2019 - My continued quest for 48kg Pull-Up and Military Press


Level 3 Valued Member
Hey everyone

Next year, I want to start training with more consistency and planning done ahead of time than I did previously. I also want to more rigorously explore and (hopefully) capitalize on a hunch I've had for a long time now, which is:

I've observed in my training that
1. Switching from weeks of training at high volume (Ethan Reeves Density training, or Arnolds 100 pull-ups [see exercise three in the linked site] ) to a protocol that aims at maximizing RepMax (Pavel's Fighter Pull-up program, the German Bundeswehr program, or Grease the Groove variations) resulted in much faster progress than usual.
2. See point 1, but vice versa. switching these two types of training around tends to burst through plateaus in my anecdotal (and possibly just coincidental) experience.
3. Switching from either high volume training (as described in point 1) or RepMax oriented training (also described in 1) to a low set & rep scheme that aims at increasing 1rm strength by progressively increasing training weight (Power the People)
4. See point 3, but vice versa. switching these two types of training around tends to burst through plateaus in my anecdotal (and possibly just coincidental) experience.

my main goals are to exceed 48kg on the Kettlebell Military Press left&right as well as the pull up by the end of 2019. I also want to start squatting (Zercher Squats) to increase my general leg strength and to make my back more resistant to injury.
If I reach my goal earlier than that, I will continue with my basic plan, but I may add a stronger emphasis on Squatting from that point on

One thing that has slowed down my progress last year, and the years prior was my own impatience. in 2019 I will change my mentality to a certain degree: I will simply do what I can (or less than that, if the program says so), not what I can't. Also, when I experience pain, I will dial it down and not soldier through with it as that will only slow down my progress in the long run.


Cycle plan for 2019
I will divide my different training cycles up in the following 3 types. I always train hard for 3 weeks and recover in week 4 for any given cycle
A) Volume/Density training (weighted)
> I'll use my own method of Density training which I've dubbed "Fremen Density training" for the most part, which I've explained in detail in this post
B) RepMax training (weighted)
> I'll either take the Fighter Pullup or Bundeswehr scheme and modify it to fit into my weekly schedule, or use a Grease the Groove variation
C) 1RM training
> I'll use Power to the People's flexible wave for the most part.

I have considered the following patterns
> Seems well balanced, the first thing that came to mind. I fear this could have the effect of constantly switching stimuli acting as one single grey stimulus
> Good amount of volume/density work, followed by ramping up RepMax of the training weight from A. followed by ramping up 1RM at the end of the "cluster".
> alternating volume/density & 1RM with RepMax & 1RM. 1:1:1 ratio for A:B:C. the idea is that I could make continued progress on type A then ramp up 1RM and repeat the same for type B. it's basically pattern number 1.
> 1 cluster per semester. I think this could be great because it's always 2 cycles of the same thing in a row, only re-iterating the whole thing every 6 months. the long breaks between the 1RM training cycles could be both good (because the body has plenty of time to develop in between) or bad (because you could lose maximum strength)

I've decided to go with variant 2: AABC AABC AABC because I want to test and improve my Fremen Density method more and I feel like density/volume has a longer-lasting effect and more general benefits than RepMax training.

This translates to the following (although I may or may not take an additional 1-2 weeks off after every AABC cluster):
December 2018 - A
January - A
February - B
March - C
April - A
May - A
June - B
July - C
August - A
September - A
October - B
November - C


Primary and assistance exercises

Primary exercises will be trained according to the AABC AABC AABC pattern described above. I have yet to determine how to train the squat as I still have to learn the proper technique before progressively overloading.

My primary exercises will be
- Weighted Pull-Ups (Monday & Wednesday)
- Kettlebell Military presses (Tuesday & Thursday)
- Zercher Squats (Friday)

Assistance exercises for Pull-Ups:
- Dead Hangs (1-2 sets well beyond comfort, no max attempts) (Monday & Wednesday)
- Dynamic Pull-Ups (3 sets of 3-10 reps) (Friday)

Assistance exercises for KB MPs:
- Shrugs (to failure, 3 sets 10-20 reps) (Tuesday & Thursday)
- Slow and controlled ring dips (3 sets 3-10) (Friday)

Assistance exercises for overall health and utility:
- BJJ mobility drills & Physio exercises (Monday through Friday)
- Sledgehammer leveraging for stronger wrists (Monday & Wednesday)


Weekly Schedule

1. Weighted Pull-Ups (AABC)
2. Sledgehammer leveraging (1-3 circuits of half-twists > hammer to nose > hanging front lever)
3. Dead Hangs (1-2 sets well beyond comfort, no max attempts)
4. Mobility drills
1. Kettlebell Military presses (AABC)
2. Shrugs (to failure, 3 sets 10-20 reps)
3. Extensive Mobility/BJJ drills
> Same as Monday
> Same as Tuesday
1. Zercher Squats (Programs: 3 phase plan)
2. Dynamic Pull-Ups (3 sets of 3-10 reps)
3. Slow and controlled ring dips (3 sets 3-10) (Friday)
4. Mobility drills
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Rest


So much for now.

