Training

Kizen Infinite Offseason Program? Here are my 2cents

February 20th 2019

As a strength training athlete, I am always looking for new programs to consider for myself, one of which was the Kizen Infinite Offseason Program, written by Silent Mike, Bart Kwan, and Omar Isuf.

The program is a free auto-regulated powerlifting program that was designed to be used during the offseason to help any lifter add strength by utilizing sub-maximal training and avoiding injury. It is a 4x a week program that uses AMRAP sets to maintain progress each week so that lifters can avoid hitting plateaus.

As stated above, the program is free and can be downloaded here. The program is listed on an excel sheet and needs an email address for you to sign up for it.

Who is the program designed for?

The program was made for an intermediate lifter, someone with at least 1-2 years of experience and has not reached a 600lbs deadlift or a 500lbs squat yet. Novice and beginner lifters are discouraged to use this program; instead, those lifters should focus on building overall strength with linear progression programs, like Greyskull LP and Starting Strength.

How is the program designed?

This program tracks your weekly progress via the AMRAP sets and makes adjustments based on your performance. So, if you are not having a good couple of weeks because of life, no worries. Your workout program does not need to suffer. Because of the autoregulation nature of the program, you will always be guaranteed a positive training experience.

What is the program?

The Kizen Infinite Offseason Program is a 5-week program that can be continuously run. It has a 4x a week program with each day focusing on one of the big four lifts - the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press.

My Experience

My current one rep maxes at the time were a 325lbs squat, 205lbs bench press, 375lbs deadlift, and 150lbs overhead press.

Week 1, Day 1 - Deadlift Day

  • Deadlifts, 3 sets of 5 reps @ 70% 1RM, 260lbs
  • Deadlifts, 1 set of AMRAP @ 70% 1RM, 260lbs (12 reps)
  • Tempo Squats, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (155lbs)
  • Barbell shrugs, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (225lbs)
  • Barbell rows, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (145lbs)

Week 1, Day 2 - Bench Day

  • Bench press, 3 sets of 5 reps @ 70% 1RM, 140lbs
  • Bench press, 1 set of AMRAP @ 70% 1RM, 140lbs (17 reps)
  • Wide Spoto press, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (2 sets of 135lbs, 1 set of 115lbs)
  • Weighted pull ups, 3 sets of 3 with 10lbs resistance
  • Skull Crushers, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (45lbs)
  • Barbell curls, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (45lbs)

Week 1, Day 3 - Squat Day

  • Squat, 3 sets of 5 reps @ 70% 1RM, 225lbs
  • Squat, 1 set of AMRAP @ 70% 1RM, 225lbs (10 reps)
  • Deficit deadlifts, 3 sets of 15 reps @ RPE 8 (185lbs)

Week 1, Day 4 - Overhead press Day

  • Tricep extensions, 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Wide spoto press, 3 sets of 10 reps @ 60% bench 1RM, 120lbs
  • Overhead press, 3 sets of 5 reps @ 70% 1RM, 105lbs
  • Overhead press, 1 set of AMRAP @ 70% 1RM, 105lbs (12 reps)
  • Weighted pull ups with 25lbs resistance (1 set of 4, 1 set of 5, 1 set of 3)
  • Skull Crushers, 3 sets of 15 reps @ RPE 8 (50lbs)
  • Barbell curls, 3 sets of 15 reps @ RPE 8 (2 sets at 50lbs, 1 set at 45lbs)

 

Week 2, Day 1 - Deadlift Day

  • Deadlifts, 4 sets of 5 reps @ 72.5% 1RM, 270lbs
  • Deadlifts, 1 set of AMRAP @ 72.5% 1RM, 270lbs (10 reps)
  • Paused Squats, 4 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (145lbs)
  • Barbell shrugs, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (230lbs)
  • Barbell rows, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (150lbs)

