I’ve been working my way through the Juggernaut Method 2.0 by Chad Smith after looking for a new training programme to start in the new year. I came across the programme from Donnell Boucher’s presentation slides at the 2014 NSCA Coaches Conference this month. The Juggernaut is highly influenced by block periodization through the 3 stages of:
- Accumulation (high volume)
- Intensification (reduced volume & increase in intensity)
- Realization (peak intensity)
The philosophy is based similar to Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 in that the main lifts are bench press, squat, military press and deadlift. Four waves are present: 10’s, 8’s, 5’s, and 3’s – each for 3 phases (accumulation, intensification and realization) and are presented in a snapshot of one of Donnell’s slides from his presentation.
The columns to the far right of each phase represent relative intensity for each percentage of absolute intensity. For more information on this see Donnell’s presentation on “Strategy in S&C” and the slide below, again from Donnell’s presentation.
Basics of the Juggernaut programme are that you perform the given reps in each set for the given intensity (%), but the lasts set in each phase is done for maximum reps. In the accumulation phase you should leave 2-3 reps left in the tank, and 1-2 reps during the intensification phase, but go for all out maximum in the realization phase once the minimum repetitions have been met. You should have a target number of of how many reps you want to achieve also.
Maximum lifts are re-adjusted at the end of every wave (4 weeks) based on performance in the realization phase (week 3) so it’s important to go all out. You can see that a deload in the fourth week is present in order to allow recovery from the realization phase where volume & intensity is reduced in order to facilitate recovery and prepare the system for the high volumes to come in the next wave & accumulation phase (high volume).
Smith recommends that an inverted programme during the 10’s and 8’s waves can prove effective in maintaining technique efficiency and speed of movements to stay relatively constant. For example in the 10’s wave, the accumulation phase (week 1) would go from 5 sets of 10 repetitions at 60% and become 10 sets of 5 reps still at 60%. The volume is still the same but keeping the reps low will reduce the likelihood of technique decreasing whereas form may reduce when performing higher reps. This will differ depending on the level of the individual and their experience in the main lifts also but it’s an alternative way to approach the programme.
Another alternative is to Undulate the wave cycles. Rather than progressing sequentially from 10’s > 8’s > 5’s > 3’s the cycles would undulate as follows: 10’s > 5’s > 8’s > 3’s. This would suit guys who are concerned with going longer without lifting heavy.
Assistance lifts are performed as long as they don’t interfere with the main lifts (in terms of volume and intensity), they should compliment the main lifts by strengthening weak areas, variation of main lift (e.g. front squat, DB bench variations/pushups, hexbar deadlift for example), build balance and symmetry, and increase muscle mass (8-15 reps). The assistance exercises will be more effective if they are compound movements (chinups, pullups, pushups, lunges, step ups, rows, dips, etc) than isolation movements.
Power movements (Olympic lifts, jumps, throws) can be incorporated into the programme quite easily. It is probably best to put them as the first exercise as the aim is to move quickly and should be performed when freshest after the movement preparation. As these exercises are high intensity movements that will stress the CNS, volume (repetitions especially) should be kept low.
An example 4-week, 4-day/week 10’s wave can be seen below using Mladen Jovanovic’s Strength Card Builder utilizing power movements in the first exercises, followed by the main lifts. The assistance exercises can have any set/rep scheme (as long as they don’t interfere with the main lift), but as can be seen you can go for Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 which can be effective for big compound movements that would fall into your assistance category, and the last exercise is more of your traditional assistance set/rep scheme (3 sets of 10 repetitions for example).
Olympic lifts are separated with pulls (clean/snatch) on the squat day (performed after the squat), and you can load these up performing them from mid-thigh or the hang. As the bar doesn’t have great displacement is why you can load them up. Whereas on the deadlift day the ‘fuller’ variation can be performed (clean/snatch – but involve the catch and also change where performed from – floor, hang, mid-thigh). These can utilize a Primary Strength & Olympic exercise set/rep scheme from Dan Baker’s NSCA National Conference presentation seen below over an 8-week period.
For more information visit Juggernaut