For this block we're talking about raising your strength levels in a high repetition zone. Namely something in the 20-30 rep range. This won't be done with a single set however. Generally a version of rest/pause training will be used until these reps are reached, then over the weeks you want to lower the number of rest/pause rounds it takes to get there.
One of the things that came to mind when the elite repping numbers were thrown out there, was that most every lifter that could hit X amount for a single, could also hit X amount for reps. For example, almost all of the 500 pound bench pressers we knew, they were all in the 315x18-22 rep range. The guy that could squat 405x20 was also usually good for somewhere around 650. The deadlift was a little different, but you get the idea.
Now let me say right up front, that just because you can rep 315x20 that doesn't mean you can hit 500 for a single but I can bet you'll be in ball park range. Certainly if you can only hit 315x13 and raise that to 18-20 your single should have gone up as well. If not, you are the exception and we don't use exceptions to make the rule.
Goals for this block -
The goal for this block is to hit something that has some kind of coloration to a certain max. I will lay out the projected max and the weight associated with it in regards to 20 reps for some landmark weights......
Projected Max = Weight you need to hit for 20 reps
185 = 115
205 = 135
225 = 145
250 = 160
275 = 175
300 = 190
315 = 200
335 = 210
365 = 230
385 = 245
405 = 255
425 = 270
455 = 285
475 = 300
500 = 315
550 = 345
585 = 370
605 = 380
635 = 400
650 = 410
675 = 425
700 = 440
750 = 475
800 = 500
Again, I can't emphasize enough that just because you can hit 20 reps with that weight doesn't mean your max will in fact be that, however it will probably be ball park, especially if you increase your repping strength while doing some 80+% work as well. I also think that the lower end of the scale will be off more because a guy that can rep 115 might not be able to even get close to 185. However 315x20 on bench, for example, consistently lines up with guys with around a 500-510 bench. 230x20 is usually consistent with a guy that hits 350-365. You get the idea. If you use your calculator for a minute you will figure out pretty quick that the number used there is 63%. So 63% of your 1RM is usually about what you can do for 20.
The Plan -
This block is fairly straight forward. You're going to pick a weight you would like to be good for max wise, and work towards that for the entire 6 weeks. Let me emphasize that if you can't bench 185 right now, to go check out some of my beginner or skinny guy training articles then come back when you are there.
The over-warm up and the plan -
Set your goal for the big 3 for the cycle. I urge you to be conservative. The most surefire way to fail is to get overzealous in your planning and try to add 500000000 pounds to your 160 pound max squat. Don't do that. If your max is 225 shoot for a nice 5% bump. That's around 235. So just say 235*63%=150 (rounded up). This will be your repping weight.
However you aren't going to walk in, do a warm up, then start repping. What I mean is, this is how it generally works for most guys.
They decide to bench. They are going to rep with 245 that day. They do 135x10, 185x5, 225x1, then rep 245x9 or whatever.
This is not the best way to go about this. I have consistently found that doing an over-warm up then coming back to the lesser weight allows for more reps to be done. I'm not going to toss around terms like "CNS" (because the CNS does not have anything to do with lifting weights I hate to tell you) or shit like that. But I have seen this a thousand times. Doing a proper over-warm up will consistently let you do more reps on the back off sets, so long as the over-warm up is not too taxing. If you're start breaching that 93-98% barrier with some grinding on those lifts, the back off repping sets will be hard as well. So let's lay some ground work for proper over-warm ups.
First set - the bar
There is nothing wrong with going in and warming up with the bar for a lot of reps. This has saved me some potential injuries by working out early kinks before getting some weight on the bar many times. For deadlifts just do stiff legs with the bar. For squat and bench, just squat and bench. Do 20-50 reps and get everything loose.
Second set - 30% of your projected max for the cycle x 10
This set would be super light and feel good.
Third set - 50% of your projected max for the cycle x 6
Again, this should be light and easy.
Fourth set - 63% of your projected max for the cycle x 3
This is your repping weight for the cycle. Again, this should be very easy.
