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Sample Prep/Work Capacity Phase. Thoughts?

Hi All,

Tho I’m currently at the beginning of a strength/intensification phase, so pretty much as far away from the below proposed phase as possible, I’ve been playing around with programming for a preparatory/work capacity phase to be done before and to maximise the outcome of my dedicated accumulation block to follow it ala phase potentiation.

I’ve written up the program for myself and my own circumstances/preferences e.g. :

Only training two days a week (unfortunately), high bar only (pretty much straight carryover to comp low bar for me), high-ish volume (relatively), high RPE work, little assistance/accessory (maybe quad work), some cardio via stationary bike progressing time/week etc.

Point is to add volume until I feel like shit, then add a bit more volume, deload and repeat, hopefully increasing work capacity over the block. Muscle/Strength is not so much a priority so don’t really mind if they don’t change noticeably in this period.

Below is a sample for the Back Squat. Since I’m just playing around with it at this stage I thought that it’d be a good time to get some thoughts/ideas and maybe get someone to guinea pig this for me to see how fatigue accumulates and dissipates throughout.


RPE Table

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A few thoughts:
-If you aren’t trying to build muscle then you don’t need to do high reps, more sets with lower reps and controlled rest periods (like 1-3 minutes depending on weight, number of reps, and your work capacity) can accomplish the same goal of building work capacity while also allowing you better technique since things usually get ugly with such high reps. I don’t really see a benefit of doing sets of 12 on compound lifts, even if you are going to do high reps you could cap it at 8 or 10 at the same RPE, and of course more weight on the bar.

-If you can only train twice a week then you will probably be better off doing more training volume rather than cardio.

-If you are only going to train twice a week then it’s quite likely that you will be able to go longer than 4 weeks without deloading, 2-3 days between workouts is a lot of time to recover and you will mostly be limited by how much you can do in a single workout. Unless you have a meet coming up, you could just keep going until you start to overreach and then start your deload. Let’s suppose you go 6 weeks without deloading and you wanted to do an 8 week volume phase, you can start the next mesocycle with high volume and transition to higher intensity/lower volume after the first couple weeks.

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Second this. Especially, if you are an easy gainer and more explosive in nature. Also, with the opportunity to control metabolic fatigue a little closer. For me, I still tend to do better with a protocol like this if hypertrophy is actually a goal, rather than high rep sets. I play on density as my main progression, alot like Mike Hedlesky layed out in the westside thread here on this site as lactate tolerance training. I also, superset my assistance with light airdyne as active rest and it has paid huge dividends, as far as work capacity.

You said before that you only train each lift heavy twice a month, do you ever deload?

I’ve yet to with 2 day a week. I would have to look at my logs to find out how long exactly it’s been that I’ve been running 2 day, but I would guess close to 6 months.
Edit: Haven’t taken a deload, since I started 2 day on May 8th.

@khangles - take note

The whole point of deloading is to manage fatigue, with such low frequency you aren’t likely to build up so much fatigue that you can’t recover by the next workout. If the purpose of this phase is to build work capacity then you can still add volume each week and then back off and build back up again, but the week or two after the highest volume weeks would probably be low enough stress to serve as a deload without reducing intensity as well.

You can overreach on one day a week and recover fine on 7 days a week. frequency doesn’t mean much, it’s other variables that influence fatigue. Workout to workout recovery is the easy stuff. You’d have to be doing really crazy stuff to mess up workout to workout SRA. Int it the fatigue accumulated over weeks that a deload dissipates?

Have always felt that if you’re training doesn’t require deloads it’s not hard enough or at least you are leaving something on the table training wise.

Yeah hopefully it turns out that way. Undulating periodisation seems like a bother but when I can be arsed the sustainability is worth.

Look for Fred Hatfield’s 80 day cycle. No deloads, he squatted over 1000. The idea is to allow enough time between workouts to fully recover. You need to manage fatigue and deloading is one way of accomplishing that, but not the only way.

And if you are only training twice a week there is a good chance you are leaving something on the table training wise, unless your ability to recover really doesn’t allow for more.

How much volume do y’all typically accrue in an average upper and lower session?

Right now, my main bench day is 3x3 on bench, 4 sets of 6-8 on wide grip paused bench, 4 sets 5-6 close grip 2 board press, and 3 sets of weighted chin ups. Main squat day is 3x3 squat, 4 sets of 5-6 high bar paused squat, 3 sets of 8 good mornings, and some ab wheel rollouts. My other bench day I’m doing rest pause close grip bench and OHP and on my deadlift day I do some light squats first but only as a warm up, 60%x2x5 sets, it doesn’t really add any fatigue and I get through my DL warmups faster. I’m taking a short break from my “normal” training which would be a top set and CAT down sets for more volume on the main lifts and slightly less assistance work.

Somewhere in the range of 10-25 weekly working sets per week per powerlift. Sorry for the range lel but I like to manipulate volume mostly and the gains seem to make themselves by the time I get around to upping intensity.