Saturday, September 7, 2013

Simple Strength Cycles: A "Power to the People!" Routine.

Josh Trammell

“Gosh dang it!!” After months of working on getting my first One-Arm Chin, I finally pushed myself too far. My left elbow just completely pooped out on me, rendering me unable to do any sort of upper body strength training for the next 2 months. What’s a man to do in this situation?

After getting a pretty severe case of tendinitis, all I could do was work on my legs. The routine I’m about to lay out may seem TOO simple at first look; however, two years have passed since I’ve worked this routine and it is still one of the most successful short cycles I have ever laid out. If an injury has completely derailed your upper/lower body training, or if you are looking to specialize on a specific body part or area in which you’re weak, this routine is perfect for you.

Adapted from Pavel Tsatsouline’s “Power to the People!”, within just 11 weight training sessions, I took my Front Squat 5RM from 225lbs x 5 to 250lbs x 5.

- Two years ago...

The Set-Up:
  • Pick a lift/area of the body you want to work on. In my case, all I could do was Front Squat.
  • Train this lift 4 days/week as the first lift in your training session.
  • Work up to a heavy (but doable) set of 1x5; take 80% of that weight and do another set of 1x5. So, if you did 1x5 @225lbs, you would do another 1x5 @ 180lbs (80% of 225).
  •  Every 2 sessions, up the amount of weight used on the first set by 5 lbs. For example: Monday and Tuesday, you did 1x5 @ 225lbs; Thursday and Friday, you will do 1x5 @ 230lbs, and take 80% of that for another set of 1x5.

     Do this for approximately 8-12 sessions (8 sessions = 4 increases in weight; 12 sessions = 6 increases in weight).

      After 12 sessions, you can do one of two things:
  1. Deload, keeping the intensity at about 90% of your best lift, for a week. Cut the volume in half and do just ONE set of 5. Do not do the 80% lift.  Then, add 5-10lbs to your FIRST set of 5 in that cycle (what you did that first session), and restart the cycle. While not a hard and fast rule, I would add 5 lbs to any upper body lifts, and 10lbs to the lower body lifts.
  2. Move onto a different cycle.

While this routine is incredibly simple, if you suck at a lift, are weak in an area, or can’t do anything else, this will skyrocket your progress – especially if you’ve never messed around with High Frequency Training before.

If you’re confused on how the routine is set-up or have any comments/questions, shoot us an email at or comment below. 

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