A more concrete & concise plan will follow in the days to come. I will start logging my progress in this thread as soon as I start my January cycle - until then, I will continue to share my progress in my 2018 thread
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Level 3 Valued Member
Choice of Programs per cycle

Type A - Volume / Density
First pick: Fremen Density Training
Second pick: Arnold's 100 pull-up scheme, for either 30, 60 or 100 total reps
When to pick which one: by default, pick Fremen Density Training. Pick the Arnold scheme when boredom becomes a performance-limiting factor (Fremen Density can get pretty boring, whereas the Arnold scheme is a lot of fun), or when you stagnate with the Fremen Density program

Type B - RepMax training
First pick: Fighter pullup scheme, heavily modified (only 2 days per week. Start every first session of the week with a set of as many reps as you can, then taper off in decrements of 1 for 4 more sets. after that, take a 5 minute rest and repeat once more. 3-5 minute rest between sets). example: (7rm) 7-6-5-4-3 + 4-3-2-1-1 / (5rm) 5-4-3-2-1 + 2-1-1-0-0
Second pick: The Bundeswehr program, heavily modified (only 2 days per week. 6 sets of 70% RepMax, followed by 4 extra sets of whatever you can do with decent form. increase standard reps per set by 1 every week [if you miss a set, just keep doing as many reps as possible with decent form]. 3-minute rest between sets) example: (7rm) 5-5-5-5-5-5-4-3-2-1 / (10rm) 7-7-7-7-7-7-6-5-4-3
When to pick which one: if the first pick is too challenging, the second pick should be somewhat easier

Type C - 1RM training
First pick: PTTP! 5-3-2, flexible wave. If applicable (hardly applicable to pull-ups, not applicable to Kettlebells).
Second pick: Görner inspired ladders. Pick a light (L), medium (M) and heavy weight (H), do 3 reps on each rung. ladders are performed in a L-M-H L-M-H pattern. rest 3-5 minutes between ladders. do 2-5 ladders per Session. increase weights whenever possible.
When to pick which one: Whenever your first pick is applicable, you pick it. given my choice of exercises, I would use the described ladder scheme pretty much all the time. I might switch to barbell Military presses for a cycle at some point, in which case I'd use PTTP!
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Level 3 Valued Member
Legday protocols

Phase 1 - learn the moves

As I'm still very new to squatting, and have lost my "edge" when it comes to swings, I will do the following:
for the first 1-2 cycles of 2019, I will do a total of 50 perfect Kettlebell swings and 50 perfect Goblet Squats. sets of 5-10, rest as long as I need to stay strong and focussed.
After a couple of weeks on the goblet squat, I will switch to Zercher Squats and do the same thing: 50 perfect reps
During phase 1, weights should be moderate for the most part (=24kg) but heavier weights can be thrown in a couple of times per session to feel the difference and to teach tension.

Phase 2 - add weight
Around the time I hit cycle 3, I should have mastered the Zercher squat.
now since I'm only squatting once a week, I believe I'll need to hit them pretty hard in each session to create a decent stimulus.
I'm thinking of either the Görner-inspired method I described earlier or a bastardized version of the Russian Bear (Every Friday: One heavy set of 5, another slightly lighter set of 5, tons of sets of five with a lighter weight).
I will probably go with the former, as I feel like I've already bastardized a sufficient number of programs in this thread alone, and I don't want to be sent to the Gulag ;)

Phase 3 - increase maximum squatting strength
this phase is for when I've reached one or more of my 48kg goals.
3 days of PTTP! Zercher squats per week in a flexible wave cycle.
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Choosing and increasing weights

Type A programs
Fremen Density: Always start the cycle with a weight you can do 10+ sets of 2 with, this equates to a 5-7RM weight or 80% of 1RM.
don't increase weights during a cycle unless you hit 60 reps in 30 sets of five (highly unlikely)
Arnold 100 reps: Start the cycle with 50-60% of 1RM. don't increase weights during the cycle.
Arnold 60 reps: Start the cycle with 70-80% of 1RM. don't increase weights during the cycle
Arnold 30 reps: Start the cycle with ~85% of 1RM. don't increase weights during the cycle

Type B programs
Increase weights when a repmax of 15 has been reached with a given weight
Increase to a new 5-7RM weight, depending on where you are in your cycle (5RM for week 1, 6RM for week 2, 7RM for week 3.)

