New Strength Cycle
We will be starting a new strength cycle this week. This strength program will feel very different than what we have done in the past. It is a lot lower in total volume (number of reps), but it still very effective. The 5/3/1 cycle is based on the principle that “less is more”. The goal is to provide a stimulus to our bodies without over taxing it. The key to this cycle is small, incremental changes over time. The first few weeks will feel “easy” and that is OK. Try to resist the urge to add more weight than the prescribed percentages. While it may seem counterintuitive to take weight off the bar when the goal is to add weight to it, starting lighter allows you more room to progress forward. This is a very hard pill to swallow for most lifters. They want to start heavy and they want to start now. This is nothing more than ego, and nothing will destroy a lifter faster, or for longer, than ego.
For the next few phases of our training, will be focusing on “rep records” rather than a true 1 Rep Max. For instance, during your first phase, if you squat 225×4 and 3 weeks later you squat 225×7, that is a sign of improvement.
This first phase of the cycle will last 4 weeks. After that I will be adding an additional option for those of you who want a little more out of the strength programs. As I program throughout the year, there will be periods in our cycles with higher volume/intensities and also purposeful “breaks”. I feel that it is important to cycle different types of programs throughout the year. This will prevent overuse injuries and not let our bodies get too used to a specific stimulus. Shifting from heavier to lighter periods also serves as a “form check”. Use these lighter periods to fix any technique issues that may have crept up during the heavier phase of our lifting. If you struggle with depth at maximal loads, focus on hitting full depth and positioning in the lighter lifts.
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