Christian Thibaudeau

Co-founder of Thibarmy, Trainer

Strength and performance, Thib's Training Journal, Training

0 min

Monday January 17th

This was an « off day ». Note that I do not train on a specific set of days. In an ideal world I would have my 3 key sessions on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and the fourth session, which is for my secondary physical quality, on Saturday.

In truth, I do my three big workouts when we have daycare for Jayden. Which is normally Mon/Wed/Fri (we pick the days, it’s not like we are restricted, we want enough days for him to socialize, but we don’t want to have the daycare worker bring him up).

But yesterdays, Jayden fell and broke a tooth, and we were able to get an emergency dentist appointment for today. So, I decided to take the day off.

Anyway, it was supposed to be a day off because I was scheduled for my 3rd appointment for my tattoo (which has also been canceled, for the same reason).

I decided to make today a “cheat day”.  I did not have a cheat or refeed day for the past 6 weeks, then again, I didn’t feel the need to. But yesterday I felt a bit more rundown (did 3 workout days in a row, which is a bad idea with neurological stuff) and was lighter than usual (202 morning weight instead of my normal 204), felt very flat and had a poor workout performance (I even skipped the power snatches because on the first set I knew it would be a waste).

Lesson of the week: If you are training for performance and you don’t feel like “it’s your day” and that you are just not going to be able to even perform up to your last similar session, it’s perfectly fine to skip and exercise or two to give yourself more juice for the remaining movements. And if you still don’t “have it”, it’s better to call it a day than bang yourself on the wall and likely hurt your next 1-2 sessions. With performance training, a shitty training is not better than no training a all.

Because of my psychological profile, I prefer to have all my cheat food in one single meal. I need to feel like I just can’t have anything more and feel fully satisfied. If I were smart (when it comes to my own training/nutrition I often take emotional decisions) I would have had the cheat as late a possible, so that I can’t be tempted to have more. But I had it at 10:30am. But because. I’m on and off, it wasn’t a big deal for the rest of the day, maybe I ate even less than usual on the remainder of the day.

I’m pretty sure that you are dying to know what Thib eats on a cheat. Well, here you go, remember that this was all in one meal, and likely eated in less than 12 minutes.

4 caramel muffins (mildly underwhelming. The taste was good, but they were not soft enough… should have put them in the microwave for a few seconds)

8 strawberry strudel sticks (bakery ones, not the cheap stuff. Each abound 20-25cm long)

18 chocolate waffle cookies (they were gluten-free so that’s perfectly healthy)

20 Ritz crackers with non-fat sliced “cheese” (again, it’s non-fat so that is diet food)

To be fair, this is actually pretty mild for me. While I don’t cheat much anymore, I rarely feel the need to, I used to be a world class binge eater.

I once gained 27lbs in 6 hours (measured) and have eaten 24 burgers and 1 order of fries in one sitting on another occasion (which likely led to more than a 1lb gain, but I didn’t measure).

By comparison my scale weight was up only 2.5lbs after this meal. So yeah, mild.

Anyway, the timing is not random. I’m off today and have my strength workout tomorrow. I hope that the carbs overload will give me a few more pounds on each lift.


As I said, I didn’t train today. However, I did do mobility work.

I started doing power snatches again and although the weights are moving up nicely (hit 205lbs, which is not impressive in any way shape or form, but is not bad after 2 weeks while not having done them for over 8 years), my poor shoulder mobility is hurting my performance as I can’t reach a proper catch position.

Here is the stretch I started doing to fix the issue.

I did 5 sets of 1 minute, gradually getting into a deeper stretch. After that I was able to get into a full overhead squat. So, I went to the low position of an overhead squat and held for 1 minute.

Tuesday, January 18th

I’ll use the result of my cheat from yesterday to drive a point home.

What was the outcome of the big cheat meal I had yesterday? I was 1lb lighter upon waking up (201lbs) but felt energized and full.

How can I have lost weight while filling up muscle glycogen? Because I ate a lot less in all the meals following my cheat meal. Not because I forced myself too, but I just wasn’t hungry. In fact, I had to force myself to eat in the evening.

And that’s something I learned about me: when I cheat and feel satisfied, my hunger will be blunted for the rest of the day. And I likely kill my psychological cravings for food.

Now, not everyone is like that. For a lot of people eating cheat foods just make them crave it even more and they turn a cheat meal into a cheat day. And then they have a hard time going back to good nutritional habits.

If someone is of that later type, I normally recommend against cheats. Because it’s playing with fire every time. With them I will use refeeds (increasing carbs) using non-processed, “healthy” foods.

