2022 Summer Metabolic Cycle

Aug 1, 2022 | Program Cycles

2022 Summer Metabolic Cycle

Aug 1, 2022 | Program Cycles

Paragon Co-founder Bryan Boorstein here with some additional insight into our metabolic phase.

This cycle will apply to the Physique, Hybrid, and 3D Physique programs for Summer 2022.


A Little Background:

Following the 5-week strength cycle, we’ll take a deload week, then move directly into a 5-week “Metabolic” phase.

After a strength cycle, work capacity is lower. This is a result of the lower reps and less time under tension, meaning less impact on our cardiovascular system. In a strength cycle, you don’t really get a great pump from training because you don’t have a lot of metabolite build-up in the muscles.


What does this mean?

The weight feels heavy, and the muscles fatigue, but not with the same burning feeling they get from higher rep and superset sequences. This is simply because the body is de-trained to the metabolic stimulus. Therefore, you should find that your muscles are extremely sensitive to this very different training style.

Pumps will happen more rapidly and stay for longer. You may even notice some muscle volume increases during days off training, as all the nutrients are shuttled into the cells.

In this cycle, there will be a few major differences from the prior metabolic phase.


Training Split:

You’ll see a new training split in this cycle:
Day 1 = Pull Muscles (hamstrings, back, biceps)
Day 2 = Pushing Muscles (quads, chest, triceps, shoulders)

The entire 6-weeks will be split into two 3-week periods:
3 weeks of Systemic Training
3 weeks of Local Training

The rep schemes and repeating movements will change after 3 weeks and the entire approach to training will change as we shift the objective.


Two Types of Metabolic Training:

1) Systemic This is all about work capacity; increasing your ability to recover “systemically” between sets.

Let’s say we’re doing multiple sets of back squats. This can be extremely fatiguing, not just for the working musculature, but for the system as a whole.

Now, let’s say you could achieve the same effort level with 2 minutes of rest between sets, instead of 3 minutes, this would mean you could do more volume in less time! This concept can be extrapolated across an entire day of training.

Therefore, being systemically conditioned can help you recover faster session to session as well!

In this cycle, the circuits won’t be quite as daunting as in the last cycle. With the new split, we now have the ability to combine the lower and upper body into the same circuit. This will help the desired “whole body” conditioning component, and also make it easier on the individual muscle structures overall.

2) Local This is all about clearing metabolites quickly and efficiently within a specific muscle group (“lactic acid” is the most commonly known).

As you work your way through a set, it begins to “burn” in the later reps. This is the result of metabolites building up within the muscle, and an inability to “flush” these metabolites as fast as they are building.

Think about a squat movement. You can sort of cheat the “pain” by resting at the top to temporarily flush this lactic acid. Instead, we would much rather see you “lean in” to the accumulation of metabolites, and force the body to adapt and get better at flushing it, versus looking for a way out of the pain cave.

Through this local metabolic training, we can get better at flushing these within individual sets, as well as limiting the recovery time needed to flush them between sets.


Repeating Movements:

I want to discuss the repeating movements in more detail and delve into some discussion around implementation models for each.

As mentioned, this 6-week METABOLIC cycle is split into two distinct “three-week” cycles.

This discussion below pertains to the movements and sequences for the first three weeks. I will provide another review for the subsequent three-week period.

In this first three-week phase, the overriding goal is to create systemic fatigue. As previously mentioned, this means that your body as a whole gets tired, but the individual muscles themselves are not necessarily getting crushed.

To accomplish this, we alternate between movements for very different parts of the body. This forces the body to supply oxygen and blood flow across the entirety of the organism simultaneously and increases our aerobic capacity. The training stimulus “to failure” isn’t required to accomplish this objective.

In fact, hitting failure in any movement (especially big compound exercises) could detract from the ability to facilitate this blood flow across the body, because it will require so much blood to be pumped to that one specific area at failure.


Day 1 Repeating Movements:

A. Alternate x 4 sets each:
2 warm-up sets each, then 2 work sets each
DB RDL (without hip extension) x 10-15 Reps
Rest 45-60 sec
Supported Row x 10-15 Reps
Rest 45-60 sec

How to Approach Part A: It’s very important to avoid tough reps of either movement because they both involve the grip muscles. If the grip becomes too fatigued, it will be difficult to get the desired effect from each movement. To keep consistent effort during both work sets, you should expect some reps to drop off. For example, you may achieve 15 reps on the first set, then 12 on the second set. Progress week to week by trying to increase the second set first. This will ensure you aren’t creating too much fatigue in the first set.

