Jack's CAS Journey

An Odyssey of the Diploma Programme

Strength Training

Workout Structure

Weekly Progressions

My weekly progressions within my routine had a very specific structure that led to another one-rep max week approximately every 4 months. Firstly, after my initial max week I would complete:

  • 3 weeks
    • 3 sets of 12 reps (each exercise)
  • 3 weeks
    • 4 sets of 8 reps (each exercise)
  • 3 weeks
    • 4 sets of 10,8,6,5 reps (each exercise)
  • 3 weeks
    • 5 sets of 5 reps (each exercise)
  • 3 weeks
    • 5 sets of 8,6,5,3,2 reps (each exercise)
  • 1 week
    • Easy lifting
  • 1 week
    • Testing one-rep maxes

It should be noted that for each exercise, as I decreased the number of repetitions that I completed I would increase the weight accordingly.


Bench Press

When initially tested in early August, my bench press single-repetition maximum (one-rep max) lift was 215 pounds (97.5 kilograms). It is important to note that Sri Lanka went back into lockdown one week before I would attempt to reach new maximum lifts. Despite this, over the course of my first progression, I was able to increase my max to 225 lbs for 2 reps.


(Above: a set of 3 incline bench presses with 80lbs in each arm)


When beginning my first progression, my deadlift was by far my weakest lift. While my squat was 300, my deadlift was only 275 (and the two figures should be approximately equal). Despite my initial weakness, I was able to improve significantly, increasing my max to 315 lbs for two reps in the weeks before I officially attempted a new max.


Finally, as I previously mentioned, my initial squat one-rep max was 300 pounds. Over the course of my first progression, I was able to increase that to 315 lbs for two reps.


General Reflection

Throughout this first progression, I have learned a significant amount about the proper way to approach strength training as well as the benefits of working with consistency and perseverance. While I have certainly gotten physically stronger, my mental fortitude has certainly experienced an even larger change. Ultimately, I look forward to finally reaching new maxes and beginning my second progression.

Reflection regarding Learning Outcomes
  • Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
    • To effectively progress throughout my four-month plan, I had to identify areas where I was strong and areas that I had to improve. This was critical not only for ensuring that I got the most out of my workouts, but also that I did not injure myself while lifting.
  • Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
    • Before I began a few months ago, I had never actually gone to a real gym. With this in mind, beginning a program and building strength through consistency over the course of months was certainly a new challenge, and over the course of this experience, I have developed a number of new skills, especially regarding gym etiquette and how to spot my partner.
  • Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
    • While to be fair, my gym partner has done the majority of the planning, I have certainly played an active role in laying out the structure of the first 4-month progression. Furthermore, I initiated the experience.
  • Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
    • I feel that it is abundantly clear that maintaining a rigorous 5-day per week workout plan has created a necessity for commitment and perseverance. Getting myself to the gym each day, including days when I am particularly exhausted, has allowed me to build mental willpower and work ethic.
  • Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
    • While going to the gym on your own may seem an ordeal, having a partner makes the experience significantly more enjoyable. In fact, one of the reasons that I started working out was that my partner offered to show me the ropes. As a former Division-I football player, it was safe to say that I was in good hands in the weight room. Having his guidance has continuously demonstrated to me the benefits and allowed me to exhibit the skills of working collaboratively.

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