Use Training Cycles To Prevent Injuries and Get Stronger

How do you get stronger? By putting more weight on the bar, right?

Well, it is not that simple. A lot of people are familiar with the story of Milo Of Kroton who was a wrestler in the 500s BCE. According to the legend, he used to lift small newborn bulls until they grew into fully developed animals. As the bulls were growing, Milo was becoming stronger too.

milo-of-kroton-training

While this is probably the earliest representation of what Mark Rippetoe calls linear progression, life is not that simple. It’s obvious that linear progression has to stop somewhere or otherwise Milo would have started lifting dinosaurs.


You can keep on adding weight to the bar only for so long before a stall or an injury occurs. This is where smarter programming needs to be implemented in order to move forward. The simplest way to do this is through training cycles which include a deload phase where you make a step back to later make two step forwards.

Let’s say that your best deadlift is 275lbs for a set of 3. You can use the following linear cycle to improve your strength.

Week 1:

Begin your training cycle with a weight you can comfortably lift for 10-12 reps. Usually, that weight is about 60-65% of your 1 RM.

Let’s say that in our case that weight is 200 lbs.

The first workout would look like this:

Warm-up; Work set – 200 lbs x 12;

Note: Since the exercise of choice is the deadlift, we only recommend doing one working set. The reason is that the deadlift is very demanding and can wreck you pretty fast. One work set per workout is all that’s needed for progress.

Week 2:

Warm-up; Work set – 210 lbs x 10-12 reps;

Note: The deadlift tolerates big jumps such as 10lbs or sometimes even 15 lbs. Never do large jumps on exercises like the bench press. The bench press depends on upper body muscles which get stronger slowly compared to the glutes, hamstrings, traps…etc.

Week 3:

Warm-up; Work set – 220 lbs x 8-10 reps;

Week 4:

Warm-up; Work set – 230 lbs x 8 reps;

Week 5:

Warm-up; Work set – 240 lbs x 8 reps;

Week 6:

Warm-up; Work set – 250 lbs x 8 reps;

Week 7:

Warm-up; Work set – 260 lbs x 5 reps;

Week 8:

Warm-up; Work set – 270 lbs x 5 reps;

Week 9:

Warm-up; Work set – 280 lbs x 3 reps; {feels like hell}

This is where you end the cycle and begin a new one but this time with a little more weight. Then you do another 8-12 week cycle and aim to top your previous best in the last workout. Then you do it all over again.

Note: The above cycle is just a guideline.

What are the benefits of using cycles?

The main benefit of training cycles is that they allow your body and joints to recuperate. The weight during the initial weeks may feel light and easy, but it is supposed to be.

Summary:

Start with a light weight. Build up to a personal best. Start again with an initial weight that’s little heavier than your previous starting point. Profit.

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