Beginning a Prilepin cycle…

OK, in the 60’s and 70’s a Soviet named A. S. Prilepin charted the workouts of thousands of weightlifters and boiled all of his raw data down to a simple chart, The Prilepin Chart.  Using this chart an athlete can program workouts to maximize the strength gain and lessen recovery time and exposure to injury through overtraining.  Basically, intensity equals adaptation until the overall demand impacts speed.  Enough of that, simply put you train a single movement a finite number of reps/sets at some percentage of your 1 rep max.  

Since I am starting an overhead squat strength cycle, today I had to find my 1RM in the overhead squat.  2 sets of 5 with an empty bar to warm up the movement then, 5 @ 65#, 5 @ 75#, 3 @ 85#, then singles of 95#, 105#, 110#, 115# and 120#.  I didn’t fail at 125# but my form sucked so badly at 120# that I called it right there rather than risk injury, train smarter, not harder.

Now that I have my number, 120, I need to calculate three more numbers to use the chart, 70%, 80% and 90% which is 84, 96 and 108 or rounded to my available plates, 85, 95 and 110.  The chart states that if you are using less than 70% of your 1RM you should do sets of 3-6 reps with a total of between 18-30 reps with the optimum number being 24.  Between 70% and 80% of 1RM sets of 3-6 reps and a total of between 12 and 24 reps with the preferred number being 18.  80% to 90% of 1RM calls for sets of 2-4 reps and between 10 and 20 reps with the desired number being 15.  Above 90% us 1-2 reps per set, 4-10 total and the magic number being 7.

My workout scheme for the foreseeable future is training OHS every night, I plan on using a three day cycle for strength adaptation in a rotation of:  Heavy adaptation using the Prilepin chart on day 1, intense 5 by 5 sets on the second day and technique/muscle memory on the third day of the cycle with low weight/high rep GVT(German Volume Training).  The way I see the next three days shaping up is this:

Day #1:  Warm up with 5 sets of 5 on empty bar then 6 sets of 3 reps @ 85#.

Day #2:  Warm up with 2 sets of 5 empty bar then 5 sets of 5 @ 65# then 5 sets of 5 @ 75#.

Day #3:  Warm up 2 sets of 5 empty then 10 sets of 10 @ 50#.

Programming will vary cycle to cycle, but you get the idea.  The heavy day sets up the adaptation and the other two allow for technical practice and spending time in the hole.  Time will tell, obviously, now go lift something heavy. 


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