Built for Battle: Rest Periods? Shoulder Issue

Hi Coach, weaksauce here.

I’ve just started the Built for Battle program a week ago. I’m doing:

Trap Bar Deadlifts (3RM @ 305)
Overhead Press (3RM @ 125)
Zercher Squats (3RM @ 155)
Bench Press (3RM @ 185)
Seated Row (3RM @ 130)

I just started doing Zercher squats. I don’t believe I have the wrist flexibility to perform front squats. I also spent last week getting a feel for what circuit training would be like, so I really only started the program on Monday, though I did perform the lifts like normal last week.

Personally, I thought my conditioning was suckass, so I started out at a 2:30m rest. Deadlift, OHP, and ZQ in one circuit, BP and Seated Row in the second circuit. After the first couple of sessions from last week, though, I start out at 1:30m rest periods between the first couple of cycles of Circuit 1, then, after hitting the 3rep sets, I just go as soon as I have the weight on the bars. By Circuit 2, I’m not resting at all, maybe 20-25s to change weight.

My question is, we’re supposed to rest after each exercise, not after one cycle, correct? I’ve read the article, and I’m sure its:

Deadlift 5 reps
Overhead Press 5 reps
Zercher 5 reps
Deadlift 4 reps

I just feel like I might be doing something wrong with timing. Should I still be resting even if I feel like going? My form isn’t suffering. The reason I really think I’m doing something wrong, is that I think I’m about 32-33% bodyfat, so I know I’m not that well conditioned.

My next question is about repairing a bit of pain in my right shoulder where the arm connects to the shoulder. It started a few weeks ago. The strange thing is that it’s been fluctuating on this program. It hurts for the first couple of cycles to lift, but gets steadily better, though it’s a tad uncomfortable on OHP and Bench Press. After a workout, though, it feels fine until the next day.

@thatguyagain you ran this programme, can you help @redranger?

Yes, the rest periods are meant to be between exercises.

My experience was that the conditioning gains kicked in really fast. The first couple of weeks were hell, even strictly observing the rest periods, but it didn’t take long to move up a level, then another, until I was doing the whole thing for time.

On the pain part, are you warming up and stretching out the shoulders and biceps? Deads, Zerchers, and OHP are all tough on the biceps tendon.

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Well, I guess that’s good news on conditioning, thanks.

On the shoulder pain, I feel it precisely at the acromioclavicular joint. I generally don’t stretch as I’ve never seen a lion stretch before sprinting to take down a gazelle.

What stretches should I be doing?

One of the biceps tendons runs right under the AC joint.
Make sure you warm it up before stretching. 57677c15bd63608e7eb52d47_Pathol%20Bicepsrupture%20distal CorruptUnrealisticBrontosaurus-size_restricted


Thanks for the info, I’ll start warming up and stretching.

Thanks again everyone!

Lions don’t seat on their asses all day :smiley:

Fair point.

I hit Friday and realized I was not hot shit, though I hit new PRs for myself that I didn’t think I could do. Definitely had to rest 2:30 between each exercise until 2-1 rep sets of the second circuit. Zercher squats got brutal. Shoulder pain wasn’t as bad after stretching it a bit beforehand.

The shoulder pain got worse yesterday after the workout. Should I dial down OHP? I don’t want an injury derailing me again.

I’m stretching and warming up for about 2 minutes before I touch the weights. How long should I be warming up for?

If you want an example, here’s what I did today.
I just turned 54. My body is pretty beat up so I warm up a lot.
Today I did:
3 sets bodyweight squats
3 sets DB laterals
2 sets biceps
2 sets band leg curls
3 sets ab wheel
None of the above were taken to failure.
Rolled the front of my shoulders with a softball against the wall.
Stretched pecs and biceps.
Hung off a GHR for a minute to let my back pop.

Then I did 2 light sets of the following circuit before starting the work circuits. Basically 2-3 reps each with the start weight for 2 easy circuits.

Tire Deadlift
Log Clean and Press
Box Squat
Swiss Incline Bench
Wide Machine Row

I then did the five work circuits of the above, 3 reps on all sets, working up to a 3RM. The five circuits took me 23 minutes total.

I know Thibs really likes the Zerchers, but I wonder if they may be a little rough on you.


Agreed, and given this guys particular area of pain I don’t think CT would prescribe them for him either.

Yes you should still rest between exercises.

It’s normal to feel like you can keep going. Sets of 1-5 reps aren’t really tiring especially if they are submaximal. BUT the heavy work will increase adrenaline quite significantly. High adrenaline + low metabolic fatigue gives the illusion that you can go on easily. And you can, because adrenaline will allow you to have the energy and strength to do so. BUT it is a mistake to do that: you risk what we refer to as “neurological fatigue”; in this case the extremely short rest (or no rest at all) will lead to excessively high adrenaline levels, and while that can make you feel good an energetic, it is also more likely to desensitize the adrenergic receptors (receptors interacting with adrenaline) and when that happens motivation goes down, performance goes down and it becomes harder to progress.

Take your rest intervals.

Aaaand that’s exactly what happened yesterday, to a T.

I’m going to assume that if I fail new 3RM, I continue the week with the same 3RM. I’ll definitely be taking those rest intervals now. It’s difficult to know how hard to push during a workout.

Thanks, Coach

On the shoulder note, I decided to record my OHP form. When I stuck my head through the window, my arms would wobble backwards to exaggerate it even more. After correcting that, my shoulder has been feeling much better. It’s okay after warming up and stretching. Good after the first set of OHP, still hurts a bit on bench.

I’m going to give it more time, zercher squats feel really good. Taking about 5 minutes to warm up, though, has helped a lot.