T Nation

Forza: An Experiment in Strength

I’ve decided to write my own program based on my learnings from running the Juggernaut Method as well as dabbling into some 531 Forever programming. It’s called Forza, which literally means force, or power. It’s a 17-week program that gradually transitions from hypertrophy (sets of 5 and 6), strength (sets of 3 and 4), then peaking phases (heavy doubles and singles), culminating at planned 1RM attempts. It’s written as a general strength program but could used as a powerlifting program.

I wrote this program because I:
-prefer training 4 days a week with workouts that last about an hour
-enjoy overhead pressing despite it not being a powerlifting movement
-believe upper body lifts are less taxing than lower body lifts and thus necessitate higher training volume (i.e., 5x5x75% for ohp/bench is less taxing than 5x5x75% for squats/deadlifts)
-prefer % based programs with prescribed sets and reps as well as assistance work
-prefer sets across over variable weight sets (less loading/unloading the bar)
-believe pushing all four lifts with high intensity in the same week is sub optimal (i.e., prefer cycling intensity between the lifts)
-believe increasing my training max by standardized increments, with no regard to actual performance or individual progression, is also sub optimal
-get bored repeating the same 3-4 week program over and over
-want to increase my S/B/D total and program 1RM attempts at the end of a long training cycle
-only prefer to take 1RM attempts a few times per year (this program can be run back-to-back 3 times in a year)
-prefer strength/function over size/looks, in general

I’m male, 34 y/o, 6’0”, 200lb, busy father of four, with Current 1RM’s (tested 4 days ago):
Squat: 275lb
Bench: 175lb
Deadlift: 325lb
OHP: 135lb

Yes - nothing spectacular but I’m hoping to change that over the next few months.

Here are the program rules in case anyone becomes interested in running Forza at some point:
-All percentages are based on a training max, which is 90% of your 1RM (1RM should be accurate/recent, set within the last month)
-OHP/Bench working sets are done every 4.5 minutes. Squat working sets are done every 6 minutes. Deadlift working sets are done every 7 minutes. (i.e., 8 bench press sets should take 36 minutes to complete)
-‘Yellow’ days indicate volume days. Final set on volume day should be taken to 2-3 reps shy of failure. (similar to accumulation week in the juggernaut method)
-‘Blue’ days indicate intensity days. Final set on intensity day should be taken to 1-2 reps shy of failure. (similar to intensification week)
-‘Red’ days indicate testing days. Testing days are where you work up to the testing weight and perform as many reps as possible for that set. (similar to realization week)
-There is 15 minutes of assistance work after the main working sets on volume and intensity days.
-Assistance work consists of 3 sets of 4 exercises, completed as a circuit: Chin-ups, calf raises, dips, and planks on upper body days. Bulgarian (single leg) squats, calf raises, back extensions, and planks on lower body days.
-No assistance work is done on testing days.
-On testing days, you increase training max by 1% for every rep completed above the standard. The standard is the number next to the ‘+’ sign. (For example, if you complete 8 reps on the 5+ testing day, you would increase your training max by 3%).
-After the test set for one lift, you perform the prescribed sets and reps for the opposite lift, shown in green. (OHP for bench days, Squat for Deadlift days, etc.).
-Each lift is tested every 3 weeks, which is how often you would increase your training max
-Overall workout length will vary, but should end up being between 50-70 minutes.

Without further ado, here is the Forza program 17 week overview:

I plan on running this program on Tuesday (OHP), Wednesday (Deadlift), Friday (Bench), and Saturday (Squat). So today was Day 1 and here’s how it went:

Week 1
OHP (122lb TM)
7x6x82lb
1x10x82lb (RPE 7-8)

Chins: 3x5
Calf Raises: 3x20x40lbs
Dips: 3x5
Planks: 3x60sec

Deadlift (293lb TM)
4x6x220lb
1x10x220lb (RPE 8-9)

Bulgarian Squats: 3x10
Calf Raises: 3x20x40lbs
Back Extensions: 3x10
Planks: 3x60sec