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Old 03-16-2010, 08:11 PM   #1
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Default Power/rep range/shock advanced version

POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK 2
Variations and Advanced Techniques
Part I

In the May 2005 addition of Ironman I wrote an article entitled POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK...Time to Grow Without Plateau, outlining a training protocol that I developed about five years ago to help more advanced lifters break out of a rut, and start adding on new muscle, similarly to the way they did when they first started training. Since that article came out, my email has been inundated with positive feedback by those that have been using the program with great success. Dozens and dozens of lifters have written me, expressing that POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK is one of the most enjoyable and effective training programs they have ever utilized, bringing their enthusiasm for the iron to an all time high! Nothing could make me happier, as being successful at helping others reach their fitness and physique goals has become just as important to me as reaching my own.

Over the past 4-5 years I have been using P/RR/S myself, on a continuous basis, making steady gains in both muscle mass and quality, which is pretty impressive after lifting for 15+ years. During this time I have experimented with different variations of the basic program, creating a more intense version for advanced lifters, and a beginner's version as well. Being a personal trainer for bodybuilders and athletes of all levels for many years has also allowed me to tweak the original P/RR/S program to meet the unique needs of each individual, depending on what it is they desire to accomplish at a specific time of year. P/RR/S can be altered to be more geared toward hypertrophy, strength, or cutting cycles.

Before I begin to delve further into the topic of P/RR/S advanced techniques and variations, let me quickly review some of what I presented in the initial article in order to refresh everyone's memory...or just in case you missed the article entirely.

P/RR/S Revisited

Most people tend to fall into one specific way of training early on, and then rarely break very far from it as the years go by. As long as trainees are progressive with the weights they use, this approach will work, at least for the first few years of training. However, as more time goes by, this one dimensional system will bring about progressively diminishing returns as far as hypertrophy is concerned, and along with it, increasing frustration. This situation may lead some towards dangerous anabolic steroids, others to add far too much volume to their workouts (thinking they are not doing enough), and a few to quit training altogether. Obviously, none of these are very positive solutions to the problem at hand.

What many people fail to realize is how incredibly adaptable the human body can be, and how low on the priority list gaining large amounts of muscle is to our bodies. Like I said, for the first couple of years, as long as you workout consistently, and progressively heavier, you will be able to get bigger. However, after a while, simply lifting heavier weights is not a novel enough stimulus to trigger the body into adding more muscle . Not only that, but this is a very narrow approach to training that leaves various pathways to growth completely untouched, and your full potential entirely untapped! As I mentioned in the first article, most people focus only on training the Type II muscle fibers because they have the greatest potential for hypertrophy. However, to reach the outer boundaries of our genetic limit, we need to train every single fiber along the continuum, from the slowest of the slow, to the fastest of the fast. In addition, we must make a ferocious effort to positively affect every metabolic and hormonal system that can contribute to advancing our muscle size and density. And dare I mention the word hyperplasia? Correct, never proven in humans, but the possibility certainly exists...

Enter POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK...a cyclical approach to training that has you using a unique protocol every week, that will collectively tap into all of your body's mechanisms for growth.

Basic P/RR/S Formula

Week # 1 is the POWER week, and it is meant to smash your Type II A and Type II B fast twitch muscle fibers, as well as get large amounts of natural testosterone to course through your veins. Here is the outline for a basic POWER week, along with a sample workout for hamstrings:

Rep Goal: 4-6
Rest Between Sets: 4-5 minutes
Lifting Tempo: 4/0/X
Exercises: Mostly compound

1-Lying Leg Curl:3 x 4-6
2-Stiff Leg Deadlift: 3 x 4-6
3-Single Leg Leg Curl: 2-3 x 4-6

Week # 2 is the REP RANGE week, the goal of which is tear through all the intermediary muscle fibers that lie along the continuum from Type I to Type II fibers as well as to stimulate growth producing metabolic adaptions within muscle cells. Here is the outline for a basic REP RANGE week, along with a sample workout for triceps:

Rep Goal: 7-9, 10-12, 13-15
Rest Between Sets: 2-3 minutes
Lifting Tempo: 2/1/2/1***
Exercises: Compound, Isolation, Machine or Cable

