The Super Accumulation Training program is promoted as “A radical approach to achieving unparalleled gains in size and strength.” But there’s a catch – this workout is hardcore. Your body will scream. Your mind will rebel. You will want to make changes, thus compromising its effectiveness – but don’t. You must follow the program “as is” to achieve maximum benefits.
The individual who should be credited with developing this workout is Canadian weightlifting coach Pierre Roy. Pierre is one of the most successful coaches in North America, having produced an Olympic silver medalist, many world team members, and more than 50 athletes who have competed in Canadian National Championships. And he is still producing both male and female weightlifting champions; in fact, Kristel Ngarlem, the 8th place finisher in the 2017 Senior World Weightlifting Championships, was one of Pierre’s students. What’s more, elite athletes from many other sports had sought out his help – check out Youtube for a video of Pierre training MMA champ Georges St-Pierre.
Pierre once joked that unless athletes start complaining of tendonitis (an overuse injury), they’re not training hard enough. He believes that to reach the highest levels of physical development you should train until you are, literally, depressed – only then do you back off. And when you come back after that rest period, you’ll shatter your personal records. From a scientific perspective, this program has its roots in the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).
GAS is a theory about how the body responds to stress; it was introduced in 1946 by endocrinologist Hans Selye. Selye proposed that when subjected to stress, the body goes through several phases to adapt to that stress. The result is that the harder you stress the body, provided you rest long enough, the higher the peak of adaptation – and the highest peak of adaptation is called supercompensation. The downside of supercompensation is that at first you will feel like a zombie in a horror movie, but at the end of the cycle you feel like the Incredible Hulk.
The goal of this workout is simple: brutally train yourself into the ground for two weeks, take five days off, and come back to rebound and break your size and strength plateaus. But here’s the catch: During the two weeks of loading/forced overtraining, your goal is to lose strength – then keep right on training. To quote an Ayurvedic medicine paradigm, “You have to be weak to be strong.”
When elite athletes get weaker with this type of program, they tend to stop – that’s a mistake. You have to continue working until you get much weaker, actually shooting for a drop of 20 percent in strength. If the weight you use for a certain exercise is 100 pounds for sets of 8, then at the end of the two weeks you should have a hard time completing sets of 8 with 80 pounds. If you lose more than 20 percent, that’s even better. As a general rule, genetically skinny people lose more; mesomorphs lose less.
The point is, you have to be very clear when you embark on this program that you won’t quit for two weeks. You’ll get to a state where every joint hurts, and you’ll see your weights tank. You may start your squats with 300 pounds on Monday, and by the next Friday only be able to use 240. Not only that, you’re also going to lose muscle. It’s not uncommon to lose 12 to 15 pounds of bodyweight during the first two weeks. But during and after your off period, if you eat correctly, you’ll gain that back and perhaps another five pounds in one shot. For example, a 200-pound man may go down to 185 or 187 by the end of the two weeks. Then he will slingshot past his previous best and hit 205. That is, of course, if he follows the program and if he has the testicular fortitude to accept the initial losses.
Let’s review: By the end of the first two weeks of this program, if you’re doing it right, you will . . .
1. Lose strength
2. Lose muscle
3. Be chronically overtrained
4. Experience aching tendons and joints
5. Be brutally sore
6. Experience depression
But let’s keep our eyes on the prize here. This isn’t just self-torture. If you can get through the two weeks of loading and then properly execute the five-day recovery period, then you will, without a shadow of a doubt, blast though your previous strength and hypertrophy goals. Your mouth will literally drop as the recovery process begins. You’ll feel like your muscles are about to burst through your skin, and your friends will accuse you of being chemically enhanced. Now let’s get to the details.
The workout requires you to train nine times a week for two weeks. You train twice a day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and once a day on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning. Sunday you rest. If you can’t make it to the gym this frequently, this program is not for you. Here is the workout:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
A1. Back Squat, 5 x 4-6, 40X0, rest 100 seconds
A2. Leg Curl, 5 x 4-6, 40X0, rest 100 seconds
B1. Lean-Away Chin-Ups, 5 x 4-6, 4010, rest 100 seconds
B2. Dips, 4010, 5 x 4-6, rest 100 seconds
A. Snatch Deadlift on Podium, 10 x 6, 5010, 180 seconds
B1. Seated Dumbbell Press, Semi-Supinated Grip, 5 x 6-8, 4010, rest 100 seconds
B2. One-Arm Dumbbell Row, 5 x 6-8, 2011, rest 100 seconds
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Mornings
A1. Front Squat, 5 x 4-6, 40X0, rest 100 seconds
A2. Kneeling Leg Curl, 5 x 4-6, 40X0, rest 100 seconds
B1. Close-Grip Pronated Pull-Up, 5 x 6-8, 3011, rest 100 seconds
B2. Incline Dumbbell Press 5 x 6-8, 3110, rest 100 seconds
Here are some crucial details when performing this workout:
-- Not counting warm-ups, take each set to concentric failure. In other words, don’t do a set of 8 with a weight you can rep to 15. Perform sets of 8 with a weight you can only lift 8 times.
-- If you have to decrease the weight every set to get the required number of reps, do so by no more than 5 percent.
-- Be aware that your appetite will increase at first during the end of the two weeks of loading, and then it will begin to decrease. That’s the first sign of overtraining by volume. The second sign is that you find you can’t get enough sleep. Sneak in a nap anytime you can; the more sleep you can get, the better.
-- Don’t change the recipe. If anything, add more exercises.
-- If you choose your own exercises, remember that all the movements you use have to be “most bang for your buck” exercises. That means every exercise should involve at least two joints. If you want to use different exercises, you could do back squats in the morning, heels-elevated squats at night, front squats the next day, and cyclist squats next day after that. It doesn’t matter. But, week one and week two should look the same to make certain you got 20 percent weaker on those same exercises.
-- Don’t worry about direct arm work. You’ll gain plenty of arm size without direct biceps and triceps work during this program if you choose to use dips, chins, and presses.
-- You have to make a contract with yourself to do the work. Reward yourself with a big dinner on the last Saturday night. If you don’t have a coach to push you, train in a team of three partners.
It’s important to recover completely from this workout. Here are some guidelines to use during your five-day recovery period.
-- Off means off. No “recovery work.” Besides, if you squat five times in three days, do you think you’re going to want to run around a parking lot dragging a sled?
-- If you don’t adopt a philosophy of “eat and eat and eat,” this program is not going to work. Calories are the focus.
-- Once you start overeating, your joints and tendons will begin to feel better. In this five-day phase, your whole demeanor and physique will change.
-- Accelerate your recovery with massage.
After your off period, go to the gym and do your Monday morning workout from the loading phase. Take a day off. Then do Tuesday’s workout. Your goal here is to evaluate your progress. Prepare yourself to see some major gains. After that, you can start the cycle all over again if you choose.
If you want to blast through your training plateaus, sometimes you have to pull out the big guns. The Super Accumulation Training program is a big gun!