Thor’s Power Program: Phase 1 Week 2

This is the second installment to my series documenting my experience with the powerlifting/strongman template created Sebastian Oreb. Check out week 1 here.

Check out my YouTube Training Vlog – Week 2.

Day 1

Safety Bar Squats: 5×5 at 335lb

As far as technical proficiency is concerned, squatting with the SSB is feeling more natural and knowing how to keep my upper back tight and solid is engraining as part of the movement pattern. As this weeks weight was heavier, I felt my body tipping forward more on the ascent, which is part of why the SSB is a great assistance movement for the squat. The ability to ‘fight’ the forward pull of the weight, will help with any ‘good morning’ squats that may occur with heavier weights.

SSB Bulgarian Split Squats: 3×10 at 90lbs

I was definitely feeling fatigued after the SSB squats. There was significant burning in the quads. I did start to feel my hamstrings get involved in the movement. After watching the video, my stance was too narrow and next week I’ll work on having the front and back foot further apart.

SSB Single Leg Calf Raise: 3×10 150lbs -Superset- kneeling ab wheels

The one thing that I have noticed with the the first phase of the program, is the lack of direct ab & arm work. I decided to add in some sub maximal ab movements throughout the week. I find the kneeling ab wheel rollouts to be my preferred ab exercise, mainly due to it’s novelty and I want to work up to being able to do ab wheels on the feet.

I may have to reduce the load on the calf raises, as I noticed towards the end of the set, I was half repping the last three to four reps.

Day 2

Overhead Press: 5×5, 140lbs

Doing 5×5 is deceivingly hard. The first set of five seems fine, but as the sets progress, the weight on the bar feels heavier and heavier. It’s a great balance for getting more volume in, as the technique starts to degrade as fatigue sets in, but because of the lower reps, each first three reps feels great and the last two require a lot of concentration.

Weighted Pullups

Keeping the concept of progressive overload in mind, I decided to add 10 pounds to these rather than increase the quantity. I didn’t want to go too big of a jump for this many reps (I can add 55lbs for 5 reps) since I still wanted to be able to make it through the amount of volume prescribed without reducing the amount of weight used.

Incline Bench: 4×10, 155lbs -Superset- Pendlay Row: 4×10, 185lbs

The incline bench was mainly picked because my new Rep Fitness AB-3000 FID adjustable bench (review coming shortly) arrived today and I wanted to use it. The pendlay row felt great this week, being able to make a big jump to 185lbs across the sets, probably a bit more momentum used in these sets.

The goal here is to be able to perform these two movements with equal weights, since they are both 10 reps, I should be able to drive up the incline bench weight to match the Pendlay row over time. The intention behind this is to create a little bit of symmetry and balance between the opposing muscle groups.

Day 3

Snatch Grip 1″ Deficit Deadlift: 5×5, 320lbs

I corrected the movement from last week and included the deficit part of the exercise. I simply used a 45lb steel plate to stand up on. With the deficit not being that large, it doesn’t affect the movement pattern too much. The added difficulty in the movement, which is a result of the 1″ deficit as well as the wider snatch grip, means that the weight used doesn’t have to be as heavy as a regular deadlift and the body can still be trained hard.

Not that soreness/DOMS is an indication of an effective workout or even that you are getting a good workout. I have noticed that my posterior chain doesn’t feel as fatigued over the course of the week after doing this movement, when compared with regular heavy deadlifts.

Romanian Deadlift: 3×10, 255lbs

These are feeling good. Still having to use straps to hold on the weight for this long. The extra volume on the hamstrings and lower back feel great. I have to consciously remember to maintain core bracing over this movement, especially with the higher rep ranges.

Good Morning: 3×10, 155lbs

Still sticking with relatively light weights with this movement. The fatigue in the lower back is emphasized with the good mornings. I really try and focus on the hamstrings, with a slower eccentric portion of the lift. My range of motion is quite limited on this movement.

Day 4

Rowing Machine: 5 minutes – 1045meters / 59 calories

I added a little bit of cardio to this weeks routine. Not a lot of cardio this week, I was planning on adding an extra day, but my schedule didn’t align. The lack of a GPP day in the program is a minor omission that I wanted to reintegrate.

Bench Press: 5×5, 240-245lbs -Superset- Pendlay Row: 5×10, 205lbs

The prescribed weight for this week was 240lbs, however, the weight felt pretty easy today, so for the last two sets, I decided to bump up to 245lbs and was able to manage the weight just fine. I never assumed that having a different bench would make that big of a difference, but benching on the new bench feels a lot better. Having a slightly wider pad, that also has a gripper pad gives a nicer, solid feel to the movement. It feels like I’m on top of the bench, rather than sinking into a bench.

Having the Pendlay row, right after deadlift day, my lower back still feels a little fatigued. But having a higher rep range on this day, means the weights can be slightly lighter, with the higher volumes. I don’t think there’ll be a 1:1 weight ratio for this movement, but at this current weight, my row is 83% of my bench, with double the reps.

Low incline bench 4×10, 155-165lbs -Superset- face pulls.

Again, wanting to utilize my new equipment, I opted for an incline bench variety, over an overhead press variant. The movement felt great as well, so I pushed the weight a little more from the second to fourth sets. The 165lb weight was the right weight selection, as it was close to RPE 9 for the last two sets.

I have started to slow down the speed at which I perform the face pulls, not having another set of bands to use, I’m unable to increase the resistance. My though was to increase time under tension by slowing down the movement. Next week I’ll be adding some more reps whilst keeping the tempo slow.

Day 5 – No Cardio

N/A

Due to scheduling constraints, I was unable to perform an extra GPP/Cardio day this week.

Tune in next week for a review of week 3!

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