JUGGERNAUT METHOD | Juggernaut Method Spreadsheet – Are you looking for gains in strength and hypertrophy, but at the same time practice other sports? Welcome to the right place. The Juggernaut Method is a program designed for mainly intermediate athletes whose objective is not only maximum strength (such as powerlifting), but also other sports in which explosiveness (power) and size play an important role.
In this article we will make a complete analysis of this method, reviewing both its advantages and disadvantages.
At the end of the article you will find a downloadable Excel that will perform all the calculations for you in case you decide to use this routine.
JUGGERNAUT METHOD: A LITTLE HISTORY
If we want to know the origin and context of this method, we must first meet its creator: Chad Wesley Smith. This holds the current American shot put record. And, as we already know, in the shot put, it is essential to have a lot of strength. In the case of Chad no one doubts his enormous strength, because he achieved the US record. in squat with a lift of 410kg in 2011.
Chad was also passionate about team sports before entering the world of powerlifting. Due to this reason, it occurred to him to create a method so that his athletes not only obtained considerable gains in strength and muscle mass, but also obtained a brutal transfer to these sports.
As we can see, this routine is far from resembling a typical 5 × 5.
First of all, this method includes 4 days a week of training, each day dedicated to a different movement. For example, we could squat on Monday, press bench on Tuesday, deadweight on Thursday and military press on Friday. We can organize the days as we like more and be more efficient, but the 4 basic exercises should be those.
The Juggernaut Method presents a progression of 16 weeks divided into 4 phases or waves: the wave of 10 repetitions, the wave of 8 repetitions, the one of 5 repetitions and the one of 3 repetitions. In each phase we will work in the range of repetitions indicated in the same name.
Each wave lasts 4 weeks, each associated with a microcycle:
1. Accumulation would be the first week, in which the volume will be high.
2. Intensification, the second, where the volume goes down and the intensity increases.
3. Realization, the third, in which the volume will be very low and the maximum intensity.
4. Download, the last week, in which we will dissipate the accumulated fatigue to give everything in the next wave.
If you want to learn more about the contemporary periodization model or ATR, you can consult this article by our colleague Óscar.
The idea is that we accumulate work in the first week and go making a peaking (decrease in volume and increase in progressive intensity) to reach the third, where we can make records in each basic. After the week of completion we will rest one more and we will get fully recovered in the second phase or wave.
As in the progression from week to week, from phase to phase we also move from a high volume (10 repetitions) to a low volume and high intensity (3 repetitions). Therefore, we can say that the first 8 weeks are more focused on hypertrophy while the last 8 are forcibly.
As in other famous routines like 5/3/1, the percentage of the 1RM to be used in each session is based on 90% of our maximum repetition. So, if in a session we have to do 70% x2 we take our 1RM (if possible the newspaper, not the historical one), we use 90% of that figure and we do 70%.
One of the unique characteristics of the Juggernaut 2.0 Method is the scheme of progression. This method bases the rhythm of progress on how many repetitions we manage to make in the final series of the realization week where a “+” symbol appears.
If the number of repetitions to perform is 10 and we get 14 we must calculate the difference (4 reps) and multiply it by a load that depends on the exercise and athlete, but that is usually the following:
• Press Banking: 1.25kg.
• Dead weight: 2.5kg.
• Squat: 2.5kg.
• Military Press: 1.25kg.
Then, using the previous example and in the case of the bench press:
14reps – 10reps = 4reps x 1.25kg = 5kg.
Therefore, we would add to our maximum repetition 5kg for the next phase. In this way, our 1RM will be adjusted at the end of each month.
The Juggernaut Method does not include a peaking prior to a powerlifting competition since it is run like other types of athletes. However, Chad Wesley provides us with an additional plan for powerlifters in his book:
As we can see, the specificity is much higher than in the main method, since we play more frequently repetition ranges very low, which will provide adaptation to high loads in order to compete.
We could place this additional method both at the end of the Juggernaut Plan and between any of its phases.
First, we work at high repetitions to finish at low repetitions throughout several phases. This type of periodization is very effective for intermediate athletes or even a bit advanced, which can improve several characteristics such as hypertrophy and strength at the same time.
The effect of this method is that in the first 2-3 phases we will improve considerably in terms of hypertrophy but even so we will progress somewhat in strength, while in the last one the main objective will be to gain strength but without a doubt we will also gain muscle mass.
That said, we must also take into account that for powerlifters who are totally focused on their sport this periodization is not the most effective due to lack of specificity, but we will analyze this later.