Type C programs
PTTP!: See PTTP flexible wave. no changes to the original format. (2.5kg increments)
Görner inspired ladders: upon reaching reaching 5 ladders, increase all weights so you're back to 2 Ladders. 3 reps per rung, up to 30 sec between rungs, 3-5 minutes between ladders
if not applicable, replace lighter rungs with heavier rungs. then increase weights as soon as applicable.
L-M-H, L-M-H
L-M-H, L-M-H, L-M-H
L-M-H, L-M-H, L-M-H, L-M-H
L-M-H, L-M-H, L-M-H, L-M-H, L-M-H
L-M-H, L-M-H, L-M-H, L-M-H, L-M-H, L-M-H
M-M-H, M-M-H, M-M-H
M-M-H, M-M-H, M-M-H, M-M-H
M-M-H, M-M-H, M-M-H, M-M-H, M-M-H
M-H-H, M-H-H, M-H-H
M-H-H, M-H-H, M-H-H, M-H-H
M-H-H, M-H-H, M-H-H, M-H-H, M-H-H
H-H-H, H-H-H, H-H-H
H-H-H, H-H-H, H-H-H, H-H-H
H-H-H, H-H-H, H-H-H, H-H-H, H-H-H
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Level 3 Valued Member
Review of my initial plan
I've started reading (halfway through now) Recovering from training: How to Manage Fatigue to Maximize Performance in order to better understand longer-term planning and periodization.

The following questions popped up in my head while reading, and they need to be addressed before I embark on my one-year plan:

Q1: How is volume/fatigue altered within a microcycle (a week of training)?
A: two days of rest during the weekend. I think some kind of dip in volume mid week would be no harm at the planned
Steps to be taken from here: come up with some sort of light/recovery day to fit into the microcycle

Q2: How is the volume/fatigue altered between mesocycles (a month of training), as a new mesocycle should typically start off a good chunk easier than the last mesocycle's peak?
A: Currently, this only happens in a very indirect and rather coincidental/inconsistent way by changing protocols regularly. I think the "do as many as you can" aspect of my Fremen density method particularly runs counter to the issue in question.
Steps to be taken from here: Fremen Density needs another overhaul. there needs to be a mechanic that limits the volume at the beginning of a mesocycle. a more strict "leave X amount of performance in the bank" and/or a cap on jumps in volume (e.g. no more than +3 per session) should be introduced.

Q3: Are there mesocycles and/or macrocycles (chunks of mesocycles) that feature lower fatigue generation for the recovery modalities to catch up?
A: not at the moment, no. there are certain coincidental variances in volume/fatigue in the AABC plan, but they need to be more accentuated/consistent than they are in the initial plan.
Steps to be taken from here: Design and insert mesocycles focussed on total system recovery between macrocycles in the one-year plan. Design a recovery macrocycle, just in case long-term fatigue noticably builds up at one point, don't insert into the one-year plan but keep it ready just in case.

Q4: Start new year with A (volume/density) or B (repmax)?
A: the Initial plan saw me starting the year with ABC, because I just finished the first A-type mesocycle of an AABC macrocycle. I'm having second thoughts as I've been almost exclusively training with my Fremen density method (basically stand-alone type A mesocycles).
Steps to be taken from here: I think I will stick with the initial plan on this one, however, only if i come up with a good solution to question 5 (mechanics of emphasizing and de-emphasizing exercises)

Q5: Am I doing too many things at once? The book highlights the common mistake of advancing too many things at once, training at or beyond maximum recoverable volume but below minimal effective volume for specific exercises to make progress (progress capped by central fatigue rather than peripheral fatigue)
A: the number of main exercises is already limited to 3. However the issue in question may be precisely what's holding back my progress for pull-ups. alternating the emphasis between pulls and pushes from mesocycle to mesocycle might solve this. Finding a way to de-emphasise (switch to maintenance mode) on a main exercise may be a way to address question 1 as well - 2 flies with one swat.
Steps to be taken from here: come up with an efficient way to alternate between progress-mode and maintenance-mode for the main exercises. include the emphasis in the one year plan of mesocycles and macrocycles

[more questions may arise while I finish reading this great book. I will simply edit them into this post on the fly]
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Level 3 Valued Member
Changes to the Initial Plan
I just finished reading the book mentioned in my last post. No additional questions popped up while reading.

