Occam’s Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo

by Stephen

Since last year when I first started Occam’s Protocol I have been performing my A and B workouts with mostly machine weights. Just this month, in an attempt to mix things up a bit, I  started adding more free weights.

To be honest, I was a bit intimidated at first, especially when I referenced the Occam’s Protocol chapter and saw that picture of Tim doing the Yates Row… Just looking at it made my back hurt.

But, after a bit of review and practice in the gym I realized it is not all that intimidating. In combination with machine weights you can really tailor your Occam’s routine to keep things fresh and exciting at the gym.

Here is a breakdown of the entire protocol with accompanying video demonstrations of each workout.  I have included a review of the “Occam’s Essentials” at the end of this post.

WORKOUT A: FREE WEIGHT OPTION
Free weights can be used if you prefer them, or if you travel often and need standardized equipment that is the same around the world:

1. Yates row with EZ bar (ideal) or barbell × 7 (5/5 count)

Yates Row thumb Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo

2. Shoulder-width barbell overhead press × 7 repetitions (5/5 cadence) 

barbell overhead press 4 hour body thumb1 Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo

Barbell Overhead Press The elbows are kept in front of the shoulders and do not flare outward. The bar travels in front of the face, but the head and upper torso move forward to be under the bar once it passes the head. The split stance prevents excessive arching of the back, but a shoulder-width parallel stance can also be used

3. Optional: Abdominal exercises from “Six-Minute Abs”

4 Hour Body Six Minute Abs Myotatic Crunch thumb Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo
WORKOUT B: FREE WEIGHT OPTION
1. Slight incline bench press with shoulder-width grip × 7 (5/5 count) (If no Power Rack is available, use dumbbells, but you’ll often run into problems with adding weight in small increments.)

Incline Bench Press 4 Hour Body thumb1 Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo

2. Squat × 10 (5/5 count)

Squat 4 Hour Body Occams Protocol Workout B thumb1 Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo

Squat (Shown above with the Smith Machine) The feet, slightly wider than shoulder width, are placed a foot ahead of your hips. Initiate the movement by breaking at the hips (imagine pouring water out the front of your pelvis) and sitting backward, descending to where your thighs are parallel with the ground. Look up at approximately 45 degrees throughout the movement and do not pause at the top or the bottom.

3. Optional: Kettlebell or T-bar swings from “Building the Perfect Posterior” × 50

4 Hour Body Kettlebell Swing thumb1 Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo

4. Stationary bike × 3 minutes (to minimize subsequent leg soreness)

Stationary Bike thumb Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo

OCCAM’S ESSENTIALS: Click Each Tab To Reveal Content

Occam's Frequency

Occam’s Frequency:

  • Begin Occam’s Protocol with two days between A and B workouts.
  • After two of both the A and B workouts, increase the rest days between workouts to three days.
  • As soon as you have a workout where more than one exercise has stalled (indicated in our hypothetical calendars with the B*), but not before, increase to four days between workouts.
  • Continue adding rest as needed to resolve plateaus until you hit your target weight.

image thumb6 Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo

Occam's Feeding

Occam’s Feeding:

  • The Meal Composition is nearly identical to the Slow Carb Diet.
  • You will add a starch such as brown rice or quinoa to the non shake meals:
  • 7:00 A.M. – Wake up, immediately breakfast + 1/2 morning shake
  • 8:30 A.M. – Training, if scheduled (I sip low fat protein just before and throughout. Tim recommended (Isopure Brand)
  • 30 minutes post training (high protein snack)
  • 2:00 P.M. lunch
  • 6:00 P.M. Dinner
  • 15 minutes before bed-second half of morning shake

If you skip breakfast, use this blended mix: Morning Shake caloric and protein profile with 2% milk: 970 cal, 75 g protein

  • 24 oz (3 cups) 2% whole milk
  • 30 g whey protein isolate (chocolate tends to work best)
  • 1 banana
  • 3 heaping tablespoon almond butter with no added sugar
  • 5 ice cubes

 Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo  Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo 

Occam's Prescriptions

Occam’s Prescriptions:

  • Cissus Quadrangularis: 2,400 mg three times per day
  • Alpa-Lipoid Acid: 300mg, 30 minutes before each whole food meal
  • L-Glutamine:
    • Consume 80 grams during the first five days of Occam’s Protocol:
    • 10 grams every 2 hours on the dot until 80-gram quota is reached
    • After the Initial five day loading period:
    • 10-30 grams post workout will speed repair and help prevent soreness
  • Creatinine Monohydrate:
    • For 28 days:
    • Consume 3.5 gams upon waking
    • Consume 3.5 grams before bed
    • if you use powder, mix in 5-6 grams total as losing one to two grams in solution is hard to avoid.

 Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo  Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo  Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo  Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo Occams Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo 

How To Determine Starting Weights, Add Weights and Modify Your Routine

To Determine Starting Weights:

  • Perform sets of 5 repetitions of each exercise with one minute of rest in between.
  • Cadence should be fast but controlled on the raising and two to three seconds on the lowering.
  • Do not perform more than 5 reps per set.
  • If you can lift more, wait a minute, increase the weight ten pounds or 10% (whichever is less), and attempt again. Repeat this until you complete fewer than 5 reps.
  • After you fail to complete 5 reps, calculate 70% of your last full five rep set.
  • Take a 3 minute rest and perform a 5/5 cadence set to failure using this weight.
  • Congratulations, you just performed your first proper set to failure for this exercise, and this weight will be your starting point for Occam’s Protocol.

