Let’s Talk Details
1. The Plan
2. Your Job
1) Barbell Deadlift (Key)
2) Barbell Back Squat (Key)
The volume will start higher and drop. Our goal is to unload fatigue while we maintain heavy lifting. This is the only time we will start with more sets in the beginning.
If you need to use lower volume this week to recover from last week, that is your call.
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.
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 reps may come up slightly from the previous week which is a chance to get a small break before we continue building volume with practicing technique.
The goal is to practice your technique to lift the most weight possible in a stable way in the weeks to come. It is important to start week 1 at the top of the rep range, so as the weight increases over the weeks and the reps fall, you will still fall within the correct range. This means you will want to pick a weight that allows you to do 5 reps with your key lifts and 12 reps with your accessory lifts this week. The rep range is in the bodybuilding rep range to help you maintain your muscle mass as you drop volume over the coming weeks to unload fatigue and peak your strength.
This weight selection criteria applies to Key Lifts Only.
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.
75-85% of 1 rep max (1RM) means that you will use around 3 quarters 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. This is a weight that you should be able to do a maximal effort set of 6 with.
A weight where reps fly for an exercise is one that makes you feel like you feel like you are moving the weight at near maximal speed. However, this will not be play weight, so stay focused!
Accessory Lifts are meant to maintain muscle to augment your weak points. I would recommend that you lift lighter weights on these and use them to train muscles more like a bodybuilder. Stick to 4 RIR and try to get a good stretch on the muscle, hard contraction, and huge pump.
We are starting with the highest number of sets on week 1. We will cut down from this number over the next few weeks.
Our goal is no longer about doing more work, it is about doing less work and higher quality work. Treat each rep like you are in a competition. We want to drop the number of sets to reduce fatigue while the weight increases and the nervous system becomes primed to lift maximum weight. This is how you peak your strength.
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 which is good for the first week by keeping fatigue low and allowing more thorough technique practice.
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: