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Block insights (Advanced Competitor), May 21st - July 1st 2018 (WK21-26/2018)
Block insights (Advanced Competitor), May 21st - July 1st 2018 (WK21-26/2018)

Insights into programming, progressions and differences between the streams in the training block.

Jami Tikkanen avatar
Written by Jami Tikkanen
Updated over a week ago


This section offers a short overview of the focus and progressions found across the 3 different streams (Engine, Strength, SPP)


  • Our main focus in this block is a modified Smolov style back squat progression together with hypertrophy focused upper body pull and push.

  • Smolov style = we've spread the progression from 4 weekly sessions to 3 and added an introduction period so you can adjust to the squat volume. This is a much more reasonable variation of the original that allows for other work being done outside of lifting. We have however limited the amount of other lower body strength work in this block to accommodate for this program. 

  • You should expect the squatting to get challenging (so eat plenty and sleep well) but feel doable through the training block. 

  • There is additional posterior chain work in form of stiff-legged deadlifts each Tuesday. This is done at maintenance volumes and balance out all the squatting.

  • Upper body pull/push progression is balanced across different movement directions (vertical/horizontal) for all around development.

  • There is weekly additional midline work on each stream.

  • AHAFA (2 RIR) = as heavy as form allows leaving 2 reps in reserve/tank. We use the RIR concept to emphasise how hard each set should be. Hard (+smart) training is what gets you strong so we want to make sure that each set is challenging enough to cause adaptation but not so hard that recovery becomes an issue early on in the training block. RIR prescription informs you of how close to failure we want the sets to be ( = how hard we want them to be). 

  • 2 RIR (2 reps in reserve) and other variations (1 RIR etc.) with % prescriptions. Here the intent is similar as above but we want you to stay within the % range that's prescribed. As you move through the weeks, especially with the squat, we expect you to apply progressive overload ( = increase total training volume = sets x reps x load) over each week. Make sure to check each weeks RIR to see how hard the sets should be (as per above). If you find the % ranges "too easy" at first weeks, they should certainly not be that once you're few weeks in so stay patient.


  • We are keeping the weightlifting volume to 4 movements / week and are focusing mainly on high quality repetitions (we have dialled the intensity back to accommodate for the hard squat program).

  • There is fair amount of lifting from the blocks to reduce the stress on the lower back. 

  • Since we don't have a regular deadlift in this block, we've added snatch pull + snatch on Saturdays to add a bit more pull volume and to improve your pull mechanics (make sure you focus on strong positions and posture here).


  • We are moving to shorter sport specific intervals in this block. Our progression is focused around repeatable 4-minute time domain intervals that should push your ability in continuous 12 to 16-minute pieces. As the intervals progress across the weeks, you will see variations from 6-minutes down to 90-seconds. We expect the intensity to be proportioned to the duration of the intervals (shorter = faster pace). 

  • As we are focused on developing your ability to sustain and repeat your effort, the training must reflect that = When you're doing the interval work we want you to work at a pace that is repeatable for you. Crashing and burning in the intervals would be failing to follow the program properly. That being said, we want you to go hard AND remember that you have to produce an output you can maintain across the intervals.

  • Our monostructural sessions will focus on longer, sustained pieces in this block.


  • Friday AM sessions are dedicated to foundational gymnastics strength and skill work. We have new sessions coming in this block from WK2 onwards. These sessions are essential to build a base for the sports specific gymnastics work later in the season.

  • Depending on the stream, there are additional micro-doses of skill work sprinkled across the week.

Differences between streams


  • More focused bench progression (similar to squat program but 2x/wk)

  • More isolation/hypertrophy work

  • Less conditioning


  • More SPP intervals across the week / block

  • Dedicated running session weekly (focused on building distance progressively in preparation for the next training block)


  • More sports specific skill work

  • More sports specific conditioning sessions

  • Both Engine and SPP streams have same weightlifting and strength progressions


Hope you found this article helpful!

Let us know if you have any questions about this training block and we'll update this article with additional information.

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