Mesocycle 3 is all about strength and is divided into the following three muscle groupings with four workouts per muscle grouping:
#1 Chest and Back
#2 Shoulders, Biceps and Triceps
You will lift weights that are 80 - 90% of your 1RM during these four weeks. Your rep range will be around six to eight reps for most exercises and because of the increased intensity you will need a longer rest break between sets of the same muscle group than you did in the previous mesocycles. To reduce the amount of downtime, the upper body muscle groups are arranged in this series so that you're alternating between push and pull muscle groups. This method will allow your different muscle groups to always have at least two to three minutes of rest, which research shows is the minimum necessary time to replenish the body’s various energy cycles needed for a high intensity workout.
This strength cycle will feature a method of training called the 5% Method. To take full advantage of this technique you will want to select the heaviest weight you can lift for about nine reps.
The first week you are going to do four sets of eight reps for every exercise, resting two to three minutes between each set of the same muscle group. Do the same for weeks two and three, but increase your weight by 5% for each workout and decrease your reps by one. On your fourth and final workout for this mesocycle, you will do eight reps again, just as in week one, but you'll use the weight you're probably wondering how you're going to be able to lift weights for the lower body in this rep range and intensity level. You need at least a squat rack to safely train the lower body at this intensity level, and that is why we have included two different leg workout program options for each week of this mesocycle.
The Plyo-Workout is for those who don't own a squat rack and will focus on explosive strength utilizing plyometric moves mixed with traditional leg strength training exercises. It will not follow the 5% method for strength.
If you wish to follow a true strength program and want to follow the same 5% Method used in the upper body workouts in this cycle, then purchase the optional Squat Rack workout option. There are two ways to do the workouts when selecting this option. The first and best way is to use a squat rack with safety catches and a spotter. Two members of the cast are shown doing this in all four squat rack workouts. The other way to do these routines is to wear a weighted vest (usually available at most stores from 10 - 40 pounds) and use a short and lighter barbell like we normally use in the other segments of STS. This still may not be enough weight for some people to exactly follow the 5% method, but nevertheless it will give you an outstanding and challenging workout. The purpose of the weighted vest is to lessen the amount of weight you need on your barbell. This is beneficial because in an exercise like a squat (without a rack) you are limited by the weight you can safely lift overhead, not by the amount you can squat.
You will notice that every workout concludes with our signature STS extended bonus stretch. This relaxing and thorough stretch is designed to restore and increase flexibility, relieve stress and improve overall circulation to the muscles and joints. It will also aid in muscle recovery. You’ll engage in a combination of yoga-, pilates-, and athletic-based stretches while targeting all major muscle groups to ensure a well balanced stretch session. Enjoy this workout after every STS workout or simply on its own.
Why STS is Different from Any Other Workout DVD
What really makes STS better and different from any other home exercise program are four things:
First, STS uses what is known as a one rep max (1RM) test to make sure that everyone using the STS program uses a weight that is just right for their fitness levels. A 1RM test is simply a test where you find the maximum weight you can lift for every exercise. More details about your 1RM are provided in this booklet on page 8, but for now you should know that for every exercise in STS you will be told exactly what percentage of your 1RM you should use to make sure that you always use the correct weight for every exercise. This will help you to not only train safely, but also to maximize your results. Though you don't have to take a 1RM test to do the STS program, your results will never be as good as the results of someone who does.
Second, STS is the most comprehensive workout DVD series on the market today giving you a different STS workout for each scheduled weight training day. This is important because, as mentioned earlier, by constantly changing the workouts, the benefits of the muscle confusion principle are maximized. This also helps to reduce mental fatigue and increases your probability of success with the program.
Third, STS is a complete three-month workout program based on periodization in which the intensity of the exercise gradually increases over the length of the program. No other program on the market today is as comprehensively designed as STS. All the work and planning is done for you so that all you need to do is follow along.
Finally, the last thing that makes the STS program different from any other exercise program is the measured rest between the sets. That's right! the measured rest. Without getting too technical, when you lift weights you need a certain amount of recovery time between exercises using the same muscle groups so that the energy sources that power your muscles have time to replenish and recover. The amount of rest time needed depends on the intensity of your workout. As mentioned earlier, STS is composed of three four-week mesocycles that progressively get more intense. Since Mesocycle 1 (60 - 70% of your 1RM) is the least intense of the three mesocycles you will only need a minimum rest period of about 30 seconds between exercises. In Mesocycle 2 (70 - 80% of your 1RM) you will increase your weights and thus will need a longer rest period of at least 60 seconds between sets. Finally, Mesocycle 3 (80 - 90% of your 1RM) is the most intensive phase of the STS program and you will need a bare minimum of 2½ minutes of rest between sets using the same muscle groups.
The STS program accurately measures the rest periods between each and every exercise and set so that all you have to do is watch the DVD and follow along. STS is just like having your own personal trainer who tells you how much weight you should lift and how long to rest between every set.