My workout today was a mixed bag.

The good

I did 465lbs (bar weight) + 70lbs of chains on the safety bar squat from pins (I would say 1” above parallel), which I was pleased with. Keep in mind that I’m not “strong” yet. That’s the only heavy lifting I do in my week, most of it is explosive work. And I’m personally not that much stronger in this range of motion than in a full squat because I’m very good at using the rebound in the bottom of a squat. I’d say that I’m about 25-35lbs stronger in the slightly above parallel squat.

Now, this is acceptable to be as I did 435 with the chains last week. I’m starting a strength block next week and this should skyrocket to the mid 500s within 3-4 weeks.

The bad

My power snatch felt off today. I did a lot of mobility work for it yesterday and being so tight, the tons of intense stretch caused some muscle damage that left my overhead position weaker than usual.

I was also focusing too much on exaggerating the catch position and that affected my pulling “violence”.

I only worked up to 185lbs, down 20lbs from my last workout, and I ended up doing some muscle snatches to work on getting a more solid overhead position (more on that in the next category).

The ugly

Normally I do “heavy” (for me, right now) bench press with a small band is this workout but my subscap was inflamed and while I could have done the bench, I prefer to give it more rest to be in optimal shape for the start of the strength block.

I killed two birds with one stone and did muscle snatches from the hang instead of the bench to improve my upper body action during the catch of a snatch and to strengthen the shoulders. I did a few sets of 5 then worked up to a “heavy” triple.

Overall, I felt good though. From a physique perspective it’s the most solid I’ve felt in a long time. Almost as lean as in my last photoshoot but with better muscle tone and fuller muscles. Less upper body mass, of course, because I’m not doing much upper body work but my legs and glutes are growing.

I was stupid enough to watch a video where Stefan Botev explained the Bulgarian weightlifting system and felt like doing heavy squats at 8:00pm on top of my regular training… that lasted one warm-up set, LOL.

Wednesday, January 19th

I woke up at 202lbs. It’s a good thing I had the two bags of popcorn flavored mini rice cakes before bed, or I might have lost my gainz and been hella small, bro.

Today’s sessions is the lightest/most explosive of microcycle:

A1. Vertical jump series (meaning that I jump as soon as I land) x 3 reps

90-120 sec of rest

A2. Single leg box jump x 3 reps/side

2-3 minutes of rest

I stop when my performance (watts) drops by 3% on A1.

B1. Trap bar jumps (30-40% of body weight) with reset on every rep x 3 reps

90-120 sec of rest

B2. Hardstyle KB swings, really focusing on accelerating the eccentric x 5-7 reps

2-3 minutes of rest

I stop with my performance (watts) drop by 3% on B1.

C1. Medicine ball throw from chest, tall kneeling position x 3 (20-15-12lbs balls)

90-120 sec of rest

C2. Explosive bench press with 1” band (speed must be 1.0m/s or higher)

2-3 minutes of rest

I stop when I can no longer reach 1.0m/s on the bench

Post-session analysis

Today was a decent workout. Not excellent, but not bad either. Above average I would say.

I had to train earlier than usual (8:00am) because I had a business call at my normal training time (10:00am). I was still a bit stiff and had one less meal in me than usual (I started to get hungry at the end of my workout).

Many things were positive.

* My single leg box jumps are getting better. I feel that these are very important for me because I have a severe left to right imbalance that makes my jumping inefficient and would obviously affect my sprinting. At first, I honestly was having problems leaving the ground with my left leg! Now it’s getting somewhat decent. I still have a tendency to push more with my right leg when jumping and have to think about driving with my left leg (having to think about anything when doing an explosive drill is never good), but it’s less bad.

* With my medicine ball throws I use three different weights (20, 15 and 12lbs). Mostly because I hate having to go pick up the ball after each throw! Normally I go from the heaviest to the lightest, figuring that as I get more fatigued my strength will go down. But once thing I noticed is that during power training (anything from jumps to speed bench/squat) my speed increases from rep to rep (measured by an rate encore, Vitruve; Gymaware is also a solid option) when I do sets of 3. Today, after a “meh” first set I decided to start with the lighter ball and my throwing velocity went up. What I think happens is that 1) there is some activation and very little fatigue going on, which increases performance potential in later reps instead of decreasing it, 2) by doing the faster throw first it kinda “sets the speed” for the two other throws. Whereas if I start with the heavier ball, the speed is set slower. That’s my theory at least.

