Bare Bones Conjugate: A Bar, Rack, and Bench Weeks 9-13

TAGS: banded wave, Max Effort Upper, Dynamic Effort Upper, Circa max, meet cycle, matt ladewski, assistance work

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A good rack, bar, and bench will serve you very well. You have seen this over the last two articles. Each wave shows some different ways to approach your training and this is no different. This wave will be a small taper at the end for peaking purposes. The banded wave will include a circa max for more experienced lifters before a meet.

This example of a taper is written for a meet but it could be just as easily used for a testing day. The key is to go into the meet fresh and not over-trained. You should be taking advantage of delayed transformation to be your strongest on meet day and not weeks before. If you find that you are underperforming at meets you may need to adjust your last few weeks of training. If you find you are having problems executing and need help please email me at regionbarbell@gmail.com.

There are few things I recommend during this cycle or as you approach a meet. Taper your caffeine and pre-workout as the meet gets closer. On meet day when you hit the caffeine you will actually see a performance increase. Push your ab work and feel free to add in extra. Most of the work has been done and this will really be fine-tuning and trying to set yourself up for success. Go in undertrained, not over-training. You want to have that desire to train during meet week and forcing yourself to rest is important.

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Wave 3

Pre-Fatigue, 3 Rounds:

  • Split Squat x 6 (10-second pause at the bottom on the last rep)
  • RDL x 8 (light weight)

Max Effort Lower

You will not be breaking records during this cycle. The openers will feel heavier because of the pre-fatigue. This is on purpose.

  • Week 1: Squat Opener
  • Week 2: Deadlift Opener
  • Week 3: Arch Back Good Morning (Hard set of six)

Assistance Work

  • Front Squats: 3-4 x 5
  • Wide Stance Good Morning (Hamstring Focus): 3-4 x 8
  • Barbell Rollouts: 3-5 x 6-10
  • Supermans: Length of song. Rest as needed.

Max Effort Upper

Work to a hard triple, then drop reps to one and max out. If you can’t jump 20 pounds and know for certain you are going to get it, stop. Break records by five pounds and stop.

  • Week 1: Close Grip Floor Press
  • Week 2: Bench Press Opener with Pause (Stop after this single)
  • Week 3: Pause Bench to last Warm-Up (Stop after this single)

Assistance Work 

  • Steep Incline: 3-5 x 6
  • French Press: 3-6 x 8
  • Strip-the-Rack Rows: 4-5 x 12
  • Plate Pinch Zottman Curls: 3-4 x10
  • Upright Rows: 2-4 x 20 (Do 10 reps wide grip and 10 close grip)

Dynamic Effort Lower

  • Week 1: Competition Squat (75%, 10x2, 45 seconds rest)
  • Week 2: Competition Squat (70%, 8x2, 45 seconds rest)
  • Week 3: Competition Squat (65%, 6x2, 45 seconds rest)
  • Week 1: Speed Deadlift (65%, 10x2, 45 seconds rest)
  • Week 2: Speed Deadlift (65%, 8x2, 45 seconds rest)
  • Week 3: Speed Deadlift (65%, 6x2, 45 seconds rest)

Reset on each rep.

Assistance Work

  • Stiff Leg Deadlift: 3-4 x 10 (Use for low back assistance, not supplemental work. Go slow and work the muscle.)
  • Manual Leg Curls: 4-5 x 5-8 (Slow descent and use your hands to push yourself up)
  • Serrano Split Squats: 3-4 x 6 each leg
  • High-Tension Planks: 4-6 x 30 seconds

Dynamic Effort Upper

Week 1-2: Speed Bench (60%, 9x3)

Three sets close grip, three sets medium grip, and three sets wide grip.

Week 3: Bench Press (50%, 3-4 x 2, pause)

This is not dynamic effort. Just some light work. If your shoulders or elbows are beat up you may skip this pressing.

Assistance Work

Superset:

  • Dead Stop Barbell Extensions on Floor: 3-5 x 6 (Use 25’s for extended range of motion)
  • Dips on Bench: 3-5 x 12
  • Wide Grip Pull-Ups: 3-6 x 6-8 (Add weight if needed)

DLB Shoulder Quad Set (3-4 x 8 Reps Each, No Rest):

  • Front Raise
  • Upright Row
  • Overhead Press
  • Behind Neck Press

Hammer Curls with Plates: 3-5 x 12

Week 4 — Meet/Test Week

Everyone is different on how much work they want or need to do during meet week. I would recommend moving around some. Some light bodyweight work, sled dragging, and mobility work up until Wednesday would be acceptable. Thursday and Friday should be totally off.

