When Will I Stop PR'ing? part 2
In this article we’ll finish our discussion for the beginner by talking a program. Again, this article is for the mom or dad who is looking to change their life and doesn’t know where to begin or the 13 year old scrawny kid that I was at 13, and of course, anyone in between. For that kid I would have put an empty barbell on his back day one, day two we press and day three we deadlift!
Now, it’s your first week, you're going to hit whichever lift your starting the week with for 5 sets of 5 reps. The following week you will do the same set and reps but you’ll add 5 lbs.
The next week, 5 more pounds, and so on and so on. If there is a week you are not able to lift a particular weight with good form, keep the weight you used from the week before, then go up the next week; if you still can’t keep good form, it’s safe to say you’ve hit a plateau; more on that below. You’ll continue this for the next 6 to 12 months. However, for the deadlift you could drop down to a 5 RM (rep max, or 1 set of 5 reps) when you hit body weight or around 150. This is entirely due to the nature of the deadlift; it’s going to beat you up so much at a higher set scheme.
So what happens when you do plateau, or find you are no longer able to add weight consistently?
Typically when you plateau it's because you're just so beat up from the volume and the weight increases that your body needs to recover so it can adapt. Let's say after 8 months, or to be super conservative, after 6 months you hit a plateau and you got to lifting your bodyweight, so if you weigh 135#, you’re squatting, benching and deadlifting 135#, but you just cannot finish the set or your form is really bad when you do. Following this instance you need to take 75% of what your weight was, so if you're weight is 135 pounds you multiply 135 by .75 and that probably comes out to 100 pounds. Going back down to that weight the next week for another 3 by 5 you’re going to keep on with that same linear progression. In time you'll blow through that plateau, guaranteed. This will continue for maybe for another 3 to 6 months. Eventually another plateau will occur, back off like before, to 75% again. For example let's say this time you get to a 200-pound everything, back off to 75% and you can go back at it one more time, again adding 5 pounds every week for maybe another 3 to 6 months.
By now you have maxed out the linear progression.
Now you are ready for a new program, a new program designed to do what you want to do. Maybe you’ve been watching all these the Olympic weightlifters or Strongman, or Powerlifting or CrossFitters and say “I want to do that!” Well now you’re better equipped and better informed about your own capabilities and about each sport to make that decision and then from there you'll be able to find a better program that is more dialed in to your needs and wants. It’s all because you decided to front load your body to make sure your muscles, joints, and tendons are all strong enough; and your body is totally ready for that weight! From there you have an amazing base of strength to pursue whatever sport you want or to maintain a very healthy and strong life!