Understanding the 4-Week Block – Part 3: Finishing Up The Program

This is the final part of a 3-part series on how to develop a training program. If you missed the two previous installments, I suggest you check them out.

If you have been reading all along, then you know that we have already developed the backdrop for our training program and we have even set up our first training phase.Just to help you remember what the overall backdrop of the program was, it looked like this:

Block 1 (Weeks 1-4):
Break in phase
Primary Goal: Hypertrophy work
Secondary Goal: Strength
Tertiary Goal: Muscle endurance

Block 2 (Weeks 5-8):
Strength enhancement
Primary Goal: Strength
Secondary Goal: Hypertrophy
Tertiary Goal: Muscle Endurance

Block 3 (Weeks 9-12):Maximum Hypertrophy
Primary Goal: Hypertrophy rep range at highest volume
Secondary Goal: Low volume of heavy strength work
Tertiary Goal: Muscle Endurance

The goal has been to pay some attention to each of the three fitness qualities – strength, hypertrophy and muscular endurance – while allowing one of the qualities to take a primary role in each of the 4-week blocks.

Setting up Blocks 2 & 3

In part 2, we put together block one of the training program, the “break in phase”. Now it is time to wrap up blocks 2 and 3 so that we have a full 12-week program.

Block 2 (Weeks 5-8):Strength enhancement
Primary Goal: Strength
Secondary Goal: Hypertrophy
Tertiary Goal: Muscle Endurance

Exercise

Week 1 (mod. volume)

Week 2 (low volume)

Week 3 (high volume)

Week 4 (unload)

1) Weeks 1-2: Incline Bench

Weeks 3-4: CG bench press

5×2; 1×8

3×2; 1×8

6×2; 2×8

2×8

2) DB step back lunge

3x5ea leg

2x5ea leg

4x5ea leg

2×8

3a) 1-arm Half kneeling pulldown

3×8

3×6

3×8

2×8

3b) Step up

3×8

2×8

3×8

2×10

4a) Cable rev. fly

3×12

2×12

3×12

2×12

3b) BB curl

3×12

2×12

3×12

2×12

Exercise

Week 1 (mod. volume)

Week 2 (low volume)

Week 3 (high volume)

Week 4 (unload)

1) Weeks 1-2: Deadlift; Weeks 3-4: Squat

5×2; 1×8

3×2; 1×8

6×2; 2×8

2×8

2) Seated cable row

3×5

2×5

4×5

2×8

3a) 1-arm DB shoulder press

3×8

3×6

3×8

2×8

3b) Pulldown

3×8

2×8

3×8

2×10

4a) Cable chest flyes

3×12

2×12

3×12

2×12

3b) Triceps Press down

3×12

2×12

3×12

2×12

Exercise

Week 1 (mod. volume)

Week 2 (low volume)

Week 3 (high volume)

Week 4 (unload)

1) Chin up

5×2; 1×8

3×2; 1×8

6×2; 2×8

2×8

2) DB bench press

3×5

2×5

4×5

2×8

3a) Bulgarian Split Squat

3×8

3×6

3×8

2×8

3b) Dips

3×8

2×8

3×8

2×10

4a) 1-leg/1-arm RDL

3×12

2×12

3×12

2×12

4b) Calf raises

3×12

2×12

3×12

2×12

Block 3 (Weeks 9-12):Maximum Hypertrophy
Primary Goal: Hypertrophy rep range at highest volume
Secondary Goal: Low volume of heavy strength work
Tertiary Goal: Muscle Endurance

Exercise

Week 1 (mod. volume)

Week 2 (low volume)

Week 3 (high volume)

Week 4 (unload)

1) Bench press

4 x (4×3; RI = 10-15sec); RI between sets = 90-120sec*

3 x (3×3; RI = 10-15sec); RI between sets = 90-120sec*

5 x (4×3; RI = 10-15sec); RI between sets = 90-120sec*

2×8

2) Incline DB press

3×6

2×8

4×6

2×8

3a) Push up variation

3×8

2×8

3×8

2×8

3b) DB Fly

3×8

2×8

3×8

2×8

4a) Scaption Raise

3×15

2×15

3×15

2×15

4b) 1-arm cable pressdown (reverse grip)