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Banded Cycle Weeks 9-12

You have made it this far and now it is time to peak. This cycle includes circa max and I would recommend you have a very good handle on your technique and your recovery. This cycle is not for beginners. If you are a beginner you can follow the band-free cycle. If you are going to do this cycle please make sure you have spotters and set up the bands appropriately. Good Luck!

Max Effort Lower

There is no max effort work during this cycle because of the circa max cycle on dynamic effort day.

Week 1-3

  • RDLS (With or Without Bands): 3-5 x 6
  • Band Good Mornings (Round and Arch): 100 total reps, rest as needed

Superset:

  • Lunges x 15
  • Pallof Press (Band): 3-5 x 12

Standing Calf Raise: 3 x 20

Max Effort Upper

  • Week 1: Reverse Band Close Grip. Use a band that allows no more than your second attempt.
  • Week 2: Bench Opener with Pause
  • Week 3: Bench Last Warm-Up

Superset, 4-6 Rounds:

  • Incline Barbell Extension to Forehead x 10
  • Band Hammer Curls x 15

Superset, 4-5 Rounds:

Superset, 3-5 Rounds:

  • Side Raise Drop Set: 10 reps with 10-pound plate and Micro/Mini Band around hands, drop plate, 20 reps with only the band
  • Barbell Front Raise x 20

Underhand Band Pull-Aparts: 100 total reps

10 minutes to do any assistance work you want. You must do ab work with it! Your choice.

Dynamic Effort Lower

Squats

  • Week 1: Circa Max, 50% band tension. Work up in doubles then to a max single off a box. Wear briefs and suit bottoms if you lift in gear.
  • Week 2: Circa Max, 50% band tension, 80% of the bar weight from Week 1. Do 3-5 doubles off a box. Geared lifters wear briefs and suit with straps down.
  • Week 3: Bar weight only, 50% of max. Do 5-8 doubles without the box. You need to get used to being in space and not box squatting. Do not squat to a box! Briefs only if wearing gear.

Deadlifts

Weeks 1-2: Speed Deadlifts (3-5 singles, 60% bar weight, ~20-25% band tension)

Week 3: Speed Deadlifts (3-5 singles, 60% bar weight, no bands)

 Assistance Work

  • Band Leg Curls: 3-5 x 12
  • Split Squats or Step-Ups: 3-5 x 10
  • Leg Raises against Micro Mini Bands: 3-5 x 15
  • Seated Good Morning: 3 x 25 (Round and arch, go light)

Dynamic Effort Upper

Speed Bench

Weeks 1-2: Speed Bench (9x3, 40-50% bar weight, 15-25% band tension)

Three sets close grip, three sets medium grip, and three sets wide grip.

Week 3: Speed Bench (6x3, 40-50% bar weight, no bands)

Two sets close grip, two sets medium grip, and two sets wide grip.

Assistance Work

Superset, 3-5 Rounds:

  • Close Grip Floor Press x 6
  • Band Pushdowns x 20

Superset, 3-5 Rounds:

  • Bradford Press x 20, over and back is one
  • Face Pulls x 25

Tri-Set, 3-5 Rounds:

  • Drag Curls x 25
  • Reverse Grip Curls x 15
  • Wide Grip Barbell Curls x 6

Pull-Ups: 3 x failure, 2-3 minutes rest, use a band for assistance if needed

Barbell Pullovers: 2-4 x 15

Reverse Band Side Bends: 3-5 x 10 per side

This completes your twelve weeks of prep. Week thirteen is your meet or testing week. Everyone is different on how much work they want or need to do that week. I personally feel better the more I move around. It is very low-level work but I like to move, hit all the muscle groups, and keep from getting stale. I’ve found I need to do a fair amount of pushdowns on Wednesday or Thursday or my bench feels flat on Saturday. I like to work my lats and triceps at about 75% intensity of normal assistance work and everything else was about 50%. Unless you are really beat up I do not recommend taking the whole week off.

So this is where I leave you. I am glad this is done. In trying to give as much variety as possible I found it was getting pretty difficult. Without bands or anything else, knee flexion was the hardest to work around. Remember, this was not written for anyone in particular, and you will need to customize it to fit your needs. If you do run this or a variation of it, let me know how it goes. Please email me at regionbarbell@gmail.com. I would love to hear how it went.

Weeks 1-4

Weeks 5-8

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