New 15-Week Physique Powerbuilding Cycle

A brand new 15-Week Physique Powerbuilding Cycle begins on Monday December 21st!

As always, our programs start with a deload week (a week of reduced volume/reduced reps/ reduced intensity) as existing members just tied up the previous cycle and need to give their body time to rest, relax, and recharge so they can lift heavy during the next 15 weeks. Similarly, new members who came from other programs need to do the same (:


This will be a 15-week cycle. 


Program Details:

  • This will be a 4-day training program with an optional 5th conditioning day.
  • Physique subscribers will get access to two program versions: Physique (full gym access), and DB Physique (DB-only)
  • Note that the “split” for this cycle is not exactly an “upper/lower” split like prior cycles:

    Day 1 – Upper Body Pull + Hamstrings
    Day 2 – Upper Body Push + Abs
    Day 3 – Rest
    Day 4 – Full Lower Body (Quad Priority) + Abs
    Day 5 – Full Upper Body
    Day 6 – Optional Conditioning
    Day 7 – Rest


Equipment Required: 

  • Physique: Dumbbells, barbell + plates, bench, squat rack, a way to do pull-ups.
  • DB Physique: Dumbbells + bench

*Physique and DB Physique are now synced on cycle timelines (previously, DB was a few weeks behind – hooray!)


Sample Day from PHYSIQUE/DB Physique
*In app video demos for every movement

PHYSIQUE 

A. Deadlift
Reps performed with STOP briefly on ground, providing time to reset and ensure optimal movement pattern

Build to one top set of 3 Reps (with a solid 2 RIR)
Then complete 3 sets of 2 reps @ 85% of top set
———————
B. Weighted Pull-ups (@21X0) (Scaling below)
21X0 = 1-sec pause at bottom (full hang position)
***Choose neutral, pronated, supinated, or rings, and stay consistent week to week

Build to one top set of 3 Reps (with a solid 2 RIR)
Then complete 3 sets of 2 reps @ 85% of top set
(Remember to take 85% of the total: BW + added weight)

***SCALING information included in daily programming
———————
C. Alternate Movements x 4 sets each:
Note that rest periods are short, and therefore loading should be submaximal

10-12 Reps Ring OR Inverted Rows (with 15+ rep difficulty)
Rest 1 min
8-10 Reps DB RDL (performed as 1 and 1/2 reps; as shown)
Rest 1 min
———————
D. Barbell Hip Thrusts
Complete 3 sets:
Start with 15-20 Reps UNBROKEN
Rest 30s between sets, and expect reps to drop dramatically from set to set
———————
E. 3-4 Rounds:
light weight, unbroken sets, minimal rest, focus on mind-muscle connection (MMC)

Incline DB Curls x 10-15 Reps
Incline Prone Rear Delt Flies x 12-20 Reps
———————

DB PHYSIQUE
*Note that “DB only” program cannot follow the “powerbuilding” focus of the repeating movements because it is not prudent to do sets of 2-5 reps with DB’s. The wide rep range exists to accommodate varied DB size options.

A. B-stance DB RDL
3 x 8-20 Reps PER LEG
Rest equally between legs (approx. 1-2 min)
———————
B. Pull-ups OR Assisted Pull-ups
3 x 6-15 Reps

***Pull-up videos show “at home” options, but If you have access to a Pull-up bar, use it!
(if you have access to a pull-up bar and need scaling, please reach out in the FB group and we will help you find a suitable solution)
———————
C. Alternate Movements x 4 sets each:
Note that rest periods are short, and therefore loading should be submaximal

10-20 Reps Incline DB Row
Rest 1 min
6-12 Reps DB RDL (performed as 1 and 1/2 reps; as shown)
Rest 1 min
———————
D. DB Frog Pumps
Complete 3 sets:
Start with 20-30 Reps UNBROKEN
Rest 30s between sets, and expect reps to drop dramatically from set to set
———————
E. 3-4 Rounds:
light weight, unbroken sets, minimal rest, focus on mind-muscle connection (MMC)

Incline DB Curls x 10-25 Reps
Incline Prone Rear Delt Flies x 15-30 Reps
———————

The concept of “Power Building” is super exciting, and has become increasingly popular as athletes attempt to build strength, power and create hypertrophy simultaneously.

Programming Powerbuilding is actually quite nuanced, and must be programmed in a very specific manner to control overlapping fatigue while allowing both strength and hypertrophy to flourish. The mastery exists in the ability to train lower reps without allowing the body to adapt ONLY to strength; and also provide sufficient volume across the musculature, to promote cell growth (hypertrophy).

Getting stronger depends on neural adaptations and getting better at performing/executing movements. It is not just about lifting heavy weights for low reps and slamming an extra 5 lbs on the bar each week.

One of the key components of this training cycle is the use of a “top set” for strength lifts, followed by a number of lower-effort backoff sets to refine movement patterns without incurring excessive systematic
fatigue. These backoff sets are for extremely LOW REPS, which is a contrast from the prior “Reverse Pyramid” cycle, where the backoff sets were much higher rep ranges.

If the fatigue from the strength work is too high, the body will use its resources to recover from this fatigue as opposed to responding positively to the hypertrophy work and sending resources towards manifesting new growth.

As an example of the structure, week 1 of the program will have athletes achieve a heavy set of 3 reps (with 5-RM weight) on most strength lifts, followed by 3-4 sets of 2 Reps @ 85% of the top set.

The sets of 2 reps might seem absurdly low effort, since you decreased a rep from the top set AND also dropped the loading. This is exactly the point, to hit a heavy set, signal the strength adaptations, and then follow it up with multiple sets that allow for perfect technique and enhance the performance/execution of the exercise.

Once the strength signal has been sent, there’s no need to continue hammering it. At this point, it is most beneficial to move on to the lighter work.

I tend to program Power Building cycles with MUCH lighter work in the latter portion of the session. Instead of hanging out in the 8-12 Rep range with hard hypertrophy sets, I find that the signaling for growth (and recovery) seems to be better when the hypertrophy work is in the higher rep ranges and/or with lighter loading.

Low reps with heavier weight recruit the FAST TWITCH MUSCLE FIBERS that are explosive in nature.
Higher reps with lighter weight recruit the SLOW TWITCH MUSCLE FIBERS that are more enduring in nature.

The middle ranges of reps (like 8-12) tend to recruit both sets of muscle fibers relatively equally, which is why we tend to avoid HARD SETS in this rep range for the purpose of the Powerbuilding cycle. However, we can still use sets of 8-12 Reps, but it would be with short rest and targeting approx a 15-20 RM type weight for the sets of 8-12 reps. This allows for the accumulation of metabolites, create a pump, shuttle nutrients to muscle cells, and limit total fatigue.

Per usual, the program will be arranged with 4 training days (plus the optional conditioning on Day 5).

This is a very unique cycle, and we are super excited for you guys to experience a different and challenging style of programming. As always, please feel free to ask questions, discuss concepts, and increase education around productive and sustainable training practices!


As always, email us if you want to change your existing membership to hop in the new 15-week Physique Powerbuilding Cycle.

New members can click here to join the Paragon Family