New Strength Cycle At Invictus Boston

This month, we will start a new intermediate/advanced strength program for those interested in further developing their strength. Here are three key things you need to know about the program:

1. The added strength cycle is 8 weeks long and designed to be done 3-days a week. This cycle is primarily designed for individuals who have been doing strength training/ our powerlifting cycle for at least 6 months.

2. The overall goal of the cycle is to improve muscular endurance and muscular strength in a short period of time. 

3. This program is not meant to be done on back to back days and requires at least 24 hours of recovery between days.

A New Option

This month will include an additional option for resistance training.

  • This option is intended to be done by individuals who have been resistance training/ doing our powerlifting program or similar for at least 6 months or longer.
  • It is more appropriate for intermediate to advanced level individuals, whereas our current powerlifting class is designed for beginners.

Cycle Goals

The overall goal of this added cycle is to improve muscular strength and muscular endurance in a shorter amount of time.

  • The program is built around four exercises that work the major muscle groups of the body with a targeted stimulus. This stimulus is equivalent to 80% of a one-rep max or between a 13-15 rate of perceived exertion (RPE).
  • You should perceive the weight/exercise as something that requires a moderate effort that increases the heart rate just enough to increase your breathing but yet you’re not out of breathe.
  • If you are wearing any kind of smartwatch, the optimal stimulus is between 130 beats per minute (BPM) to 160 BPM give or take 10 BPM.
  • Your heart rate reading will lag a little behind after you finish your set so if you used the appropriate weight you should feel it immediately and see it show up on your device within 90 seconds.
  • If you know your 1RM then you should plan to perform each exercise based on 80% of your 1RM.

Cycle Details

This cycle will run alongside our current cycle and is 3-days a week.

  • Beginners are encouraged to follow our original powerlifting program while intermediate to advance individuals are encouraged to do the new cycle.
  • The format of this cycle is known as rest-pause and it goes as follows: Perform 6 reps at 80% of your 1RM
  • Rest 20 seconds, try to hit 6 reps again
  • Rest 20 seconds, try to hit 6 reps again.
  • That is considered 1 set
  • Rest 2 minutes and 30 seconds and repeat that sequence for a total of 2 sets.
  • This is repeated for all four of the main exercises:
  • Back squat, bench press, shoulder press, and barbell bent over row on day 1
  • Day 2 will start with the deadlift
  • Day 3 will start with the front squat and then follow the same pattern with the bench press, shoulder press, and barbell bent over row
  • Performing 2 sets of each exercise following the same rest-pause sequence.

Percentage Details

The average rep count for the second and third rest-pause sequence is around 2-3 reps after the initial 6 reps at 80%.

  • If you are able to do more than 6 reps after both rest-pause sequences then you are not using the appropriate weight for the intended stimulus.
  • This would also mean that your RPE is below a 13 and your heart rate is not elevated to generate the intended stimulus.
  • This will vary from person to person so use 80% as a starting point and the rep count, RPE, and heart rate as a guide to finding the appropriate stimulus for the intended results.
  • If you find that you are using more weight than 80% to hit the intended stimulus and rep count, then great! However, know that you have probably gotten a lot stronger since you last tested your 1RM and that is not your true 80%.
  • It is best to use the RPE to find a weight that hits the intended stimulus.
  • If you hit one set and notice that you are not getting the intended stimulus and are hitting more reps, go up in weight in the second set to see if you hit the intended stimulus in the second set.
  • Do not jump more than 20-30 lbs on lower body movements if you need to go up in weight.
  • Do not jump more than 10-15 lbs in weight for upper body movements.

Cycle Timing

It is encouraged that you do not do any of these days back to back and allow for at least 24 hours of recovery in between days.

  • Performing this routine on back to back days will limit your ability to improve muscular strength and muscular endurance by not allowing for proper recovery.
  • It won’t necessarily hurt you but it will not work as optimally as intended.
  • That is also the same reason for having similar movements on each day, to maximize the intended stimulus in a shorter amount of time which is achieved by utilizing barbell movements that work the major muscle groups.
  • Using dumbbells allow for more variance and are appropriate in some instances, but will not generate the optimal stimulus intended for this cycle Your coach will be able to help you determine what is best for those situations.

Session Timing

Performing all 4 lifts in the entire session takes approximately 45 minutes with a warm-up included.

  • You will have the option of performing accessory work after the 45 minutes if you so choose which will add an additional 15-20 minutes for 2-3 sets of accessory work.
  • This will go in SugarWod under the newly named Strength Training track. So, you should see 6-days of powerlifting each week for the month of November. Three days for the original “powerlifting” and three days for the new strength cycle labeled Intermediate/Advanced strength.


Please do not hesitate to reach out to our programming team (programming@invictusboston.com) directly with any questions if you would like to know more about this cycle.

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