Week 2, Day 2 - Bench Day

  • Tricep Extensions, 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Bench press, 4 sets of 5 reps @ 72.5% 1RM, 145lbs
  • Bench press, 1 set of AMRAP @ 72.5% 1RM, 145lbs (15 reps)
  • Wide Spoto press, 4 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (135lbs)
  • Pull ups to my chest, 3 sets of 4 reps
  • Skull Crushers, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (55lbs)
  • Barbell curls, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (50lbs)

Week 2, Day 3 - Squat Day

  • Squat, 4 sets of 5 reps @ 72.5% 1RM, 235lbs
  • Squat, 1 set of AMRAP @ 72.5% 1RM, 235lbs (9 reps)
  • Barbell Shrugs, 4 sets of 15 reps @ RPE 8 (225lbs)
  • Barbell Rows, 3 sets of 15 reps at RPE 8 (135lbs)

Week 2, Day 4 - Overhead press Day

  • Tricep extensions, 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Wide spoto press, 4 sets of 10 reps @ 60% bench 1RM, 120lbs
  • Overhead press, 4 sets of 5 reps @ 72.5% 1RM, 110lbs
  • Overhead press, 1 set of AMRAP @ 72.5% 1RM, 110lbs (10 reps)
  • A circuit of pull ups, skull crushers, and barbell curls (3 sets with 2 minute rest)

 

Week 3, Day 1 - Deadlift Day

  • Deadlifts, 5 sets of 5 reps @ 75% 1RM, 280lbs
  • Deadlifts, 1 set of AMRAP @ 75% 1RM, 280lbs (10 reps)
  • High Bar Squats, 5 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (150lbs)
  • Barbell shrugs, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (245lbs)

Week 3, Day 2 - Bench Day

  • Tricep Extensions, 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Bench press, 5 sets of 5 reps @ 75% 1RM, 150lbs
  • Bench press, 1 set of AMRAP @ 75% 1RM, 150lbs (14 reps)
  • Wide Spoto press, 5 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (1 set of 135lbs, 4 sets of 115lbs)
  • Weighted Pull Ups with 45lbs (2 sets of 2 reps, 1 set of 3 reps)
  • Skull Crusher and Barbell curl circuit, 3 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest

Week 3, Day 3 - Squat Day

  • Squat, 5 sets of 5 reps @ 75% 1RM, 240lbs
  • Squat, 1 set of AMRAP @ 75% 1RM, 240lbs (8 reps)
  • Barbell Rows, 3 sets of 5 reps at RPE 8 (205lbs)

Week 3, Day 4 - Overhead press Day

  • Tricep extensions, 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Wide spoto press, 5 sets of 10 reps @ 60% bench 1RM, 120lbs
  • Overhead press, 5 sets of 5 reps @ 75% 1RM, 115lbs
  • Overhead press, 1 set of AMRAP @ 75% 1RM, 115lbs (9 reps)
  • Skull Crushers, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (65lbs)
  • Wide pull ups, 2 sets of 6 reps

 

Week 4, Day 1 - Deadlift Day

  • Deadlifts, 3 sets of 5 reps @ 77.5% 1RM, 290lbs
  • Deadlifts, 1 set of AMRAP @ 77.5% 1RM, 290lbs (9 reps)
  • Paused Squats, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (160lbs)
  • Barbell shrugs, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (255lbs)

Week 4, Day 2 - Bench Day

  • Tricep Extensions, 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Bench press, 3 sets of 5 reps @ 77.5% 1RM, 155lbs
  • Bench press, 1 set of AMRAP @ 77.5% 1RM, 155lbs (13 reps)
  • Close Grip Bench Press, 135 lbs for 7 reps, 2 sets of 115lbs for 8 reps, 60 seconds rest
  • Weighted Pull Ups with 25lbs, 3 sets of 4 reps
  • Skull Crusher and Barbell curl circuit, 3 sets of 10-12 reps with 60 seconds rest

Week 4, Day 3 - Squat Day

  • Squat, 3 sets of 5 reps @ 77.5% 1RM, 250lbs
  • Squat, 1 set of AMRAP @ 77.5% 1RM, 250lbs (9 reps)
  • Barbell Rows, 3 sets of 8 reps @ RPE 8 (185lbs)

