| | Breaking Down Thunder, A 6 Week Jacked Street Cycle

Author / John

4 - 6 minute read

The storms in Central Texas, the home of Power Athlete HQ, litter the sky with magnificent bolts of lightning. But no storm would be the same without the echoing cracks of Thunder that always follow. The current members our Jacked Street program, aka “Residents”, are fresh off a devastating 6 week cycle called Lighting, which pushed the limits when it came to weekly volume. Based on feedback from the training feeds and analytics in TrainHeroic’s coaches app, John and the team are excited to launch Thunder, a 6 week microcycle of training for the Jacked Street program.

What’s new in Jacked Street’s Thunder Cycle

Over the next 6 weeks Residents are going to be exposed to a new approach to Rep Max days, called Wring Out Sets.

For the uninitiated, Rep Maxes, or RMs, are a method to gauge an athlete’s performance using heavy loads, relative to the athlete’s skill level, for loaded movements. The most coveted of RMs is the 1RM. Why is that? Mostly ego. A 1RM is the most amount of weight an athlete can hit on a lift for 1 rep and can be an indicator for absolute strength or power. Since you only have to do 1 rep, you should be able to handle more weight on the single rep than 3 reps, for example. In our experience, a 3RM is as good of an indicator, if not better than a 1RM, at evaluating strength and power for a broader population of athletes. But 3RMs don’t quite feed the ego as much as a single… but I digress.

All RMs tell us a story. 1RMs are nice and all, but they’re too skill dependent. Mix in some 3RMs, 5RMs, 8RMs, and 10RMs, and we start to paint a picture about an athlete. Follow training that is intended to help the athlete smash those RMs, and we start to sculpt a masterpiece.

Here’s the thing about a higher rep based RM, like a 10RM Back Squat; we really start to understand how the load on a barbell will limit an athlete’s max rep attempt to 10 reps. This can really inform sub-maximal training for a coach and athlete, and will most definitely teach the athlete a lesson that the reps shouldn’t dictate the effort, the load should dictate the reps.

Wring Out Sets

Imagine wringing out a wet towel after washing and starting to dry your minivan. The towel is waterlogged. You grab the corners and spin it up nice and tight so you can give it a hard twist to get the water out… but you don’t stop there. You fold the towel, and wring it out couple more times. That’s the essence of the Wring Out sets in Thunder.

After working up to Rep Maxes on select lifts, we’ll be asking Residents to follow up with drop sets after some rest. Let’s say you hit 405lbs on your back squat for a 10RM. You’d rest 4 minutes, peel 80 pounds off the bar, and take 3 sets to work back up to 405 for another max rep attempt.


The stimulus is going to vary based on the training age of the athlete. More experienced athletes are going to see a pretty big deficit between the 10RM and the Wring Out set. That’s the point, and the training response is extremely potent. Novice lifters may see less of a deficit, which is great, they get more reps near max effort which is the stress these athletes need to become proficient. The goal is to wring out every ounce of motor unit capacity with lift we are using for training, regardless of experience level.

Both the novice and experienced lifter are going to grind through these if done correctly. That means speed of movement will slow down with each successful rep. If our company was called Sloth Athlete, we’d have nothing to be concerned about. Because increased exposure to heavier and slower movement can present a risk of an undesirable training response, we introduce GPP Med Ball work to help buy down risk.

GPP Med Ball

Thanks to a relative recent boom in fitness being exactly equated to functional movements performed at high intensity, a bunch of misinformed yet well intentioned coaches have been grossly misappropriating med balls in the training of tens of thousands of people. There are folks using med balls for “Olympic lifting”. People use med balls to play catch with themselves; they stand under a target 10 feet high (not 12 feet, not 14 feet, but 10 and only 10 because anything else wouldn’t promote fitness) and they race each other to bounce that ball off the target 150 times in a row. It’s like watching paint dry, but worse.

At Power Athlete, we use the med ball to train speed, power and quickness. We challenge proximal stability with dynamic distal mobility. With the uptick in grindy efforts in Wring Out Sets, we are going to work in some low, medium and high volume GPP Medball circuits that challenge multiple planes of motion from multiple athletic positions.

Pecs. More Pecs. And Shoulders.

Residents are going to see an uptick in dip work. It’s going to be in the form of weighted and max rep attempts. In our own training, we have observed when we pair the dips with back work, and rotate in a healthy dose of incline bench press after many weeks of close grip benching, the chest and shoulders bloom like a field of blue-bonnet flowers in Central Texas. If you’ve never witnessed this, you’re missing out!


That’s why the movement selection in the Thunder cycle will focus around those movement patterns on our TEST/RETEST days; to let Residents know we mean business.

More About Jacked Street

Jacked Street is a training program for intermediate to advanced athletes looking to transform their physique. John Welbourn, 10-Year NFL starter and Founder of Power Athlete, exposes residents of Jacked Street to the tried and true training and accessory work that had him walking into training camp at 8% body fat tipping the scale at 308 pounds his 4th year in the NFL.

Cycles are typically written in 6 week training blocks, with occasional 1 – 2 week “bridge” weeks that offer loyal Rresidents an optional deload from the training.

Do you like what you are reading here? Thinking you want to pay rent on Jacked Street?

Click here to start your 7 day risk free trial.

New to Jacked Street?

Shout out to our current Residents of Jacked Street, you know the drill. You need to pay rent every day.

If you are new to Jacked Street, always follow as current in every cycle as possible. Never go back in time and start from day one of the cycle unless John explicitly says so. Training current with the rest of the residents is absolutely paramount.

If you miss a day, it is gone. Just jump on and get current.

If you will ALWAYS miss a day, like a Tuesday, shift, alternate, and rearrange your training days accordingly to ensure you are not always missing Tuesday’s in the cycle. i.e. hit Tuesday for one week and skip Wednesday. Then skip Tuesday the next week and hit Wednesday. Then skip Thursday and hit a Tuesday the week after that. This is just an example.

If you need to sub a movement because of issues with equipment availability, space, injury/dysfunction, or skill level, then tap on the movement in your app at select Swap Exercise from the menu.

Still have questions? Feel free to hit up your “neighbors” for suggestions on any of this in the training feed in the TrainHeroic app.

For those on Jacked Street who have been smashing Thunder, how are you liking it so far? Let us know in the comments.


TRAINING: Try Jacked Street – 7-Day Risk Free Trial
BLOG: Med Ball Training 101 by Carl Case
BLOG: Med Ball Training 102 by Carl Case
BLOG: The Bench Press: J Curve or Vertical Bar Path? by John Welbourn

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John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.


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