Strength Cycles

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”  Mark Twain

Squatting – front and back

1. Follow the Modified Russian Squat Cycle.

I have designed the following squat program build on the first three weeks of the Russian Squat Program/Generator but incorporating both front squats and back squats in the same cycle.
W1: FS 6×2 reps, BS 6×3 reps, FS 6×2 reps
W2: BS 6×4 reps, FS 6×2 reps, BS 6×5 reps
W3: FS 6×2 reps, BS 6×6 reps, FS 6×2 reps
1 deload week (optional).
W1: BS 6×2 reps, FS 6×3 reps, BS 6×2 reps
W2: FS 6×4 reps, BS 6×2 reps, FS 6×5 reps
W3: BS 6×2 reps, FS 6×6 reps, BS 6×2 reps

BS: 80% of your 1RM.
FS: 80% of your 1RM

If you don’t know your 1RM you need to take a day to max out. I strongly recommend that you keep the weights conservative. It’s preferable to have the squat cycle being a bit too light rather than a bit too heavy.

After completing the cycle it is not required to max out. You can simply add five kilos to your 1RM, recalculate and repeat the cycle.

Twist 1: You are allowed and encouraged to max out both before and after the six work-sets in every session. If you do so try to avoid going to failure. The max-out is not mandatory and if you feel particularly weak on any given day it is perfectly alright to focus on the work-sets.

Twist 2: If you max out you are allowed to use a belt but the six work-sets must be done without the use of belt.

Deadlifting

I have used different deadlift cycles over the years but the following is my favorite and general recommendation.

  1. You deadlift once per week.
  2. Straps and/or belt are not allowed.
  3. You can’t be barefoot as shoes are required in competition and therefore you need to be used to that.
  4. Use your strongest mix-grip for all sets.
  5. Start the cycle at about 50% of your 1RM.
  6. Perform one set of twenty reps and three sets of ten reps.
  7. Complete a set every fifth minute or faster.
  8. Increase the weight with 5-10 kilos every week.
  9. When you get to the point in the cycle where the set of twenty reps is seriously challenging you switch to doing one set of ten reps instead and follow up with three additional sets of ten reps at a lighter weight (70-80%).
  10. Never go to failure. Finish the cycle with the heaviest possible set of ten reps while maintaining good/decent form and then re-start the cycle with the aim of surpassing the weights of the precious cycle (both for the 20’s and 10’s).

This is what my previous deadlift cycle looked like:
Week 1: 120/20, 3×10.
Week 2: 130/20, 3×10.
Week 3: 140/20, 3×10.
Week 4: 150/20, 3×10.
Week 5: 160/20, 3×10.
Week 6: 170/20, 3×10.
Week 7: 175/20, 3×10.
Week 8: 180/20, 3×10.
Week 9: 185/20, 3×10.
Week 10: 190/10, 170/3×10.
Week 11: 200/100, 170/3×10.
Week 12: 210/10, 170/3×10.
Week 13: 215/10, 200/10, 190/10, 180/10.
Week 14: 130/20, 3×10. Aiming for 190/20 and 220/10 in this cycle!

Snatch Pulls

Week 1: 5 sets of 3 reps at the weight of your 1RM snatch.
Week 2: 5 sets of 5 reps at the weight of your 1RM snatch.
Week 3: 5 sets of 2 reps at 110% of your 1RM snatch. 3 Three additional sets of 10 reps at 80%.
Week 4: 5 sets of 5 reps at 80% of your 1RM snatch in hang snatch pulls.
Week 5: 3 sets of 5 reps at 80% of 1RM snatch in TNG snatch pulls and 3 sets of 10 reps at 70% of 1RM snatch in TNG snatch pulls.

Technical notes.

1. In the first three weeks you have to reset on the floor every time and not do TNG reps.
2. You are strongly encouraged to use straps.

Clean Pulls

Week 1: 5 sets of 3 reps at the weight of your 1RM clean.
Week 2: 5 sets of 5 reps at the weight of your 1RM clean.
Week 3: 5 sets of 2 reps at 110% of your 1RM clean. Three additional sets of 10 reps at 80% of your 1RM clean.
Week 4: 5 sets of 5 reps at 90% of your 1RM clean in clean pulls from below the knees.
Week 5: 3 sets of 5 reps at 80% of your 1RM clean in TNG clean pulls and 3 sets of 10 reps at 70% of your 1RM clean in TNG clean pulls.

Technical notes.
1. In the first three weeks you have to reset on the floor every time and not do TNG reps.
2. You are strongly encouraged to use straps.

Shoulder to Overhead

Week 1: Establish a 3RM split jerk. Three additional sets of triples at 90%.
Week 2: Establish a 2RM split jerk. Five additional sets of doubles at 90%.
Week 3: Establish a 1RM split jerk. Five additional sets of singles at 90%.
Week 4: Establish a 1RM power jerk + split jerk. Build to a daily max, then drop down in weight and build up again in two additional waves.

For me it would look like this after having warmed up:
Wave 1: 60/1+1, 80/1+1, 90/1+1, 100/1+1, 110/1+1, 120/1+1, 125/1+1, 130/1+1.
Wave 2: 100/1+1, 110/1+1, 120/1+1, 130/1+1, 132,5/1+1.
Wave 3: 100/1+1, 110/1+1, 120/1+1, 130/1+1.

Week 5: Push-press. Daily max in triples, doubles and singles. When you have maxed out in triples, I want you to drop down in weight and build up again for a daily max in doubles and then do the same when you switch to singles. Same approach as in Week 4 when you did three different waves.

Bench Press

Use your jerk grip.

W1: 6×2 reps, 6×3 reps, 6×2 reps
W2: 6×4 reps, 6×2 reps, 6×5 reps
W3: 6×2 reps, 6×6 reps, 6×2 reps

All the work-sets are done at 80% of your 1RM. If you don’t know your 1RM you need to take a day to max out. I strongly recommend that you keep the weights conservative. It’s preferable to have the bench press cycle being a bit too light rather than a bit too heavy.

After completing the cycle it is not required to max out. You can simply add five kilos to your 1RM, recalculate and repeat the cycle.

You are strongly encouraged to max out in singles before doing the work-sets in each session.