Let’s Talk Details
1. The Plan
2. Your Job
Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press (Key)
Stiff-Leg Deadlift (Key)
Push Press (Key)
Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press (Key)
Barbell Back Squat (Key)
Good Mornings (Key)
Visualize what you need to do.
Your success is in your hands.
Stay in a Good Spot this Block
If you have recovered well up until this point, this is your green light to give it all you got this week.
If you have questionable recovery now or later in the week, do your best to push through. This is not the week to seek comfort. Reduce the weights if you need to, but chase the pump and don’t accept no for an answer.
The rep range is the goal, but what matters is you work hard. If you miss rep range on the last set, that is completely fine. Week 4 is about giving it your all rather than abiding by the previous fatigue management rules.
If you miss rep range on the first set, I would still recommend you lighten the load. However, if it feels good then it is your call.
I encourage you to pick a single weight for your working sets for each exercise. In the final week, I like to pick a top weight that I only will be able to do one set within the given rep range to go all out. The sets afterwards will be down sets where I lift a lighter weight that is more manageable and allows me to perform clean sets.
Try to finish all sets at 1 RIR, but you may hit failure
Understand that every time you hit failure, you are not going to be able to lift as heavy on the exercises afterwards because of the toll it has on your nervous system. Consider dropping the weight by a little to stay in the rep range if you fail (0 RIR) before you get there.
Whenever you lift to 0 RIR, remember that there are two types of RIR. Technical Failure and Muscular Failure. Technical failure is when you have to break form to lift the weight which is where I recommend to stop the set. Muscular failure is when your muscle stops producing force and it stops the set. Usually technical failure comes before muscular failure, and if it does, stop there. It makes sure you reduce your chance of injury and continues to engrain good form.
In short: Your reps are going to fall, but do not break form.
Do as many sets as you need to get a massive pump. This is the week where you have the okay to work very hard. That means sets on sets of volume if you need it. A subgoal in this week is to identify the maximum amount of sets a given muscle can tolerate.
This is how you start to identify your limits. This makes sure that you know how much work you need to do to really test yourself. If you don’t know the limit, you never know if you are really training hard.
Week 4 is the war week. We don’t expect you to recover. And if you do, you know that you can tolerate more volume next block.
If you survive this week without any detriment in performance, it means that you did a great job limiting fatigue throughout this block. This takes a LOT of self control.
I like to rest as much as I need before I do a top set for my key exercises. This assures that I give a 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. I will do as many sets as I can to get a huge pump.
Try not to do too many sets on the first exercise if you start fatiguing. You won’t be able to do much on the rest of the exercises in the session if you overly fatigue yourself. Fatigue management and performance is a balancing act, but more importantly an art!
Above all else: 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:
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