Program when you can't plan

Ask or answer questions, discuss and express your views

Moderators: Ironman, Jungledoc, darshana, stuward

Post Reply
User avatar
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1415
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:48 pm
Location: New York, USA

Program when you can't plan

Post by KenDowns » Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:16 am

2015 was the year that I could never plan anything. I never knew on any workout if I'd be back for the next one. Some of the reasons this year were very good, like more responsibility at work.

Once I gave in to the reality of irregular attendance, my goal became getting the best out of each session when I might not know where I was at because it had been 2 weeks, while sometimes I'd get in 4/week for weeks in a row.

What fell out of this was a 3 session progression. This is about bench and squat. Deadlift and press fit in and around it as I can get them in.

Session 1 is volume or "Welcome Back". 3x6-8. I pick a weight based on the last time and do my best. The warm-ups might blend with the sets here because I don't know where I'm at. As long as I can keep it up I either add weight or do another set or both.

Session 2 is "Discover". This only happens if I don't think I need to reset back to Session 1, generally if its been a week or less since session 1. I do 7/5/3, based on the results of session 1. Pick some weight that I think will be tough but doable for 7. Then same for 5, and then a triple.

Session 3 is "Improve". This only happens if I don't think I need a reset back to session 1. Since I've gotten 3 full sessions in a row I want to show solid improvement. I do another 7/5/3 and try to add weight to improve over the last session.

Since I've never gotten through 2 cycles without an interruption, deload is not part of this system. This is about how to come back from frequent involuntary deloads.

User avatar
Posts: 7578
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:11 am
Location: Kudjip, Papua New Guinea

Re: Program when you can't plan

Post by Jungledoc » Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:01 pm

Ken, I like that.

I have a similar situation. There are times that I'm in the gym every 2-3 days, then times that it exceeds a week. Work, general health, etc., all affect my schedule. I've been using an "undulating periodization" for progression, based on a very conservative index weight that allows a lot of room on the final "plus" set. As long as I can get some "plus" reps on the last set, I go ahead and work my way through the progression. Some assistance lifts that I would ordinarily do only once or twice per cycle, I'm now programming every workout, on the assumption that I won't be doing them too often. It's sad when you have to plan on inconsistency, but better to do it with a plan then randomly!
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan

Post Reply