Origin of the Juggernaut Method

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I have a NEW e-book out now, The Juggernaut Method. This method grew out of some simple training cycles I had my athletes doing. They were doing something to the effect of:

  • Week 1 – 5×5 at 70-75%
  • Week 2 - 3×5 at 80%
  • Week 3 – Work to a 5RM

Now, I normally intend for a 5RM to be done around 85% and my athletes would complete their set of five with 85% and then often another with 5-15 pounds more. They would then either perform another wave of fives with a new exercise or move onto a similar program of threes in the same lift. This program worked very well.

During a break from my track competitions, I decided to give this plan a try myself. In the squat the first week, I did 455 for 5 x 5, the next week I built up to 495 for 3 x 5 and in the third week, I did 545 for 5 reps. Immediately upon racking the last rep, I had a realization: I should have kept going.

Five reps wasn’t hard, I could have done eight, and should have. That began the process of me critically thinking about this simple program, fine tuning it and making it grow into what you see here.

The Juggernaut Method has grown out of three main influences: Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1, the training of the great Doug Young and Block Periodization. From 5/3/1 it takes the idea of a progressive overload system of percentages, making small incremental gains, setting rep maxes and simplicity.

Doug Young, a tremendous physical specimen and top bench presser from the 1970’s, utilized rep records to influence his training weights on a weekly basis. Young’s training would focus on a final limit set each session. For example, he would perform 4 x 6 for a few weeks, but instead of performing only six reps on the last set, he would perform as many as possible and for every rep beyond six completed, he would adjust the next week’s weights accordingly. The Juggernaut Method borrows this idea of adjusting the athlete’s training weights based on their performance, instead of just a standardized number.

When I say that the Juggernaut Method has been influenced by Block Periodization, it is more in spirit than in practice. Block Periodization is broken into three phases:

  1. Accumulation – a high volume general phase.
  2. Intensification – intensity now increases along with specificity, while volume decreases.
  3. Realization – in which intensity reaches a peak during the competitive season.

I have borrowed this language in the form of an Accumulation, Intensification and Realization week within each training wave. I will discuss the idea behind each week a bit later.

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