StrongFirst Publishes "Reload" by Fabio Zonin and Pavel Tsatsouline

Discussion in 'News, How-To's, and FAQ's' started by Steve Freides, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    @guardian7, thank you for raising this issue. This is a "tech" issue - we will look into it, and report back.

  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    @guardian7, a further update. The way the PDF is now is the way it will stay. It can be printed should you wish to do that.

  3. damogari

    damogari Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Bought it and read it in two evenings. A good book, with clear steps and calculations. Really good price/quality ratio, I am satisfied with the purchase.

    Already started the program, but it's of course too soon to tell about its effectiveness. Will report in 7 weeks.
    Maine-ah KB likes this.
  4. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Reload is now available for Kindle - enjoy!

    Abdul-Rasheed and Antti like this.
  5. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    Since Reload - finally, for the ones expecting it - came out on Kindle, I bought it and read it.

    It looks interesting, there's plenty of points to consider. It's not a long book, but succinct, and I don't think it's useful to drag the length with unnecessary text.

    I look forward to trying the program out some suitable time in the future. It looks like something I would enjoy and it is short so it's easy to fit in a year and within the meet schedule. But I will also emphasize that the cycle is short, I would have expected something longer or different variations in length.

    As it is I have 1RM numbers from less than a month ago, and I did rep max sets in the cycle leading to it so it looks like I have all the recent numbers for the required tests for the program, so I would be in a good place to try the program out as it is. Tempting...
    damogari likes this.
  6. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    I'm on week 3 of Reload with the deadlift and week 2 of Reload with the military press. It might be my imagination but I think I've gotten a lot stronger at these moves already in just a few weeks and my body feels stronger overall.
    Steve Freides likes this.
  7. Tirofijo

    Tirofijo More than 500 posts

    Bauer likes this.
  8. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    Did 5X5 of 120lb military press on Saturday and 5X5 of 280lbs deadlift on Sunday. I couldn't do this much volume before at these weights. This program is working very well!

    Also, I have the rest of the week to do whatever else I want, like judo or walking/hiking.
    Steve Freides and Sean M like this.
  9. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    I wonder if getting to higher weights in Reload made my body give in sooner at judo yesterday than it normally does. I felt my arms and fingers in particular get tightened up. I'm not complaining, and I had a series of tough tough oppponents yesterday, but I'm just wondering if this is a side-effect of getting a bit further on in Reload. In any case in spite of getting knackered sooner I did a very good job and certainly felt very strong.
  10. Kaisersemmel

    Kaisersemmel Double-Digit Post Count

    Has anyone from the forums finished a cycle of "Reload" yet? How did it go?

    I am thinking about giving the program a go but I am really worried about the idea of working up to 5/5 in 5 weeks using a weight I could only lift for a single set of 5 at the start of the program.

    The lifter rolltank_tm from reddit only worked up to 385 for his 5/5 squat and he had a shaky 5RM of 405 at the start of the cycle. Granted, his 1RM at the start was 445 and he PRd 475 at the end of the cycle. So he probably left some gas in the tank for his 1RM test.

    Maybe I misunderstood something. But that sounds like one brutal progression. Would be great to hear how people do on the program.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
    Kozushi likes this.
  11. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    Well, I'll tell you. I just did week 5 of Reload with the deadlift, so I'm at the 300 lbs that I could only lift 5 times when I started. Today I lifted it 25 times (5X5)!!! I had about 3 minutes between the first two sets, and then, about 5 minutes, and then longer for the last two. I'm amazed I could lift 300 lbs so many times today! I certainly felt it towards the end of session, but I was still pulling strongly and well.

    Next week I'll be doing 3X3 with 320 lbs, then 2X2 with 340, then it's a full out max test where I'll try to lift 400 lbs, then higher to see what I can do for a new max, then it's back to recalculation and another cycle.

    I'm also doing a cycle of military presses.

    I feel the strength in judo, and the fact I only have to do the exercise once a week for about 30 minutes is great!!!
    Bauer likes this.
  12. Kaisersemmel

    Kaisersemmel Double-Digit Post Count

    Come on Kozushi, don't make stuff up. :( In your training Log you clearly write that you had lifted 340lbs for multiple sets of 5 and chose to only use 300lbs for your "5RM" when you started "Reload".

    Moving From Simple to Sinister; Reload, Walking and Judo
    Kozushi likes this.
  13. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    Very sorry! I have totally forgotten about that!!!


    I was a doing a lot of deadlifting before and I could do some things which I later let fall into disuse!

    I'm glad you reminded me!
    Kaisersemmel likes this.
  14. Kaisersemmel

    Kaisersemmel Double-Digit Post Count

    No problem. Sorry for not being more diplomatic. I watched GoT before work and rushed my reply :D
    Kozushi likes this.
  15. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    No, I'm full of baloney quite often. My exercise mind is almost exlusively focussed on my progress at judo and I forget what I've done with weights.

    I remember now doing multiple reps with 370lbs actually, but I lost it through disuse and had to consider it as my 1RM for the Reload program.
  16. damogari

    damogari Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I almost finished first cycle of Reload a month ago, although I have to admit that I didn't work through the program to the letter. I modified it a little because of shorter than 8 weeks time frame available and because I didn't like some of the choices for the assistance work. Fortunately the main part of the program, Big 4 programming, was left untouched.

    My recent history
    I am working with kettlebells for 3 years and with barbell for about 2. I consider myself as intermediate lifter.