Week 4, Day 4 - Overhead press Day

  • Tricep extensions, 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Wide spoto press, 3 sets of 10 reps @ 60% bench 1RM, 120lbs
  • Overhead press, 3 sets of 5 reps @ 77.5% 1RM, 115lbs
  • Overhead press, 1 set of AMRAP @ 77.5% 1RM, 115lbs (11 reps)
  • Skull Crushers, 3 sets of 8 reps @ RPE 8 (75lbs)
  • Wide pull ups, 3 sets of 5 reps

 

Week 5, Day 1 - Deadlift Day

  • Deadlifts, 4 sets of 5 reps @ 80% 1RM, 300lbs
  • Deadlifts, 1 set of AMRAP @ 80% 1RM, 300lbs (10 reps)
  • High Bar Paused Squats, 4 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (165lbs)
  • Barbell shrugs, 3 sets of 15 reps @ RPE 8 (225lbs)

Week 5, Day 2 - Bench Day

  • Tricep Extensions, 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Bench press, 4 sets of 5 reps @ 80% 1RM, 160lbs
  • Bench press, 1 set of AMRAP @ 80% 1RM, 160lbs (11 reps)
  • Close Grip Bench Press, 1Reverse pyramid 1 set of 10 reps (135lbs,125lbs,105lbs,95lbs)
  • Weighted Pull Ups with 25lbs, 3 sets of 4 reps
  • Skull Crusher, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (55lbs)
  • Barbell Curls, 3 sets of 10 reps @ RPE 8 (50lbs)

Week 5, Day 3 - Squat Day

  • Squat, 4 sets of 5 reps @ 80% 1RM, 260lbs
  • Squat, 1 set of AMRAP @ 80% 1RM, 260lbs (8 reps)
  • Went under the weather, so I skipped the accessories

Week 5, Day 4 - Overhead press Day

  • Tricep extensions, 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Wide spoto press, 4 sets of 10 reps @ 60% bench 1RM, 120lbs
  • Overhead press, 4 sets of 5 reps @ 80% 1RM, 120lbs
  • Overhead press, 1 set of AMRAP @ 80% 1RM, 120lbs (9 reps)
  • Still felt under the weather, so I skipped the accessories

 

And that’s it! That’s the five-week program. From here, there were a few options you can do. You can choose to go for a PR attempt since you have been building up your strength and work capacity for the last 5 weeks.

Another option you could do is to take a instantly run the program again and take no time off. Maybe you want to continue training hard and it fits your schedule perfectly.

Or another choice could be to take a deload and decide what to do after that. It has been a challenging 5 weeks especially if you pushed yourself during the AMRAP sets. So, a small break with a deload is perfect for many lifters who need it.

For me, I decided to do a deload and continue to run the program after that. Towards the end of the fifth week, I did suffer from cold-like symptoms and I wanted to make sure my body was ready to challenge itself again without any restrictions. Getting sick sucks. 100%. But it is a way my body is signaling to me that I needed to do some reflection on my life. It makes perfect sense to take a step back and analyze the macro level plan for me, which was to gain strength and hit new PRs.

The program stated that if you do decide to run the program again, you will increase the intensities slightly. Before, we went from 70% to 80% of our 1RM in 5 weeks. This time, we will go from 72.5% to 82.5% in 5 weeks. I decided that if everything goes well, I would attempt to go for PRs after the 5 weeks.

My second cycle of Kizen Infinite Offseason Program

As you can assume, the workout logs are similar to what I did in the first week, only the intensities were slightly increased. However, I was going through a major transition period at the time.

I started to travel almost two hours one way to go to work. In addition to that, there were several occasions where I had delays, which impacted the amount of time I got to workout. Despite logistical issues, I got through my training and decided 100% that I will be testing my PRs after the 5th week. My work hours seemed a bit uncertain and I definitely did not want to ruin all the work capacity I built up.

