The program consists of 12 weeks, dedicated to building power mainly for strongman and powerlifting competitions. The program is split into three different phases to build towards the squat, bench, deadlift and overhead press.
The first week was rough, after day two of the program, I caught a mild cold and opted to not train for three days.
I am not running the program exactly as prescribed, as I am lacking some of the necessary equipment to run it verbatim. I’ll also be adding an extra day for cardio, which mainly consists of steady state rowing over 30 minutes.
Overall, I think the first week went well, with some new exercises that I’ll be able to focus on technique proficiency whilst adding weight to the bar for the upcoming three weeks. The only thing I’ll add to next week’s cardio session is some direct ab and arm training.
Check out some footage of my week of training over at my YouTube channel
Safety Bar Squats: 5×5 at 322lbs
Honestly, I haven’t been utilizing the EliteFTS SS Yoke bar to it’s full extent and it’s clear that I am still unused to the movement. The balance of the camber takes a little bit of getting used to at heavier weights and how to exert force with my arms and hands. I’ve read articles for both pushing the handles and pulling the handles. Currently I am finding it feels best to pull the handles on the way down and then push them on the ascent.
SSB Bulgarian Split Squats: 3×10 at 80lbs
This would have to be the first time I have ever done this exercise. I have performed Bulgarian split squats in the past, many years ago. Also being a member of a commercial gym the last time I regularly performed this lift, I would have used dumbbells. I felt it best to use the SS Bar and hold on to the uprights, as this gave me a good sense of balance. The higher rep range definitely lead to a burn in the quads that I haven’t felt in a long time.
SSB Single Leg Calf Raise: 3×12 110lbs
I also haven’t performed any real direct calf exercises since owning a garage gym. Again, the SS Bar showed its versatility, allowing me to load the weight and maintain my balance whilst holding onto the uprights.
Overhead Press: 5×5, 135lbs
The overhead press continues to be my weakest lift. Not just because of the relatively light weights I am using, but mainly because I feel it the lift I am least technically proficient at. When the weights get heavy, my hips tend to lose balance sideways and I start to extend my lumbar spine. It is also one of the exercises I rarely did prior to 2017. So the more I get exposed to the lift, the more reps I’ll get in to practice the movement.
It’s good to see pullups in a strength program, unweighted I was able to perform 5 sets of 10 unbroken pullups. Again I have neglected pullups from my training for the better part of last year, opting for rowing movements instead. I think this will pay off well for my arm and lat growth in the future.
Close Grip Bench: 4×10, 185lbs -Superset- Pendlay Row: 4×10, 155lbs
I really enjoy this combination of movements, bringing me back to my bodybuilding training days. Working at this rep range really gets the blood pumping and I want to work towards a weight ratio of 1:1 for this superset in the future.
(This was the first day back after the cold and still feeling a little under the weather)
Snatch Grip Deadlift: 5×5, 310lbs
Another new movement for me. I had to switch to using straps to help with this lift, as I didn’t feel like an alternate grip at this width would be beneficial. The angle my wrists were at also didn’t feel great. The straps helped make the lift feel more secure overall. Focusing on keeping the lats engaged for the entire lift really helped make this deadlift variant feel super solid and effective at maintaining back tension for the whole deadlift. I can see how the carry over will help my regular deadlift in the future.
Romanian Deadlift: 3×10, 245lbs
I have recently preferred to start this lift from the floor, as it removes the necessity to walk out from the rack with weight and I get to practice another pull from the floor. I like to perform these to just below the knee. The lighter weight with higher rep range really helps isolate the hamstrings.
Good Morning: 3×10, 135lbs
These can also be performed with the SS Yoke Bar, I opted for the regular barbell. I tend to perform these with a lighter weight than I’m capable of. When the weight starts to get too heavy, I start to feel the movement less in my hamstrings and more in my lower back. I prefer to use this movement to target the hamstrings and try to tax the lower back as little as possible.
Bench Press: 5×5, 235lbs -Superset- Pendlay Row: 5×10, 185lbs
Very similar superset to day 2. This was one of those substitutions I had to make, as I didn’t have heavy enough dumbbells for single arm rows. Still a great superset as it works the opposing muscle groups. The rep differences allow a little recovery during the rows.
Beltless Overhead Press: 4×10, 135lbs -Superset- face pulls.
The weight was very challenging at this rep range and is going to help build the weak link in my technique with the 40 rep practices. I can also feel it help build the core with the stabilization for this amount of time under tension. I performed the face pulls with an EliteFTS long red band. These are great movements for shoulder stability and health.
Day 5 – Cardio Day
Row: 45 minutes: 450 cals / 8506 meters. Approx 6RPE
A nice session of steady state cardio. I like to perform steady state, over intervals, since I am technically performing intervals with the superset exercises during the week. My goal isn’t necessarily to get better at rowing, but more to get the blood flowing and improve my work capacity. I like to keep at a pace that I don’t feel out of breath and can carry on a conversation.
Tune in next week for a review of week 2!