Fatigue Management in Microcycles (solution to question 1)
- When performance declines, follow up with a light day (same exercises as normal, but cut the number of sets in half and limit reps/time for assistance exercises), allow for 0-2 light days per week
- No training or only a light day on the same day of large unplanned exertions such as additional hours on the footbike or heavy manual labour (see fatigue issue in the last entry of my 2018 log)

Adding "emphasis" (solution to question 5)
- Swap days for Pull-Ups and Military Press. When fatigue accumulates, light days are most likely to occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays, thus the Monday&Wednesday lifts will innately get more volume as well as recovery given the autoregulation method described in the former section.
- Switch "emphasis" every mesocycle. AABC --> A Push - A Pull - B Push - C Pull
- Switch the initial "emphasis" for every macrocycle. AABC, AABC --> A Push - A Pull - B Push - C Pull, A Pull - A Push - B Pull - C Push

How will 2019 start (solution to question 4)
- It will start with another A type Mesocycle, followed by a B and a C. This first mesocycle of 2019 will emphasize the pull-up (see former section)

The "Emergency Fatigue Mesocycle" (solution to question 3)
- Use when performance dips and doesn't recover for more than 2 weeks of light training/de-load. reduce accumulated fatigue and "reset" responsiveness to stimuli.
- Mobility work remains unchanged
- The usual workload is replaced by easy cardio and easy callisthenics
- Duration: 2-4 weeks
- It's quite unlikely that an entire macrocycle will be needed solely for active recovery, given my training age, age and other measures of fatigue management. If it were the case anyway, I'd just lump "Emergency Fatigue Mesocycles" together until things are back to normal, maybe throw in some cardio instead of or parallel to the light resistance work

Adjustments to the Fremen Density method for better periodization (solution to question 2)
- Total target volume reduced from 60reps to 50reps
- Leave 2-4 sets in the bank per exercise for the first session of the Mesocycle.
- Increase by 0-4 sets per session. no jumps of 5+.
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Level 3 Valued Member
2018 - End of year RepMax approximations
I will test my RepMaxes in this last week of 2018. this is not to set new PR's but to get an overview, so I can look back at the end of 2019 and see how much I've progressed.
No real Max attempts since this is supposed to be a de-load week, only about 80-90% effort for 1-2 attempts to get an approximation of my max.

Pull-ups 24kg: Did 7 reps, could have pushed it to 9-10. btw, that's a 2-3 rep increase over the course of 1.5 months of only semi-consistent training and a 4-5 rep increase since the beginning of October.
In terms of sets, I went from 7 to 11 this cycle and from 9 to 12 in the cycle before that. that's not a typo, my actual work has decreased while my RepMax has increased.
Pull-ups 32kg: did 4, could've pushed it to 5. a ~+1 increase to my PR of 4 reps in October.
KB MP 24kg: did 7 reps, could have pushed it to 10-12. what is interesting about this, is that I reached 28 sets of 2 with this weight and can barely do more reps with it than I can with pull-ups, despite only reaching 11 sets of 2. also, no real increase since the last cycle in strict terms of RepMax. The bell feels a lot lighter though so I'm wondering if at some point, sets of 2 has more effects on 1rm than on RepMax? We will see in the 32kg test
KB MP 32kg: 1 rep, might have pushed for 2. That's a bit of a disappointment, but I have a guess to why my 32kg RepMax hasn't increased. reviewing my technique, I realised I wasnt using enough tension and I cheated on the descent - in other words I seem to have adapted my movements to high efficiency for many reps, instead of maximum (potential to create) tension.

Geeking out on ExRx.net 1RM predictions (not at all accurate I know, just curious how the calculations play out):
- 9 Pull-ups with 24kg (+74kg BW = 98kg) --> 1RM with 51kg additional weight (125kg - 74kg BW). I'd be very surprised If I could manage a good rep with 48kg, let alone 51kg. I may be off, but I won't try it because I don't want to start the new year with injury.
- 5 Pull-ups with 32kg (+74kg BW = 106kg) --> 1RM with 44kg additional weight (118kg - 74kg BW). seems pretty accurate. my guess would have been around 40 +/- 2kg.
- 10 MPs with 24kg --> 1RM with 32kg. that seems very reasonable, it may even be a little bit more than that.
- 1-2RM for the 32kg military press. exrx was pretty accurate on this one.

What does this mean for my general outlook on 2019?
Pay good attention to technique deterioration, focus on perfect form over volume. yes, it's going to feel harder, but it's the way to go.
I will execute the annual plan, knowing my performance on paper will drop for the 24kg military press for the next couple of cycles because I will use proper technique
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Further reflections - changes to the Annual training plan
Sometimes you get these moments, when a friend asks you for a solution to something and you give him the best, rock solid thing you can come up with, and then when you go to bed you ask yourself "...wait a minute, why the hell don't I apply this to my own situation?!".
Well, I've had one of these moments this week, when I designed training plans for my cousin and for another friend of mine.

What I gave them
basically, a simplified version of my annual training plan, with only two exercises (no assistance, just one pull and one push), more time dedicated to planned recovery periods and a more distinct difference between mesocycles that focus on the push and mesocycles that focus on the pull. here is what it looks like:
Notes: Michel's Bear is a program by my cousin that was inspired by Pavel's Russian bear. "4 sets whole day", you do 4 sets of your max spread evenly throughout your waking hour, kind of like GTG with more structure and fewer stops in the weight room. "Monkey Maker" is a weighted pull-up program by John Allstadt RKC, which is now hard to find on the web for some reason (there is a copy of his article on this forum post), it's basically 2 days of heavy 5x5 and 1 day of explosive bodyweight.

What I will take home from this:
- Recovery periods are sufficiently present and structured in my own plan, and there is autoregulation - no changes on that front.
- As for the choice of programs, I came up with some additional choices to my original selection - my original first and second picks remain, the other ones would be 3rd & 4th picks.
- light days, this is what I'll change in my own program. Currently, there is an "emphasis" implemented and up to 2 light days per week, which indirectly leads to Tuesday & Thursday being light days.

My AABC Macrocycle scheme remains, but here is how it will be changed:
- My 2 main exercises will now have declared primary and secondary focus, which alternates with each Mesocycle
- Tuesday & Thursday are now officially light days, regardless of the main program. Light days are always 3 moderate sets of 5-15 reps with 3-5 minutes of rest, leaving a good couple of reps in the bank each set. set/rep/rest schemes for assistance exercises remain unchanged, even on light days.
- Assistance exercises remain unchanged

I think an AACC Scheme (2 cycles of volume/density, 2 cycles of 1rm strength training) might actually be better than AABC, but I want to explore AABC first to see if there is any truth to my long-held belief of boosted progress when switching from A to B to C and back. If AABC fails to yield results after 1 Macrocycle, or the results are somewhat disappointing, I will drop it and switch to AACC.

This is approximately what my new Annual training plan would look like after the changes mentioned (autoregulation and potentially switching to AACC not shown in the figure below):


Level 3 Valued Member
I've decided to make some changes to my Fremen Density training method. (I will be using V3.1 in my first mesocycle of 2019)
Previous Version: Path to OHP&Pull-up the 48kg Beast and more

Here goes Version 3.0

All changes on one glance:
- The number of sets per session is now limited to 10-15 instead of ~30. Reasoning: Less time consuming, less monotony/boredom (therefore better able to focus on high tension and good technique)
- The total number is no longer capped at 50 for all stages of the program, now it starts lower (10-15*2 reps) and increases with time (10-15*5 reps). Reasoning: To make it work for 10-15 sets, and better cycling of volume.
- The program is now structured into a basic density training method (V3.0) and ways to apply it for different goals (V3.x). Reasoning: Easier to understand, Easier to adapt and implement into different scenarios.
- Each session of V3.0 and V3.1 is made up of 15 sets, regardless of when you fail to hit the declared number of reps per set. Once you fail, you do whatever you can do for the remaining number of sets.

Basic Method: Fremen Density Training V3.0
2-3 days a week
Starting weight: Any 5-10RM weight or bodyweight. by default, you will stick to your starting weight for 1-2 Mesocycles.
Timer for Two-Handed exercises: 1-minute cadence
Timer for One-Handed exercises: 30sec cadence, alternating left and right between sets (you will end up with one set per arm per minute)

Every Fremen Training session is to be seen as a sort of moderate test: How many sets can I do without going to failure at a given number of reps per set, more specifically can I get within the 10-15 set range yet?
If you can't hit 15 sets yet, do sets of whatever you can do until you get a total of 15 sets.
Example: you're trying to get 10-15 sets of 3, but you fail at set 7.
Do 3-3-3-3-3-3-2-2-2-1-1-1-half a rep-half a rep-quarter rep.
Start your first session with sets of 2. As soon as you hit the 10-15 range, start working with sets of 3 and repeat the process. Repeat over and over until you hit 10x10.

Milestones in your training (when to increase reps per set):
10-15 Sets of 2 = 20-30 total reps
10-15 Sets of 3 = 30-45 total reps
10-15 Sets of 4 = 40-60 total reps
10-15 Sets of 5 = 50-75 total reps
10-15 Sets of 6 = 60-90 total reps
10-15 Sets of 7 = 70-105 total reps
10-15 Sets of 8 = 80-120 total reps
10-15 Sets of 9 = 90-135 total reps
10-15 Sets of 10 = 100-150 total reps

Periodization: Start every new mesocycle either with sets of 2, or ~2 reps fewer per set compared to the end of your last mesocycle.
Recovery week (between Mesocycles): Do 50% of the number of sets you would normally do.

Stronger emphasis on Strength: Fremen Density Training V3.1
This is the one I'm currently using for pull-ups (starting 07.01.2019).

- start your first set with a heavier weight than your working weight. for example, start with 32kg for set 1, finish the remaining sets with 24kg. Reasoning: Marcus Bondi recommends it in some of his videos. Also, I think it prevents your technique from losing tension over the course of weeks and months of training at submaximal loads. It also somewhat resembles the Russian bear, can't be bad.
Progress as follows, whichever comes first:
- Increase working weight when hitting 10 sets of 5. Reasoning: For bodyweight pull-ups, 50 reps in 10 minutes is pretty solid, and you could probably peak your RepMax to 15 and beyond at this point - I don't see why this wouldn't be the same for weighted Pull-ups and other exercises.
- Increase working weight when you can do 15-20 reps with your current working weight. Reasoning: In theory, you should be able to do a 1RM with 133-166% of your working weight at this point. training with weights lighter than 20RM also just doesn't feel right to me when I want to increase my 1rm, even if it's a long-term goal.

Implementing a rep-ladder pattern: Fremen Density Training V3.2
This might be interesting to try out (haven't tried it yet but I might at some point this year).
Positives: More intuitive progression in both volume and density. Probably more fun to do. built in cycling of volume.
Negatives: Harder to keep track of while training (did I just do 2 or 3? Ah crap I did 4 instead of 2, what now?), takes more space and time to write down in the log.

instead of starting with sets of 2, start with rungs of 1-2-3. The timer remains the same, no extra breaks between ladders. You will still be doing an average of 2 reps per minute
work your way through like this:
4 ladders of 1-2-3, 24 reps in 12 minutes (=2 per minute)
4 ladders of 1-2-3-4, 40reps in 16 minutes (=2.5 per minute)
4 ladders of 1-2-3-4-5, 60reps in 20 minutes (=3 per minute)

If strength is your goal, increase weights and repeat.

If reps are your goal, proceed as follows
4 ladders of 2-3-4, 36 reps in 12 minutes (=3 per minute)
4 ladders of 2-3-4-5, 56reps in 16 minutes (=3.5 per minute)
4 ladders of 2-3-4-5-6, 60reps in 20 minutes (=4 per minute)
4 ladders of 3-4-5, 48 reps in 12 minutes (=4 per minute)
4 ladders of 3-4-5-6, 72reps in 16 minutes (=4.5 per minute)
4 ladders of 3-4-5-6-7, 100 reps in 20 minutes (=5 per minute)
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Level 3 Valued Member
First Week of the Year, First week of Mesocycle 1, Macrocycle 1

Average sleep per day: 7h

Already made a lot of progress this week.
Pull-Ups: Performance on paper didn't improve, but I improved my technique for more tension, more control, more height (on level with collar-bone), short break at the top (0.5-1 sec), controlled ascent. performance on paper remained the same despite arguably harder technique.
Hammer levering: I'll soon be doing reps with at the end of my 3kg hammer's handle (it's 50-ish cm long, and I'm doing 40cm hammer-to-nose levers for reps)
Military Press: more strict technique, (see old-school method 2 in Pavel Macek's video below). Improvements despite the stricter technique.


Today was my first leg day, my glutes and quads are fried. I did a total of 50 Zercher squats and 50 Swings, sets of 10. it took me some 30-40 minutes to complete. I may add another 5-10kg on the Zercher squat next week.

As hinted in my last post, I will switch from Fremen Density Training V2.0 to V3.1 next monday.
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Level 3 Valued Member
2. week of the Year, week 2 of Mesocycle 1, Macrocycle 1

Average sleep per day: 7.3h

I made good progress and made some changes to the weekly plan.

Pull-Ups: From now on my primary exercise (currently weighted pull-ups) will be trained Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. I went from 4 working sets of Fremen 3.1 to 6, an increase of 1 per session.
Hammer levering: Either my hands are too small or the hammer handles too thick - it started causing pain between index and thumb, so I stopped doing them for now.
Military Press: Went from 7-6-6 to 8-8-5, pretty good for just 2 days per week and a total of 6 sets per week.
Shrugs: I stopped doing them because they create a lot of fatigue and I'm not sure if their carry over to the overhead press is big enough to make them worthwhile.
Leg day: I stopped doing "Friday, Legday" and started doing 3 sets of 5 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. this is not optimal and I will explain my solution in my next post.
Squats: went from a 5rm of 35kg to a 5rm of 42.5kg

Comments from my log sheet:
* Pull-up technique changed: more height, a short break at the top, controlled descent
** MP technique changed: Old-School feet together, passive arm stretched out parallel to the floor
*** swapped Fremen Density V2.0 to V3.1
**** decided to quit shrugs and do Zercher Squats instead and quit doing Legday on Friday. Friday's fatigue took too long to recover from and it's better for technique to train more frequently. I feel like good MP workout is already enough for the traps and shrugs don't have as much carry-over to other movements and activities as the squat. shrugs in a bodybuilding scheme were pretty fatiguing anyways. in short, I've replaced shrugs with Zercher Squats and replaced Legday Friday with another day of Fremen 3.1 for pull-ups
As hinted in my last post, I will switch from Fremen Density Training V2.0 to V3.1 next Monday.


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mid-cycle review:
- Fremen 3.1 is the way to go for pull-ups, good progress, better than 2.0 in all regards.
- The assistance exercises (shrugs, hammer levering, bar hangs) aren't doing it for me anymore. Too much fatigue generated by the shrugs, my hands seem to be too small for sustainable hammer levering at any weight or length. I might get back to hammers later, but my hands need to recover for a couple of weeks.

Changes to the weekly program (Microcycle), starting Monday 14.01:
- Primary exercises / heavy days will now be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Friday is no longer labelled as "leg day", instead it's now a normal heavy /primary exercise day.
- The assistance exercises (hammers, hangs, shrugs,) will now be replaced
swings on Light days (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
and Zercher squats on Heavy days (Mon, Wed, Fri)

Changes to the Mesocycle, starting Monday 14.01:
I feel like I've only just started out in this mesocycle, even though I've only got 1 more week to go until de-load. let's see how I feel next week but I feel like I'd be leaving way too much in the bank, no fatigue build up at all in this mesocycle up to now.
I will extend it to 4-6 weeks of work, 1 week of recovery. I definitely won't stop until I see the first signs of fatigue. maybe I should start implementing some autoregulation here:
- length of mesocycle: 3-6 weeks of work, one week of rest.
- Always push through to the end of week 3. If there are no signs of fatigue, continue for another week.
- If there are any signs of fatigue past week 3, end the mesocycle and de-load

Changes to the Macrocycle, starting Monday 14.01:
the AABC scheme I came up with in the beginning seems to be unnecessary/obsolete with my current exercise and program selection:
- Light days are already targetting RepMax sufficiently. No need for dedicated type B (RepMax training) Mesocycles.
- I'm basically already training volume/density for exercise 1 (currently pull-ups), RepMax for exercise 2 (currently KB Military Press) and 5rm for exercise 3 (currently Zercher Squats), which works well in terms of progress and fatigue.
I may as well just rotate these 3 exercises to get the same effect.

From now on, mesocycles will alternate between Pull-Press-Squat, Press-Pull-Squat, and Squat-Press-Pull.
Mesocycle 1 of this year would now be classified as a Pull-Press-Squat cycle.

here is how the weekly schedules would look like for each of these types of mesocycles:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Fremen Pull, Squat 3 sets of 5
Tuesday & Thursday: Press 3 sets of 5-15, Mobility drills
Saturday & Sunday: Rest
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Fremen Press, Squat 3 sets of 5
Tuesday & Thursday: Pull 3 sets of 5-15, Mobility drills
Saturday & Sunday: Rest
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Fremen Squat, Pull 3 sets of 5
Tuesday & Thursday: Press 3 sets of 5-15, Mobility drills
Saturday & Sunday: Rest
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Level 3 Valued Member
Well, that was a short lived annual plan...

I was hired for a new job that's very challenging, so I had to seriously dial back on other stressors in life. I basically took a 2-week break from training.

My initial plans generate too much fatigue for my working situation. also, it's way too tempting to psyche up and to another rep.

For the time being, I'll definitely do less work in my home-gym.

for February, I'll try a high-frequency approach, pull-ups and Chins only. My new 1-2rm for pull-ups is now 40kg, I tested it yesterday. I can also do 2-3 chins with 40kg.

What I want to try is the following:
Monday through Friday, do just 1 set of Pull-ups and 1 set of Chin-ups every day, with 5min or more in between. Do just as many reps as you're comfortable with, don't ever psyche up, take it easy. week to week progress isn't important at this stage.
the Idea is to start on Monday with your non-psyched up 1RM, then gradually unload until you're working with your bodyweight only on Friday. the weights remain unchanged for 1 month
In my current situation it would look something like this:

At a bodyweight of 75kg and a real 1rm of approximately 45kg (guesstimate based on non-psyched up 1rm of 40kg), total weights and percentages of 1rm would look like this
40 --> 115kg, 95% of 1RM
30 --> 105kg, 88% of 1RM
20 --> 95kg, 79% of 1RM
10 --> 85kg, 70% of 1RM
0 --> 75kg, 63% of 1RM

I get that there are probably some better systems out there, but for the time being I'll treat strength training as a leisure activity rather than an ambitioned effort, and I just love to come up with new stuff and try it.


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Week 1 of Mesocycle 2, 28.1 - 03.02.2019

A good week of training, let's see how next week goes.
I will probably start working out in the evenings starting Monday. This week I did it right before going to work.

So far, training feels pretty refreshing, seems to be very low at generating fatigue. I'm excited to see if this provides enough training stimulus for continued progress


Level 3 Valued Member
Week 2 of Mesocycle 2, 4-10.02.2019

In week 2, I made some progress almost every day (all but thursday's 10kg session)

I coincidentally found a way to make the program less prone to failure:
Every week, start training early mornings. If you didn't sleep well or fatigue builds up, switch to late evening sessions for the rest of the week and switch back to morning sessions in the following week.
Working out every morning you will have 24h of rest between your sessions. When you switch you'll have an extra ~12h of rest, which means 1.5x your normal recovery time on paper. Of course it's a bit less valuable than 1.5x because you can't get any extra sleep (at most, take a short nap after work), so it's probably like a 10-30% recovery boost which can get you through minor fatigue issues nonetheless

I'm really happy with my program so far, I still have to figure out whether this is more of a "plateau breaker" thing you use whenever you can't make further progress or if/how it can be periodized for repeated use. I also need a name for it. I took the idea of 2 sets per session (the second set slightly easier than the first) from Power to the People! so I'm thinking of "Pull-ups to the people" or Power to the Pull-up".


Level 3 Valued Member
Week 3 of Mesocycle 2, 11-17.02.2019

this week was a bit of a f**** up. saturday I went out with friends, hence only 5h of sleep. Sunday evening I slammed an ungodly amount of fatty food down my stomach, causing me heartburn for the rest of the week.
My heartburn was really bad on Sunday night, very poor quality sleep. On Monday morning I was so drowsy, it would have almost qualified as sleepwalking but I did my pull-ups nonetheless. Bad idea: I know I could have done 3 pullups with 40kg, lacked focus. What's more, my chin-up technique was so bad, it gave me a stiff neck for the rest of the week.

So I basically de-loaded this week to rehab my light injury. I feel the deload (BW sets of 10, some footbiking sprints on the side.) has helped my recovery more than taking a week off would have, both for my neck as well as my overall fatigue levels.

Lessons learned:
1. The "switch from morning workouts to evening workouts mid-week for some extra recovery time" Strategy doesn't work because it adds an element of unpredictability due to different states of mind and lack of a "routine feeling".
2. don't be stupid about food. we have a fridge, tin foil, and a micro-wave, so no need to slam things down your throat.
3. A couple of light sets of 10 paired with brief bouts of cardio are good for recovery from light injury.
4. Early morning: poor focus, high energy. late evening: good focus & clarity, mid-high energy


Level 3 Valued Member
The Flu hit me pretty hard this year. I was unable to train for 2 weeks, now i'm slowly getting into it again but i still feel Ill...
Will report back when my body is "back to normal"
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