PR TIME

Deadlifts: This was a step towards my journey of hitting a 405lbs deadlift.

    • 365lbs - Easy
    • 405lbs - Failed
    • 405lbs - Failed
    • 385lbs - Passed! +10lbs PR

 

 

Bench Press: I also used this program to get closer to hitting my 225lbs bench press PR.

    • 185lbs - Easy
    • 225lbs - Failed
    • 225lbs - Failed
    • 215lbs - Passed! +10lbs PR

 

 

Squat:

    • 305lbs - Passed
    • 315lbs - Passed
    • 330lbs - Passed! +5 lbs PR
    • 340lbs - Failed

 

 

Overhead Press

    • 135lbs - Easy
    • 145lbs - Passed
    • 155lbs - Passed! +5lbs PR, it was a grind.

 

 

After Kizen Infinite Offseason Program?

I was in an interesting situation after I hit my PRs - I got sick. And with an uncertain work schedule ahead, I did not choose to follow a program after I hit my PRs. I decided to follow my guts and train without a plan for two reasons: I felt really run down and I just got sick twice in a short period of time. I need my body to adapt and recover properly before I could think about making any gains.

Hindsight is always 20:20, and it has been almost two years since I ran the Kizen Infinite Offseason Program. If I were to go back and change something, I would always be running a program. Even if it was with modifications, following a plan and getting closer to your goals is a lot better than not having a schedule to follow.

Looking back at my situation, I would want to either modify the Kizen Infinite Offseason Program to have a little less volume or pick a different program that is not as physically demanding.

Thoughts about Kizen Infinite Offseason Program

There was definitely enough volume for all my lifts and I believe that it would be suitable for all lifters. For me, I need enough deadlift and upper body volume, at least a moderate level. For many linear progression programs, this was always a concern for me. Increasing the number of sets and weight each week along with many different accessories really forced me to work hard.

Was there anything ground breaking here that I did not do before? No, I have done AMRAP and I have increased my volume over a long period of time. The Kizen Infinite Offseason Program does just that. It does lean towards powerlifting but what strength training program barbell based program does not?

It is good but nothing groundbreaking

It’s a good program to follow. There is a good progression method throughout the 5 weeks. In addition to that, you are also given multiple choices to also help your strength levels increase. But the most important thing? The results speak for themselves.

Maybe even too much volume?

By week 3, lifters are expected to hit 5 sets of 5 reps at 75% of their 1RM. It felt terrible, especially my deadlift days. And if you were to continue running this program repeatedly, you will face many situations like this. If I was doing nothing but training, it may be alright to accept. But if you have other life events, it could be very challenging.

I got sick during the end of the 1st cycle and a week after I attempted my PRs on the 2nd cycle. I came down with something twice in around 12 weeks. It is not to say that the program is bad but I did choose a challenging program to follow under stressful situations where sleep and nutrition were not ideal.

At the same time, workload volume is what drives your 1RM. The more you strengthen your muscles, the stronger you get theoretically. So, I definitely agree with the programming methodology of increasing your work capacity but there is a different sweet spot for everyone. Lifters need to determine for themselves what works for them and their preference training styles.

Any changes for Kizen Infinite Offseason Program?

It is a fantastic program and I would not change anything about it. It is a good program to build strength and was designed to be used in the offseason, where lifters are trying to train hard to work on their weaknesses. They have a different set of protocols to follow when competition is a few weeks away. Their programming will be drastically different as they prepare to hit new PRs.

So, lifters should use it as it was created for - to build strength.

Takeaways from the Kizen Infinite Offseason Program

You will get strong. Just put in the work and do not mess up your sleeping and recovery. Strength gains force you to practice delayed gratification and this program will put you to the test.

If you are under a lot of stress, you will need to prioritize what is most important in your life. This program is not walk in the park and if you think you can just go into the gym and have an easy time, you are in for a rude awakening.

Like all programs, lifters pick programs to learn from. What do you think you will learn from this program? After you finish the program, reflect back and think critically about what worked for you and what could be improved.

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