STAGE 2: FOUNDATIONAL STRENGTH
“If it doesn't have a specific percentage based on a specific max, it's useless. That's the hallmark of someone who doesn't understand basic programming.”
-Jim Wendler, elite powerlifter and author of the 5/3/1 training protocol
In STAGE 2 you’ll leverage the skills you learned in STAGE 1 to begin building a foundation of strength. The primary movements you learned in STAGE 1 will carry over, but now you’ll start working with fewer reps at a higher intensity level. This is an exciting time in the training cycle, because you’ll make tangible strength improvement each week.
The priorities of STAGE 2 are listed below:
1. Increase muscular strength.
2. Learn to analyze and cue for self-coaching.
The first 2 weeks of STAGE 2 will involve 3xPT sessions per week, after which training decreases to 1xPT session per week. This shifts the focus from absolute oversight to weekly tune-ups and progressive routine updates. This change also allows you to start trying some of the training methods on your own and begin to develop a sense of program ownership.
During the latter part of STAGE 2 you’ll learn how to perform technically sound, max effort lifts. You’ll also begin to use more advanced lifting techniques to stimulate progression towards your fitness potential. (dumbbells, cables, single arm/leg work, etc.)
Maintenance of STAGE 1 progress:
With increased difficulty, you can count on compensation to creep back into your movement. To avoid asymmetry, we use dumbbells, kettlebells and other unilateral lifts. We’ll also continue to use the FMS on a regular basis to weed out compensation and address it before it has time to stick.
Coaching emphasis on the “other stuff” will decrease during STAGE 2. This allows a greater emphasis be placed on the training protocol itself. It’s ok though, because at this point you'll have all the tools necessary to keep an eye on your food, sleep and stress levels on you own.
Progressing from STAGE 2-3 requires you reach certain strength standards. These standards are relative to bodyweight and gender. They ensure you have the requisite strength for the dynamic, powerful training methods of STAGE 3.