Kept on track with Mesocycle 5, kept me real busy in December. It is another period that ended with major program revisions, will explain more about that below.
Mesocycle 5 lasted from November 18th to December 31st which were the holiday months, busy at work busy outside of work. Work peaked out in being busy, and life brought me a lot of things to do. I kept only lightly on my lagging cardio.
I’m going to skip the review of each week, as doing that every mesocycle is tiring, but all 6 weeks went off pretty well with maybe 2-3 rest days per cycle. There was a few inbetween workouts near Christmas, and I was sick over it, but the workouts kept me fresh for resuming the final cycle. Just as a layout of events, I knew Christmas Eve and Christmas would be no gym days and I was ending cycle 5 a couple days before Christmas Eve, so I had a workout with all three lifts as an inbetween cycle workout where I set a new deadlift PR. I was really sick over Christmas, which led to having my workout afterwards be a recovery workout, but it was paced perfectly and cycle 6 went off without a hitch.
One realization I made during this cycle was that my plan (which is sort of a block periodization where every weekly cycle is it’s own theme) does not plan for equal parts muscle growth and strength development like it should considering that I’m still a novice to intermediate in most lifts. While checking out solutions I ran across a good explanation of daily undulating periodization, where workout volume cycles in a staggered way. I liked this and combined it as a facet into my lifting program, which is now condensed to three blocks (conditioning, control & speed, strength testing) which each have daily undulating periodization staggering between two weekly cycles. So still six cycles, but with a few modifiers as the weeks go.
I’m really looking forward to the changes, as I write this I’m actually two weeks into cycle 6, but I’ll save observations for this for later. One important thing I ran into was a new math tool to help quantify workout intensity better. For those reading who know I write my own program, know a few mesocycles ago I applied Prilepin’s chart to my workout plan to create a series of valid measures for workout intensity. I felt it was a great balancing, but lacked something. In the recalibration I’ve been doing to make my program feature daily undulating periodization, I’ve managed to find a mathmatical calculation that keeps me able to apply workout intensity to workout duration.
So the measurement works like this. It’s called intensity over number of lifts or abbreviated INOL. INOL provides a point variable for a workout session based on the reps divided by a figure relating to percentage of training max. Since my training max percentage is a core facet of my program this is easy. The exact equation is INOL = REPS / (100 – PERCENT) where the PERCENT is a whole number rather than a fraction. So 80 percent is simply “80”. 4 reps at 80% intensity is then INOL = 4 / (100 – 80) or 4 / 20 making the INOL for that work .2. As a generalization, INOL represents overall workload really good, and at about 1.0 total work is generally a good workout that will typically fall in the guidelines of Prilepin’s chart. I also add INOL to a workout set (via estimation) that contains a difficulty modifier like pause or deficit reps that are naturally more difficult that vanilla lifts. I used this calculation to determine the INOL of my old workout sets, and planned my progression at all my new training days to a similar INOL.
This means weekly I have an INOL of about 1.8 of training into each lift (deadlift, bench press and squats). I can throw that math into the daily undulating periodization of different weights/reps applied in a shuffled pattern to keep the intensity similar no matter what the features level of exertion is. So far I find that workouts at INOL 1.0 for a specific exercise tend to feel very full, whereas .4 or lower is simply not enough to provide stimulation, and workouts in those levels tend to stay within Prilepin’s chart. The new daily undulating periodization also produces workouts at a more diverse range, but seem shorter due to just better focus. All very good changes so far.
So a recap of the plan where it stands going forward: I have three two week (as expressed in cycles) blocks of training. First is conditioning, which is daily undulating periodization for two cycles of staggered low volume/high weight, medium volume/medium weight, high volume/low weight lifts. This continues in block 2 of “control & speed”, but on low volume/heavy weight days I wrap up with several sets of speed lifts, and on high volume/low weight days I wrap up with climbing doubles at heavy weights. Then my secondary lifts at medium volume/medium weight are wrapped up with an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) set at the end. These estimate though into only slightly greater INOL calculations than the conditioning week.
Then the final block of “strength testing” features medium volume/medium weight days as “heavy weight acclimation” with static isometric holding of my training max weight (to get over the psychological factor of holding that much weight) and begins daily undulating periodization gets heavier on the weight on low rep days higher on the volume on low weight days to keep things progressing to a peak. The final cycle leads each day with the same as my old 6 week cycle, to test my strength progression with singles to failure. My performance during this block is what is used to determine how much progression I should plan for the next mesocycle, like before.
Dev day stays the same as it’s purpose doesn’t change. One thing I find already is that the INOL calculation is good on any exercise where I can eyeball a “max” rep… giving me a way to find out how to make a workout intense at a comparable levels to other exercises. It’s very handy to know at any time I can find out if I’m at INOL 1.0 during a particular exercise or INOL .4.
Conclusions & Progression Updates
To move forward my bench press I am finally increasing it. I am cautious on the deadlift, as I’ve increased 10lbs every mesocycle almost every time so I’m doing only 5lbs this mesocycle to help make sure I’m progressing well in the neurology of the movement. My squat was low and I knew that before going into it, so I’m bumping that up a lot too. Here are the new numbers!
As a policy I am continuing the added drop sets to my bench press, as I believe extra volume there is needed to continue progression.
Deadlift: 355lbs (previously 350lbs, tested one rep max is now 340lbs)
Stated Goal: 400lbs verified one rep max
High Bar Back Squat: 240lbs (previously 220lbs, my max rep has not been well tested but it is definitely above 200lbs)
Stated Goal: 315lbs verified one rep max
Bench Press: 195lbs (previously 190lbs, finally moving forward here, tested one rep max is 180lbs however it’s hard to think of that as a reliable number to be able to hit)
Stated Goal: 225lbs verified one rep max
It’s rather symbolic that my final workout under mesocycle 5 was New Year’s Eve, and I get to go into 2015 with a completely refreshed program. Really excited for Mesocycle 6’s changes, feeling like “Liquid” is becoming truly polished now!
Some of my favorite pics during this training cycle… click the left/right arrows to click through