Home Blog Quick Programming Strategies: 4/28/09

Quick Programming Strategies: 4/28/09

Written on April 28, 2009 at 9:01 am, by Eric Cressey

I figured I’d start up a mini-series of sorts here where I discuss some of the little changes you can make to programs to get big results.

Many intermediate lifters get stuck in a middle ground with respect to heavy loading in their quest to build strength.  Obviously, they know that, as a general rule of thumb, they need to use some heavier loading at least once a week in the 1-5 rep range to build strength.  And, a lot of them (at least those who have read my stuff and other articles at T-Nation and EliteFTS) know that dynamic work – in this case, speed squats, deadlifts, and bench presses – is a great way to train bar speed and rate of force development – all while improving technique with submaximal weights.

So, here you have two separate training sessions out of the week: one for maximal loading, and the other for speed.  That said, a lot of these intermediates also are still new enough to the iron game that they can handle a bit more loading in the 85-100% range.

With that in mind, I’ll often plug in heavy “work-ups” following speed work.  So, a lifter might do eight sets of two reps on the bench press, and then work up to a heavy set of 1-3 reps after those eight sets.  This not only serves as a way to add in some extra volume in the traditional strength rep-ranges, but also allows a lifter to build in some testing to the program and continuosly monitor progress.

I’ll typically only do this 1-2 times a month, and as a general rule of thumb, it will come in a higher volume week that follows a lower volume week.  So, in my high-medium-very high-low set-up, it would take place during weeks 1 and/or 3.

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2 Responses to “Quick Programming Strategies: 4/28/09”

  1. Eric Lagoy Says:

    Good post Eric, I always wondered why there were a few heavy sets following the speed work every now and then. Makes a lot of sense.

  2. Benjamin Kusin Says:

    I like that trick a lot. It also got me to stop labeling “max effort day” and “speed day” so literally in my mind. I recently did a sumo 1RM at the beginning of a dynamic workout. I was supposed to do speed sumos but the warmups felt so good that I decided to max out. Why not? Sumo is less weight and less stressful for me than regular deads even if it’s 305lbs. I set an easy sumo PR then went on with the rest of the workout as planned.

    Likewise, i learned hi-rep assistance work is necessary, especially for skinny bastards like me. For too long my assistance work never broke 6 reps. I got away with this on lower body (although progress did get too slow) but my bench press stayed at 170 for over a year. Now with hi-rep assistance tacked on, I am clearly a bit bigger. Gotta have those hi-rep exercises cause ya can’t flex bone!

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