Now that phase 1 of my 12 week challenge is complete it is time to shake things up again and begin phase 2 – strength. Phase 1 was all about volume and muscle tension. Allowing my body to adapt to a high frequency of lifting (six times per week) with moderate loads (6-12RM) and slow tempo (40-70 seconds per set). A lot of focus was given to the mind to muscle connection in order to recruit and hypertrophy as many fibres as possible.
Phase 2 – Strength
As with any body composition challenge the goal is still muscle growth or at the very least muscle preservation so I still want to keep the volume of lifting high. However, in order to keep in mind the laws of adaptability and progressive overload I need to change things up. We know the body adapts fairly quickly to a given load for a given exercise so I will be swapping up the first two exercises of each day for some maximal strength work (5RM loads). The tempo will be less important as I am not so concerned with the time under tension on these two. These are more about training my nervous system to lift heavier loads. I should then benefit from this increased strength when I move onto my hypertrophy lifts after that. Stronger muscles can lift greater loads therefore more potential for growth.
Push, pull, leg split routine
Phase 1 broke all the muscles up into six separate programmes. Which kinda looked like I only trained each muscle once per week. That isn’t actually the case as it is impossible to truly isolate one muscle with most lifts. For example on glute day my quads were also being trained on a lot of the lifts and vice versa, my triceps were also being training on chest, shoulder and arm day! However, like I said it is time to shake things up so I have changed up my training split. Most of the research shows that for significant hypertrophy we should aim to train each muscle at least twice per week, with a push, pull, leg split over 6 days I can do that and with a good amount of volume.
What about cardio?
As I have discussed previously, with this type of training your heart and lungs get a great workout so there isn’t necessarily any need to add in additional cardio sessions. Although the weather is looking good and I miss my running over the downs so I am going to listen to my body and if I feel good and the sun is shining I will get some running in, sprints, hill repeats, LISS, whatever floats my boat on the day. I am not an athlete and I wont be competing on a stage in my pants thank god 🙄 so I will forget my sport science degree and ignore the arguments against concurrent training and just let nature take its course.
Anyway without further ado, behold phase 2 -strength
I think this is going to hurt 🤪 but as they say,
the greater the challenge, the greater the triumph 💪