“When Can We Touch a Barbell Again!?”

Programming for Parable in 2020: Return of the Barbell

Before Quarantining…

Right before we quarantined, we were testing many of the ratios that can be found on our assessment boards. Recently, we tested our weighted pull up to strict press strength ratio. These are GREAT objective insights into which part of our structures (pulling muscles) or training adaptations (decelerating in a power clean) need some focus.

These tests have been rolled out on thousands of athletes and have been shown to have ideal ratios when the athlete expresses optimal percentages. Optimal= Barbell Strict Press/(Bodyweight + Total Added Load in a weighted pull up) = 65%.

In our last in-house programming cycle, we placed an emphasis on

  • strict pulling with various methods: overhead, horizontal, grip changes, tempos, pauses, levers, and positional holds.
  • power cleans, with many variations of complexes in order to pursue mastery.
    1. the previous cycle of Back Squat fed right into the Power Clean emphasis perfectly, as we unveiled the optimal strength ratio in each of us with regards to these two lifts. According to extensive research done by Opex, the Power Clean should be right around 66% of your Back Squat. Higher than 66% means that you are faster/more powerful than you are strong and the Squat should be prioritized. Lower means you are stronger than you are fast and the Power Clean should be prioritized.
  • bulletproofing methods, with a focus on unilateral strength.
  • weight-prioritized workouts (for load), as opposed to time prioritized workouts (AMRAPS, For Time, etc)

Upon Quarantining…

In March, we were hit with a mandate to quarantine, and so we pivoted. We talked about philosophy of at-home training and what the “WHY” behind our programming would focus on. We discussed programming methods that take simple at-home tools and deliver POWERFUL training effects. We’ve been creating integrity around aerobic capacity (sprint progressions and Murph prep), localized muscular endurance (shoulder series and Tabata protocols), core stability work (bulletproofing segments), and efficiency patterns (weightlifting class and dumbbell high volume).

One of the methods we’ve been using is “Giant Sets,” also known as a drop set.

Take 2-4 movements that are non-complementary (target the same muscle and fatigue one another) and putting them together as a superset on short rest. The goal is to accumulate a large amount of time under tension with a particular muscle group, but space that time under tension out over multiple exercises. Done correctly, these movements will flow from hard to easier in complexity or load so that while you are fatiguing throughout the set, you can still deliver quality and control. The result is a high degree of metabolic stress on the muscle, which leads to strength adaptations without the need for maximal loading (i.e. when you only have one set of dumbbells or KB at the house).

Week 8 of Quarantine Training (May 29)

(Part 1 of Day 5)
5 Sets:
Dual DB Front Squats 33X0 Tempo* x6reps
Goblet Slide Board Lateral Lunge 32X0 Tempo -x6/leg
20 Alternating Prisoner Jump Lunges

rest 90sec

*33X0 Tempo: 3 seconds down, hold for 3, eXplode up, 0 second pause at top

By the end of this set, you’ve done 38 repetitions of knee flexion with approximately 1min and 30sec worth of time under tension spread out over a 2:30 set.

RETURNING TO THE (inside of the) GYM…

What I expect upon returning to our gym is that you will want to go HAM.

What you can expect upon returning to the gym is that I have created workouts that will “allow” you to go “full send” if you need to scratch that itch, but the nature of the workouts will autoregulate you choosing weights that are contextually appropriate for thoughtful progression.

The first 10 weeks of programming will be very structured around submaximal loads (ex: 60-75% of 1RM) for unfixed rep ranges. The format includes aspects of functional bodybuilding to endorse muscular growth, as well as maximal efforts to endorse nervous system acclimatization to higher training volume.

An example of a workout structure from the first 10 weeks:

Ping Pong

(back and forth between movements, no rest between 2 EMOMs)

EMOM 10:

A1- Front Squats @60% of 1RM*

A2- Deficit Push Ups

EMOM 10:

B1-DB or KB Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats

B2- Barbell Bicep Curls


8 minutes to establish a 3 rep Hang Power Clean (When the biceps are fried, your legs will take over the show. We want this.)

*Leave 2 reps in the tank on squat sets 1-4. AMRAP on 5th set.

Longevity- 5% of BW db/hand

Perform- 10% of BW db/hand

Compete- 15% of BW db/hand, HSPU every other round

The following 6 weeks of programming will incorporate one HERO WOD per week. You can expect to see MURPH at some point. This will be a time where we will increase our loads and decrease our volume in our strength cycle, as well as having some fun with hero workouts sprinkled throughout the program.

Some constants are that we will continue to offer our Virtuosity Clinics to members and drop-ins. We will kick off our first clinic with how to navigate our Fitness Assessment Boards. As always, leave suggestions if you want to know how to get efficient with your toes to bar, learn how to use the peg board, or get fancy with your oly lifts.

You want to learn, we want to coach!

Yours in health,

Ye ‘Ol Coach