30 Jul Modifying 10/20/Life For Your Specific Needs
By: Danny Vega
One thing we talk about often is that 10/20/Life is customizable. You have Brandon Crabill mixing powerlifting with endurance training, Scott Paltos doing bodybuilding style training while he heals up, and even my own wife has been following a more powerbuilding type program to prep for her knee surgery. That’s because when you buy the book, you’re not buying a cookie cutter program. It’s a training philosophy that’s been developed over several years through trial and error, and it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel. The keys when modifying 10/20/Life are to start with your goals in mind and work backwards, and then have either a coach or a knowledgeable friend look over what you come up with to make sure your programming matches your goals.
This off-season I have been experimenting with a higher volume than I am used to working with, even by off-season standards. I wrote my programming and then passed it on to several of my teammates, who gave me great pointers on how I could improve it. By the time I was done, I had gone through 5 different versions. Let me explain how I customized 10/20/Life to fit this off season’s goals. First of all, I started with my goals in mind.
- Strengthen bench and bench form
- Alternate between sumo and conventional
- Increase squat work capacity
- Put on some muscle
- Get better at everything at the same time.
Just kidding on the last one—but these were my main goals. I also wanted to get more aggressive with my eating, to really max myself out at the 220 weight class. This is what drove my thought process. I figured the best way to reach these goals program-wise would be to increase my training volume and calories.
Here is my current training split:
Day One – Combo lower. Squats, deads, pause squats, glute/ham
Day Two – Bench. Touch and go, paused bench, closegrip, and a ton of lats and upper back
Day Three – Lower accessory. Front squats, sumo pulls, lower body bodybuilding and sled work
Day Four – Upper accessory/bench form reinforcement. Light bench, Incline, fluff and buff stuff
Quick thoughts on this: I only pulled sumo 2 out of every 3 weeks for the first half of this off-season. So in 6 weeks, I got 4 good sessions and have now decided that sumos will be cut and the second lower body day will be used more for recovery than anything else. On top of that, I played with some higher rep schemes.
Here are some examples of what I did for my main lifts:
Week 1: 5×8 except for pulls. Pulls were 4×3 followed by a top set of 8.
Week 2: 4×6, pulls were 3×2 followed by a top set of 6
Week 3: Deload. Rows instead of sumo pulls on lower accessory
Week 4: 3×5, pulls were 2×1 followed by a top set of 5
Week 5: 5×6, pulls were 4×3 followed by a top set of 6
Week 6: Same as week 3
I’m finishing up my second deload of the off-season and I’m on my way to accomplishing all of my goals. Moving forward, I will be transitioning to more of a typical off-season volume. The bottom line is that I have taken the principles of 10/20/Life and modified my programming to fit my goals. This can be easily done in a variety of different situations—bodybuilding, rehab, hybrid training, etc. Again, this is because 10/20/Life is not a program. If you make changes to a different program, you run the risk of changing the program entirely from what it was intended to do. The key is to make sure that your programming matches your goals.
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