Sunday, June 29, 2014

15 Weeks of Jacked & Tan: The Results

This past week was the “test week” of my Jacked & Tan training.  In this post I will briefly go over each of the micro and meso cycles that make up the Jacked & Tan macro cycle; essentially modeled after traditional periodization.

But first, why should you read this? Why should you give my Jacked & Tan training a shot? What’s in it for you?

I can only answer that question by telling you what I got out of it, and hope that should you give it a shot you reap the same rewards for your efforts.

I got a whole mountain of personal records along the way. Everything from new 10 rep maxes to new one rep maxes. Not only that, but it was on every major lift that I incorporated- not just one lift here or there. All of them went up to some degree. The end of the cycle concluded with two weeks of “peaking” and then a third week of testing. Thusly making it 15 weeks ending with the following new all-time one rep maxes:

Squat: 500 pounds (65 lb. PR)
Bench: 365 pounds (40 lb. PR)
Deadlift: 575 pounds (60 lb. PR)
Gym Total: 1,440 pounds

My bodyweight went up about 5-7 pounds as well. In total that brings my weight gain out here to around an average of 10. During my test week I was averaging 184 pounds before training. I’m not going to lie to you, I did gain fat, but it’s not like I have a potbelly. I had noticeable improvement in my arm size and shoulder size. 

Pretty sure damn near everything else grew a tad too. Yes, even that. Reason enough? 

One other important thing to consider- I did not start this training cycle with new 1RMs. Before I started it I was likely capable of moving heavier weights, but for the sake of maintaining good movement quality I refrained from such attempts.

So there you have it, what I gained from running my Jacked & Tan cycle. Should you choose to do something along these lines hopefully you’ll see the same results.


Stallone did Jacked & Tan and he was fucking awesome.

Overview

Like I said above this is for the most part modeled after traditional or linear periodization. What is traditional or linear periodization? Here are great answers that break down different periodization models. (1, 2, 3)

The basic rules of the model I used are that when the macro cycle (12 or more weeks) starts the exercise variation and volume are great while the intensity and specificity are low. Then as the cycle progresses the variation and volume decrease as the intensity and specificity increases- you are training heavy and practicing frequently those main lifts. That way when you near a competition, or a test week, you are peaked for maximum performance.

More or less how it went down.

A Bit More Into the Weeds

This program’s first meso cycle (4-week block) was two, two-week micro cycles, with four ascending sets of ten reps, the second two weeks were four ascending sets of eight.

The second meso cycle started with two week micro cycles of an over warm 1+ rep-out followed by three ascending sets of ten, and you guessed it, then two weeks of an over warm 1+ rep-out followed by three ascending sets of eight.

The third meso cycle dropped the reps per set down further to two weeks of ascending sets of sixes and fours. Overwarm work here was rare, but I did have one or two days where I hit an over warm clean single for my squat and bench just as a gauge of where they were. If you choose to do overwarm work here do it sparingly, and make sure it’s clean and smooth. No grinding reps.

The fourth meso cycle was a mini-peaking cycle (only two weeks) where your volume of your main lift was dropped to a single set of a 2+ rep out followed by only your back off work of your main accessory lift for that day. The last week is testing main lifts only.

Macro Cycle (First 8 Weeks)
Meso Cycle 1
(4 Weeks)
Meso Cycle 2
(4 Weeks)
Micro Cycle 1
(2 Weeks)
Micro Cycle 2
(2 Weeks)
Micro Cycle 3
(2 Weeks)
Micro Cycle 4
(2 Weeks)

Macro Cycle (Second 7 Weeks)
Meso Cycle 3
(4 Weeks)
Meso Cycle 4
(3 Weeks)
Micro Cycle 5
(2 Weeks)
Micro Cycle 6
(2 Weeks)
Micro Cycle 7
(2 Weeks)
TEST
WEEK
*I would have had meso cycle 4 been four weeks as well, but my time out here was 
looking limited and so I planned it for only three weeks.

Disclaimer: I did not program off of percentages! However after some requests from my first post I looked back through my training and this is basically how it was programmed. The percentages I list are close calculations to the first work-set of the day. Now, if it was a movement I sucked at, like the front squat for example, it started at a lower percentage.

The way in which I went about programming this was making an honest estimation of what I could hit for a max set of ten then back planning from there. As I mentioned in my first post about Jacked & Tan, planning this solely off of percentages would be a mistake. Not everyone has the same rep capacity as others.

Nonetheless, not everyone thinks/plans like that so I’m giving you two ways to go about this. Just try and stay realistic with your weights. If you’re a powerlifter, chances are you haven’t seen ten reps of anything in a very long time.

Gator's bitches better not be programming too heavy.

How I Figured the Weights for My Sets

Fundamentally this entire macro cycle is set up in 2-week micro cycles. So for each 2-week micro cycle it was my goal to hit a rep PR at the end of it.

Week 2: Set new 10RM minimum. The (+) AMRAP allows you to set a higher rep max if you would like.

Week 4: Set a new 8RM minimum. The (+) AMRAP allows you to set a higher rep max if you would like, and perhaps beat the 10RM you set the week prior.

Weeks 6-8: Working towards a new rep max personal record in that main lift in the 2-3 rep range. Week-8 should result in a new PR with your main movement.

Weeks 9-12: Working towards a new 4-6RM on week-12. This weight should be somewhere near the 90% range of your main movement variation.

Week 13: Set new 2-5RM

Week 14: Set a new 2-3RM.

Week 15: Test week. Set new personal records.

Breaking it Down Further

The first meso cycle has 10-pound increases in weight, the second and third meso cycles weight increases are 20 pounds. The exception being military press, which is 10 pounds since my max is much lower comparatively.  The fourth meso cycle it went back down to 10-pound weight increases for my primary accessory lift.

If your max weights are low your weight increases will have to be lower!!!

The main lift (or T1) progression in chart form:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
40%x10
+10lbx10
+10lbx10
+10lbx10
45%x10
+10lbx10
+10lbx10
 +10lbx10+
50%x8
+10lbx8
+10lbx8
+10lbx8
55%x8
+10lbx8
+10lbx8
 +10lbx8+
*Note the rep outs on the last set of week 2 and week 4.

Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
92.5%x1+
52.5%x10
+20lbx10
+20lbx10
95%x1+
57.5%x10
+20lbx10
+20lbx10
97.5%x1+
62.5%x8
+20lbx8
+20lbx8
100%x1+
67.5%x8
+20lbx8
+20lbx8
*The over-warm is a rep out. If you’re not feeling it that day,
just it hit for the single.

Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
67.5%x6
+20lbx6
+20lbx6
+20lbx6
+20lbx6
70%x6
+20lbx6
+20lbx6
+20lbx6
+20lbx6
72.5%x4
+20lbx4
+20lbx4
+20lbx4
+20lbx4
75%x4
+20lbx4
+20l x4
+20lbx4
 +20lbx4+
*Note the rep out of the last set of week 12.

Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
90%x2+
95%x2+
Test Week

Again, the above charts are progression for the main lift only!

To be clear, you start with whatever weight that percentage comes out to (or whatever your capability estimation) and then add 5, 10, or 20 pounds for the next set, add more weight and do another set, add more weight… and so on and so forth until your ascending sets are complete.

Once again, a disclaimer: I did not program off of percentages with these initially! I figured what I could do for the ascending sets of ten, eight, six and four reps. I made accurate estimations of my capabilities and planned reasonable progress from there with the goal of setting new PR’s in that range at the end of each micro or meso cycle. Percentages listed are only close calculations to the first work-set of the day!

Be smart when you program this for yourself and when in doubt, start light!

Jackass, you over estimated your abilities.

Primary Assistance Lifts

When selecting the primary assistance lift for the first eight weeks it should be decided by identifying what body parts of yours are weak, say shoulders, or what movements you suck most at. For me lunges were one of my most hated lifts. So for the first eight weeks I did lunges… and boy, was I miserable. But it was worth it. Remember, early in the cycle it is all about variety and non-specificity.

You must choose a lift that isn’t one of your other main lifts here.

Now, you don’t have to do the same primary assistance movement for eight weeks. I suggest you keep it the same movement for a minimum of four weeks. Run the whole meso cycle with the same lift as your primary assistance. At the end of the four weeks reevaluate your progression, identify other weaknesses (whether strength or body part development wise), and go from there.

Examples of this would be for bench as the main lift its primary assistance would be incline bench, or perhaps a dumbbell press variation. After four weeks lets say your shoulders are stronger and looking better, maybe the next four will be close grip bench or dips to target your triceps. This is essentially the T2 for the day.

Select something you know you need work on. For most strength athletes we don’t do nearly enough unilateral work, so that was a major thing for me to personally incorporate here.

Primary Assistance Lift Progression:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
10 reps, 5 sets
10 reps, 5 sets
(Add 10 lb. from last week)
8 reps, 4 sets
(Add 10 lb. from last week)
8 reps, 4 sets
(Add 10 lb. from last week)

Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
10 reps, 5 sets
(Weight is the same as Week-3)
10 reps, 5 sets
(Add 10 lb. from last week)
8 reps, 4 sets
(Add 10 lb. from last week)
8 reps, 4 sets
(Add 10 lb. from last week)
*Here you take two steps back in weight but increase the volume and continue
the progression.

Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
3 reps, 10 sets
(This should be roughly 60%)
3 reps, 10 sets (Add 10 lb. from last week)
2 reps, 10 sets
(Add 10 lb. from last week)
2 reps, 10 sets
(Add 10 lb. from last week)
*Note the change in reps x sets structure here. I’ll explain that in a bit.

Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
2 reps, 10 sets
(Add 10 lb. from last week)
2 reps, 10 sets
(Add 10 lb. from last week)
Test Week

Keep in mind; if your maxes are relatively low your weight increases will have to be smaller. If your maxes are higher you could manage greater jumps in weight. Regardless of your personal strengths and weaknesses you need to plan your Jacked & Tan cycle according to your abilities.

Secondary Assistance Lifts

These are your isolations, your prehab and rehab movements, in general- your bodybuilding stuffs. In terms of my traditional GZCL Method, these are your T3 movement. I’ll also include bodyweight work in here too, so dips, pull ups, inverted rows, etc. Just not their weighted versions.

The guidelines for implementing these lifts into your Jacked & Tan cycle are as follows:

Weeks 1-4
Weeks 5-8
Weeks 9-12
Weeks 13-14
2-4
T3 Type
Movements
2-3
T3 Type
Movements
1-2
T3 Type
Movements
1
T3 Type
Movements

Example Set Up for a Single Day

Below you will see my squat day, which was Monday. I’ll list exactly the lifts I programmed to drive up my squat capacity and strength. Being a powerlifter I usually squat with a low bar position, but with this I started with high bar squat. (Remember the beginning of the cycle should be less specific.) Not only that but I trained my back squat for a full 12-weeks without a belt!

We will start at week one and I’ll walk you through all the way to test day for my squat.

*This is all Weight x Reps x Sets
Meso Cycle 1
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
T1: High Bar Squat
(No Belt)
185x10
195x10
205x10
215x10
T2: Lunges
95x10x5
T3:
Leg Curl
25xMyo Reps
Leg Extension
25xMyo Reps
T1: High Bar Squat
(No Belt)
195x10
205x10
215x10
 225x10+
T2: Lunges
105x10x5
T3:
Leg Curl
25xMyo Reps
Leg Extension
25xMyo Reps
T1: High Bar Squat
(No Belt)
205x8
215x8
225x8
235x8
T2: Lunges
115x10x5
T3:
Leg Curl
25xMyo Reps
Leg Extension
25xMyo Reps
T1: High Bar Squat
(No Belt)
215x8
225x8
235x8
 245x8+
T2: Lunges
125x10x5
T3:
Leg Curl
25xMyo Reps
Leg Extension
25xMyo Reps

Meso Cycle 2
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
T1: High Bar Squat
(No Belt)
375x1+
205x10
225x10
245x10
T2: Lunges
115x10x5
T3:
Leg Curl
25xMyo Reps
Leg Extension
25xMyo Reps
T1: High Bar Squat
(No Belt)
385x1+
225x10
245x10
265x10
T2: Lunges
125x10x5
T3:
Leg Curl
25xMyo Reps
Leg Extension
25xMyo Reps
T1: High Bar Squat
(No Belt)
395x1+
245x8
265x8
285x8
T2: Lunges
135x10x5
T3:
Leg Curl
25xMyo Reps
Leg Extension
25xMyo Reps
T1: High Bar Squat
(No Belt)
405x1+
265x8
285x8
305x8
T2: Lunges
145x10x5
T3:
Leg Curl
25xMyo Reps
Leg Extension
25xMyo Reps

Meso Cycle 3
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
T1: Squat
(No Belt)
275x6
295x6
315x6
335x6
355x6
T2: Front Squat
175x3x10
T3:
Leg Curl
25x12x4
Leg Extension
25x12x4
T1: Squat
(No Belt)
285x6
305x6
325x6
345x6
365x6
T2: Front Squat
185x3x10
T3:
Leg Curl
25x12x4
Leg Extension
25x12x4
T1: Squat
(No Belt)
295x4
315x4
335x4
355x4
375x4
T2: Front Squat
195x2x10
T3:
Leg Curl
25x12x4
Leg Extension
25x12x4
T1: Squat
(No Belt)
305x4
325x4
345x4
365x4
 385x4+
T2: Front Squat
205x2x10
T3:
Leg Curl
25x12x4
Leg Extension
25x12x4
*Here I moved back to low bar squats. Note the T2 change.

Meso Cycle 4
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
T1: Squat (Belt)
410x2+
T2: Front Squat
225x2x10
T3: Hammer Curls
30x 10 reps 3 sets
T1: Squat (Belt)
425x2+
T2: Front Squat
235x2x10
T3: Hammer Curls
30x 10 reps 3 sets
Test
Week
*Here I made a bigger jump on my front squat because the 
movement was actually starting to make sense to me.

Please, tell me about your leg day...

Double Frequency. Increase Intensity. Decrease Volume.

Think back to the beginning of this tome and remember that as your training progresses your specificity and intensity should go up and your volume should go down. Thus the choice I made to make another day’s main lift the primary assistance for that day. The example above has the squat as the main lift and the front squat as the primary accessory in the third meso cycle.

This will work if you have programmed at least two upper and two lower days. In this case I highly suggest following this protocol. Why?

Your primary assistance lift for this third meso cycle should be reaching into some decently high intensity and therefore the volume should be moderately low. Compared to the first two meso cycles this third cycle has on average about 50% less volume. Considering the higher intensity I also wanted to make sure my average bar speed was high as well. To do this I brought the reps per set low, very low- in that 2-3 range. The number of sets was high though (10 sets total); that way I accomplished the required amount of volume for my primary accessory while maintaining higher average bar speed.

Another great thing this protocol does is limit the stress of the training day. In this context, stress can generally be described as the number of reps per set. The higher the rep to set ratio, the higher the stress (AKA time under tension.) We want to keep stress low here, especially since the intensity is high, in order to stave off crappy training days and make recovery easier. These lifts should be fast.

Those familiar with Westside Barbell’s system would recognize this type of work as “speed work.” Whether it does what Louie Simmons says it does, or what Mike Tuchscherer says it does, is a whole other argument.

I enjoyed this type of structure because it kept my rep quality high and maintained average bar speed while doubling my weekly frequency with that specific movement- without hampering my recovery.

My 3rd Meso Cycle’s six days a week of training was structured like this:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
T1: Squat
T1: SlingShot Bench
T1: Deadlift
T1: Military Press
T1: Front Squat
T1: Bench Press
T2: Front Squat
(Friday’s Main Lift)
T2: Bench
Press
(Saturday’s
Main Lift)
T2: Squat
(Monday’s Main Lift)
T2: Close Grip Bench
(Tuesday’s
Variant)
T2: Deadlift
(Wednesday’s Main lift
T2: Military
Press
(Thursday’s
Main Lift)

Macho Man Randy Savage got Jacked & Tan
Then flying elbowed everyone else who didn't.

Why This Versus the Regular GZCL Method?

My regular GZCL Method (bonus reading here) uses a pyramid analogy to describe a person’s training. In it I describe how a lifter can go about strengthening themselves throughout the three tiers simultaneously, whether it be on a daily or weekly time scale.

That general conjugate approach worked well for me for a very long time. Because that’s all my method really is- periodization stacked up, focusing on multiple skills or abilities at the same time. But I came to a point where I realized that I needed to do some more intensive and dedicated work with my main lifts, or close variants of, in the lower tiers.

Original GZCL Model

This allowed me to split each original tier into its own time block of four or more weeks and then further divide that tier into three more levels (main lift, primary, and secondary accessories.) By doing so I spent the first two meso cycles working on my main lifts in what originally is 2nd and 3rd Tier (T3) volume and intensity ranges. The third meso cycle had my main lifts in the 2nd Tier (T2) range, and a bit into the 1st Tier (T1) range. The fourth and final meso cycle had me high into the 1st Tier (T1) and ready to set new maxes.

Jacked & Tan Model, or traditional periodization.

However, unlike my original method, as the training progressed my T2 and T3 level volume dropped dramatically. In fact the fourth meso cycle had me doing almost no “traditional” T3 type exercises- at most a few sets of curls per week to help out some elbow pain I had developed. The only reason this was possible is that I had spent 8-weeks prior working so damn hard in that 3rd Tier already.

All this does is push the daily or weekly structure of my traditional method out to a bi-weekly and monthly time scale. Dedicating to each tier it’s own training block in order to make it stronger and thus support each subsequent tier that much better.

Like I said above, my traditional GZCL Method isn’t really anything new as it is inherently a traditional approach- just restructured.  

Not saying it's Illuminati tradecraft...
just say'n. 

Conclusion

The Jacked & Tan training cycle worked wonders for my size and most importantly, my lifts. It pushed my total into that 1400+ range and also gave me some excellent conditioning. Spending dedicated time building strength in each tier individually provided me the progress needed to get back to my traditional training model and again see improvement.

Moving forward I will implement a more traditional GZCL Method approach, although very, very relaxed. I need some time off from this extremely structured and rigorous training- it has been both physically and mentally exhausting. If I had ever toed the line of that fabled “over-training,” this was it.

I know that I’ve thrown a ton of information at you. Over three thousand words and tons of tables will tend to do that to a reader. So please, let this information digest. Think about this concept of traditional periodization and how you can implement it into your own training.  It may seem confusing now, but it is fantastically simple. In essence all you do is add weight and decrease reps. This may seem ancient compared to newer and more hyped training ideologies, but the results speak for themselves.

You may fancy yourself a powerlifter, bodybuilder, or simply a strength-training hobbyist. Regardless of your end goals I strongly believe that this simple yet effective training program will benefit you. Because at the end of these 15 or so weeks you will walk away with better muscular endurance, more size, and stronger lifts. And that sounds a whole lot like how someone would become Jacked & Tan.

And who doesn’t want to become Jacked & Tan? 

Rambo got Jacked & Tan in Afghanistan.
So did I. Coincidence?

13 comments:

  1. Basic Jacked & Tan Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/113Q2OKjW5nwGB83V03MFkNc0ghwBHpx4CJmZX5XbJcw/edit#gid=0

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks man! This is awesome.

      Delete
    2. Do I have to do something special to be able to edit this sheet? I have no clue what I am doing, but seems very useful for the program.

      Delete
    3. Hey man, I would just copy/paste it into your own google.doc and go from there.

      Delete
    4. Are the maxes I input into the spreadsheet based off of a 5RM, 1RM, or 3RM? Not sure how to input this...

      Delete
  2. This is an excellent write up, jizzy. Can I blow you now or later (no homo)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, thanks man! And now is fine...

      Delete
  3. Is there any way you could break this down to a 4 or 5x a week program?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, yes and no. Yes in the sense that it'll look like it in ways, no in the sense that it wont likely illicit similar results. If anything, the best case scenario would look something like:

      Weeks 1 & 2 (Do Week 1 and Week 3 from the 1st Meso Cycle)

      Weeks 3 & 4 (Do Week 1 and Week 3 from the 2nd Meso Cycle)

      Week 5 test.

      But that's really, really, pushing the limits of this. And I'd even venture to say it'd be entirely different. 4-5 weeks is a very short block of time for an adaptation response to occur, especially on the level which happened with me.

      Delete
    2. I meant, as in, could you do the same program but only train 4 or 5 times a week? Rather than 6 lifting days

      Delete
    3. And how, vaguely, would that programming look?

      Delete
    4. Yes, you could train 4x per week on this. I would just do a squat day, a deadlift day, and two bench days. Some would do one bench day and one OHP day.

      Delete
  4. I actually managed to grow 3.2 inches taller within 8 weeks. My friends couldn’t believe how different I looked, and some of them were jealous. With this the nutritional food, regular exercise, physician consultancy is also required. I used the following link to get info.

    For more info please click on the following link: How To Program Increase Height

    Talk soon.

    ReplyDelete