This is my workout cycle for the next 26-weeks. It is ideal for intermediate to advance lifters. I based the program on Brad Schoenfeld’s Max Muscle Plan, with some tweaks by yours truly. It is an excellent book; well researched with practical guidelines and suggestions.
The attached spreadsheet takes all the guesswork out of selecting the proper weights for each exercise. This training program is designed to vary your weights and repetitions from week to week (Undulating Periodization). Your training intensity will ramp up over the course of several weeks in an attempt to set a new personal record (PR). Each time you set a new PR, I recommend you re-calculate your 1RM and reprint the spreadsheet.
Some weeks will feel easier than others, but remember, we are training, not exercising. Our goal is to coax performance improvements over several weeks, not to set a new PR, every workout. Think of your strength training sessions as practice. Focus on perfecting your technique and increasing the motor units’ firing rate to accelerate the weight up, then lowering the weight in a controlled manner to maximize muscle stimulation and reduce your risk of injury.
1) Two-thirds of the sets you perform for each muscle group be basic compound lifts, like the squat, bench press, stiff-legged deadlift, chin-ups, presses, rows, etc.
2) Allow yourself to rest at least 3-minutes between working sets. You can perform sets for unrelated muscle groups during your rest intervals to perform more volume in less time (antagonistic muscles, abs, calves, etc.).
3) Avoid going to failure except where prescribed on basic compound exercises. When in doubt, use a slightly lighter weight. You can go to failure on most of your isolation exercises without overtaxing your ability to recover.
4) Follow the general guidelines as much as possible, especially if you are in a training rut. We all develop habitual ways of training. Remember, everything works until it doesn’t. If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten. The best program is the one you aren’t doing.
Terms and Explanations of the Program
Splits (Training Splits): How the body is divided for training, for example:
- Back&Chest-Legs-Shoulder&Arms: Back and Chest are trained in one session. Leg muscles in another session, and Shoulder & Arms in another session.
- Upper-Lower: Upper body muscles are trained in one session, Lower Body muscles in the next.
- Push-Pull-Leg: Pushing muscles of the upper body (chest, shoulders, & triceps) are trained in one session, Pulling muscles of the upper body (back, traps, & biceps) in the next session, and Leg muscles in the next (quadriceps, hamstrings, & calves).
Suggested Weights – Weights are based on your calculated 1-repetition max (1RM) for each exercise, which you determine for each major movement at the beginning of the cycle. The second spreadsheet tab allows you to calculate your 1RM, and it estimates what weights constitute your 5RM, 8RM, 10RM, 12RM, 15RM, and 20RM for each exercise.
I recommend keeping the 1 RM estimates and these program guidelines saved on your SmartPhone as a PDF in my Apple – Books app. I converted the excel file to a PDF, emailed it to my iPhone, then saved it in my Books app.
RIR – repetitions in reserve (how many reps in the tank/short of failure).
Volume – I provide a recommended number of working sets for large muscle groups (quad, hamstring, chest & back) in the far-right column. I recommend cutting that number in half for smaller muscle groups (shoulders, biceps, triceps, & calves).
Weekly Volume: the number of working sets per week performed for major muscle groups.
Myo-Reps: Are a type of rest-pause training. You perform your initial set, close to failure, rest for 15-seconds, then attempt to perform another set that is approximately 1/4 of the repetitions on your initial set. End the set when you cannot perform that number of repetitions. An example myo-rep set: 12 repetitions, rest 15-seconds, 4 repetitions, rest 15-seconds, 4 repetitions, rest 15-seconds, 3 repetitions – END SET. For a complete description, click this link – Myo-rep video.
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