Not-So-PHAT: Week 12
Moving forward, onward, and upward ...
All things end and my run of PHAT is no different. I’ll be posting a “final” recap of the program, ranging from how it helped improve my lifts, the things I liked and didn’t like about it, and all of that self-analytical jazz and perhaps even throw in a more “comprehensive” before/after photo spread. As that will take some time, I thought I’d let everyone know how this final week of the cycle will differ.
Rather than running five-day power/hypertrophy split, I will be doing a four day split, testing my maxes for squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press so, after a “light week,” I can start running Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program.
I chose 5/3/1 for one reason: to be stronger each day than I was the day before and the program was designed to accomplish this, physically and mentally. As Wendler states in the 5/3/1 handbook,
“The last set of the day is the all-out set. You’ll be going for as many reps as possible … Anything over and above that builds strength, muscle and character. Doing the prescribed reps shows you and your body that you’re strong enough for the workout. The extra reps are your way of dominating the workout and getting better.
For the program to be run correctly and efficiently, however, I have to test my maxes. As I lift solo, “true” 1RMs are out of the question and, as Wendler suggests, I’d much rather underestimate these numbers as the program becomes much more daunting as it progress. This will also leave me the first few weeks to nail my form down even harder so that once the weight becomes legitimately heavy I won’t have to question it.
So, for the next four training days, I will be using the following template:
Warm-up: hill walking, stretching, jumping rope.
Main lift: ramp up to 80% of perceived 1RM, perform as many reps as possible with that specific weight as weight x reps x .0333 + weight = estimated 1RM.
“Assistance” work: sprints, jumping rope, stretching, a couple of light weight, high rep sets but nothing taxing – just for the mental boost.
These “minimal work, maximum effort” will, hopefully, allow me to play my rest days by ear. I haven’t committed to a “two day-on, one day-off, two day-on” or an “every other day” plan for this very reason – if I feel up to testing bench the day after squats, I’ll do it; if I don’t, I’ll give myself a rest day. My goal here is to get the most genuine results without killing myself or underestimating myself. I’m also hoping that by using the above template, a week-long deload after testing can be avoided. Again, though, if I need one, I’ll take it and lower my calories for that week to around 1,800.
Once the need, or lack thereof, for a deload has been determined, 5/3/1 will commence and my calories will begin a slow and steady perpetual shift upward (until I lock down my first competition and decide what weight I would like to fall into). I will be using the first cycle to try out the three assistance templates I believe could be the most beneficial for my goal(s): Boring But Big, Triumvirate, and N.O.V. On the fourth and final “deload” week of that cycle, I’ll start running the template I’ve deemed to be the “right” fit and I will stick with it for the next three-to-four cycles.
I will not make the same mistakes I made with previous programs. I will not make personal adjustments. I will not lower my calories once the scale starts going up. I will trust the process. I will stay the course. I will get bigger. I will get stronger.
"When in doubt, squat and run hills." - Jim Wendler
IRON MNTN // LOG