Programming - Where all the fuckin’ up starts
The biggest reason why guys training cycles get short circuited is because of ego.
The truth is, for most lifters, they don’t want to walk into the gym and use “normal” weights. Normal being relative, of course.
They want to be the king in the gym. If they have a 600 deadlift they want to deadlift 600 every week. So when they program in the phases they always program way too high. Then they get into week 5 and wonder why shit is starting to feel heavy. It’s because they refused to acknowledge that they really aren’t all that and a bucket o’ chicken.
People often have trouble coming to grips with their own mortality and inferior abilities. Programming in numbers is just another example of this.
It’s not until you overcome this that you can actually move past what you are capable of now.
That’s another sentence that you probably need to read a few times if you have been frustrated with your training.
Proper Programming - The 85-93-100 rule
Programming for success is not difficult if you adhere to the rules above concerning training philosophy.
So why does everyone have so much trouble understanding what to put in for a max when they start their programming?
Ego is the number one problem.
Put your ego aside, program in a nice little goal for phase 3, then program 85% of that for phase 1 and 93% of that for phase 2.
That’s it. It’s that simple.
But people fuck this up constantly.
Let me quote Ed Coan (again) about how to approach your gym lifting....
“ I always leave the heavy ones for meets. They don't mean shit in the gym and I'll end up overtraining. That's what I used to do when I was younger, but I could get away with it then. Overtraining is really common in powerlifting, just like bodybuilding.”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a guy say “I hit X amount in the gym before the meet, but I missed it on meet day. I don’t know why.” I would give this book out for free because I’d be rich and retired, banging Adriana Lima. But I’m not, even though I really really wish I were.
You only have so many big ones in you over the course of a training cycle. And I’m not talking about your sex life. Don’t be the guy that competes that is always talking about what he hit in the gym but missed at the meet. Be smart in your programming and reap the rewards.
If you don’t plan on competing, the rules still apply. You’re still trying to get as strong as possible. So put your ego aside and program in a way that sets you up for success. The truth is, you never have to take an absolute max attempt in the gym, to get as strong as possible. In fact, it’s probably counter productive in some ways. It takes longer to recover from these kinds of attempts, it poses a higher risk for injury, and you’re only doing it to demonstrate strength.
You don’t need to demonstrate strength to actually get stronger.
Each training session should build on the next, and each phase should build on the next one, until you are at peak strength. This will not happen if you are training at damn near max weights week in and week out. At some point either your strength will fall off for a while, or your body will give you a nice dose of forced rest in the way of an injury. Either way, both of these things curtail training progress.
So let’s show how Joe Lifter should do this.
Joe Lifter is good for a 405 squat. He knows this either because.....
- He squatted 405 just recently, and training has still been going good.
- He squatted 90% of that (365) for a triple. This is a fairly good indicator of being good for 405.
Joe is smart. He knows 405 would be a REAL max, so he just plans on hitting 415 in the next 9 weeks. So he plugs in 355 for phase 1 (85%), 385 for phase 2 (93%), and 415 for phase 3 (100%).
Joe busts through each phase, gets stronger and more confident. Easily goes 355, 385, 415 on testing day after a short deload. Takes a few days off, decides to go for 425 on his next go round.
Successful lifter is successful.
Now, Matt Douchefag on the other hand thinks he’s good for 405. Even though he’s only done 385 as a real hard grinder as a single and that was months ago.
Matt Douchefag plugs in 415 for phase 3, 385 for phase 2, and 365 for phase 1.
Matt Douchefag wonders why everything feels so heavy just a couple of weeks in, stalls in phase 2 and starts missing lifts. Matt Douchefag sucks, and so does his planning and programming. Matt Douchefag doesn’t know how to leave his ego aside and plan appropriately because he thinks more of his lifting than he should.
Matt douchefag should get beaten to death with an AIDS shovel because he wastes his time and my time, by asking me why his training failed when I’ve covered this on numerous occasions.
In essence, be Joe Lifter. Don’t be Matt Douchefag.
TNATION| Atlas Speaks: An interview with Ed Coan. http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_interviews/atlas_speaks