Fifth set - 75% of your projected max for the cycle x 1
Don't rush this because it's light. Be slow and controlled on the descent and explosive on the positive portion of the movement.
Sixth set - 63% of your projected max for the cycle x maximum reps until 30
This is the money maker. This will be hard and suck ass, especially on squats and deadlifts. I do understand that you can't rep 30 reps with 63% of your max, which is why we will do it with rest/pause and/or have timed rest periods within the set.
So the set might look like this for bench...
63% x 17
rest 30 seconds
63% x 7 = 24 total
rest 30 seconds
63% x 4 = 28 total
rest 30 seconds
63% x 2 = 30
Obviously your goal for the next week is to get the reps in fewer rest/pause rounds or increase the reps in some of those rounds. So the following week you might get the first round for 19 reps, but then it still takes 3 more rounds to get to 30. That's ok. You still made progress from the week before.
Laying out the rest/pause and timed rest -
For squats and deadlifts the timed rest is 60 seconds. For bench it's 30. That's it. What I do suggest is, that you leave some in the tank instead of approaching failure. This way you don't need quite as many rounds to make the 30 reps as you did before. Second, the truth is you want to bust upwards closer to 40 reps by the end of the cycle if possible. The 6th week is a testing week so you will go all out anyway. So be wise in your effort on the sets to make the reps.
The whole block -
This is the whole block laid out. There is no overhead pressing day because the calculations don't work out as well. Plus, our goal was a 315x1 overhead. The hypertrophy and strength day has a day all for overhead work so use that time to work on it there. But since overhead work does matter you will still do some overhead work on bench day here.
Day 1 - Deadlifts
Day 2 - Bench
Standing Overhead/Dips (alternate)
Day 3 - Squats
The percentages for the big 3 over the next week look like this on a week per week basis......
Week 1 -
63%xmax reps - 30 seconds between bench effort and 60 between squat and dead effort to 30 reps
Week 2 -
Week 1 -
Week 3 -
Week 4 -
Week 5 -
Week 6 -
Week 1 -
63%xmax reps without rest/pause or timed rest. You go all out for 1 set here.
Some notes on this block -
I cannot stress enough that you should do this block AFTER the conditioning block. You don't want to try to do this block out of shape. The squats and deads will eat you alive.
How do you know when to try for more than 30 reps? On the last timed set. So if you get 22 and then 7 on bench you know you're going to cross 30 on the next one almost for sure. Go all out and get as many as possible there. Always go all out on the last round if you are going to cross the 30 rep mark. This should make sense and I shouldn't have to explain it over and over again. If you get 18 reps, then 8, then go all out on the last one to get 30+. This is simple, don't over think it.
If your question is "can I go for a new 1 rep max on the 6th week" my answer would be NOOOOOO! WTF? Don't bastardize my shit. The point of the block is to increase your ability to rep big weights. If you want to add a 7th week and try a new max, fine. Take the next week off and start a new block of whatever you want to do. But the point of the 6th week is to bust out something grand with the weight you have programmed in for the block. Not go for a new max. If you do a shit ton of reps with a weight you could only hit 12-15 with before, you got stronger. Ok? If your next question is "why do you wave the top single" well that's because we want to constantly stimulate top level strength through each block no matter what. In this block your top level strength is still kept "alive", in the conditioning block it is trying to be maintained, and in the hypertrophy block it's pushed with your heavy sets of 5.
Don't do more shit after the chins, dips, presses, and leg curls. The point of this block is to get better at the big 3. Not a bunch of other crap. If you want to change all of those out for a different movement, fine. But you could just do the big 3 for this cycle and that would probably be enough all by itself. It's only 6 weeks. You're certainly not going to get weaker.
Conditioning - Well the lifting in this one is part of the conditioning. You should be busting ass pretty good with the limited rest. With that said, I advise 1 hard day of conditioning, usually on squat day or the day after. Then a couple of days of walking. However because the squats and deads will push the breathing efforts, I don't see conditioning maintenance as much of a problem here, even without doing a day of hard conditioning.