of time will be 80% dedicated to the sport with 20% being accessory training in the gym. The gym sessions will be the cherry on top which will push you’re body into being even stronger at whatever specialism you are gearing towards. If going for longer endurance related events, repetition is key which means ensuring good posture and increasing your strength in this movement pattern. For running this means core stability, a strong posterior chain, and strong foot, ankle and leg muscles. 

Anaerobic Fitness

All sports and events will require some level of anaerobic fitness whether that be having to swim faster into a headwind or sprint over the finish line. In this mesocycle this capacity will be improved so you can overcome all eventualities. This means adding in interval training, sprint sessions and HIIT workouts specific to your event. This means working at 80-100% of your max heartrate known as working in zones 4-5. If you haven’t pushed yourself to this level before it will be uncomfortable but that pain will also pay off in terms of your mental fortitude as well!


  • 9 sessions (max): 3x strength/speed sessions, 3x aerobic sessions, 3x anaerobic sessions.
  • Strength: Sport specific movements within the force velocity curve.
  • Aerobic: long and slow of chosen endurance activity.
  • Anaerobic: speed sessions/interval training working in zone 4 & 5.
4. Peak

Volume: Low

Intensity: High

The final push before the big day requires a reduction in volume while session intensity is kept high replicating greater than ‘race conditions’. You will be maintaining the levels of strength, speed and stamina you have developed whilst your body will be making its final acclimations to the intensity required. This will hopefully result in your success. This tapering down in volume reduces overtraining whilst focusing on skill refinement and replication of the event environment. There is an increased emphasis on recovery ensuring you give all your energy to meet the required intensity and be ready for the event.

Skill Refinement & Race Conditions

These final weeks before the event are not aimed to improve your underlying fitness but to refine what you have built so that you can complete the event in the most efficient way and so avoid injury. Its full focus on form from start to finish, tweaking your diet and addressing the little things like clothing, logistics and supplies for the event. Simulating race conditions is just as important. If you do all your training in a pool when its an open water swim or on a treadmill as opposes to outside you will be ill prepared for the event even if you can complete the required distance or in the required time. Getting familiar with the layout and itinerary of the build up to the event is also crucial as to not be unhinged on the day and thrown unnecessarily out of your comfort zone. By practicing the little things like this you can make substantial gains as every percentage counts. Think of how an F1 car is designed. Tiny improvements to the engine, aerodynamics, brakes and weight all come together to improve by a much larger percentage.

Recommended Reading: For more on how incremental changes can turn to massive improvements read my summary of The 1% Rule by Tommy Baker.

Planning to Peak

In the final month before the event the focus is truly on peaking. This means reduction in volume of the sport specific activities as well as the weekly gym sessions and crucially the work performed in these sessions. The intensity will remain fairly high to maintain your level of fitness but the true target is the recovery to ensure you are not fatigued before the event. By recovering well and maintaining your fitness, come race day you will be able to fully display your new found physiological adaptations!


  • 7 Sessions (decreasing): 2x strength sessions, 2x aerobic sessions mimicking the environment on the day, 3x anaerobic sessions.
  • Strength: Maintenance of fitness.
  • Aerobic: Zone 2 in a event environment to hone technique and other additional event preparations.
  • Anaerobic: Speed sessions/interval training working in zone 4 & 5.

The beauty of this ‘Blueprint’ lies in its flexibility. You can tailor it to whatever event you wish to compete in. All you have to do is ensure that once you get to the build mesocycle you get specific and remove any workouts or movements that do not directly benefit your chosen event. Mesocycles can be extended if things don’t go to plan you can always cycle between recovery and base mesocycles until you’ve established your goal allowing you to maintain and improve your base level of fitness ready for when you eventually want to specialise and enter the build and peak phases. This means there’s truly no excuse to not start training towards that dream event today. Your body will thank you for it in the long run!

Making it Actionable!

This book is relatively easy to put its teachings into practice as all you need is a bit of time to create your own personalised plan. Personally, I am planning on using this to fulfil my lifelong goal of completing a marathon. Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks as I create my personal blueprint and take you through my journey from prehab to peak and race day!

If you’ve read this book already I’d love to know your thoughts and how you’ve implemented its strategies. Let me know down below!

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