The Complete Power Look Program – My progress

I just wrapped up the first phase of “The Complete Power Look Program” that I picked up off of one of my favourite training sites – TNation. The first phase was 4 weeks in length and I am now transitioning into the second, with 3 phases all together.

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 WHY I CHOSE THIS PROGRAM:

  •  4 years ago I transitioned from endurance training into heavy strength training in the pursuit of lots of lean muscle mass and continual increases in strength. I build my programs around the 4 main lifts – Squat; bench press; deadlift; and overhead press (push-press/military press). This program is built around these king exercises for 10 weeks, with changes to the reps/sets and the accessory exercises every 3 or 4 weeks.
  • This program uses the front squat instead of the back squat, and the push-press instead of the military press; which I absolutely love because my spine could use a break from heavy back squats, and I will benefit from the push-press since the military press is one my weakest exercises; the push-press will allow me to move more weight and use the eccentric phase to help build strength.
  • I chose this program to learn more about proper strength training programming. The use of % RM is something fairly new to me, as well as the manipulation of the set/rep schemes each week.
  • I have yet to incorporate exercises to correct weak areas in my main lifts such as the deficit deadlift, floor press, and top-half press from pins.  Therefor, I can’t wait to see my new 1RMs at the end of the program.

 MY CURRENT 1RMs

MY CURRENT 1RMS

EXERCISE WEIGHT(LBS)
Front Squat 120
Bench Press 90
Deadlift 200
Push-press 90

WEEKS 1-4: My thoughts and progress

  • Figuring out my weights for the accessory exercises, along with mastering the correct movement pattern for new exercises, always contributes to the challenge during my first week on a new program.
  • The deadlift from a 2 inch deficit challenged me the most; the increased forward lean made it harder to sit back on my heels. With that said, I feel like my low back and quads were more taxed than usual, but the whole posterior chain benefited from an increased range of motion.

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  • Getting a solid push-press technique down took me a few tries. Learning how much momentum to use, along with keeping a solid stance took time, but I improved immensely as the weeks progressed.
  • The bent-over barbell row with torso angled at 90 degrees attacked my mid/low traps and biceps.
  • The paused front squat was a fantastic incorporation of time under tension and my quads benefited.
  • On squat day, arms remain in the front squat grip position for almost the entire workout – very hard on the wrists if you aren’t used to it.
  • The Bulgarian split squat with a front squat grip was new to me, and it just made me love the split squat even more.
  • I have already seen an increase in the size of my triceps thanks to the floor presses, and significant anterior chain development thanks to the front squat and push-press.
  • I no longer work-out; I TRAIN.

WEEKS 5-7: My thoughts and progress

  • I thought the deadlift from a 2 inch deficit was hard; and then came the sumo deadlift from a 2 inch deficit – holy shit, hands down the most challenging exercise for me this phase.
  • The wide-grip bench press initially made me nervous (not-so-good left shoulder), but I was surprisingly stronger than I thought I would be. It’s too bad my right side is noticeably weaker despite it being the more stable of the two (I’m a southpaw).
  • Deadlift from pins (pins just below knees), blasted my mid/low traps and lats.
  • Week 5 – day after push-press, my triceps were extremely sore due to the half push-press; I loved that one, along with the 1/2 bench press.
  • Week 6 – the night after the 3×5 front squats my quads and anterior delts were screaming! I continue to see immense anterior chain development and I love it.
  • EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: USE OF GUARDS OR PINS. I’ll admit, I was an idiot and actually performed a couple moves incorrectly and felt it right away. Read the whole program and make sure you understand each exercise before walking into the weight room (unlike me).
  • Week 7 – Front squats; my legs were feeling strong and my confidence was going up as quick as the weight that day. Also, I knew I had made gains because resting the bar on my anterior delts was less uncomfortable = shoulder development, woot woot!!
  • Sumo deadlift is still blowing me away (I made a lot of notes about this one, so I’m not kidding).
  • Noticeable development of my “top shelf” a.k.a. Upper Traps.
  • On average, these workouts have been taking me 30-45 minutes to complete. I stick around afterwards to bang out conditioning work such as BARBELL COMPLEXES or I practice aspects of the Olympic lifts, which I hope to soon conquer.

SIDE NOTES: 

If you have a look at THE COMPLETE POWER LOOK PROGRAM you’ll see that Christian Thibaudeau offered exercises for optional bonus work. I am always game for more, but I decided I would choose the exercises (it’s hard for me to follow a plan designed by someone else and not have a say at all). Moreover, you’ll notice there isn’t any direct ab training included in this program. I add 1 or 2 weighted ab exercises after training, but make sure not to overdue it – this program is incredibly heavy on the core!

This is me back in January of this year finally hitting one of my long term goals – 200lb deadlift. I hope this program takes that number up a notch, or two.

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NEW PHASE

The following is a strength training program I put together using information from TNation.com and other resources, including training phases I have completed in the past. I based my program around the 4 core lifts and I started it this past Monday (Oct.20). I hope to see and increase in my 1RM by the end of this phase, and I will likely repeat this over again for another 6 weeks, changing up the accessory exercises.

NEW TRAINING PHASE: STRENGTH

  • 4 days / week with an optional 5th day
  • Main lifts – Deadlift, Bench, Squat, Military Press
  • Duration – 6 weeks (maybe 7)

Monday- Deadlift
Tueday – Bench Press
Wednesday – OFF
Thursday – Squat
Friday – OFF (or 5th)
Saturday – Military Press
Sunday – OFF (or 5th)

 

                                                               Sets x Reps  
WK Core Accessory Total Reps
1 5 x 8 @ 65% 1RM 3 x 6,6,6* 100
2 5 x 7 @ 70% 1RM 3 x 6,6,8* 103
3 5 x 6 @ 75% 1RM 3 x 6,8,8* 104
4 5 x 5 @ 80% 1RM 3 x 8,8,8* 105
5 5 x 4@ 85% 1RM 3 x 8,8,10* 108
6 5 x 3 @ 90% 1RM 3 x 8,10,10* 109

*Last set is a dropset for the last exercise only; dropping the weight by 30% then performing the same number of reps.

Week 7 – 5 x 1 @ 105 % RM ?

Accessory Exercises – 2 compound (1 bilateral, 1 unilateral), 1 isolation / lift

Deadlift – Chin-ups, 1-Arm DB Rows, BB Stiff Legged Deadlifts, Push-ups**

Bench – Incline DB Press, Crush Press (Flat), Pullover, Hip Thrust**

Squat – Front Squat, Split Squat, Hip Adduction, DB Upright Row**

Military – Arnold Press, Lateral Raise (cable), Bent Rear Delt Rows (BB), Inverted Row**

**Last exercise; 1-2 sets; 8-12 reps; not coming close to failure, goal is to stimulate muscles for frequency value.

Optional 5th day: Arms, weak spots.

ABS: 3 exercises performed circuit style 2-3 times / week.