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Best Use of 3 Weeks?


Hey all, I'm a longtime lurker and first time poster.

I'm a collegiate rugby player, and also an Army ROTC cadet. So it's hard to get decent lifting in while dealing with ROTC workouts and rugby practice, each of which is 3-4x a week.

We're on winter break now, and so, those workouts aren't happening for me until school starts back up, and was wondering what everyone thought a good use of the time would be?

I was considering doing Smolov's base cycle, seeing as how lower body strength is crucial for rugby (I'm a second row), but don't know if I'm strong enough to warrant it. (weight is 225 but A2G squat is 250, but I am really tall, so keep that in mind)

Some people have told me just to do Stronglifts for the 3 weeks, and follow linear progression, but I don't know if that's the best use of my time or not. And thought I'd ask you guys' opinions.



3 weeks is too short an amount of time to see adequate results from a program.


Well it's not like I can make my winter break longer. So I'm just trying to do my best with the time I have.


You can do 1 run of 5/3/1


tough call. If you won't be able to train after these three weeks are up, or not much at all, makes it even tougher.
Have you any glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed? How will you be able to train after the three weeks are up?


I was thinking Smolov, since I can usually manage decent upperbody workouts in addition to rugby + PT, where squatting is much harder, since it's nearly impossible to find a day of the week that is ideal for squatting hard.

But like I said, I only squat 25lbs above my bodyweight (I am mechanically disadvantaged for the squat though...) so I don't know if I'm strong enough to justify smolov or smolov jr.


I wouldnt worry about it, itl basically make no difference in the grand scheme


Exactly what I was thinking. When you are 35 and looking back on your training career, at no point will you say "Man, I really dropped the ball with that winter break in 2011" or " Its a damn good thing I ran that Smolov Base Cycle in 2011"

I would take the time to do something unstructured, FUN and HARD for 3 weeks (lots of squats, deads, pushes, presses, pulls, speed, heavy, etc...), and then get back to work in 2012 on your sports workouts.


another option could be a push/pull/leg routine this gives you twice a week frequency per body part for three weeks and with no schedule and no specific day has to be a workout day this makes a push pull leg routine money.


3 weeks? hookers and cocaine.


Do you just not train during the school year?


I disagree with the makes no difference in the grand scheme of things. If you have a massive glaring weakness 3 weeks dedicated to it could pay huge dividends. If you attempt to train everything it would be as others have said. But as an example say you need to work on hip mobility for the up coming season. 21 days of this and you would be doing a heap better in the long run. It really depends on whats your biggest weakness.


While I agree with this on one hand, IMO, unless you are already training very intensely on a regular schedule (which it sounds like OP has an already busy training schedule with rugby etc), then this probably wouldn't be that beneficial in the long run. What I mean is if you are already dedicated to bodybuilding/powerlifting, etc, and decide to do a spec phase (which I should mention really ought to be at least 4 weeks, optimally 6 to yield significant benefit for most people), then that's fine. But, if you're just planning on doing something intensely for 3 weeks, then returning to a training schedule like the one described, it probably wouldn't be worth it.


I still think it depends on what it is. Do you think 3 weeks of dilligent squatting wouldnt make you a better squatter? Or that 3 weeks spent on shoulder health wouldnt help you get through a training season with less trouble? It depends what he needs to do and how he does it. But I agree that if he's trying to make significant gains in already trained lift's he's not going to get too far.




I say squat every day.... Using different percentages/rep/set schemes and get yourself acclimated to a higher workload on squats. You said yourself your lower body power production is important and a 250 (I'm assuming pounds not kg's here) is pretty shitty for a 225lb male. This is an off the cuff answer but I would probably work at or above 90% once a week, between 75 and 85% two to three times, and closer to 50% (I bet you could go higher since your max isn't too high) the other days. This may seem crazy for some of the body builders around here, but I squat and DL twice a week a piece and I actually feel LESS fatigued from the increased volume. I'm a powerlifter and I follow a 5/3/1 based methodology, just FYI.

Would this be beneficial to do more than 3-6 weeks? Probably not at first, but you could increase your body's work capacity and be able to incorporate more squat work into your schedule to assist with your rubgy. Taking a deload the fourth week (back to school) would allow for some recovery and then you could ramp up your squat training to a reasonable level somewhere between where you are now and the volume you reached in this three week period. Like ebomb said, if you plan on returning to your old routine then, the extra effort wouldn't be worth it. But if you were to just use this as a period to increase work capacity which would allow you to slightly increase your workload in the period following, why not?


I wouldn't look for significant gains, only a slight increase in the body's current capabilities. If you were to view this as one step in a 10 year plan, you wouldn't expect a ground breaking discovery realizing three weeks is a very small measure of time when compared to 10 years. If you have the mindset of individual cycles and training day to training day, you would probably do one of two things. A: work yourself into the ground and not realize you have a lifetime to get better and nothing can go full blast forever. or B: you would be a pussy and not try something new because you would be afraid your next chest day would suffer because you squatted twice that week when you only squat once a week usally.

If you fill a cup one drop at a time it will eventually get full. But if you were to increase the amount, if only by one-third of a drop at a time, those extra drops would add up and before you know it, you'd be well beyond where you would have been in the first place.


IMO, there is not much you can do in 3 weeks that will result in significant results, at least in terms of bodyweight or PRs on specific lifts. But, that doesn't mean you can't make some quality investments in your body during a three week break.

Something I've been trying is experimenting with training/diet/sleep. Try to get more sleep/night than you normally do, and workout as you have been during the year and see if you notice improvements.

Or, you could devote yourself to learning a new movement or polishing up an old one. I have re-incorporated olympic lifting into my programs, for example. Polishing up a forgotten lift or focusing on bodyweight movements might mix things up for you and a concerted effort over three weeks can benefit you once you get back to your normal training. Best of luck!