Bill Starr explains a simple way to plan a week’s worth of lifting for maximum gains.
Knowing how to utilize the heavy, light and medium system in your strength program is perhaps one of the most important things you can do to ensure ongoing success.
What the system basically does is prevent overtraining. In the very beginning, it really isn’t all that important. Whenever I start someone on a strength routine, I want him to go to limit at every session on the selected exercises. I need to find his strength levels on those movements, and from that I can teach him how to incorporate the heavy, light and medium system. It’s not at all unusual for a beginner to make progress on all of his lifts for the first month or six weeks because as his form gets tighter, the numbers go up.
But once the numbers on the primary lifts flatten out, I install the heavy, light and medium system into their programs. Three times a week is enough in the beginning. It’s important to have those off days to allow the body to recuperate from this new form of stress. The same set and rep sequence is used at every session: 5 sets of 5. Monday is the heavy day, which means they go to limit on all three primary exercises. Wednesday is the light day, where they do less than what they did on Monday. And Friday they will handle a load somewhere in between what they lifted on Monday and Wednesday.