Thor’s Power Program: Phase 1 Week 4

This is the fourth installment to my series documenting my experience with the powerlifting/strongman template created Sebastian Oreb. Find the preceding weeks here: week 1, week 2, week 3.

This is the final week of the first phase of the program. Creating a lot of general strength and endurance via higher rep and set ranges with moderate amounts of weight.

Day 0 – GPP/Cardio

Rowing: 20 minute – 4090meters / 226 cals

Superset 1: chinup – kneeling ab weel rollouts – 100lb sandbag over shoulders

Superset 2: chinups – pushups – Stone to shoulder

Today’s workout was not at all part of the program (obviously) however, I did feel it was necessary to include this GPP session, as it most likely the contributing factor to extended fatigue experienced over the week. My personal experience training has also indicated that I do better when I have a deload week at around week 4 or 5, this too might explain the poor performance over the course of this weeks training. Now onto the actual program training overview.

Day 1

Safety Bar Squats: 5×5 at 365 – 355lbs

Today’s workout was super fatiguing. Potentially, it could be attributed to the stone lifting/GPP day that I completed the day before. The program does warn that if you add in extra cardio/GPP days that it may affect performance in the program, this makes a lot of sense once you experience it.

The sets felt heavy from the first working set, the second last set felt close to an RPE9, so I dropped the weight so I wouldn’t fail the lift. Although the program doesn’t include any subjective scale of intensity, it only states that if your form starts to fail, you should reduce the weight. I think the program could be improved by including an RPE scale for each movement to account for any extra stressors that a participant may be going through that would affect their performance on a daily basis.

SSB Bulgarian Split Squats: 3×10 at 90lbs

Using less weights than week 3, probably step backwards. Since this is an accessory movement, it’s purpose is to build the some extra hypertrophy via volume into the session. Nobody really cares how heavy your accessory lifts are, since they’re not the main lifts. Still, fatigue is probably built up and dropping the weights down on this day probably served as a mini-deload day from squats.

SSB Single Leg Calf Raise: 3×12 90lbs

Much lower weights from last week, however, I would argue this is because of the change in technique. If you watch the video, you will see that I’m going through a longer range of motion, actually touching the heel on the floor and pushing myself a little bit higher than usual. This is probably the range of motion I should have been completing for the previous three weeks.

Overall, the weights moved today might not have been a big improvement or tracked along with the prescribed progress, but all the movements felt great from a technical/movement pattern standpoint.

Day 2

Overhead Press: 5×5, 155lbs -superset- Weighted Chin ups 10lbs

The overhead press is also feeling quite good. The weights lifted were a 10lb jump from last week, which is great. The technique didn’t break down during the sets across and my shoulders felt great afterwards. The more I practice this technique, the better it is feeling and I think the weights that are being used are catching up, not necessarily because of an increase in strength, but an improvement in technique.

The weighted chinups came back this week with the regular sized pull up bar. I didn’t feel strong enough to increase the weights used from two weeks ago.

Incline Bench Press: 4×10, 155 – 135lbs -Superset- Pendlay Row: 4×10, 185 – 155lbs

I used one of the higher settings on the incline bench (I hadn’t used this angle before), thinking it more of a decline overhead press, rather than an inclined bench press. I was a bit too ambitious for the first few sets with the weight choice, so had to step the weights down over the course of the four sets to 135lbs, which became close to an RPE9.

The Pendlay rows also had to drop down in weight over the last half of the sets performed. I didn’t have to decrease the load that much, but my back wasn’t feeling up for the task that day.

Day 3

1″ Deficit Snatch Grip Deadlift: 5×5, 340lbs

The one thing I’m noticing with the program is the longer periods of back fatigue and soreness during the course of the week. The consistent thing being trained almost every session is the back, from the SSB squats, to the accessory rowing and pullups on upper body days, to deadlift days. The back is getting direct stimulus four days of the week. This may be a factor as to why my back feels sorer for longer during this programming.

The deficit deadlifts this week were tough. I struggled to complete the five sets at the same weight. The complete sets was probably completed at an RPE 9-9.5 . Not for muscular failure, but more due to an overall feeling of fatigue.

Romanian Deadlifts: 3×10, 135lbs -superset- Good Mornings: 3×10, 140lbs

Much lighter weights handled this week. Due to the lighter weights of this week, I decided to switch to much shorter rest periods, and instead of the full 2-3 minutes, I went with 90-120 second rests in order to at least increase the stress on the muscle without having to increase the weights being used.

Day 4

Bench Press: 5×5, 255lbs -Superset- Pendlay Row: 5×10, 185lbs

My upper body hasn’t really felt too beat up during the last week. Especially when compared with my back and lower body. I did experience some odd sensation in my right arm at the bottom of the bench press, with what could only be described as being similar to numbness when you fall alseep on an arm. However, the feeling didn’t prevent me from continuing with the workout, I was still able to output the same strength levels. I have used the foam roller on my back and lats and tried some self myofascial relsease with a theracane, in the days following. I will see what happens next week with the bench press.

The weights used in the Pendlay row, again was similar to those used earlier this week and last week. So no progression in intensity, and the same amount of volume.

Low Incline Bench Press: 4×10, 185lbs -Superset- face pulls.

Much like last week, I supersetted the face pulls for every set of the accessory bench movement, which ended up being seven sets of 10 reps.

The same sensation in my right arm was still slightly there during the incline bench press, however because of the slightly decreased range of motion at the bottom of the rep, it didn’t interfere with the lifting at all.

The day after the lifting, I didn’t have any pain at all in my arm or shoulder. So whatever the sensation was during the benching, wasn’t anything serious.

Thoughts

I think the program could use a deload week. Due to there not being an explicit autoregulating function, such as RPE or %1RM weight selection, it would probably be best to include a deload week to account for the pushing of the body for so long. I think my body just auto-regulated with the increased fatigue in this week.

Tune in next week for a review of the first week of Phase 2 (Week 5)

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