***1 second hold at peak contraction for certain exercises (ex. Leg Extensions).

1-Smith CG Bench Press: 3 x 7-9
2-Lying Triceps Extension: 3 x 10-12
3-Dumbbell Kickback: 2 x 13-15


Week # 3 is SHOCK week, where you will become very intimate with searing muscle pain! The burn and lactic acid that this week produces will flood your system with growth hormone, while the monster pumps will have your body laying down some new capillaries to make room for the rushing blood! Here is the outline for a basic SHOCK week, along with a sample workout for delts:

Rep Goal: 8-10 (dropset is 8-10, drop, 6-8)
Rest Between Sets: cardiovascular and mental recovery
Lifting Tempo: 1/0/1
Exercises: Compound, Isolation, Machine or Cable

1-Superset: Seated Side Lateral/Behind the Neck Press: 2 x 8-10 each
2-Superset: WG Cable Upright Row/Bent Lateral: 2 x 8-10 each
3-Dropset: Barbell Front Raise: 1 x 8-10, drop, 6-8

Once you complete the 3-week P/RR/S cycle, return to the beginning and repeat, with the goal in mind of training more intensely on the next cycle. I suggest you use the same exercises for three straight cycles, and try to lift heavier weight and/or increase your reps at each workout. After three full cycles either take a complete week off from the gym, or at least do a very light week to allow for repair and recovery. Upon returning to P/RR/S, feel free to switch some or all of the exercises, and prepare to push even harder through the next three cycles.

Now that I have refreshed everyone's memory about the premise and principles behind the POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK training strategy, I am now going to discuss some variations of the program, as well as some advanced techniques that can be employed by very seasoned lifters and/or those that are P/RR/S veterans (note: P/RR/S was originally introduced on the Internet several years ago and now has a large following that have been on the original program for some time). So, take a quick sip of that protein drink, and read on...

Advanced Techniques

POWER WEEK: One technique that I like to employ during POWER week to intensify the basic protocol is something that I call 1, 3, 5 Training. Powerlifters often use something similar in their own training and it is extremely effective in the scheme of P/RR/S. To use this technique you pick three basic exercises for your workout. For the first exercise you will be performing single-rep sets. For the second exercise you utilize three-rep sets. For the final exercise each set will be for five-reps. The goal is to pick weights that cause you to reach failure at 1, 3, or 5 reps for the respective exercise. This type of training should NOT be done alone, as it is dangerous without a spotter. If you choose a weight that is too heavy or too light, simply adjust for the next set. Follow the rest, tempo, and exercise guidelines mentioned above for standard POWER weeks. Here is a sample workout for back:

1-Deadlifts: 6 x 1
2-Weighted Pullups: 4 x 3
3-Bent Rows: 2 x 5

Make 100% sure that you are thoroughly warmed up before getting into your work sets or an injury could occur. This type of training is extremely taxing on the CNS, so also make sure you take measures to maximize your recovery in between each workout. This means meticulous attention to diet, supplementation, and sleep!

REP RANGE WEEK: The standard protocol for REP RANGE week is to pick three exercises per body part, and to do the first for 7-9 reps, the second for 10-12reps, and the third for 13-15 reps. One way I like to break from tradition this week is to again pick three exercises per body part, but to hit each of the three rep ranges during each exercise. As an example, here is what a quad workout might look like:

1-Squats...1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9
2-Leg Press...1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9
3-Leg Extension...1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9

*Feel free to reverse the order and start with the lower rep range and work to the higher one as a variation.

Another way I like to spice up REP RANGE week for more advanced lifters is to open up the boundaries on the reps a bit. Although it is not something I recommend you do often, occasionally pushing the reps into the 20-50 range can really encourage a growth spurt by forcing your body to deal with a stress it certainly is not used to, as well as inducing positive metabolic changes and the laying down of more capillary beds within muscle. Here is how I might use this technique to cause the delts to think about packing up, and finding a more sane person to live with:

1-Military Press...2 x 7-9
2-WG Cable Upright Row...2 x 10-12
3-Bent Lateral...1 x 13-15, 1 x 16-20
4-Side Lateral...1 x 21-25*, 1 x 26-50*

*Switch to a 1/0/1 tempo for these sets. Move the weight rhythmically, but not sloppily. On all other sets use the tempo used for standard REP RANGE week.

Training in this manner can be extremely physically and mentally challenging as you will have to deal with a lactic acid burn that will make you want to cry. Also, the length of the very high rep sets will have some people lose focus and concentration, especially if a hot chick in the tiny spandex short walks by. But don't let the girl or the burn get in your way of completing every last rep! Perhaps your perseverance will impress her, especially if you're not bawling like a baby by rep 35!

**Ironman 2006
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:11 PM   #2
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POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK 2
Variations and Advanced Techniques
Part II

Ladies and gentleman reading this article, please forgive me if any of the following text seems incoherent, has many misspelled words, or would only make sense in the Twilight Zone, the Bizarro World, or after eating some of those ?funny brownies? you and your buddies used to make in college! I am wrecked?hammered?spent?crushed?destroyed?nauseous? and massively oxygen deprived, and can barely lift my fingers to the keyboard to type, let alone able to put together an intelligent and well-thought-out article on training! So then why in the heck am I trying to write an article under such conditions? Because I just got home from the gym after performing and outrageous SHOCK workout for legs, and I figured what better time to write about SHOCK training then right after a SHOCK workout! Yes, I am very much in the mood to ?get down on paper? the exact experience I just lived, but unfortunately, I kind of feel like I only have two semi-functioning brain cells left, and THEY are arguing over whether I should have white rice or a potato with my post workout shake! ?C?mon guys, stop bickering?I need you two!?

Ok, maybe its best if I have some food, take a shower, and smack these cobwebs out of my head before I go on? Nahhh, scrap that idea! My legs are too tired and wobbly to get me from here to the kitchen anyway, so I might as well sit here and write! Here it goes?

In part I of ?POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK? Variations and Advanced Techniques,? I gave you a quick review about the basic principals behind the original P/RR/S protocol, and then upped the ante by revealing ways to make both POWER and REP RANGE week even more intense and growth promoting. In part II I am going to show you how to rev the intensity of SHOCK week into the stratosphere!

Now, as I mentioned before, earlier today I went to the gym to put the SHOCK treatment to my legs. Knowing that I was going to be writing this article today, I decided to use ALL of the SHOCK techniques I would be discussing?you know, just for the ?fun? of it! Yeah right! I figured this would help me be more ?colorful? in my description of each technique. And speaking of color, I am just lucky that I didn?t throw up my fruit punch flavored creatine halfway through this torture session! So, if you just ate a big meal, you might want to take some time to digest before reading this, because I don?t want you ruin your new copy of Iron Man! So grab a bucket and read on, if you dare?

Its about 1 pm and I take my normal pre-workout mixture of 5 grams BCAA?s, 5 grams glutamine, and 5 grams creatine mixed in water. I wait about 30 minutes and drink a whey shake along with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter. I then throw on some gym clothes, grab my belt, my wraps and MP3 player and head to the gym. It was along the way that I came up with the ?brilliant? idea of using all of the SHOCK techniques I wanted to write about?something I am sure to be sorry about in the morning!

Upon arrival I say a few hellos, but avoid getting into any drawn out conversations. It is SHOCK (or should I say Ultra-SHOCK) leg day after all and I need to focus! After a quick trip to the locker room, I head right to my first exercise?Hack Squats.

ADVANCED SHOCK TACTIC # 1

1 and ? Reps:

For the first set I warm up with 1 plate on each side and do 8 rock bottom reps. The second set is again a warm up, but this time it is 2 plates per side for 6 full range reps. Now, its ?go time? as I throw on a third 45 lb plate per side, and then take a minute to contemplate the pain I am about to face. You see, I am not about to do a conventional set because this is not a conventional workout! It is SHOCK week baby and it?s all about pushing past the pain barrier and heading into territory that only a small percentage of lifters are willing to enter. On each rep I am going to slowly sink to rock bottom, then push up only halfway. I will then sink back to the bottom, and then fire myself to the top! That sequence will only be counted as one rep, with the eventual goal of getting 8-10 reps in this vile manner for two all-out sets. Doesn?t sound so bad? Try it with a truly challenging weight, and I guarantee you will rethink your position.

With Hack Squats out of the way, it is time for me to make way over to one of the five Leg Press machines my gym has. Being that my legs feel like rubber, my first thought is to simply go to the one closest to me, but unfortunately, that was not the particular machine I wanted. No?today I wanted to go vertical! Done with a truly full range of motion (where you literally bring your knees into your armpits) the vertical Leg Press is certainly the most grueling.

ADVANCED SHOCK TACTIC # 2

Stage Reps:

To get into the groove of the movement I started with 2 plates per side and did 8 clean reps. After a quick sip of water I threw on another plate and did 6 more deep reps. At this point I started to get butterflies in my stomach as I was keenly aware of the nightmare I was about to voluntarily sink myself into. However, my focus was solid?so much so that the incredibly hot babe doing Stiff Leg Deadlifts behind me could not even throw me off (who am I kidding?I watched her do an entire set before I started mine). With the machine loaded with 4 plates on each side and my feet set firmly on the platform I said a quick prayer (?Dear GOD, why am I doing this??) and unlocked the safeties. I felt a few people around me looking on in confusion, probably wondering why I was using so little weight (as they would normally see me using almost twice that amount). ?Wait and see,? I thought to myself. I slowly began to bring the weight down, but stopped it dead only ? of the way. One, two, three, four, five I counted in my head before lowering the weight to the ? way point. Again, I counted one, two, three, four, five, before finally lowering the platform to the bottom. After a one second pause I exploded the weight back to the starting position and said, ?One rep down, 9 to go!? A horrifying thought for sure, but the masochist in me loved every minute of it! Two sets of this craziness, and I was toast.

Sweating as if I were wearing a fur coat on the sun, I poured some cold water on my head and crawled over to my final quad exercise of the day?Leg Extensions. The one extension machine that I really like was being used by a couple of young bodybuilders, and when I asked them how many sets they had left, I was secretly hoping they would say 20 a piece so I could lay down and take a nap! No such luck, however, as they were on their final set. Oh joy (not)!

ADVANCED SHOCK TACTIC # 3

X-Reps:

At this point my quads were twitching and shaking uncontrollably, so I decided to do only one all-out set of extensions. Any more than that, and I was afraid my legs would go on strike and force me to skip training hams! Not an option fellas! After one 6-rep warm up with 100 lbs, I stuck the pin at 180 and took a few deep breaths. I was all too aware I was about to meet my nasty little friend lactic acid head on, and I was not looking forward to it (gotta love him though as he always brings a nice supply of natural GH along with him!). Rep one was really tough as it felt like my quads wanted to simply cramp up, but I fought it off and pushed out 8 more reps in a piston-like fashion. When full reps were finally out of the question, I began doing short, pulsing-type reps in the first 1/3 of the movement (these are the X-reps). I am not sure how many I got, as I began hallucinating that I was lying on a beach next to the hot Stiff Leg Deadlift girl, rubbing oil on her glutes (what better way to distract myself from the searing pain!). As soon as I got up, it felt like a damn broke inside my quads releasing gallons of blood, literally filling my thighs to the point that it felt like my skin would rip from the inside out! X-reps are truly amazing for growth, as they allow you to push past nervous system failure, forcing the type II fibers to continue firing in the exact portion of an exercise where maximum force production and tension takes place (the semi-stretched position). Try them?but bring a fire extinguisher!

As I rolled out of the Leg Extension machine and collapsed to the floor I felt a rush of relief knowing that I would not have to face another quad workout for another week. However, I did not let that comforting thought distract me from the fact that I still needed to SHOCK my hamstrings before I could go home. So, after stretching my quads hard for a couple of minutes, I picked myself up (or should I say pulled myself up, as my thighs seemed to be temporarily boycotting any movement whatsoever), and strolled over to the Lying Leg Curl machine with all the grace of a three-legged dog.

ADVANCED SHOCK TACTIC # 4
Forced Negatives:

While warming up with a couple of light sets, I tried to motivate myself by thinking about the incredible hamstrings of Tom Platz, Tom Prince, and Flex Wheeler. The fullness and roundness that these men possessed in their hamstrings, especially from the side, was simply awe-inspiring! Picturing myself with that kind of development had me ready and psyched to tear it up! Lucky for me, a friend of mine, who has been utilizing my POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK training program for quite some time, was at the gym. You see, in order to perform these particular SHOCK sets properly, I was going to need the help of an experienced trainee.

?Yo bro, can you help me with these??
?Sure, what do you need??
?Some forced negatives.?
?Ohhh, SHOCK week, huh? Yeah, I?ll help!?
?Thanks?but please wipe that smile off of your face!?
?Hehehe?this is going to be fun!?
?I?m so glad the thought of MY pain makes you smile?you sadist!?

With that, I jumped on the bench and was ?ready to rumble!? My goal for the first set was 10 full reps to failure, at which point the real ?fun? would begin. The first 7 reps went up pretty easily, but the next three were quite a struggle. Once I finally got that final rep to the top my buddy grabbed a hold of my ankles and began to pull downward toward the floor. I fought him with all of my might until the very bottom (I so badly wanted to make him work almost as hard as me!). But that was just the beginning! He then helped me get back to the top, and again pulled down while I resisted as hard as I could. On the first forced negative it took him about 5 seconds to pull me down, but by the fifth I could not resist at all. Set over! Too bad I had to repeat this excruciating process one more time. One word of warning about this technique?it will make you sorer than you could possibly imagine! Advil anyone?

Now it was time for my final exercise of the day, the Standing Single Leg Curl. This is one of my favorite exercises for hamstrings as it allows for a very powerful contraction, and excellent isolation. It is also an exercise that I like to work heavy. Hence the inclusion of the next form of self-torture?
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:11 PM   #3
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could you post up the beginner modifications by any chance?
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:12 PM   #4
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ADVANCED SHOCK TACTIC # 5
Rest-Pause:

I had two choices here. One machine has you standing pretty much upright, and the other has you leaning into it. Being that the only way I was even able to stand up at this point was to lean on something, my decision was clear as the following song lyrics ran through my head...?Lean on me, when you're not strong. And I'll be your friend. I'll help you carry on?? But I digress. My plan of attack was only to do one ?balls to the wall? set here, but when using this SHOCK tactic, it will feel like 10! I loaded on the entire weight stack and was shooting for just two clean reps, done with an explosive concentric contraction and a controlled negative. Before the first rep I made sure my whole body was tight, and focused all of my energy into my hamstring, as I did not want my lower back to become involved at all. ?One?two?three?UP,? I screamed in my head. BOOM, the first rep came up easy! Now, go slow on the way down to a count of three?two?one. Gotta get one more! ?UP!? Got it, but no way could I do another. Time to peek up at the clock and wait for 15 seconds to go by. Ok, gonna try for another rep?same weight. ?UP!? BAMN, got another one! Rest again, this time for 20 seconds. This process went on until I completed a total of 8 reps. I got 2 reps initially, and then did 6 Rest-Pause reps, starting with a fifteen-second rest, and then increasing it by five seconds between each rep thereafter. This was an absolute killer! But what a way to finish my SHOCK workout!

This was most definitely one of the most intense training sessions I think I have ever performed. My clothes were drenched, my thighs were fried, and my brain was numb. I literally just layed on the floor for about ten minutes, comepletely motionless, before I could even muster the strength to get to the locker room. I was hoping that hot Stiff Leg Deadlift girl would have some sympathy and offer a massage, but I think instead, I fightened her away! But that?s ok, because I was in total bliss knowing that I was DONE!

Now I should point out that normally I would not include all of these advanced SHOCK tactics into one single workout, as it is just too taxing and could lead to injury or overtraining. Instead I would combine maybe one or two advanced techniques with the basic SHOCK week protocol that I outlined in my last two P/RR/S articles. Remember, unless you have been using the basic P/RR/S format for at least 6 months (eight 3-week cycles), you shouldn?t be using any of the advanced tactics just yet, as your muscles and CNS will be unable to properly deal with the stress! And if your body cannot recover from your training sessions, not only will you not make any progress?you could actually go backwards!

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little trip with me to the gym! If you were able to live vicariously through me, then just about now I bet you want to lay down and take a nap! I know I do.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by strkout35 View Post
could you post up the beginner modifications by any chance?
I'll post a sample template of the beginners version
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