Lesson 1: Volume

Volume can be defined as the amount of set, reps and load performed in any given microcycle, mesocycle or macrocycle. Some trainers favor intensity over volume, but I'm on the other side of the fence. With enough volume, I can induce incredible strength gains without pushing the intensity envelope over the edge of Grand Teton. Intensity, on the other hand, can be a sumbitch when tangoing with the negative effects of overtraining.

Lesson 2: Intensity

As I just mentioned, intensity can be tricky. It's kinda like having a girlfriend who's a smokin' lassie that memorized the Kama Sutra from cover-to-cover. Unfortunately, this same dame would immediately put any top psychiatrist out of business. In other words, it can be beneficial at certain "needy" times, but it'll drain your brain if it's around too long.

Lesson 3: Frequency

Frequency, frequency, frequency. I've been on my soap-box preaching about increased training frequency since day one. My graduate studies in neuroscience taught me the importance of high training frequencies for maximal strength development. If you want to gain strength at alarming rates, then you better start training more often. But without the proper parameters, you'll burn out in no time. Therefore, you must follow this mesocycle's parameters as strictly as if you were working on the original Manhattan Project.

Lesson 4: Exercise Selection

I've never been a huge proponent of isolation exercises, but they definitely have their place in certain programs. This ain't one of them, city-boy! The SFM consists of exercises that include hundreds of muscles for every single movement; no direct calf, biceps or abdominal training whatsoever (although they'll get a massive wake-up call). This is probably the most important aspect of the program, so don't send me a list of exercises you'd "rather perform." If you don't have the proper equipment, use some ingenuity and make it happen!

Lesson 5: Proper Cardiovascular Exercise Selection

Most of my hypertrophy-based programs consist of very generic cardiovascular conditioning guidelines. That's because it really doesn't matter what type of cardio training you prefer on some programs. Once again, this ain't one of those programs.

An integral aspect of my success with maximal strength training programs relates to proper cardiovascular-based exercise selection. You'll only perform two cardio exercises on this program: jump rope and jumping jacks. Why? Because those two exercises require the nervous system to fire muscle groups very quickly. If I recommended a slow jog or walk on this program, your results would suffer since the nervous system would be very confused. If your nervous system could talk, it would ask you, "Do you want me to fire the muscles super fast, or slow and steady?" Obviously, for maximal strength, you must train fast, all the time!

Preface

You probably noticed that this program is referred to as a mesocycle, not a "program" or some other type of "training" that can be executed continuously. I specifically chose that title to remind you that this is a short program (four weeks), not a training cycle you perform all year long. Quit what you're doing (if you're not receiving any results) and undergo the SFM immediately!

One more thing before we move on, I'm not going to prescribe a tempo for each day. You must lift with a tempo that is as fast as humanly possible for every rep of every set.

Don't neglect this important point!

Strength-Focused Mesocycle

Day 1:

Sets: 3

Reps: 5

Load: 7RM (an amount of weight you could lift for 7 times before failing)

Rest: 90s between alternating exercises

Day 2: Rest


Day 3:

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Load: 10RM

Rest: 120s between alternating exercises

Day 4: Rest

Day 5:

Sets: 3

Reps: 3

Load: 5RM

Rest: 90s between alternating exercises


Days 6 and 7:
Rest

Day 8: Repeat Cycle with the following progression.

Weeks 2, 3 and 4: Increase the load 2.5% for all lifts with each subsequent week for three consecutive weeks. I advise you to err on the lighter side with your initial load selection and don't increase the load more than 2.5%, even if you feel like you can. More often than not, trainees who increase the load too quickly end up burning out by the third week.

Conclusion

Don't be fooled by the extremely brief duration of these workouts. You must keep your nervous system fresh on this program or you won't reap the benefits.

Whether you're training for pure maximal strength increases, or you need a jump start to accelerate your future hypertrophy goals, this is an outstanding mesocycle. It's brutal, but it's also one of the best damn maximal strength mesocycles in my arsenal. Rest up, because you're gonna need it for this cycle!