The SPE Training Program is the foundation of all fitness at The Underground Lab. To understand how we work, you first have to understand how the SPE Training Program works. So gear up for a little education!
This training Program has been years in the making. Our team at the Undergorund Lab is composed of former athletes, students, entrepreneurs, nerds, researchers, nutritionists and go-getters. We teamed up with one shared goal and mindset: to bring the most efficient and effective workout regimen to our community. And after years of research, education, trials, planning, organization and self experimentation, we found the system. We designed the most efficient program, based on the latest and most empirically supported evidence, and tested the process ourselves. SPE was born, evaluated, tried and tested, and improved to evolve into the powerhouse it is today. We are so proud and excited to bring this program to you because we know it works. And it can work for anyone!
The SPE Training Program is founded with big picture ideals. Short-sighted workouts produce short-term and inefficient results. But our program is based on goals for permanent and lasting change. The SPE Training Program is more than just daily workouts. The Program is an entire system designed to maximize progress in constant and continual stages. This program has been proven to jump-start physical changes and keep your progress moving forward.
Bare with me as I break down the SPE System for you smart cookies. The SPE follows a system of undulating periodization. This means the entire system is broken down into periods or phases with very specific goals for each. Each period builds on the last and primes our bodies for the next. When all of the periods are combined, we get the big picture system that produces real results.
This annual programming is first divided into Four Modules. At the end of each Module, we complete a Benchmark Analysis. We first take time to prepare our bodies for high physical performance, then complete the Benchmark Measurements, then take time again to repair and recover before starting the next Module. Our Benchmark Measurements serve many purposes that ultimately improve the programming for you! Not only are you able to see your own physical change and progress at the end of each Module, but we can evaluate our members as a whole to find our weaknesses and improve on them for the following Module. Throughout the Benchmark Measurements, we collect data to ensure our powerhouse programming is growing to meet the ever changing needs of our members. The SPE Training Program is not a one trick pony; we take performance data alongside other imperative vital programming elements to create and execute a maintainable, varied, and ever evolving program.
Now let’s look more closely at what one Module entails. One Module is divided into three phases – what our team of nerds call the Mesocycles. Mesocycle is a fancy-pants word that means “an organized planning of athletic and physical training.” The goal of each Mesocycle is to use a systematic approach of training to push our bodies to reach the highest possible performance and physical change within a designated time frame (remember our undulating periodization? These phases are all about it!).
Sounds like a mouthful, but it’s actually a very simple process. Each Mesocycle is broken down into four weeks of specific goal-oriented workouts. These weeks are called Microcycles and the four Microcycles rotate in intensity. Just imagine each week of the month is its own Microcycle with specific weekly goals. No week is the same as they each have different goals and functions. Together, all four weeks make our Mesocycle.
Before I get ahead of myself, let’s bust out our fitness dictionary.
Volume refers to the number of sets and reps completed in the workout.
Intensity refers to the amount of load (weight) or duration (timing).
Mircrocycle 1 the volume and intensity are low. This is to gradually warm-up the body and prime our systems for improved functioning.
Mircrocycle 2 begins an increase in volume and intensity. This initiates physiological and physical adaptation to start forming change.
Mircrocycle 3 is our high volume, high intensity, balls to the wall, week. The body is pushed forward to make physiological changes and adapt to high capacity activities building efficiency in our nervous system.
Mircrocycle 4 is focused on active recovery. The volume for this week is strategically very low. This is used to de-load (repair and prepare) the nervous system and allow your body to heal. Ironically enough, during this week we tend to make the very best gains. But don’t be fooled by the term active recovery. This does not mean rest week. Within each Module, the Mircocyle Circuit repeats three times. So in a Module (3 month time frame), the active recovery Microcycle occurs three times. And each time, our baseline weights, reps and intensities start slightly higher than they did in the last active recovery week. That is because during Microcycles 1-3, we prepare and strengthen our body. The adaptations raise our baselines and keep us progressing. So from Microcycle to Microcycle and Mesocycle to Mesocycle, we get stronger, faster, and more powerful.
These four weeks of predetermined building intensities complete the Mesocycle. The Microcycle Circuit then repeats to complete two more Mesocycles. After the completion of all three Mesocycles, the Module is complete and it is time again for Benchmarks.
So why do we vary the intensity levels? Why don’t we just go all out, all of the time? Our bodies will not perform without priming. We must gradually prepare the body for the next levels of fitness to build our muscles and protect against injury. Picture your body as a car (a Jaguar F Type if you will – Google it if you don’t know what this baby looks like). You can rev the engine if you want to see just how fast you can make that baby go, but ultimately you burn down the engine. We could jump right into high intensity workouts like most ordinary gyms do, but we know the damage that ensues. That is because working out and high intensity training is a form of stress on our body just like engine revving stresses the motor. And our body can only handle a specified amount of stress before we hurt, break, and become counter productive in our goals. So we must walk before we start running. That way, when the time comes for sprinting, our bodies can handle it!
But the intensity variations are not only about priming the body for performance. Active Recovery (Microcycle 4) is vital to our performance abilities. Unfortunately this key piece is what many other gyms or trainers forget (or ignore). We can’t be high intensity all of the time or we become anti-productive and prevent progress. Remember that Jag? Just as our darling Jag needs routine oil changes and maintenance, our body needs recovery. Recovery is necessary for distressing the nervous system and healing the damage to our body – our routine service to keep us slick and functional.
So to prepare our bodies for performance and maintain our gains and progress, we balance priming with recovery. These elements increase adaptation in our fitness and promote lasting increases in strength, power and endurance. Ultimately, the variations in intensities are necessary for our big picture results. Simple!
We know the structure of our periodization, but what does that have to do with speed, power and endurance? Each Mesocycle (remember, this is made up of 4 weeks of specific training) is created with a specific ratio of S:P:E. That means that within each Mesocycle we have specific days designated to focus on speed, power, and endurance.
Each phase incorporates all of these elements in order to keep our bodies adapting and functional. What’s the point of being strong if you don’t have the aerobic capacity to utilize that hard earned strength and power for more than a few minutes at a time? On the same token, having an efficient and conditioned cardiovascular system is useless if you don’t have the power or strength to go against any external force. So the SPE Training Program is about keeping our functionalities balanced so we can perform successfully. We don’t want to look like a Corvette and perform like a Prius. Likewise, performing like a Corvette but looking like a Prius would not be so swell either. When we combine Speed, Power and Endurance all within a working week, we get faster, stronger and more conditioned without letting any of the main fitness pillars slack.
Son of a biscuit, that’s a lot of imformation! Trust us, we know! But we want to share ALL of this with you so you understand how your training programming is designed and why we do the workouts we do! Because ultimately this program is for you.
And if you are confused or have questions, we always want you to reach out to one of our trainers. Because the more you understand our programming, the more successful you can be!
So if you are ready to take advantage of the most innovative system available, we have two training options available for you.