Let’s Talk Details
1. The Plan
2. Your Job
Overhead Press (Key)
Deep Leg Press (Key)
Close-Stance Leg Press (Key)
Push Press (Key)
Barbell Back Squat (Key)
Overhead Press – I want you to practice getting as tight as possible before you initiate the lift. This means pulling your chest up by flexing your back, having a slight lean back to center the barbell over the center of your foot, bracing your abs, squeezing the bar hard, and keeping the legs tight to be a strong base. When you initiate the lift, focus on moving the elbows up and then out as you pass the face. Move your head through to get under the bar as you finish the lift and lockout.
Deep Leg Press – Cutting the range of motion short ends up with more time putting plates on the leg press than stimulating the muscle. Focus on getting the leg press deep with heeled shoes and warmed up hips and ankles. A wider stance can be a great stretch on the adductors and glutes when the knees come out and move towards your shoulders. It is your choice which stance you want to focus on. I like to use the same stance as my squat on the leg press platform.
Close-Stance Leg Press – A close stance can look almost like a compound leg extension for the quads. Wearing heeled shoes can be very beneficial for placing more stress on your quads rather than your ankles. Make sure to control the weight and maximize your range of motion.
Push Press – As you lower the weight, focus on keeping your elbows under the bar. This will make sure that you are controlling the weight with your musculature. When you initiate the lift, you dip and drive and then dip again. This means that as you press, you will drop down into a quarter squat to get under the bar as fast as possible. This makes the technique much more efficient.
Barbell Back Squat – Make sure you are using your entire body. Use the feet to grip the floor. Think about squeezing the floor with your toes. Rotate the feet into the ground to generate more tension and get the knees out. Think about spreading the floor to get the legs and core tight. Practice your brace and consider using a belt. Bend the bar over your back to activate your lats. Make sure each rep is as tight as possible to stabilize the weight and be explosive.
Stay in a Good Spot this Block
You want to add just enough sets and weight to feel like you worked out, but it is not quite a challenge yet. You want a solid workout where you leave feeling accomplished.
Plan your workout and write down the weight, sets, and rep range in the Workout Plan PDF to get you ready for Week 2.
The rep range will be the same as the previous week. The only difference is that you may not be at the top of the rep range this week. This means you should still strive to hit 5 reps on key lifts and 12 reps on accessory lifts. Regardless of the number of reps you do, make sure they are improving the quality of your technique rather than detracting from it. Our goal is to find the way that lifts heavy weight with maximum repeatability and stability.
Start treating each set like a competition. From this point, you will be doing less sets, so you need to make each set count. Our goal is to maintain technique while we unload fatigue.
I encourage you to pick a single weight for your working sets for each exercise. As you add more sets, you will notice that on the last set, your reps are most likely to be the lowest to maintain 3 RIR as you get fatigued within the session.
As long as your last set is still in the rep range, this performance drop is okay and expected as your muscles get depleted. However, you need to keep your technique solid because that is our priority. Make sure you choose a weight that allows you to be at the top of the rep range for most (if not all) of your working sets. RIR 3 is the goal for each of your sets, however, it is possible that your last set may get closer to RIR 2.
Stay away from RIR 1! You do not want to build fatigue too fast or have to compromise your technique. It is better to have the reps drop and stay in the rep range. Achieving RIR 3 takes priority over staying at the top of the rep range.
The best way to have a good peak is to stay on top of your diet and sleep.
In regards to the deadlift, you may consider doing even less volume. Anyone who has a big pull may only need to do one set. It all depends on your individual recovery ability.
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: