Let’s Talk Details
1. The Plan
2. Your Job
Barbell Overhead Press (Key)
Barbell Row (Accessory)
Dumbbell Flat Bench (Accessory)
Cable Overhead Rope Extension Super Dumbbell Strict Curl (Accessory)
Smith-Machine Bulgarian Split-Squat (Accessory)
Hamstring Curls (Accessory)
Smith-Machine Standing Calf Raises (Accessory)
Your week 1 workout are for getting a feel for your technique, less so for what weight. Try to make each exercise work for you. Get a full range of motion. Squeeze the muscle on each rep. Control the weight down with intent. Feel the muscle stretch. Make the weight feel heavy by letting it pull on the muscle in a deeply stretched position. Flex between sets.
Do whatever you can to make a light weight feel like the best set of your life with each exercise.
If you need to change any exercises: (not recommended)
- Overhead Barbell press can be replaced with a dumbbells if desired.
- Bulgarian squats can be done with a smith machine, with dumbbells, or barbell.
- Hamstring curls can be done with a bodyweight leg curl (nordic) or a hinge movement.
- Use the standing calf raise of your choice. I prefer to do it with a smith machine.
- Any other exercise can be substituted with a machine or variation of your preference if needed.
These exercises are your tools for building your entire body. You control the tools, do not let the tools control you.
Stay in a Good Spot this Block
Picking the right amount of weight and sets is vital in the first week. It is better to start comfortably and challenge yourself in the following weeks.
As you read this section, think strategically about your workout and write down the weight, sets, and rep range in the Workout Plan PDF that set you up for success.
The goal is to start week 1 at the top of the rep range, so as the weight increases over the weeks and the reps will fall, you will still fall within the correct range. This means you will want to pick a weight that allows you to do 8 reps with your key lifts and 12 reps with your accessory lifts this week.
This weight selection criteria applies to both key and accessory lifts.
Weight selection is always an estimate that is confirmed by actual performance. Use these different metrics to identify the weight that allows you to stay at the top of the rep range for each exercise to give you leeway in the upcoming weeks.
4 RIR (Reps in Reserve) means that you should finish the set with 4 reps away from failure where you aren’t able to lift the weight without breaking form or at all. This does not have to be a perfect measurement. All that matters is that you are close to assure your weight is not too heavy or too light..
50-60% of 1 rep max (1RM) means that you will do approximately half of the weight of your 1 rep max for your sets. It is always better to go lighter than you think and control the weight more in the first week to make the weight feel heavier than it is.
A weight that Feels comfortable for an exercise is one that you could perform in the rep range if someone was to wake you up in the middle of the night and tell you to do a set.You might wonder why we are starting so light. It is important to develop coordination in exercises before trying to lift heavy because even if you lifted your hardest on week 1, you would lack the coordination to lift heavy weight effectively. By starting light, we limit fatigue and allow coordination to build over the weeks to lift maximal weights by the end of the block with great form and control.
This is the number of sets you will want to start with for each exercise in the first week.
We want to bias our training volume to focus on the most important lifts for each workout. Our goal is to stimulate the muscle but not annihilate it.
For the first week, try to do the fewest number of sets with the lowest weight possible by making lightweight feel as challenging as possible on each rep. This keeps fatigue low at the beginning of the block and allows room for growth over the weeks.
This is the amount of time you want to rest between working sets on week 1.
You can apply this rest period to warm up sets and between exercises, if you choose, but it is up to you. The main takeaway is that shorter rest periods between working sets prevent you from going too heavy to give you a good pump while keeping fatigue low.
Make sure your rest periods are not too short where it compromises your 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: