Let’s Talk Details
1. The Plan
2. Your Job
Dumbbell Flat Bench (Key)
Pec Deck (Pause) (Key)
Reverse Grip Barbell Row (Key)
Smith-machine Calf Raise (Key)
Hack Squat (Key)
Close-grip Barbell Flat Bench (Key)
Mid-grip Lat-Pulldown (Key)
Neutral-grip Cable Row (Key)
How many sets to add? As you venture into the final weeks of the block, volume gets higher. It is important to test your capabilities. If you can optimize your recovery through better sleep, stress management, and diet then you will be able to push more volume than ever. But be strategic. If you go hard on a workout one day, don’t be surprised if it affects your performance the next day. This block is all about accumulating volume to get very practiced in your technique.
You can check out “Videos” for common mistakes to troubleshoot your form on the key lifts before you start this training week. The goal is to feel like your form is better than ever.
Stay in a Good Spot this Block
You want a challenging workout where you leave feeling like you performed near maximally.
Plan your workout and write down the weight, sets, and rep range in the Workout Plan PDF to get you ready for Week 3.
Your reps on the first set may be near the top of the rep range, but by the last set, your reps may fall close to the bottom of the rep range. Stay away from technical failure. You want your technique to be IDENTICAL on each rep. You are training the neural coordination just as much as the muscles.
This will feel like real training weight. Increase the weight just enough to stay at RIR 2. Keep in mind, your muscles will get depleted set to set and your reps may fall substantially. Try to get at least one set that is near personal record weight at RIR 2, and drop the weight on the upcoming sets if needed to remain at RIR 2 in the rep range.
Stay away from RIR 0! If you go to failure, the weight you picked is too heavy. Sometimes, you have to use the same weight as last week to stay in the rep range on the final set.
Put most of your volume towards the bench, squat, and deadlift! You may not need to add the same number of sets to each key lift. I prefer to keep my most fatiguing lifts (heavy compounds like the deadlift) lower volume and focus more on the weight. Pressing can be closer to the top of the maximum number of sets for the week since they are less of a recovery problem. Use accessory lifts to hit weak points and prevent muscle imbalances, but do not train them so hard that they take away from your heaviest compounds.
Week 3 is the start of the challenge. We want to push ourselves without going to failure. For Block 2, your goal is to build up your workload beyond what you could do on Block 1. This means that the more volume you can handle and recover from, the better.
I like to rest as much as I need before I do a top set for my key exercises. This assures that I give my maximal performance.
Afterwards, I drop the weight to something more manageable (usually around my week 3 weight) and do straight sets at 1 RIR with a given rest period. After my top set, I will drop the weight and try to get a volume PR where I pick a challenging weight that I usually do for only one set (of say, 4-6 reps) and attempt to do multiple sets (each set within the 4-6 rep range). This is a great way to test how good my form is and build confidence in it.
Above all else: Make sure your rest periods are not too short where it compromises your form! Rest periods are always a second priority to form.
Fill out the table with your expected weights and sets before you go workout, so you have a clear mission. Then adjust based on actual performance.
Here’s how I would fill it out for a workout: