Thank you for chiming in! Very interesting that you ended up with a 3-4 split.
How many times per week are you doing S&S?
Since I’m working mostly with 40kg on the swings, I only go 4 days a week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Saturday is always 2 handed swings so I don’t do back to back “heavy” days. I recently picked up the SF Kettlebell course off StrongAndFit. I’ve been giving some thought of switching over to it for a bit. I really like the progression and weight standards in it. But S&S has been so good to me
Do you find that you can pick everything up where you left it? I am especially interested in your press here. I ask, because Fabio Zonin recommends some skill practice/maintenance volume during 4-week blocks.
Personally, with 2 week blocks without maintenance volume, I have found that the first 1-2 sessions feel rusty but doable and then I am already ready to progress. You mentioned something similar for Z2 work.
I’m a big fan of Wendler’s 5/3/1. And the 3 week cycles fit nicely with how I schedule out PTTP blocks. But I don’t think hitting each major lift only 3 times in 3 weeks is going to be as good as what I’ve got right now. With that said, one of the principals I picked up from Wendler is always have a goal with your PR sets. The example in the books is to figure out your E1RM and try to beat it each time.
So long story long, that’s what I do on my 3 week blocks. I have a goal E1RM that I want to hit by the end of the block. Once I have that goal, I work backwards when setting up the waves (I mostly use 4 forward, 3 back waves). On my last overhead press, I set the goal of an E1RM of 165. Doing the reverse math for 5 reps, 145x5 is 163 and 150x5 is 169. I went with the higher number this time. From that number, I just start building the waves backwards (using 2.5 pound increments on pressing movements):
Example of 18 sessions - 150, 147.5, 145, 142.5, 147.5, 145, 142.5, 140, 145, 142.5, 140, 137.5, 142.5, 140, 137.5, 135, 132.5, 130
It’s not a perfect wave (as you can see in the above example). The 130 - 135 are my maintenance volume that you mention. Depending on how I feel day of, I’ll do one warmup set of 70% of whatever my target weight for the day is. That’s usually enough to get me switched on for the day’s weight. For this past block of overhead press, this worked out well. But let’s say it didn’t. Let’s say that 130 felt horrible (or worse - I miss a rep). I’ll adjust my goal down and recalculate my wave. I’ve had to do this on occasion.
If it is a movement I’ve not done in awhile or very different from what I did previously (for example, overhead barbell press to dumbbell flat bench), I’ll give myself 4 maintenance sessions and use a more aggressive 3 forward, 2 back wave to hit my goal E1RM. If it is a movement I‘ve never done, I don’t set a goal.
I use the same model for deadlift. Pick a E1RM goal and work backwards.
I’ve tried step loading vs. waves, but it didn’t work as well for me. The resets (3 or 2 back) really keep me motivated because I know I can hit that weight with no problems. Since I’m setting so many goals throughout the year, if I miss once or twice, I’m OK with it. When I used to do 8, 10, or 12 week programs, I always got frustrated when I didn’t hit my goal.