Let’s chat a little about programming by first looking back two cycles when we were squatting twice a week. Remember that? Everybody hated it while it was happening, but loved the results at the end of the cycle. That cycle revolved around something called “The Texas Method”, an intermediate-level program that built upon weekly progress. Mondays were considered “high volume” because of the total tonnage lifted those days (pounds lifted x reps x sets = tonnage). The days in the middle of the week were considered “recovery days” because we never went over 80% of your maximum effort, so the intensity and volume was relatively light those days. Fridays were considered “high intensity” where the tonnage from Monday was focused into a new 5RM.
Let’s explain that further… so, on Monday, if you back squatted 315lbs for 5 sets of 5 reps, you lifted a total of 7,875lbs. On Friday, you back squatted 225 for 5, then 275 for 3, then 315 for 3, then 335 for 2, and then maxed out at 350 for 5 reps, for a total tonnage of only 5,315lbs. In this scenario, you can see that Friday isn’t actually a high volume day even though you lifted a big number for one set. On Monday, your highest set was lower than Friday’s highest set, but Monday’s total tonnage lifted was much higher than Friday’s total tonnage lifted. So, Mondays were high-volume and Fridays were high-intensity.
We had a high-volume cycle two cycles ago, but during the Open, we reduced our volume (in terms of total tonnage lifted) to focus more heavily on intensity. And we did that because you can’t have both high volume and high intensity for too long before your body is unable to recover. We have to balance volume and intensity over the long-run, and since the Open requires high intensity during those workouts, so we reduced total volume during that cycle.
The cycle we start this week is based around refining technique with a focus on building intensity, rather than volume. Form is typically hard to maintain with high volume, and thus the reason for keeping volume low this cycle. And, as the cycle progresses over the coming weeks, the last sets of our daily Strength work will move into the 90th percentiles, marking the return of “high intensity”.
As famed strength coach Mark Rippetoe said, “strong people are harder to kill.” If all else is equal, the stronger athlete will always win, because being stronger give us a bigger base for skill development. If you have two buckets, one small and one large, you can fill the small bucket with as many skills you want – 100 unbroken double unders, flawless handstand technique, super-fast 400m sprints – but your total potential is limited by the size of that small bucket. A bigger bucket gives you greater potential for fitness gains.
If Strength is your biggest focus, then we recommend making Thursdays and Sundays your rest days during this cycle. You gain strength when you’re recovering outside of the gym, so use those days to eat well, mobilize, and rest. If Conditioning is your biggest focus, then we recommend making Tuesday and Friday your rest days. If you just want to be fitter/healthier, then come whenever is convenient, throw out some high fives to others in class, and enjoy your training. Come in, work hard, and have fun. See ya in class! 🙂
Life: Find a heavy 3
Sport: First four sets are warmup sets between 60-75%. Final set is only working set at 80%.
In between sets, perform 1min KB/DB Suitcase Carries in a Figure 8 around/over your barbell (30sec ea hand) – HEAVY! Yes, this is a little weird, but we don’t have room for a full walk thru the gym. These are very useful, though, for building external obliques and grip strength.
40 Double Unders
8 Power Snatches – L: 95/65; S: 135/95
2. Magnesium Deficiency
3. 7 Truths About Intensity
4. 8 Primal Rules for Building Better Bones
5. 3 Reasons to Focus on the Weight You Lift instead of the Weight on the Scale