Friday, November 4, 2011

Proper Programming

One of the reasons that I, you, and every other guy gets stuck in a rut for long periods of time is because of the inability to know when to change things that are no longer working.

You keep plugging away at singles for too damn long.

You keep doing high rep shit too long.

You do low volume too long.

You do high volume too long.

You run your conditioning phase out too long and get too skinny.

You drag a bulking phase out and get too fucking fat.

I've done all these (waves hand around at the list).

One of the reasons this happens is because training and programming has no phase.  And you have no goals.

I have to write/repeat this a lot but, what in the hell are you going into the gym for?  If you can't answer that, then sit down and figure shit out.

Second, not every template covers everything perfectly.  Especially depending on what you need.

Now I don't mean you're a god damn special snowflake and you need a special template.  What I am saying is, you may need to get in shape, so you will need to adjust how often you're lifting to maintain as much strength as possible.  Or maybe you need to get bigger so you need to adjust your volume and reps.

Your training programming should be centered around what YOU need in this given time.  But you need to be self aware enough of that, to make the proper changes.

So I'm going to talk about the three main templates/programs I pimp here, and why/when they should be implemented into your training phase.

Let me be clear here, any of these templates can be used to get bigger, stronger, whatever.  But some work a little better than others to do certain things.

LRB Template -

Best Time To Use - Offseason
Best for (in order) - Shoring up weak muscular areas / Prehab / Hypertrophy / Strength and Conditioning Mix

The LRB to me, is the best overall template to use to get in shape, maintain or build some strength, and take care of pesky ass problems that won't go away.  You should prioritize oft injured areas during this time, and shore up all of your muscular weak points.  You should also use this time to get your fat ass into shape and get leaner.

Remember, the "offseason", meaning the time of year you are not training for some type of competition, should be used to coast a bit, but fix some issues as well.  Now if you are a bodybuilder, your offseason is a little different.  That's when you make your money, but I'm referring to competitive athletes or strength athletes here.

So use this time to get in a lot of steady state cardio, some hard interval training, shore up any injured areas or areas you commonly get injured in, while trying to maintain as much strength as possible, or even add to the foundation a bit.


Best Time to Use - Anytime you need get bigger / Pre-Meet cycles
Best For (in order) - Building Mass / Building Strength

My bread and butter for years, in terms of building mass, was doing an over warm-up, then blasting a ton of reps with back off sets.  The only thing that even came close to this was DoggCrapp training.

Obviously the best time to run a mass gaining phase is when, well, you need to gain mass.

But I always have to emphasize this.  If you are not LEAN enough to start a mass building phase, then get leaner FIRST.  I have written about this a million times so I'm not going to rehash everything here.  If you aren't 10% or below in bodyfat, you have no reason to be shoveling endless amounts of calories into your mouth and "bulking".  Don't "bulk".  Gain quality mass.  Get lean first to do this.

Also, I like to use this phase before I go into a meet cycle.  This works really well.  Run a 6 week phase of to failure back off sets, take a week or so off, then get into a meet phase.  Which brings me to.....


Best Time to Use - Meet cycles
Best For (in order) - Gaining Strumph / Strength Peaking 

This one is easy.  Plan out around 11 weeks before the meet to run this cycle.  Three, three-week phases based around your opener, second, and third attempt.  Every third week is a testing phase.  

This is as simple as it gets.  

Conclusion - 

Know your role and understand where you are in terms of training phases.  You need to be self aware enough to understand the changes you need to make in order to move to a new level.  It just so happens these three phases approach things in the order I think you should be working towards.

LRB Phase - Get leaner / Shore up muscular imbalances / Maintain strength built or add some to it

Big-15 Phase - Get bigger / Gain lean mass / Build Strength 

Strong-15 - Get stronger / Peak for competition 

Post-Competition - Figure out where you need improvement and go back into the LRB phase

Rinse and repeat.  


  1. This is great post, Paul. It seems obvious after reading it, but as they say, common sense ain't so common.

  2. I've read this post a bunch of times to remind myself to not get too fucking cute with my programming and finish this damn cut.