When we’re talking about training advancement, we need to be crystal clear that we’re talking about the ability to make progress, not the amount of weight on the bar.
The younger you are, the less trained you are, the bigger you are, the higher the genetic ceiling, and therefore the longer linear, workout to workout progress will last.
After that, for most people the demands of life or even of sport do not require the use of programming that is more complicated than the Texas Method or the Heavy Light Medium method we discussed. So long as you squat 2-3x a week, adding weight as you are able, you’re doing it right.
However, in order to compete in a strength sport or to continue to add strength after exhausting the ability for an intermediate program, we need to become a little more sophisticated.
Here is an example program for a 315 pound bencher, looking to set a new 1 rep max in 10 weeks. First, each week, he’ll start with another Volume Day, doing 5×5 with 225. Over the course of this cycle, the weight here will stay the same. As he gets stronger, this weight will feel lighter and lighter, and that is the point. BTW, if you look at west side training methods – this is the basis for the dynamic effort day. This isn’t what they do, but if you add up 8×3, that’s about the same as 5×5. And the original recommendation was 45-70% of 1RM – which is right where we are here. The inclination is to make things sound more complicated than they actually are. Resist that, and you’ll prosper.
Next, on his intensity day, he’ll start with 235 for 3 sets of 5, working down to a single set of 315 for a double in week 9.
It will look like this:
- New Max 335 would be easy, 345 doable, and 365 a stretch but still realistic possibility.
This is a conservative approach that all but guarantees a new 1RM in a short time. For context, I did a very similar program for my deadlift last fall (which, in hindsight I probably didn’t need to do), where in I worked up to an easy double at 295 in week 9. Week 10 – when I tested – I pulled 345 for an all time PR. I didn’t do the volume work, and I skipped ahead on training advancement. Point is, this works for the exact same reasons as before, and when there’s a clear strength goal like a X amount for a 1RM, a simple program like this is the way to go.