Q&A: Breaking Plateaus On The Project: Kratos Bodyweight Program

Question: Hi Drew, I am really enjoying my Project Kratos workouts. They are ass-kickers. I am about two months in after ~five years of BBS-style 2:00 TUL training, and have to say I look a lot less forward to these than even my MedX-powered sessions of the past. That’s rad.

I have a question about progression — or lack thereof: stalls. I suppose this is unrelated to bodyweight training in particular as it was an issue for me before but maybe there are some PK-specific approaches here.

Basically since maybe my third Kratos workout I’ve been flat on nearly every exercise, both time and rep-wise. I am by no means “done” with muscle-building (5’10?, 170). In the past I’ve chalked it up to not eating enough — was on a years-long diet — but this year I’ve been eating more — have put on about 7 lbs in the past few months — but no change in lifts. For instance: my chin-up, level 5: I consistently get 65 seconds, about 5.75-6 reps. On one-legged squats I am always between 1:04 and 1:09. This is now 5-6 weeks of the same. I suppose I am lifting slightly more in both of these thanks to weight gain, but…

Would you recommend any of the following at this point?

* Adding in the Zelus workout?
* More rest between sessions? I’m currently at four days rest.
* A different level? I’m mostly on level 5 because I could do a ~1m TUL from the get-go, but maybe I need to drop down to ~1:30 TULs for a few?
* I’m nervous to add even more food as my pants have all stopped fitting, and my weight gain seems to suggest I’m fueling enough. But unsure.

Thanks in advance!

Answer: 

I’m glad you’re enjoying the workouts! If you have gained weight this will increase the difficulty of the exercises, but should not slow progress to a stop. While two to three full-body high intensity training workouts per week is fine when starting out most will need to reduce either their training volume or frequency as they become stronger and capable of pushing themselves to train harder to avoid overtraining.

Project Kratos Program Handbook: Bodyweight High Intensity Training

The Zelus workout is meant to be alternated with Kratos for more movement variety, but has about the same volume of work so if you need a reduction in volume or frequency alternating between the two won’t help. I recommend first reducing the volume slightly, by alternating between two shortened versions of the Kratos workout. Drop the second pair of upper body movements, the crunch, and the neck exercises for one workout, and drop the first pair of upper body movements and the trunk extension and heel raise for the next:

Kratos Condensed Workout A

  1. Chin-Up
  2. Push-Up
  3. Squat
  4. Prone Trunk Extension
  5. Heel Raise

Kratos Condensed Workout B

  1. Squat
  2. Inverted Row
  3. Pike Push-Up
  4. Crunch
  5. TSC Neck Extension
  6. TSC Neck Flexion

For variety, you could do something similar with the Zelus workouts, alternating between performing the Kratos condensed A and B workouts one week and the Zelus condensed A and B workouts the next. If reducing workout volume does not improve your progress you may need more recovery between workouts, in which case I recommend taking a week or two off to make sure you are fully recovered then resuming your workouts at with an extra rest day in between.

I also recommend tracking your food intake, weight, and waist measurement or bodyfat percentage closely and adjusting your calorie intake until your weight is increasing but not your waist or bodyfat percentage, assuming your primary focus is increasing strength and muscular size.

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