Hey everyone, I just completed Calgary Barbell 8 Week. I know this is a popular program that people have spoken positively here, but perhaps this review will help relatively new people raise and ask what kind of results they might get out of.
About me: I am in my early thirties and have been an athlete for most of my life (soccer and basketball mostly) but lift has never been a priority. I was shy when I grew up and were not blessed with the great genetics, so I saw elevation as an unnecessary struggle. I used to join the gym every few years, hang out for a few months without any real purpose or plan, and then stop going. As a result, most of the sports potential was lost to teenagers and the twenties. When I was thirty, I realized that I was not very happy by myself or my skinny body and decided it was time to do something about it. So I joined Planet Fitness and really committed to going 4-5 times a week. Again, there is no real plan apart from dividing my standard brothers, but at least I stick to it. After about 6 months, my wife introduced me to Crossfit and completely changed my life and goals. I learned better with iron and discipline and really started applying myself. Last summer, she started implementing 5/3/1 and Nuckols as well as Crossfit WODs and became more interested in weightlifting. I worked Crossfit for about 18 months before Coronavirus, and then I did Olympic weightlifting / lifting things while grouping together a home gym after the close. Once I finally got a shelf and a platform I started this program.
About the program: I will give a short description because I'm sure most of you are familiar with it. It is a 4 x program / week divided into two parts. In the first segment, you'll sit on the bench 4 x and squeeze and kill 3 times. Each day focuses on one of the elevators and the variables for others, except for the last day, which is all the variables. This part of the program is highly dependent on your 1RM percentages and has about 14-20 working groups per exercise. The second half increases its intensity, reduces its size and is almost completely based around RPE. You are still 4x bench, sit 3x squat and deadlift 2x. There are very few programmed accessories, especially in the second half, so I combined my own accessories (mostly bell twists, rows and curls – nothing crazy). I didn't do the Tee Week because I'm not a competitor.
Statistics: 5 '10 "starting weight: 169.5, final weight: 173
Lifts: Squat-start 245, end 255
Seat: starts 145, ends 165
Deadlift: Start 355, End 385
Ideas: In general, I am very happy with how the program is running. It balances volume and density well, especially in the second half when warm-up sets become crucial to know RPE. It took me about an hour to complete each exercise and felt the winds but was not crushed after each training. This was the first time I had programmed RPE and quickly learned to be aggressive but realistic every day. I lift up at 6 in the morning most days and started playing football again in the past few weeks of the program so I had to make sure I make good decisions every day. There were certainly some modest experiences, but overall I think it passed as I would have liked. I switched from a maintenance diet (about 2,600-2700 calories) at the start of the quarantine to a slight surplus (about 3,000) during the program. Macros tend to average around 300c / 175p / 100f.
As far as the elevators go, I definitely took advantage of the seat 4 times a week. Typical improvement, I included competition pauses for the first time and really worked to maintain intensity and drive all the time. So even though this number is still low, I am confident that keeping the size and shape of the hammer will continue to help. I am very happy with the progress of the lethal lift. My target at the end of the year is 405 which is obviously very close. Switching to sumo before closing has proven to be a great move. Squatting is my biggest problem now. I mentioned earlier this week that I had a difficult shape because I was trying to sit on a high squat but my body was moving in a low strip pattern. I move to the appropriate low bar this week as soon as I notice the problem and move better, so hopefully with time and patience I can correct these problems. The growing gap between my squatting numbers and lethal killing is a concern, so I just need to keep it down.
Conclusion / What's next: In general, I would definitely recommend this program to newer lifters who want to dive into the appropriate weightlifting program. Total meager has gone up by 60 pounds, and I learned a lot about shape, RPE and recovery. After that I will do mixed programming for 5 days / week (5/3/1 BBB for seat, squat, front squat and Nuckols 1x Int for seat and killer lift). I will also continue to increase volume (approximately 25 lbs since this time last year) and try to add another 10 pounds or the like over the next few months. I plan to return to this program in the future as well as week 16 sometime. I told myself at the start of this that for every pound I add to the total amount, I'm going to spend $ 1 at their online store, so I'm looking forward to spending $ 60 once it's turned on. I had a great time and learned a lot, and I hope this review helps at least a few of you. Thanks for reading!