3×15

2×15

3×15

2×15

Exercise

Week 1 (mod. volume)

Week 2 (low volume)

Week 3 (high volume)

Week 4 (unload)

1) Front Squat

4 x (4×3; RI = 10-15sec); RI between sets = 90-120sec*

3 x (3×3; RI = 10-15sec); RI between sets = 90-120sec*

5 x (4×3; RI = 10-15sec); RI between sets = 90-120sec*

2×8

2) RDL

3×6

2×8

4×6

2×8

3a) Walking Lunge

3×8

2×8

3×8

2×8

3b) Stability ball glute bridge w/leg curl

3×8

2×8

3×8

2×8

4a) Lateral Split squat

3x8ea leg

2x8ea leg

3x8ea leg

2x8ea leg

3b) Calf Raise

3×15

2×15

3×15

2×15

Exercise

Week 1 (mod. volume)

Week 2 (low volume)

Week 3 (high volume)

Week 4 (unload)

1) NG pull up

4 x (4×3; RI = 10-15sec); RI between sets = 90-120sec*

3 x (3×3; RI = 10-15sec); RI between sets = 90-120sec*

5 x (4×3; RI = 10-15sec); RI between sets = 90-120sec*

2×8

2) 1-arm DB row

3×6

2×8

4×6

2×8

3a) Underhand grip pulldown

3×8

2×8

3×8

2×8

3b) Inverted row

3×10

2×10

3×10

2×10

4a) Cable Curl

3×15

2×15

3×15

2×15

4b) High cable reverse fly

3×15

2×15

3×15

2×15

*Note: These are cluster sets. What this means is that each set is broken down into smaller mini sets. For example, 4 x (4×3; RI= 10-15sec), means that you will perform 4 mini sets consisting of 3 reps each. Once you are finished with those 4 mini sets, you will then rest 90-120sec. and repeat again for the desired number of sets. So, you will perform 3 reps, rack the bar and rest 10-15sec, perform another 3 reps, rack the bar and rest 10-15 seconds, perform a 3rd mini set of 3 reps, rack the bar and rest for 10-15 seconds and then perform a final mini set of 3 reps, rack the bar and rest for 90-120sec.

Final Thoughts and Ideas

Hopefully this article gave you some ideas on how to set up a training program over a specific period of time. The general idea is to pick a goal, pick a time frame and then develop a program that specifically addresses the desired goal.

A second idea would be to assign rep zones instead of a specific repetition number. For example, instead of saying 3 sets x 8 reps, you would actually use a rep zone to represent the number of repetitions, like 3 sets x 6-8 reps. This gives you a little more flexibility in your program and allows you to divert to a higher rep number, when you aren’t feeling 100%, or a lower rep number, when you feel like you can handle more weight. This allows for fluctuations in the training program so that you can account for the fact that not every workout is going to be an amazing, record setting workout. Lets face it, sometimes life gets in the way – we are overly tired, we had a rough day at the office, a fight with our significant other, we missed some meals etc.

Of course there are many other ways to develop a training program. In my book, Take Charge: Everything You Need to Know to Write Your Own Training Program, I detail a very different way of setting up a training program and, if you wanted too, you could use the concepts presented in this article series and apply it to the program concepts in the book and develop a much different looking program!

I should note that this article did not address conditioning, warm ups or flexibility. It is important that these elements are incorporated into your plan in order to have a well-rounded training program. These things are more specifically addressed in my eBook, should you want more information on how to appropriately combine them with your resistance-training program.

Take Charge! Everything You Need to
Know to Write Your Own Training Programs


This is a 116-page, step-by-step guide to writing
your own training programs and workouts.
Click Here for More Info!

* This article is EXCLUSIVE to IronMagazine.com, reproduction in any form without prior consent is strictly PROHIBITED.

About the Author
Patrick Ward holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and a USA Weightlifting-Certified Club Coach. In addition, Patrick is a licensed massage therapist focusing on Neuromuscular therapy and Active Release Techniques (ART). He lives in Chandler, Arizona and is the owner of Optimum Sports Performance and the Co-founder of Reality Based Fitness. He can be reached at patrick@optimumsportsperformance.com. Visit website: optimumsportsperformance.com

CLOSE
CLOSE
💪 IronMag Labs Bodybuilding Supplements