    On November 2018 I decided to focus on fat loss through the low carb diet and fasting. Basically last 5 months I tried to stay under 50g of carbs 6 days a week, eating in 18/6 IF scheme. On Saturdays I am doing carb loading (ok, cheat day, who I want to fool!) followed by 40h+ fast from Sunday evening to Tuesday noon. Lost about 13kg of bodyweight and 11cm of waist.

    Unfortunately I lost some strength in the process with my personal best in 2018 being:
    • 100kg Press,
    • 160kg Bench,
    • 180kg Back Squat and
    • 190kg Deadlift (semi sumo, conventional 180kg),
      all at bodyweight ~110kg.
    After getting back to two-digit bodyweight I decided to loosen up my diet and try to maintenance at about 97-99kg while rebuild my strength levels.

    Program-wise I was doing GZCL and Brian Alsruhe Linear Program during the reduction. Basically I did a lot of work at lower intensities, higher volume and quite high density (gigasets, 90s rests). Felt really beaten up. I also did two weeks of Easy Strength work just before Reload program.

    Program variant
    I chose the Conventional Deadlift/Bench/High Bar Back Squat/Press variant 4 days a week, keeping the light days and assistance work (although both little modified)

    Program modifications
    • as I had only 7 weeks available I decided to cut first week from the program
    • apparently I am really bad in counting days, as I gave myself only 4 days to test maxes. Decided to do two test days and test DL with Bench and Squat with Press. Not perfect, I know.
    • two times I did only main and light sets without assistance work.
    • I like to target my core on every training, so I supersetted light sets with:
      • Windshield Wipers on light Bench days,
      • HLR on light Squats days,
      • Landmine Rotations on light Press days, and
      • AB Wheel/Rings Rollouts on DL days.
    • I prefer pulls on press days as antagonistic exercises and I also like unilateral leg exercises so I came up with these supersets as Assistance work:
      • Wide Grip Romanian DL and Farmer Walks on DL days,
      • Incline Bench and Pendlay Rows on Bench days,
      • Front Squats and Reverse Lunges on Squat days, and
      • Z Presses and Pull ups on Press days.
    • after few weeks of the program I made some light days harder making DL into Paused DL to improve my poor Conventional DL Form. Bench was done with little longer pause than usual.
    • on last Press day before testing I did 3x3 on DL light work because I planned to test DL next day.
    Additional stuff
    • On the beginning I added a 1-2 sessions of A+A weekly, but on the last weeks I decided to let them go to give myself more recovery
    • I was doing GTG calisthenic stuff almost each day, doing sets of 5 pull ups along with wall HeSPU, OAPU and Shrimp Squats rotated on days where the lower and upper was not main dish (e.x wall HeSPU on Reload Squat days).
    • During warmup I was mixing OS Resets, box jumps/ball throws from 5/3/1 and barbell complex (Brian's) with additional mobility if needed
    • Did a few min of stationary cycling before and after training on DL/SQ days. My knees like it.
    1RM and 5x5@5
    I did the math as required by the program and check my 1RMs, they looked like this:
    • 90kg Press
    • 140kg Bench
    • 152,5kg Back Squat
    • 172,5kg Conventional DL
      All at bodyweight ~98kg
    For the weights at 5x5@5 I selected
    • 80kg Press - too heavy, got really hard time doing it, last set RPE 10
    • 120kg Bench - felt little to easy, RPE 8,5
    • 135kg Squat - good choice, RPE 9
    • 142,5kg DL - hard to tell, can't rate DLs well, but it could be higher
    • The first thing I noticed was that I was significantly hungrier than usual. I think that this is because more volume at higher intensities than usual.
    • I definitely gained some muscle cause I lost about 2cm in waist and gain ~1kg of bw. Lean gains could be better if I would eat for mass. Fat loss is still important for me so not big expectations on muscle mass.
    • Tested for 1RM and got:
      • DL: 200kg (+27,5kg)
      • Bench: 150kg (+10kg)
      • Squat: not tested cause I tweaked my back on warmup on last testing day
      • Press: 95kg (+5kg) - but could be heavier if I not tweaked my back on testing day
        All at bodyweight ~98kg
    What I liked
    • all of the math is well explained in the book, had no problems with calculations at all
    • customized steps between weeks is a new, fresh approach and it worked well
    • I felt that light work before main days primed me well for heavier work sets
    • clean and elegant structure
    What I did not liked
    • too little core work, I fixed it by doing them everytime
    • too little pulls, need to focus on them more
    • assistance work volume was sometimes so small that it felt insignificant, I understand that it's just assistance, but doing all the setup just for 2-3 sets with 4 reps in the tank felt like a waste of time
    Other things:
    • Doing 5x5 with the same weight feels little boring. But program is for becoming stronger, not more entertained, so it's of course ok.
    • It can took quite long time if done by the book. I like to leave the gym in less than an hour, that's why I usually practice 4-5 times a week and do stuff in super- and gigasets. And maybe that's why I am weakling, maybe indeed strength like the long rests and focusing on main exercises.
    My opinion
    I really liked the program. Its simple but not easy if set well. A lot of customization and focusing on strength. I really recommend it to any lifter who wants to spend some quality time with the big lifts and his main focus is strength. With proper diet it can bring some gainz as well.

    After finishing this cycle I went to one month vacations where I focused on calisthenics and easy strength. Now I am back, will do 2-3 weeks of ES and will try to do another cycle or two of Reload.

Share This Page