This is the sixth installment to my series documenting my experience with the powerlifting/strongman template created Sebastian Oreb. 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 up overall power for competing in strongman events.
Check out my weekly training vlog here!
Squats: 3×3: 405lbs
My squat technique is coming back, second week of performing regular squats. I did experience a slip in technique and lost tension in the body at the bottom of the squat, which lead to a really inefficient squat on the ascent. Otherwise, the weight felt solid, at an RPE 8.5. I did opt to go without knee sleeves or wraps for a change and didn’t notice any detrimental effects on my knees during the squat or any ill effects afterwards.
I haven’t noticed any negative effects with squatting in regular soled shoes either. I’ll continue the rest of the program in the regular Reebok Crossfit shoes and then switch back to a heeled lifting shoe on my next training cycle.
SSB Reverse Lunges: 3×10: 110lbs – superset – SSB Single Leg Calf Raise: 3×10 110lbs
Saving a bit of extra time and getting in a little bit of condition by supersetting these two movements. The lunges are feeling better, albeit still weak, after performing a variant for six weeks now. How much it’s contributing to the squat is yet to be determined. However, from a ‘pump’ perspective, these two movements combined together get the blood flowing to the entire leg and feel like I’ve accomplished something, whilst taking the load off of my back.
Rowing: 25 minutes – 5235 meters / 295 cals
I’ll take this time to point out another problem with some training programs. Last week, I rowed for 20 minutes and reached 4344 meters, which breaks down to 217meters per minute. This week I rowed at a rate of 209 meters per minute. Even though I rowed further, I rowed at a slow rate. The issue I want to point out is that it’s hard to compare the two data points, since the goal posts moved. I’m comparing 20 to 25 minutes. This five minutes may not seem like a lot, but it’s still a difference that leads to an apples to orange comparison.
High Incline Press: 3×3: 215lbs – superset – Weighted Chin-ups
The movement still felt unstable and unfamiliar. I am not used to not being able to move my head out of the way. The template’s prescribed 225lbs last weeks weight at 4×4, which I was still unable to achieve this week for 3×3. I’m not sure if there’s an issue with the program calculator or if I am sufficiently weak in the shoulder joint (more likely). But I am hoping that next week I’ll be able to get 225lbs for a 2×2.
The chinups felt great, I was able to add some weight to the chin ups which is helping keep my lats built and from an aesthetic point of view, a great way to build the V-taper for summer.
Beltless Overhead Press: 3×8, 145lbs -Superset- Fat grip Row: 3×8, 105lbs
My standing overhead press is feeling great. From a movement standpoint, even the beltless variety is feeling great. My body is getting acclimatized to the movement and I think all the upper body pressing and pulling is helping build the musculature necessary to press some heavy weights overhead. Since a lot of strongman events require some variant of overhead pressing, I am happy to see the heavy focus on overhead pressing in this template.
My grip is still weak, I am not sure if this is cheating or not, but if I wrap more of my hand around the larger diameter grip – as opposed to trying to pinch it, I am able to feel more solid with the weight in my hand.
1″ Deficit Deadlift: 3×3: 405lbs
The conventional grip deadlift is feeling great again. I’m looking forward to removing the 1″ deficit and pulling from the floor. The 1″ deficit doesn’t feel like it affects my setup too much, so I think my technique when we remove the deficit will only take a few sets to get over. These were closer to an RPE9 for the sets across.
Instead of walking around in small circles like I did last week, I chose to walk to the end of the platform, drop the weight and turn around unweighted. This way I wasn’t leaning to one side, whilst walking in a circle. The movement felt a lot better this way. I also found this to be a great way to accidentally workout the quads with the trap bar deadlift pattern.
Romanian Deadlift: 3×8: 315lbs
My grip was fried at this point, so I had to use straps to keep the weight up. I don’t like using the alternate grip for RDLs, nor can I use the hook grip. So for higher rep training like this, I like to use straps, this way both of my shoulders stay in a more symmetric position.
Bench Press: 3×3: 270-275lbs -Superset- Weighted Pull Ups
The bench press continues to feel great and the one movement this week that I was able to push a little bit past the prescribed weight. This is one of those times where the warmups didn’t feel that great at all, but the 270lbs felt super solid and closer to an RPE 7. So I conservatively jumped up to 275lbs for the last two sets and they both felt strong and solid, RPE8.
Performed weighted pullups with 25lbs with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip for a great superset.
Low Incline Press: 3×8, 205lbs -Superset- Pendlay Row: 3×8, 155lbs.
The incline press was a decrease from last week’s weight of 215lbs. Potentially from the increase in weight’s used in the flat bench. In an effort to keep the workload hard, I reduced the rest times in between sets.
My lower back also wasn’t feeling up for the task and I had to drop the weight for the Pendlay rows. I slowed down the tempo and widened the grip for the Pendlays in an effort to increase stress without increasing weights.
I do think that the simplicity of the program is a double edged sword. On one side the ability to switch things up on the fly is great, however the lack of direction with the perceived intensity has the potential to leave weight on the table or push the body too hard. For what the template was designed for – a highly experienced training individual (Hafthor Bjornssen), I can see this not being a problem. However, for the general population, the program could do with a bit more guidance.
Tune in next week for a review of week 7!