* I was pleased with my trap bar jumps today. Using 115lbs I came within half an inch from hitting my ceiling (in my gym it’s 7 feet, 5 inches compared to 9 feet for my living room). And reached a peak velocity of 2.71m/s with that weight, which I had never done on that drill. With loaded jumps the key is NOT adding weight. It’s not like a regular lift where you use progressive overload. That’s why I rely on the “ceiling test” to add weight: once I hit the ceiling, I’ll add 10lbs! Note that in the past the heaviest I could hit the ceiling with as a 45lbs kettlebell. Once I hit it with 115lbs that will indicate massive progress.

* My top performances for today were satisfactory. If I only looked at that to evaluate the quality of my session I would have ranked it as “excellent”. But I couldn’t do a large workload today (remember, I use performance drop-off to know when to stop doing sets). I did perform at a good level (for me) but could not sustain my level of performance over as many sets as usual. Probably because I did my strength session the day prior while I normally have a day off between both.

Thursday, January 20th

Ok, so this last week of my power block will be less than optimal because I will have to train three days in a row. Which is never great when training for performance. Especially with a focus on power/speed in which you want the freshest nervous system possible.

But as I explained in my first journal entry, I chose to put my most important sessions on the days where we send Jayden to the daycare. Which is normally Monday/Wednesday/Friday and then I train once on the weekend.

This week, Jay couldn’t go to the daycare on Monday because of an accident he had the previous day. And yesterday I learned that the daycare will only open at 1:00pm. We decided to send Jayden today instead of Friday so I’m going to do my third workout in three days.

At this point I’m considering training on Friday too (I will have one more workout left before the end of my phase) then taking the whole weekend off before the beginning of my strength block. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

My workout plan for today is:

A1. Vertical jump from a soft surface with reset after every jump x 3

90-120 seconds of rest

A2. Vertical jump from hard surface with reset x 3

2-3 minutes of rest

I stop when my performance (watts) drops by 3% on A1.

  1. Power snatch x 1 to 3 depending on feeling

C1. Top-half squat with ankle extension (slightly above parallel), 35lbs of chains/side, @ around 0.75m/s x 3

90-120 seconds of rest

C2. Reverse hyper (with ½” band on top of the weight) x 5-7 reps

90-120 seconds of rest

I gradually ramp up C1 to the heaviest weight I can lift all 3 reps @ at least 0.75m/s. I stop the complex when I can’t reach 0.75m/s

D1. Explosive bench with 1” and ¼” bands (on top of the weight) @ around 0.75m/s x 3

90-120 seconds of rest

D2. Barbell front raise drop and catch x 5-7

2-3 minutes of rest

I gradually ramp up D1 to the heaviest weight I can lift all 3 reps @ at least 0.75m/s. I stop the pairing when I can’t reach 0.75m/s

Post-session analysis

This is my favorite workout in this block because it is the training zone (speed-wise) that I like the most and for which my nervous system seems to be designed as I can always do more volume in this workout, even when it’s my third workout in a row.

I started using velocity-based training principles to regulate my training volume. But I noticed other benefits that really helped the quality of my workouts.

* When doing “speed/explosive” work, you will always have the impression of moving fast. Heck, the difference in perceived speed between 0.6m/s and 0.85m/s is very small and most can’t tell the difference. But training at 0.8m/s instead of 0.6m/s with the same load will make all the difference in the world.

* I did an experiment. When I’m using my encoder (Vitruve) and can see the data on as I’m doing my set, I produce significantly more speed than if I only see the data at the end of the set. When I can see the data during the set, my rep speed increases from rep to rep (sets of 3) whereas when I do not look, my speed decreases from rep to rep.

* In the beginning of the phase I only used the encoder on lifting exercises. This week I started using it on jumps to. And that alone will make a HUGE difference. Why? Because in the past I would stick to doing 3 sets of the jump complexes. Look at the data from my jumping complex from this morning:


(best peak velocity of set)


(best peak velocity of set)

1 3.09 m/s 3.2 m/s
2 3.32 m/s 3.21 m/s
3 3.30 m/s 3.27 m/s
4 3.27 m/s 3.28 m/s
5 3.38 m/s 3.51 m/s
6 3.50 m/s 3.47 m/s
7 3.45 m/s 3.34 m/s


Note that I did a proper warm-up and preparation jumping drills before starting. As you can see, it took 4 sets to reach my optimal neurological/physiological state to get my best vertical jumping performance. Had I stopped after 3 sets, I would have never reached my peak performance and would have lost a strong training effect. Basically, the money sets were:

A2 (hard surface). Set 5

A1 (soft surface). Set 6

A2 (hard surface). Set 6

A1 (soft surface). Set 7

By the way, in case you are interested the displacement of my jump (from the low position in the dip to the highest point of the jump) was 3.35 feet, or around 40 inches. This is NOT a 40” vertical.

I don’t know the exact depth of my dip, but I did measure what I feel is my normal dip and it was around 7-8”. I think it is a pretty fair assessment to say that the top vertical was 32-33” which, is pretty decent for a 44 year old who started training again for power 4 weeks ago.  My goal was to hit 35-36” when my sprinting training will start (in May), so I see to be on the right path.

I predict that it will go down a bit during my next phase, which is a strength block with only around 1/3rd of the explosive work volume I’m using now, but it will rebound higher in my next power block.

Today I also changed my squat-style.

In the previous weeks of the block I would simply do a top half (from a 90 degrees knee angle) from pins with added chains as fast as possible for the load I’m using (either 0.75 m/s or 0.5m/s zone) but this week I decided to make it more specific to the jump and finish on my toes (ankle extension). Basically, I’m doing the movements exactly as if I was doing a vertical jump, without leaving the floor.

It’s essentially a mix between the jump squat and top half speed squat.

My “squatting” exercises thus become:

Day 1 – Jump squat (using a trap bar)

Day 2 – Top half squat with ankle extension (at least 0.75 m/s)

Day 3 – Top half squat with ankle extension (at least 0.5 m/s)

Day 4 – Top half squat, heavy (no speed goal)

Of course, my training block is ending, but I’ll carry these choices over for my next power block (4 weeks from now).

Monday January 17th

Friday, January 21st

Today was on “off” day. But not really.

I did my mobility work (focusing on the overhead position of the snatch, again) but then received, carried downstairs, and assembled new pieces of equipment.

What did I get?

* A hip thrust bench from (yes, really!)

* A heavier medicine ball, also from Tonic

* A new weightlifting barbell (I stupidly loaned my Rogue weightlifting bar to a friend at the beginning of the pandemic because I thought I wouldn’t do the Olympic lifts agan) from Tonic too.

* Drop pads/weightlifting blocks/plyo boxes from . Note that it’s one item that does all three functions. They are stackable cushioned pads (with Velcro so they don’t move around) which I will primarily use to do power snatches from block.

Honest to God, it was almost a workout because once the barbell is on it, that hip thrust takes so much place that I had to completely reorganize my gym.

And assembling the bench itself was good mobility work because I really had to contort to screw and tighten some of the bolts!

Just in case some of you are wondering, here is what I have in my home gym:


Rogue competition bench

Rogue monster lite rack

Tonic Performance hip thrust bench

Adjustable bench

Dip station

Nordic hamstring curl bench

Sissy squat bench

6 stackable 6” drop blocks by Bells of Steel

Individual squat stands (for when I want to do full squats and partial squats in a complex)


Westside Barbell reverse hyper

Preacher curl machine*

Seated leg curl/leg extension machine*

Adjustable pulley

Belt squat rack attachment

*These machines are cheap one bought on Amazon. The preacher curl is acceptable, and I don’t like the leg curl/extension. I’m personally not a machine guy and I’m not willing to pay premium prices for higher end leg curls/biceps curl machines. Even when I trained in a commercial gym, I rarely used those. But my wife likes them and that all that matters.


Rogue power bar

Rogue women weightlifting bar

Tonic Performance men lifting bar

Thick bar

Camber bar

Kabuki Strength Duffalo bar

Kabuki Strength Transformer bar

Bells of Steel open-end trap bar

EZ curl bar (generic bought on Amazon)

Light technique Olympic lifting bar (15lbs)

Earthquake bar

Dumbbells up to 35lbs (you can see that I’m not much of a dumbbells guy)

Kettlebells from 25lbs to 80lbs (25,35,45,55,65,80)

Rogue landmine attachment with handles

Purmotion CJ attachment


Clubbells (6kg, 8kg, 10kg, 12kg)

Kabuki Strength ShouldeRok

Macetrainer adjustable mace (similar to the ShouldeRok, but thicker grip)

Boxing heavy bag

Medicine balls (8lbs, 10lbs, 12lbs, 15lbs, 20lbs, 25lbs)

Sandbags by Wreck Bag (25 and 50lbs)

Bells of Steel drop blocks

Weight releasers

150lbs of chains

Tons of bands

Isochain (isometric training device with force meter) by Dragon Door

Rogue Wrist roller

Thor’s hammer (made it myself with a adjustable DB that I load only on one side)

The Jackhammer (by Pierre Roy, imagine an adjustable KB with the parallel “triangle” handle.

Front squat/Zercher harness by Westside Barbell

Ankle weights


Cardio (separate room)


Generic threadmill

Elliptical trainer

Vertical climber

Rogue weight vest

I pretty much have everything I need to be able to apply any training style that I could fancy! Not all of it is premium or all that great. So don’t buy something just because it’s in my list. I buy impulsively too, from time to time!

Saturday, January 22nd

Today will be the last workout of the microcycle and block. Technically, I would have a last workout to do; the “strength” session of my power block. But because of this week’s schedule mayhem I would have to do it on Sunday, which would again give me three workout days in a row.

In fact, the first workout of the new block would be on the 4th consecutive day. Which would be a recipe for disaster considering the complete change of the nature of the workout. Plus, my next block is a strength block with three whole-body strength sessions per microcycle. Missing the last strength session of this block will not matter at all. And I prefer to come in fresher Monday.

My workout plan for today is as follow, note that I made some changes to get to play with the new equipment I received yesterday:

A1. Single leg dept jumps (low box, around 12”) x 3/leg

90-120 sec of rest

A2. Depth jumps (increasing box height*) x 3

2-3 minutes of rest

For the depth jumps, my goal is to produce a higher peak velocity than in a normal vertical jump, remember that at my last session the highest peak velocity on my vertical jump was 3.51m/s. What I do is gradually increase the box height (after proper ramping up and warm-up) until I can no longer reach a peak power higher than that of my regular vertical jump. At which point I stop the exercise.

  1. Power snatch from blocks work up to a solid heavy double

2-3 minutes of rest

After I reach my max weight for a solid double, lower the weight by 5% and do as many sets of solid doubles as I can. Stop I lose explosiveness, crispness or technical efficiency.

C1. Top half back squat with ankle extension (3 sets of chains + weight) x 3 @ 0.75 – 0.5m/s

90-120 sec of rest

C2. Hip thrust (with 1” band + weight) x 3 @ 0.75 – 0.5m/s

3-4 minutes of rest

Start with a weight I can move at 0.75m/s and gradually ramp up until I can’t reach 0.5m/s, at that point, I stop

  1. Reverse hyper (1/2” band + moderate weight) 3 x 10-12 reps

2 minutes of rest

E1. Depth push-up (off of 6” mats) x 3

90-120 sec of rest

E2. Bench press (1/2” band + weight) x 3 @ 0.75 – 0.5m/s

2-3 minutes of rest

On E2, I start with weight I can move at 0.75m/s and gradually ramp up until I can’t reach 0.5m/s, at that point, I stop the complex

Post-session analysis

Today’s session was okay, I had to modify it because a few things that I had planned sounded good in theory but didn’t work as well in reality.

* The main thing I modified was the explosive hip thrusts. Turns out that this exercises isn’t well suited to explosive work. Or maybe it’s because I’m so bad at it (it was my first time doing it), but I just didn’t feel it properly with explosive actions. So I decided to shift to regular sets of 6 reps and that worked a lot better.

* I dropped the depth push-ups. It did hurt my shoulder on the first set and I didn’t want to take any chances, especially not a day before starting my strength block.

* I also added rope hammer curls because big arms are cool. I did 3 sets of 5 reps, then a very heavy drop set starting at my max for 2 reps, then lowered by 20% and did 5 reps and lowered by another 20% and did 5 reps.

* But all-and-all I was satisfied with my session.

* My depth jumps felt springy and I was able to go up to a 85cm box before being under my peak velocity on my regular vertical jump.

* I used a lower pins setting for my explosive top-half squat (1” lower) and was able to use 20lbs more than last week at 0.5m/s and compared to my previous session I was 30lbs heavier for my max 0.75m/s effort.

* Block power snatches felt great until 185lbs, super snappy and much better position overhead. But with heavier my shoulders tightened up in the catch and even though it was plenty high the barbell was too bar forward to catch it properly. But that was my first time doing power snatches from blocks for over 10 years, so not too bad.

* My bench felt good and I was able to go 10lbs heavier at 0.5m/s than last time. But more importantly, my shoulder felt good.

Sunday, January 23rd

Remember that I told you that today was an off day?

And you also remember that I’m married, right?

Turns out that even though I spent a solid 2 hours reorganizing my home gym, my wife decided to “recommend” a few adjustments. 2 hours later, the no workout doesn’t really apply anymore!

Here’s what it looks like now:

If you have any comments, suggestions or insults, contact my wife.