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Time Crunch Training 2: My New Training?

I have written pretty extensively about my preference for training frequency. I think most people should train more than they do. How much? As much as you can. Some people might only be able to commit to twice per week. Others perhaps 14 times. It all depends. Once you have established how much you can train, not how much you want to train (in either direction of more or less if you’re an iron addict or a lazy sod), you have to figure out how to maximize that time to make the most progress with your training.

Six days ago my life got unexpectedly and gloriously hectic. Time is at a premium and probably will be for quite some time. Though the cause is not a bad thing and I can’t be fully sure how much time I will have to devote to my training, I’m pretty sure I can commit to 4 (real) training sessions per week. I don’t prefer to train this infrequently but I believe that the following plan will be good none the less.

NOTE: Percents are based on adding 5% to your current 1RM and taking 90% of that as your training max

*All training sessions start with 2-5 sets of back extensions and abs to warm up*

DAY 1 Heavy Bench/Light Shoulders

  • Competition Bench – 10, 8, 6, 4, (4×3*), 2×8-10 (light flushing reps)
  • Lat Pulldowns – 10, 8, 6, 6 (superset with bench until working weight)
  • BTN Press – 4-6 sets of 8 – 10
  • Row of some kind 4-6 sets of 8 – 10 reps (superset with BTN)
  • Bench Assistance (Dips, wide grips, db, etc.) 4×10
  • Lateral or Front Raises/Curls/Triceps work – 3×15

DAY 2 Heavy Squat/Light Deadlift

  • Squats – 10, 8, 6, 4, (4×3*), 2×8-10 (light flushing reps)
  • Stiff legged deficit deadlift – 4-6 x 8-10
  • Squat Assistance (leg press, hack squat, lunges, etc.) 4×10
  • Leg Curl/Leg Extension – 3×15
  • Lat/Upper back – 2×20

DAY 3 Heavy Shoulders/Light Bench

  • BTN Press – 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 20
  • Row of some kind – 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 20 (superset with press)
  • Bench Assistance (different from Day 1) 4-6 x 5-7
  • Vertical Pull of some kind- 4-6 x 8-10 (superset with bench)
  • Lateral or Front Raises/Curls/Triceps work – 3×15

DAY 4 Heavy Deadlift/Light Squat

  • Competition Deadlift – 6, 6, 6, 6, (4, 3, 2*)
  • Squat Variation (high bar, front, pause, etc.) 4-6 x 8-10
  • Posterior Chain Assistance (good morning, back extensions, pull throughs, etc.) – 4×10
  • Shrugs – 3×15
  • Leg Supplementary Movement – 2×20

* Now the fun part. Below you will find the progression notes for a nine week cycle.

The first 4 warm up sets start at 60% and make 5 pound jumps ending at 75%. First ‘working’ sets start at 80% for all movements.

SQUAT AND BENCH (percents based on training max)

  1. 80×3 85x3x3 (Lifts: 12 AI: 83%)
  2. 80×3 85×3 90×3 85×3 (Lifts: 12 AI: 85%)
  3. 80×3 85×3 90×3 92.5×3 (Lifts: 12 AI: 86.8%)
  4. 80×4 85×3 90×3 85×3 (Lifts: 13 AI: 84.6%)
  5. 80×4 85×3 90×3 90×3 (Lifts: 13 AI: 85.7%)
  6. 80×4 85×3 90×3 95×3 (Lifts: 13 AI: 86.9%)
  7. 80×5 85×3 90×3 85×3 (Lifts: 14 AI: 84.2%)
  8. 80×5 85×4 90×3 90×3 (Lifts: 15 AI: 85.3%)
  9. 80×5 85×4 90×3 97.5×3 (Lifts: 15 AI: 86.8%)
  10. 80×6 85×4 90×3 100×3 (Lifts: 16 AI: 86.8%)

DEADLIFT (based on training max)

  1. 80×4 85×3 90×2 (Lifts: 9 AI: 83%)
  2. 80×5 85×3 92.5×2 (Lifts: 10 AI: 84%)
  3. 80×6 85×3 95×2 (Lifts: 11 AI: 84%)
  4. 80×6 85×4 97.5×2 (Lifts: 12 AI: 84.5%)
  5. 80×6 85×5 100×2 (Lifts: 13 AI: 85%)
  6. 80×6 85×5 90×3 (Lifts: 14 AI: 83.9%)
  7. 80×6 85×5 92.5×3 (Lifts: 14 AI: 84.4%)
  8. 80×6 85×5 95×3 (Lifts: 14 AI: 85%)
  9. 80×6 85×5 97.5×3 (Lifts: 14 AI: 85.5%)
  10. 80×6 85×5 100×3 (Lifts: 14 AI: 86%)

As you can see, we slowly increase volume and intensity but don’t ever really exceed a per-session intensity of more than 86% or so of training max. This will allow for heavy training with minimal recovery issues and, what should be, perfect technique.

If you’re really pressed for time you can drop to 3 times per week and just do each movement/body part once per week. You can also drop all of the other movements for the day and just do one assistance movement for 4 to 6 sets of 4 to 6 reps.

If you want to run this for meet prep and like to feel the heavy weights in your hands you can pick one overload movement (block pulls for deads, quarter squats, slingshot/board press, etc.) for each of the three lifts and do the following:

  1. 100×1
  2. 100×2
  3. 100×3
  4. 105×1
  5. 105×2
  6. 105×3
  7. 110×1
  8. 110×2
  9. 110×3
  10. No overload

Deload/rest week 11 and test later that week.

If you have any other time during the week I suggest doing some kind of bodyweight complex or kettlebell work for conditioning. It shouldn’t take more than 15-30 minutes if you do it right and you can do it at home, work or even a large enough bathroom at the hospital.

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