T Nation

Road to Bull Strength

Hi, just finished 2 blocks of the ZULU template from TACFIT BARBELL. Thought of tweaking a few things here and there and finally came up with a new 2 year long program. Wont say that this program is totally my brainchild coz I know such programs are out there somewhere. Its just that I havent come accross one so far. I would really appreciate your views here. The program goes out like this:

PS: I am a relative beginner in the weight training game with just 3-4 months of training experience. My goals are purely to become big and strong and finally be able to work with heavy weights frequently… So that’s the reason why I thought of beginning slow and pick up tempo later on in the programme.

The aim of this 2 year long programme is to build a strong base, then moving on to build maximal strength and finally build the capacity to possess and execute lifts requiring maximal strength as well as endurance with increased frequency. The exercises that will be used for the ENTIRE PROGRAMME are as follows:

Back Squat
Bench Press
Deadlift
Overhead Press
Bent Over Row

Pull Ups and Dips with Farmer’s Walk and Neck training will be practised on off days.

Each training block will last for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, 1 RM will be tested after 2 days’ rest and a challenge session will have to be executed after that. The challenge session will comprise of exclusively barbell lifts and will be called BARBELL 500 from STACK website.
There will be 10 exercises and 50 reps will have to be completed with a load that’s equal to 50% of bodyweight for all the compound movements, and with 25% of bodyweight for isolation movements. The exercises are as follows:

Back Squat
Bench Press
Deadlift
Overhead Push Press
Bent Over Row
High Pull
Front Squat
Weighted Crunch
Barbell Curls
Tricep Extensions

The first 10 months of the programme will focus on linear periodization where the exercises will be done in 7 rep ranges, where each range will comprise one training block of 6 weeks. The ranges are as follows :

15RM ~ 65% for 4x15 with 45 seconds rest between sets
12RM ~ 67% for 4x12 with 60 seconds rest between sets
10RM ~ 75% for 4x10 with 75 seconds rest between sets
8RM ~ 80% for 5x8 with 90 seconds rest between sets
5RM ~ 87% for 5x5 with 120 seconds rest between sets
3RM ~ 93% for 4x3 with 150 seconds rest between sets
1RM ~ 100% for 10x1 with 5 minutes rest between sets

After these stages are completed, Undulating Periodization will be introduced. There will be 5 training blocks of 6 weeks each. Here, the focus will be on increasing training frequency and hitting the movements in different rep ranges throughout the week.

Block 1 will be 3x per week in 5RM, 10RM & 15RM
Block 2 will be 4x per week in 5RM, 8RM, 10RM & 15RM
Block 3 will be 5x per week in 3RM, 5RM, 8RM, 10RM & 15RM
Block 4 will be 6x per week in 3RM, 5RM, 8RM, 10RM, 12RM & 15RM
Block 5 will be 7x per week in 1RM, 3RM, 5RM, 8RM, 10RM, 12RM & 15RM

Block 1 split

Day 1 - 5RM
Day 2 - 15RM
Day 3 - 10RM

Pull Ups and Dips along with neck training on off days
Volume 3 sets of max reps for Pull ups and Dips and 3 sets of 20 reps for neck movements.

Block 2 split

Day 1 - 5RM
Day 2 - 15RM
Day 3 - 8RM
Day 4 - 10RM
Pull Ups and Dips along with neck training on off days
Volume 5 sets of max reps for Pull ups and Dips and 5 sets of 20 reps for neck movements.

Block 3 split

Day 1 - 3RM + Pull Ups + Neck Flexion
Day 2 - 10RM + Dips + Neck Extension
Day 3 - 5RM + Pull Ups + Neck Flexion
Day 4 - 15RM + Dips + Neck Extension
Day 5 - 8RM + Pull Ups + Neck Flexion

Block 4 split

Day 1 - 3RM + Pull Ups + Neck Flexion
Day 2 - 10RM + Dips + Neck Extension
Day 3 - 5RM + Pull Ups + Neck Flexion
Day 4 - 15RM + Dips + Neck Extension
Day 5 - 8RM + Pull Ups + Neck Flexion
Day 6 - 12RM + Dips + Neck Extension

Block 5 split

Day 1 - 1RM + Pull Ups + Neck Flexion
Day 2 - 15RM + Dips + Neck Extension
Day 3 - 5RM + Pull Ups + Neck Flexion
Day 4 - 10RM + Dips + Neck Extension
Day 5 - 3RM + Pull Ups + Neck Flexion
Day 6 - 12RM + Dips + Neck Extension
Day 7 - 8RM + Pull Ups + Neck Flexion

After successfully completing the ENTIRE PROGRAMME, a rest period of 3-4 days is to taken before testing the new 1RM for all the movements. After a subsequent rest of 1 more day, start the programme all over again.

1 Like

Bookmarked.

Thanks. What do you think about the prog?

I’m not reading it till midnight.

:+1: Just let me know after that

Sure thing.

I read till the programming component.

I feel it’s a SOLID PLAN and I’m rooting for you.

It coincides with what I believe in, incidentally.

Be sure to psych up before each session. Coz sounds fun.


It’s very technical in nature so be sure to go easy at the start. Take care during BARBELL 500 and don’t treat it like met-con. It’s a technique-based workout with SOLID programming by Scott Sonnon I’m sure.

Thanks…yes the barbell 500 is supposed to be done in rest pause style… will move on to the next exercise only after completing 50 reps of the previous one… treating it as metcon is going to invite injury for sure.
Btw, since pull ups are going to be done on alternate days, do you feel think the need to add some direct arm work? Also, I was thinking of adding high pulls. Do you think that will be an overkill?

I was more concerned about the muscle becoming de-sensitized and less responsive to contractions. With time, under conditions of high rep no rest and fast contractions, the muscle simply neurally stops communicating to the brain and burnout happens.

If you need more training, try going for a simple run carrying your water bottle.

If you want more hypertrophy, do them (pullups) slightly weighted.

If you desire more neural adaptations, do them with less rest.

You are hard working. No high pulls. Chad Waterbury sees it as a primary exercise and you already have quite a few.

High pulls are good for creating workout fatigue, not so much hypertrophy unless you seek it exlusively meaning you do them as the SOLE exercise for the day with other accessories.

If you are doing them on the side, you won’t get much benefits out of it.

When I did high pulls or similar exercises, I did close to 20-30 sets at a time, followed by 5 sets of AMRAP squats then BB. I enjoyed the high pulls the most and I already loved the squats so you get the idea.

I understand you are entering an intensive phase. So it’s either do an intensive program (this is already quite compehensive) first then this or do this first then the intensive program (not recommended).

I don’t mind writing an OLY-based prog for you but I need some numbers and much commtiment (strength/time/focus).

I like your replies. Very thoughtful of you.

Thanks for your feedback… I guess I am going to stick to this program and see where it takes me… I really appreciate your analysis of my points of view…really gave me an insight.