The programming used in the Juggernaut 2.0 Method is built from the so-called block periodization. This is simply the distribution of intensity and volume in different mesocycles and microcycles:
Each of these 4-week mesocycles would be a “mini” block. Programming by blocks usually lasts many more weeks than in this method, although in any case it is still a good option to organize volume and intensity.
For intermediate-advanced athletes this system can work quite well, since it plays with the changes in intensity and volume quite intelligently. However, truly advanced athletes will need longer microcycles and will definitely not choose methods like this.
In many features, the Juggernaut method is like a more scientifically valid version than the known 5/3/1. On the other hand, it lacks some specificity, not because of the author’s failure, but because it is designed in part to make room in the training of an athlete who already practices another sport and seeks transfer to this training with loads. In addition, if we look closely, in 12 of the 16 weeks we do not touch percentages higher than 80%, and if we take into account the margin of 90% that we talked about before we would only be working above 80% in week 15.
Can we gain strength training with submaximal loads? Of course, but it is not optimal in the case of a powerlifter, which should train between 80 and 90% of its 1RM frequently. The Juggernaut method is insufficient to produce the great maximum strength gains that powerlifters seek.
The Juggernaut 2.0 Method uses a traditional method of progressive overload. As the phases or waves of repetitions pass, the intensity of each series increases little by little, introducing each time heavier and heavier weights while we increase our brands.
Anyway, this program also uses AMRAPs (‘As Many Repetitions as You Can Be’ or ‘As Many Repetitions As Possible’ in English). The AMRAPs allow us a double progression. Not only can we add weight to the bar to induce an overload, but it also allows us to lift the same weight but with more repetitions, which also supposes a stress for the organism and makes the progression in the Juggernaut Method acquire a multidimensional character.
And not only that; In addition, each one will progress at our own pace thanks to the surveys of the week of completion. This will allow us to self-regulate the intensity of our training on a monthly basis.
For other things it can be criticized, but the Juggernaut Method does a phenomenal job with fatigue control. This is because as we have seen before, it was designed for not only powerlifters but also athletes who have to do sprints, jumps, throws, etc. These athletes can not be tired when practicing their other sports. The way in which intensity and volume are organized ensures that too much fatigue does not accumulate.
When performing each basic once a week that we fail the recovery is practically impossible. In any case, since this progression is frequency 1 and also to have a low training volume, other American methods, frequency 1 such as the Cube Method (which we will analyze soon), will be much more effective when producing force gains in powerlifters.
For athletes who want to become better in other sports this program will put fatigue at bay, while if we want to specialize in powerlifting the best will be either to choose a method with more frequency weekly or opt for methods whose volume is greater than those already mentioned.
Finally, in terms of individualization, although there are features that make this program very good, there are also others that make us know little.
First of all, this method gives us a good way to self-regulate the amount of repetitions we do in each series. While other programs simply say that we listen to our body, it clarifies in a concise way how many repetitions we should leave in the bedroom in each of the weeks, indicated in the bottom of the table (2-3 during accumulation, 1-2 in intensification and none during the realization). This is nothing else than working with the RIR (Repetitions in Reserve).
In addition, although the Juggernaut method does not have daily self-regulation of intensity, with the week of completion we will determine the intensity of the next month.
Now let’s talk about the program’s failures in terms of self-regulation:
• First, we do not have any self-regulation in the volume. In some series we can put more repetitions, yes, but this impact is not at all notorious. Everyone who makes this program will perform the same volume, and this is very inappropriate to depend on dozens of factors such as diet, the secondary sport we perform, definition phases or volume, daily activity, etc. The fixed volume prescription (external load) is far from optimal in almost all cases.
• In addition, there is no regulation in the training load per session. Instead of working heavier, typical of powerlifting, we simply make a record in repetitions. It is not uncommon for people to take 15 or 16 reps in week 10+, which means that their 5 × 10 @ 60% 1RM was more a 5 × 10 @ 50% 1RM. In other words, we have little control of the range of intensity in which we work, which makes it difficult to obtain the effects we are looking for.
Clarify that Smith does everything he can to make his program adapt to individual differences. Thus, we can not say that he has completely ignored this factor, but it is still not enough.
CONCLUSIONS AND SHEET OF CALCULATION
In conclusion, the Juggernaut 2.0 Method seems to us a good program for a very specific use: strength gain and moderate hypertrophy considering that we practice another sport and we do not want to diminish the daily performance in it.
From Powerexplosive we encourage you to try it if you compete in several sports and do not want to neglect your progress in the gym.
Juggernaut Method Spreadsheet
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