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The jacked athlete 31 plan Part 2 – The Overall Plan

Articles Muscle gain / 27 August, 2020 /

By Christian Thibaudeau

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE: THE OVERALL PLAN

 

The Jacked Athlete 31 plan uses 4 week blocks. The first three weeks are “performance-based” and the fourth one is a pure hypertrophy week.

A training cycle should be 12 weeks long, or a series of three blocks. I find that most people will need to take it easy for a week after 12 weeks of hard training to facilitate long term progression. This means minimal training for a week, ideally focusing on things you didn’t do in your training cycle. For example, you could replace a few of the weekly sessions by playing sports, doing hiking or conditioning work.

This is hard to do for most of us who love to lift and feeling our muscles get more toned and swollen from our lifting regiment. But not doing so will dramatically slow down progression.

Essentially you do minimal (if any) lifting work for a week at the end of your cycle both for recovery, but also to re-sensitize your body to the training stimulus: By doing one week of minimal or no training, you invest on future gains.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE: THE PERFORMANCE PORTION

 

When using this system, I use a 3+1 split for the three performance weeks. This means three whole body workouts and one “gap” session per week.

Let’s look at the periodization over the 12 weeks period (remember that the fourth week of each block is a hypertrophy week, which I will cover in the next section).

I will get to the specific design of the training days later in the article.

BLOCK 1 (weeks 1-3) – STRENGTH EMPHASIS

Schedule
Monday: Whole-body either eccentric emphasis or a “heavy” workout
Wednesday: Whole-body either stato-dynamic emphasis or a “lighter” workout
Friday: Whole-body either concentric emphasis or “moderate” workout
Saturday: Gap workout (isolation work for lagging or neglected muscles)

BLOCK 2 (weeks 5-7) – STRENGTH & POWER

Schedule
Monday: Whole-body maximal strength
Wednesday: Whole-body speed-strength
Friday: Whole-body strength-speed
Saturday: Gap workout (isolation work for lagging or neglected muscles)

BLOCK 3 (weeks 9-11) – STRENGTH, POWER & RESISTANCE

Schedule
Monday: Whole-body maximal strength
Wednesday: Whole-body strength-speed
Friday: Whole-body resistance (strength-endurance)
Saturday: Conditioning work

As mentioned earlier, the three main workouts use four multi-joint movements:

*One squat pattern exercise
*One hip hinge pattern exercise
*One press
*One pull

To those four big lift we add 15 minutes of conditioning work to the Monday, Wednesday and Friday sessions. While it can be pure conditioning work like bouts of rowing ergometer, assault bike or intervals, it can also be sets of loaded carries (3-4 sets of 60-100 meters) or prowler pushing.

The assistance work is done in the “gap” workout, which can use as many as six exercises. But they should be either isolation or machine/pulley movements.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE: THE HYPERTROPHY PORTION

 

The fourth week of every block is devoted to hypertrophy work. Here the goal is to make every hypertrophy week more demanding than the preceding one.

Note: no conditioning work is done during the hypertrophy weeks.

It also uses a different training split than on the performance weeks. The schedule looks like this:

BLOCK 1 (week 4) – Regular sets

Schedule
Monday: Chest & Biceps
Tuesday: Lower body
Thursday: Back & Triceps
Saturday: Deltoids & Traps/Rear delts

In this block you don’t use intensification methods. You do sets of 8-12 reps with the last work set taken to failure and the preceding work set taken roughly 1 rep short of failure.

Work set 1 = 1 rep short of failure (8-12 reps)
Work set 2 = 1 rep short of failure (8-12 reps)
Work set 3 = To failure (8-12 reps)

The only special method is using an alternating sets set-up (A1/A2 system… for example, doing one set of your first chest exercise/rest/one set of your first biceps exercise/rest/back to the chest exercise, etc.).

You use six exercises per session, three for each of the muscle you are training. Refer back to earlier in this article regarding your exercise choices.

BLOCK 2 (week 8) – rest/pause

Schedule
Monday: Chest & Biceps
Tuesday: Lower body
Thursday: Back & Triceps
Saturday: Deltoids & Traps/Rear delts

In this block, we add an intensification method: rest/pause sets. You go to failure, then you rest for 15 seconds and get as many extra reps as you can with the same weight.

We have three work sets per exercise.

Work set 1 = One rep short of failure (8-12 reps)
Work set 2 = To failure (8-12 reps)
Work set 3 = To failure (8-12 reps) + rest/pause

In this block, you also use 6 total exercises per session: 3 for each muscle group trained.

BLOCK 3 (week 12) – drop sets & rest/pause

Schedule
Monday: Chest & Biceps
Tuesday: Lower body
Thursday: Back & Triceps
Saturday: Deltoids & Traps/Rear delts

This block has the highest demand and uses two intensification method: a rest/pause and drop set.

You perform your rest/pause set the same way you did in block 2, but after the rest/pause portion you reduce the weight by 50% and get as many extra reps as you can.

Your set looks like:

Do 8-12 reps to failure, rest 15 seconds, do as many extra reps with the same weight as you can, lower the weight by 50%, get as many extra reps as you can.

We have three work sets per exercise.

Work set 1 = One rep short of failure (8-12 reps)
Work set 2 = To failure (8-12 reps)
Work set 3 = To failure (8-12 reps) + rest/pause + drop 50%

Again, we use 6 total exercises per workout, 3 per muscle group trained.

Christian Thibaudeau

Written by Christian Thibaudeau

Christian Thibaudeau has been involved in the business of training for over the last 16 years. During this period, he worked with athletes from 28 different sports. He has been “Head Strength Coach” for the Central Institute for Human Performance (of…