Let’s Talk Details
1. The Plan
2. Your Job
1) Barbell Flat Bench (Key)
2) Barbell Row (Key)
3) Barbell Overhead Press
4) Weighted Pull-ups
5) Barbell Bicep Curl
6) Banded Overhead
If you need to change any exercises: (not recommended)
Use your own judgment for this block if you need to change. Pick the exercises you are going to improve at, stick with them over the next few weeks, and get it done. We want to finish this block strong.
On your key exercises, I want you to do your top sets and then do an intensity technique which is something to take you beyond failure to do more effective reps to stimulate maximum growth.
The technique I want you to use is called Drop Sets.
You will perform your working set at a given RIR, put the weight down and grab a lower weight (reduce it 25-33%), and then you will do more reps until you finish at the given RIR again.
Now this last part is your choice, which should depend on your recovery:
Option 1: You can do a drop set intensity technique on EVERY working set, but only if you are recovering. Keep in mind, every time you do more volume, the more you will reduce your recovery in the weeks to come.
Option 2: I would recommend that most people only do the drop set intensity techniques on the last set. This will make sure that you do not accumulate fatigue too quickly in the block. Then at the end of the block, you can go crazy and drop sets on as many sets as you want when recovery becomes less of a concern.
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 may 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 30 reps with your accessory lifts this week.
For your key lifts, I would recommend that you reserve your intensity techniques for week 2,3, and 4. Week 1 is a great time to heal from the previous week and practice your form on the new exercises. However, if you feel good, try it on the last set of your working set or on your top set if you prefer to do one main heavy set.
The weight you choose for the high rep range in accessory lifts has a large range of correct weight choices. Be prepared to use your form and lifting tempo as tools to make whichever weight you choose hard enough to be considered the right weight. You will notice that if you rest in between reps, you can do a lot more reps. Save this for later in the block. For week 1 and week 2, do NOT rest in between reps. Get a huge pump.
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. This is the most important metric to follow!
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.
During this final block, challenge yourself to rest slightly less during the accessory movements to get a huge pump. Also, these lower rest periods will prevent you from doing as much weight and it will offset the fatigue caused by the intensity techniques on your key lifts.
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: