Let’s Talk Details
1. The Plan
2. Your Job
Barbell Back Squat (Key)
Banded Goodmorning (Key)
Barbell Incline Bench (Key)
Single Arm Dumbbell Row (Key)
Barbell Banded High Bar Back Squat (Key)
Deficit Deadlifts (Key)
Barbell Flat Bench (Key)
Barbell Overhead Press (Key)
Barbell Back Squat – The lower you place the bar on your back, the shorter the lever your back will be. A short lever means you can lift more weight. However, the limitation is your ability to hold the weight low. It may place more stress on your wrists. Even with wrist wraps this can cause problems. Consider placing the bar lower when you are training for maximum strength at low rep ranges and use a slightly higher bar position when you are training to get generally stronger and bigger.
Banded Goodmorning – These are awesome. You do not need a ton of weights. Keep strict form and you will see how incredible these are.
Barbell Incline Bench – Consider doing these lighter to allow yourself better recovery for your flat pressing work. It may be beneficial to focus more on the way the weight feels rather than trying to lift maximum weight. Ultimately, the amount of weight and volume you do is dictated by your ability to recover. If you recover, you can do however much you want until you find your limit.
Single Arm Dumbbell Row – Keep the back straight. Arch the chest up as you row the weight. Get the elbow tight against the body to feel the lat contract. This is a great exercise to really feel the lat work.
Barbell Banded High Bar Back Squat – This is the ideal exercise for hitting your quads. Use this as your lighter day. Focus on the way the muscle feels and get DEEP.
Deficit Deadlifts – This is a great way to build the bottom of your deadlift. Avoid crazy deficits. 2-3” is usually sufficient. Focus on your brace at the bottom. The stronger you can get at bracing your abs, the more you will lift.
Barbell Flat Bench – Learn to use your leg drive to move the weight. You can get a lot of power out of the hole by pressing with your legs at the bottom of the lift. If you coordinate it properly, you will press at the same time as you flex your legs and you will get a nice pop off of the chest. Keep the butt on the bench, flex the abs, and think about driving your back into the bench harder as you use your legs to press yourself towards the headrest of the bench.
Barbell Overhead Press – Use this lift to improve your shoulder stability. Do not turn it into an incline press. Get the elbows in front of your body. Touch the barbell to your clavicle if you can. Try to get a full range of motion out of your shoulder joint. The weight comes over time
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 15 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.
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.
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. Males tend to overestimate how strong they are while females tend to believe they are closer to failure than they are: try to be unbiased. It takes practice.
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.
Think about each set as a chance to practice your technique. You want as much practice as possible, however, you cannot do more than you can recover from. Aim to get a little sore, never a lot, so you always are fresh to practice technique. On days where you practice technique specifically, make sure you are not overworking yourself. Those are days to get low fatigue practice.
Do enough sets where you struggle to maintain RIR 3 on your last set of each key lift. This is a great way to measure your effort to make sure that you are not going too hard too early but also that you are not taking it too easy.
Week 2 is the Goldilocks week. It is good quality technique practice that gives you an idea of what weights you could lift if you flipped the switch and went hard.
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: