Spring 2021: 15-Week Physique/DB Physique Cycle

Say hello to the brand new 15-Week Physique & DB Physique Cycle!

As always, our programs start with a deload week (a week of reduced volume/reduced reps/ reduced intensity) as existing members just tied up their previous training cycle 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. Deload week will begin 4/5 and then first official training week will begin 4/12.


This will be a 15-week cycle. 


Program Details:

  • 4x/week training + 1 optional day
  • Lower Body/Upper Body/Rest/Lower Body/Upper Body/Optional Conditioning Day/Rest
  • Parts A and B repeat week-to-week on each day
  • Focus on compound exercises mostly for repeating movements
  • DB-only version of the cycle can be found under the DB Physique tab in our app
  • As always, Physique/DB Physique is our most ideal program program for those who wish to gain muscle and strength, hit PR’s, and look/feel damn good.

Equipment Required: 

Physique:

  •  Barbell
  • Bumper Plates
  • Bench
  • Dumbbells
  • Squat Rack
  • A way to do Pull-ups (rings, pull-up bar, etc)

DB Physique:

  • Bench
  • A minimum of 2-3 pairs of Dumbbells (obviously the more the merrier. But if working with minimal equipment, pairs of light, medium, and heavy for you would be ideal. For example: pairs of 10’s/25’s/45’s)

Sample Days from Physique
*In our app, there are video demos for every movement

Day #1– Physique (Lower Body + Core )
Part A and B repeat week to week. Track metrics

A. Romanian Deadlift “RDL” (Barbell or Trap bar)
Complete 3 working sets that all fall in the 10-12 Rep Range

B. DB Split Squat of choice
(choose movement, stay consistent week to week)

Complete 2 working sets per leg that all fall in the 12-15 Rep Range.
Rest equally between legs (approx. 90 sec to 3 min as needed)

SPLIT SQUAT OPTIONS:
Both Feet Elevated
Rear Foot Elevated
Front Foot Elevated
No Elevation
Advanced athletes select Split Squat of preference
Beginner/novice stick with the “no elevation” split squat

C. Leg Extensions OR “At Home” Leg Extension variation of choice
Build to a tough set of 15 Reps
Rest a few minutes
Then use same weight/difficulty from tough set and complete 30 Reps in as few sets as possible
Anytime you “break,” rest only 15 seconds and then return to continue chipping away at 30 reps.

At Home Leg Extension Variations:
Sissy Squat (weighted as needed)
Scaled Sissy Squat
Bodyweight Leg Extension / Reverse Nordics
DB Leg Extensions
Banded Leg Extensions
Inverted Leg Extensions (banded as needed)

D. Alternate Movements x 2 sets each:
Barbell Ab Rollouts x 6-12 Reps
Rest 1 min
Leg Curl Machine (seated/lying) OR Towel/Slider Leg Curls
(scale slider curls by stepping feet in/out)
Rest 1 min

E. 2 Rounds:
Single-Leg Calf Raise (DB in hand of working leg) x 10-12 Reps (Weak leg)
Overhead DB Sit-ups x 10-15 Reps
Single-Leg Calf Raise (DB in hand of working leg) x 10-12 Reps (Strong leg)
Rest 2 min between rounds


Workout #2 – Physique (Upper Body Push + Core)
Part A and B repeat week to week. Track metrics

A. Pause Incline Barbell Bench Press
Reps at 21X0 tempo, meaning 2-sec descent, 1-sec pause bottom, EXPLODE UP, no pause at top of rep
Complete 3 working sets that all fall in the 12-15 Rep Range

B. Alternate Movements x 3 Sets Each:
Pull-ups x working sets in the 10-12 Rep Range (scaling below to meet target rep range)
Rest 1-2 min
Butterfly Lateral Raises x working sets in the 12-15 Rep Range
Rest 1-2 min

Pull-ups Scaling
Rack Pull-ups & Foot Assisted
Machine-Assisted
Band-Assisted

C. Superset x 2 Sets Each:
Straight Arm Pulldowns (Banded or Cable) x 10-15 Reps
Incline DB Row OR Seated Cable Rows x 10-15 Reps
Rest 2-3 min

D. Reps 20-15-10 for each exercise:
Select a weight/difficulty where you can do the 20-rep set unbroken, and rest approx. 30s between movements; just enough to ensure quality/unbroken sets
Push-ups
Standing DB Hammer Curls

E. 2 Rounds:
Minimal rest between movements and rounds
12-20 Reps Pushdowns (Banded or Cable)
12-20 Reps Face Pulls (Banded or Cable)


Workout #1 – DB Physique (Lower Body + Core)
Part A and B repeat week to week. Track metrics

A. Rear Foot Elevated DB RDL
3 x 8-20 Reps PER LEG
Rest equally between legs (approx. 1-2 min)

B. DB Split Squat of choice
(choose movement, stay consistent week to week)

2 x 6-15 Reps per leg
Rest equally between legs (approx. 1-2 min)

SPLIT SQUAT OPTIONS:
Both Feet Elevated
Rear Foot Elevated
Front Foot Elevated
No Elevation

Advanced athletes select Split Squat of preference
Beginner/novice stick with the “no elevation” split squat

C. “At Home” Leg Extension variation of choice
Find a tough set of 15 Reps
Rest a few minutes
Then use same weight/difficulty from tough set and complete 30 Reps in as few sets as possible
Anytime you “break,” rest only 15 seconds and then return to continue chipping away at 30 reps.

At Home Leg Extension Variations:
Sissy Squat (weighted as needed)
Scaled Sissy Squat
Bodyweight Leg Extension / Reverse Nordics
DB Leg Extensions
Banded Leg Extensions
Inverted Leg Extensions (banded as needed)

D. Alternate Movements x 2 Sets Each:
DB Ab Rollouts x 6-12 Reps (if Hex DB, put a towel on floor so it slides!)
Rest 1 min
Towel/Slider Leg Curls x 8-15 Reps (scale slider curls by stepping feet in/out)
Rest 1 min

E. 2 Rounds:
Single-Leg Calf Raise (DB in hand of working leg) x 8-15 Reps (Weak leg)
Overhead DB Sit-ups x 8-15 Reps
Single-Leg Calf Raise (DB in hand of working leg) x 8-15 Reps (Strong leg)
Rest 2 min between rounds


Workout #2 – DB Physique (Upper Body)
Part A and B repeat week to week. Track metrics

A. Pause Incline DB Press
Reps at 21X0 tempo, meaning 2-sec descent, 1-sec pause bottom, EXPLODE UP, no pause at top of rep

3 x 8-20 Reps

B. Alternate Movements x 3 sets each:
***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 or Rings/TRX and need help scaling, please reach out in the FB group and we will help you find a suitable solution)

Pull-ups x 6-15 Reps
Rest 1-2 min
Butterfly Lateral Raises x 6-15 Reps
Rest 1-2 min

C. Superset x 2 Sets Each:
DB Lat Sweeps x 15-30 Reps
Incline DB Row x 8-20 Reps
Rest 2-3 min

D. Reps 20-15-10 for each exercise:
Select a weight/difficulty where you can do the 20-rep set unbroken, and rest approx. 30s between movements; just enough to ensure quality/unbroken sets

Push-ups (elevate hands to scale; elevate feet for increased difficulty)
Standing DB Hammer Curls

E. 2 Rounds:
Minimal rest between movements and rounds
Bench Dips x 8-20 Reps
Prone DB Face Pulls x 15-30 Reps


Further Program Details:

Hey Paragon Fam, Bryan Boorstein here – Welcome to the 15-Week Spring 2021 Physique cycle. Over the winter, we leaned into a Powerbuilding cycle to get members strong on compound movements such as the squat, deadlift, bench, etc. This spring, we’ll be leaning into a Linear Periodization cycle. As the weeks progress throughout the cycle, the reps decrease and the weights should increase accordingly.

Here is an example of how “Linear Periodization” appears across a 4-week progressive build:

Week 1 – Sets of higher reps  

Week 2 – Sets of moderate/high reps  

Week 3 – Sets of moderate/low reps

Week 4 – Sets of lower reps  

Each REPEATING movement will follow a progression method that resembles this. The program will explicitly tell you what your rep targets are for the given week of training.


This will be a 15-week cycle consisting of:

Pre-cycle Intro/Deload week

4-week progressive building phase (mesocycle 1)

Mid-cycle Deload week

4-week progressive building phase (mesocycle 2)

End of cycle Deload week

4-week progressive building phase (ramp to testing) (mesocycle 3)


Progression:

After you complete the final week in the 4-week build, and then the subsequent deload week, you will return to the “higher” rep ranges. The objective is to make it slightly more difficult than you did the prior 4-week period for the same rep targets. This can be accomplished by adding weight OR increasing reps while keeping the same weight.

Example:

Weeks 1-5: 

100-120-140-160-Deload

Weeks 6-10: 

105-125-145-165-Deload


Proximity to Failure (How Hard Should I Be Working?)

First, let’s define failure: We should assume that taking a set to failure means that you can no longer perform a rep with the same technique. This does NOT mean that you contort your body to achieve another rep. That is beyond failure, because the intended musculature is no longer the one moving the weight. Your first rep should look the exact same as your last rep, just a slower grind through the concentric portion of the rep.

We like to begin each 4-week progressive building phase (mesocycle) with approx. 2-3 reps “in reserve” (shy of failure) or “2-3 reps left in the tank.” Meaning a weight that you *could* complete 5 reps but stop at 3 reps.

This allows you to confidently progress reps or load week to week with the intention that you will reach 0-1 reps from failure by the final week before deload. The cool thing about this model, is that you get a sense of assessment at the end of each 4-week period and you can know accurately whether the training, nutrition and lifestyle you are living is “working.”

We *know* through research that you get the same hypertrophy with 2-3 reps shy of failure as you do going to failure (and potentially better strength gains). As a result, we find it prudent to enjoy these earlier weeks, shy of failure, as we prepare for the progressively harder training ahead.


Ramp-up Sets and Rest Periods Between Sets

In the Linear Periodization structure, we’ve determined that the reps decrease week to week. Therefore, the number of ramp-up sets needed will also change as the weeks go by. For higher rep work, like sets of 12-15 reps, you may only need 1-2 ramp up sets. This is because the total weight you need to reach for the “work sets” isn’t very high. However, as the reps decrease (into the 5-8 range), and the weights get heavier, you will need additional progressive sets to reach your top weight for many of the movements.  Rest periods are ALWAYS important.

Remember our general guidelines at Paragon:

Compound Lower Body Movements (squat, deadlift, etc) = 2-3+ minutes

Compound Upper Body Movements (bench, bent over row, etc)= 2+ minutes

Isolation work (arms, lateral raises etc) = 60-90 seconds


We’re super excited for this specialty cycle and hope you are too! Physique and DB Physique continue to be our most popular programs at Paragon and we love seeing our members hit PR’s, get stronger, feel great, and feel more comfortable in their skin. Remember: Deload week begins Monday 4/5/21, so that’s when we’ll be starting the party!

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