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These schemes are meant to be used on the big multiple joint exercises: squat variations, deadlift variations, pull-up variations, chin-up variations, rowing variations, overhead pressing variations and bench pressing variations. These schemes do not lend themselves well to single joint exercises such as curls, leg extensions, pressdowns, leg curls, etc.Ok, now onto the meat and potatoes...
Ideally, you should begin your workouts with one big multiple joint exercise targeting whatever "region" (upper or lower) or body part you are focusing on that day. It doesn't matter if you are a strength athlete, physique athlete or recreational lifter: I'm a big believer on focusing on one main movement to begin your workouts. Depending on your goals, the rest of your workout can vary to suit your needs, but I firmly believe EVERYONE needs to focus, first and foremost, on getting stronger.
You should perform several ramp-up or warm-up sets before getting into the actual schemes I'll outline below. How many warm-up sets to perform is an individual thing, but, as a general rule, keep the reps very low: don't waste your energy performing unnecessary "junk reps" which serve to do nothing more than wear you out and take away from the main strength building scheme. As an example, if your first real work set of the day calls for 200 lbs., your warm-ups may look like this:
- 100 lbs. x 5 reps
- 150 lbs. x 3 reps
- 175 lbs. x 1 rep
Week 1: Find your 12-rep max (the most weight you can lift 12 times). Perform four sets of seven reps.At this point, you should repeat the 4 week cycle, beginning at Week 1, but you'll add weight to your 12-rep max (5 lbs. for upper body movements and 10 lbs. for lower body movements).
Week 2: Add 6% to the load you used in Week 1 (this is your 10-rep max, roughly). Do four sets of six reps.
Week 3: Add 6% to the load you used in Week 2 (eight-rep max). Do four sets of five.
Week 4: Add 6% to the load you used in Week 3 (six-rep max). Do four sets of four.
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Week 1: 65% x 5 reps, 70% x 5 reps, 75% x 5 reps, 80% x 5 reps (if you can get more on this last set, go for it, but don't go to total failure)At this point, you should go back to week 1, add 5-10 lbs. to your estimated max, and adjust the percentages accordingly before going through the 5 week cycle again. Also, I like to perform 2-3 higher rep back off sets after the scheme to add a little volume and pump. Try 2-4 sets of 8-10 at 60% of your max.
Week 2: 70% x 4 reps, 75% x 4 reps, 80 x 4 reps, 85 % x 4 reps (if you can get more on this last set, go for it, but don't go to total failure)
Week 3: 72.5% x 3 reps, 77.5% x 3 reps, 82.5% x 3 reps, 87.5% x 3 reps (if you can get more on this last set, go for it, but don't go to total failure)
Week 4: 75% x 2 reps, 80% x 2 reps, 85% x 2 reps, 90% x 2 reps (if you can get more on this last set, go for it, but don't go to total failure)
Week 5: 80% x 2 reps, 85% x 2 reps, 90% x 1 rep, 95% x 1 rep (if you can get more on this last set, go for it, but don't go to total failure)