So I’ve talked and I’ve teased this program that I’m doing for the past few weeks now and now that I’m finally moved into my new place with the INTERNET and things have finally calmed down I can finally get to writing this up! I’ve tried many programs in the past and this one has been set up differently than what I’m used to – as it progresses from week to week within a training block, the volume remains the same but the weights lower by 5-7% (so intensity drops). Once you hit the next training block, the volume prescription drops but the weight increases above what you had started with from the previous block (intensity ramps back up), rinse and repeat until about Week 11-13.
I have tried multiple programs in the past: Starting Strength, 5/3/1, Sheiko, The Cube Method, Candito’s 6 Week Strength program, etc. and the one thing they all had in common was their setup for LINEAR PROGRESSION (you could argue some wavered slightly but the theme was the same!). Simply put, linear progression allows you to make gains in the heavy ass weight department by slowly ramping up the intensity – doing more sets/volume with lighter weight to get you acclimated for the heavier stuff which ramps up and up and up the more your body gets used to it.
And linear progression has always been a tried and true method of establishing a good strength base… for at least the beginner or even moderate lifter. Once you move develop your CNS to a point with linear progressive training you will eventually run into diminishing returns and you will need to change your plan/program to continue to allow yourself to gain strength (for most of us, anyway).
Enter a man with a different train of thought. A man who is an IPF World Champion with a world record in the squat, bench and total as well as the HIGHEST WILKS EVER (691)…
… Blaine Sumner.
Just this summer Blaine launched his own website, www.blainesumner.com, and as part of the launch (you can still do this now!) he included 5 of his programs FOR FREE. I took a look at them and settled on what I thought would be most beneficial to me, his Frequency Freak program [he totally missed the opportunity to go with FREAKQUENCY but I digress].
This program is 12 weeks longs and is split into 2 main training blocks with two peak-specific week blocks leading into the last week for a potential PR. This is what the volume/percentages look like for the main lift within each week (2 accessory movements are included in Days 1,2,3 at varying percentages until Week 11 when they disappear. Day 4 is its own day with bands for each “big 3” lift at considerably lighter weights to make up for added band tension):
Week 1-4: 5×5, 78%/76%/73%/68% of max
Week 4-8: 4×3, 84%/82%/79%/74% of max
Week 9: 3×2 83%
Week 10: 2×2 88%
Week 11: 1×1 87%
Week 12: 1×1 102%
As you can see this program is a little different in the fact that the intensity actually decreases slowly into Week 4 before dropping the volume and ramping the intensity, slowly decreasing until Week 9 when the volume drops and intensity ramps again, and continues to do so through Week 12. Here is a graphical representation of Volume vs. Intensity through the 12 weeks:
This is the first program I have ever tried that actually tapers down the intensity before dropping the volume and ramping the intensity back up. Hopefully this “micro-deload” will help prep my CNS to get shocked for when the intensity ramps up and prepare it for heavier weight.
Most programs typically follow in a linear fashion where you consistently work up the intensity while keeping the volume the same (for example 225×5 benchpress in week 1, 235×4 in week 2, 245×3 in week 3 and as long as you hit all reps, reset to week 1 and now use 235 instead of 225, etc). Linear progression is an excellent gauge of strength but somewhere along the line you will eventually plateau and have to look for another outlet or style of training that will continue to let the strength gains come!
Hopefully thats what I’ll find here with Blaine Sumner’s FREQUENCY FREAK.
As a reminder, 2016 year end goals are still to hit a 300+ benchpress, 415+ squat and to hit 500+ with a sumo deadlift. With the way I currently have the program set up, I will be testing each of those on their own leading into the 12th week which will occur right in the middle of December [305 bench/425 squat/515 dead].
I’m looking forward to the challenge.