EXAMPLE: 150 lbs male doing the Close-Grip Supinated (palms facing you) Pull Down

  • 90 lbs x 5 reps (fast on lift and 2 seconds on release)
    • (1 minute rest)
  • 100 lbs x 5 reps (fast on the lift and 2 seconds on the release)
    • (1 minute rest)
  • 110 lbs x 5 reps (fast on the lift and 2 seconds on the release)
    • (1 minute rest)
  • 120 lbs x 5 reps (fast on the lift and 2 seconds on the release)
    • (1 minute rest)
  • 130 lbs x 4 reps (fast on the lift and 2 seconds on the release) (he failed to complete 5 reps, so 120 lbs was the last full 5 rep set)

Then the math:

  • take 70% of the weight of the last full 5 rep set
  • 120 x 0.7 =84
  • we round up or down to the nearest weight we can actually use on a machine or bar, which leads to 85 lbs

(3 minutes of rest)

  • 85 lbs x 8 reps to failure (5 seconds on the lift and 5 seconds down)

Take a 5 minute rest, then repeat this process with the Machine Shoulder Press. Once finished with this workout A, record the target weights you will use for your next A.

____________________

To Add Weight:

  • Complete your required minimum of reps (7 in Occam’s Protocol).
  • add 10 pounds or 10% of the total weight in the subsequent workout, whichever is greater.
  • In the example above, we crossed our seven-rep threshold with 85 pounds in the pull-down, so we will increase the weight to 95 pounds for the next workout, as a 10% increase would be less at 93.5 pounds.
  • To maintain this rate of progress for even two months, you will need to eat like it’s your job. Add shakes or milk if whole food is too difficult.

____________________

If you miss a day or you miss your target repetitions:

  • If you miss a day take an additional one to three days off, then return to your normal routing.
  • If you miss your target number of repetitions by more than one repetition on the first exercise of a given workout, go home, take the next day off, then repeat the workout.

Let’s say you’re scheduled for workout A on a Monday. The first exercise is close-grip pull-downs, and your target number of repetitions is a minimum of seven. If you complete six good repetitions or more, complete the entire workout. If you don’t complete six repetitions for pull-downs, do NOT proceed to the shoulder press. Instead, pick up your gym bag and go home. Rest Tuesday, ensure proper nutrient intake by eating a ton, and come in Wednesday prepared to crush both exercises and proceed as planned. If you fail before the requisite number of reps, do not—as many people do—decrease the weight and do another set (called a “drop-down” or “break-down” set). Do nothing but leave. If you haven’t recovered, you haven’t recovered. Continuing can easily stagnate you for two weeks or more. Cutting a workout short takes tremendous self-control and runs counter to gym culture. Be smart and opt for a 48-hour reboot instead of a two-week or three- week reboot. Last but not least, if you abandon a workout because you miss a set, add another recovery day between all workouts moving forward. In effect, you’re just accelerating the planned decrease in frequency. There is very little downside to doing this. Twenty-four hours of additional time cannot hurt you, but underrecovering will screw up the entire process.

 


 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin August 7, 2012 at 11:50 am

I really have an issue with Tim’s recommendation for squatting to parallel. I will probably write about it soon.
See http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/leg_training_myths_exposed

Reply

Stephen August 9, 2012 at 9:09 am

Great Article Justin!

I have suffered from patellofemoral syndrome many times when initiating the weighted squat which has been the main factor I stopped using it in my workout routine. I found this did not happen when I used the leg press machine.

After reading this article I think the answer is pretty obvious. Today I am going to try a lighter weight and bend past 90 degrees. I think the problem is loading to much weight on the bar, and stopping at 90. I had the same problem when I did biceps curls, they caused more harm than good, for much of the same reason… It wasn’t a full natural range of motion.

I am interested to see how this works.

Thanks as always Justin!

Steve

Reply

luke January 8, 2013 at 8:26 am

how do i determine the starting weight for the leg press since the workout reps are 10 and not 8?

Reply

Stephen January 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Still should be the same, let me know if I am missing something here.

To Determine Starting Weights:

Perform sets of 5 repetitions of each exercise with one minute of rest in between.
Cadence should be fast but controlled on the raising and two to three seconds on the lowering.
Do not perform more than 5 reps per set.
If you can lift more, wait a minute, increase the weight ten pounds or 10% (whichever is less), and attempt again. Repeat this until you complete fewer than 5 reps.
After you fail to complete 5 reps, calculate 70% of your last full five rep set.
Take a 3 minute rest and perform a 5/5 cadence set to failure using this weight.
Congratulations, you just performed your first proper set to failure for this exercise, and this weight will be your starting point for Occam’s Protocol.
EXAMPLE: 150 lbs male doing the Close-Grip Supinated (palms facing you) Pull Down

90 lbs x 5 reps (fast on lift and 2 seconds on release)
(1 minute rest)
100 lbs x 5 reps (fast on the lift and 2 seconds on the release)
(1 minute rest)
110 lbs x 5 reps (fast on the lift and 2 seconds on the release)
(1 minute rest)
120 lbs x 5 reps (fast on the lift and 2 seconds on the release)
(1 minute rest)
130 lbs x 4 reps (fast on the lift and 2 seconds on the release) (he failed to complete 5 reps, so 120 lbs was the last full 5 rep set)
Then the math:

take 70% of the weight of the last full 5 rep set
120 x 0.7 =84
we round up or down to the nearest weight we can actually use on a machine or bar, which leads to 85 lbs
(3 minutes of rest)

85 lbs x 8 reps to failure (5 seconds on the lift and 5 seconds down)
Take a 5 minute rest, then repeat this process with the Machine Shoulder Press. Once finished with this workout A, record the target weights you will use for your next A.

Stephen

Reply

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