B. 8 Minutes:
At the top of each minute
First set = warm-up
Final 3 sets each = work sets
Min 1: Hip Extensions x 6-10 Reps
Min 2: Standing Curls x 6-10 Reps

How to Approach Part B: This is an “EMOM” (Every Minute On the Minute) where you are essentially going to work for 20-25 seconds, and then rest the remainder of the minute (35-40 seconds). You can push these sets a little harder because they don’t have any shared muscle functions (i.e. grip fatigue). Select a weight where you can achieve 10 reps on the first set, then expect reps to drop set to set from there. As long as the FINAL set is above 6 reps, you can increase effort/weight in the following week!


Day 2 Repeating Movements:

A. Alternate x 4 sets each:
2 warm-up sets each, then 2 work sets each
Quad Dominant Squat x 8-12 Reps
Rest 45-60 sec
Push-ups x 10-15 Reps
Rest 45-60 sec

How to Approach Part A: We have two large movers here (exercises that work a lot of muscle). They also work completely on antagonist areas of the body, meaning the fatigue will accumulate quickly under short rest. To keep consistent effort during both work sets, you should expect some reps to drop off. For example, you may achieve 12 reps on the first set, then 10 on the second set. Progress week to week by trying to increase the second set first. This will ensure you aren’t creating too much fatigue in the first set.

B. 4 Rounds:
2 warm-up sets each, then 2 work sets each
Alternating DB Step-ups x 10-16 (5-8/leg)
NO REST
Incline DB Delt Press x 8-12 Reps
Rest 2 min

How to Approach Part B: Here, we have a “superset,” meaning you will perform both movements back to back with no rest, and then have a longer rest/recovery between rounds. You can feel free to progress these movements in load whenever you are in the middle of the rep range on the second set (assuming the first set hits the top of the rep range).


Day 3 Repeating Movements:

A. 5 Rounds:
First 2 rounds as a warm-up, followed by 3 rounds of work sets
Deadlift x 5-8 Reps
Little Rest as Possible
Pull-up / Pulldowns x 6-12 Reps
Rest 1-2 min

How to Approach Part A: Part A represents a superset pairing. For ease of implementation, try to perform the Deadlifts near a power rack, where you can just turn around and do the Pull-ups (or Rack Pull-ups). It will probably be difficult to superset Deadlifts and Pulldowns in a commercial gym, though I’ve seen it work before! It is very important to stay even further from failure on the Deadlift. This is a destructive movement for the entire body, and we want to avoid even a single “grindy” rep (where you really have to exert a ton of effort to keep it moving). You can progress these movements in load whenever you are in the middle of the rep range on the final set (assuming the first two sets hit the top portion of the rep range).

B. 8 Minutes:
At the top of each minute
First set = warm-up
Final 3 sets each = work sets
Min 1: Leg Curls x 6-10 Reps
Min 2: Row (DB/Cable) x 6-10 Reps

How to Approach Part B: This is an “EMOM” (Every Minute On the Minute) where you are essentially going to work for 20-25 seconds, and then rest the remainder of the minute (35-40 seconds). You can push these sets a little harder because they don’t have any shared muscle functions (i.e. grip fatigue). Select a weight where you can achieve 10 reps on the first set, then expect reps to drop set to set from there. As long as the final set is above 6 reps, you can increase effort/weight in the following week!


Day 4 Repeating Movements:

A. 4 Rounds:
2 warm-up sets each, then 2 work sets each
Incline Barbell Bench x 8-12 Reps
NO REST
Walking DB Lunge x 10-16 steps (5-8/leg)
Rest 2 min

How to Approach Part A: We have another “superset” sequence, meaning you will perform both movements back to back with no rest, and then have a longer rest/recovery between rounds. You should be able to easily bring the DBs over to the Bench with you. Once you complete your final Bench Press rep, just pick up the DBs and start lunging! You can feel free to progress these movements in load whenever you are in the middle of the rep range on the second set (assuming the first set hits the top of the rep range).

B. 3 Rounds:
Increase the difficulty of each round, plus one tough round at the end
Leg Extensions x 8-12 Reps
Rest 45-60 sec
DB Lateral Raise x 10-15 Reps
Rest 45-60 sec
Standing Tricep Ext x 10-15 Reps
Rest 2 min

How to Approach Part B: This is our first “Giant Set” sequence. This means alternating between three different movements. The idea here is to bring a set of DBs over to the Leg Extension with you. This will be even easier if you’re doing an “at home” leg extension. Either way, you have a 45-60 sec rest between movements, so you could even casually stroll from the Leg Ext to the DBs and then begin the two upper body movements. You can feel free to push the “one tough work round” close to failure, as these are less demanding movements. Progress in load if you can hit the top portion of the rep range on that tough set.


The Big Picture:

Overall, the metabolite portion of the periodized training year is almost always the shortest. This is because the body really does create these adaptations super quickly. We can get in there, see tangible improvements in recovery in a few weeks, and then get right back into some productive hypertrophy training… as we’ll see in the Fall 2022 cycle.

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