Let’s Talk Details
1. The Plan
2. Your Job
Barbell Flat Bench
Close-grip Barbell Flat Bench
Dumbbell Flat Bench
Dumbbell Incline Bench
Test your limits this week:
Keep the mental intensity high.
Warm up with intention.
Commit to Perfect form.
Make each rep count.
Prove something to yourself this week.
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, so pick the weight that allows you to stay in the rep range. If you miss rep range on the last set, that is completely fine. However, if you change your technique to grind into the rep range, that is a mistake. It is better to do less reps with perfect technique than more reps with ugly grinder reps. We want IDENTICAL reps.
If you miss rep range on the first set, I would highly recommend you lighten the load. It is okay if you need to do a similar weight to last week. We are thinking about long term progress rather than a single day or a single week.
Don’t forget that the goal here is to set yourself up for the next couple blocks. Avoid lifting more weight for your ego. Instead, have an ego about your impeccable technique!
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 really challenges my technique to see where my strength is at. I always try to shoot for a rep PR where I pick a weight that I have never done before in the 4-6 rep range. After that I will drop the weight and focus on my technique for the rest of the sets to finish the rest of my volume work.
Try to finish all sets at 1 RIR. Do your best to avoid technical failure. Definitely do not go to muscular failure if you can help it.
Whenever you lift to failure (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 technique.
In short: Your reps are going to fall, but do not break technique.
This is the week where you have to be a machine in your technique. If you break form, the weight is too heavy or you lost your focus during the set.
This is how you start to identify your limits. Even though you are training hard this week, technique is your number one priority.
Week 4 is war week. You will accumulate more fatigue this week, but do not go all out. Simply test where your strength levels are at with perfect execution, and then begin thinking about how the next block is designed to build up a little more volume before it is time to peak your strength.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 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: