Insights For Program Design – Shoulder & Back Builder

Many people ask me “what is a good exercise for particular muscle group” but such an exercises does not exist. The secret is not in the exercise itself but in the selection of exercises and the manipulation of all possible loading parameters per workout- volume, intensity, tempo and rest between sets.

I use a system that is mainly popularised by Charles Poliquin. The system is divided into two microcycles that I alternate every 2-3 weeks. For a simplicity Charles has named them Intensification and Accumulation phases. As the name suggests intensification phases are geared towards high intensity. Please note that intensity in strength training is expressed by the load lifted per set in relation to the 1 rep max.

In English this mean if you are training with high intensity using weights you are lifting heavy loads for reps up to 5 reps.

I am saying this cause lots of people relate a high intensity training to a HIIT session. HIIT sessions are intense to the cardiovascular system but they are in fact very low in intensity in relation to the nervous and muscular systems. Aka intensification phase is your heavy duty training. When i achieve a peek from the heavy training then I switch to an accumulation phase where the main stressor is actually the volume per session. Volume is calculated by multiplying the sets by the reps by the tempo per set.

In English this means that you work with lighter weights for anything above 6 plus reps, shorts rest between sets, etc.

The variation are countless. Just a small bracket here as the term “light weight training” may trigger the the wrong interpretation. I say “light” but this doesn’t mean it is easy, it is quite the opposite, you should feel at the end of the session fully exhausted and incredible fatigue for the muscle group trained. Yes, these high volume workout should feel very hard but in reality they are performed with very low intensity since the loads are light but for many reps.

Once I plato from this type of training than I go back to heavy duty training but with fresh and recharged nervous system since the volume training has allowed me to recover the nervous system from my previous heavy duty cycle. And this is how it goes… It comes down to know the principles for designing an intestification and an accumulation cycles for continuous progress.

Once you know the principles then it comes down to your creativity to challenge your muscles every time with different stimulus all year round.

Here is a shoulder and back workout that would be classified as part of our accumulation cycle together with my training partner @max out day. You can see all the exercises for the workout uploaded

Exercise:
A-1 Military Press

Sets Reps Tempo Rest
15 4 3010 30s

Exercise:
A-2 Wide Grip Pull Down

Sets Reps Tempo Rest
15 4 3010 30s

Please note: The rest between this pair of exercises is very short. So the load on the bar for military press and the lat pulldown machine should be the load that you can truly do for 6-8 reps not 4 reps as it is prescribed.

Exercise:
B-1 75Degree Arnold Press

Sets Reps Tempo Rest
4 6-8 4010 10s

Exercise:
B-2 Lateral Raises
-1 Drop Set

Sets Reps Tempo Rest
4 8 (6) 3011 75s

Exercise:
B-3 V-Bar Lat Pulldown

Sets Reps Tempo Rest
4 8 3010 10s

Exercise:
B-4 Underhand Bent Over Row

Sets Reps Tempo Rest
4 8 3010 10s

Exercise:
B-5 J Rows

Sets Reps Tempo Rest
4 8 3010 10s

Exercise:
B-6 Seated Rows

Sets Reps Tempo Rest
4 8 3010 75s

Enjoy the pain

Coach Ivor