programming

Squat/Dead Day 3 (Cycle 2)

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Big Al's Dino Gym- A thing of beauty!

Click the picture for a full picture tour of Al’s facility.

My numbers are all screwed up because all the plates at the gym we were at are in kilo’s instead of pounds.

Squat-
330 x 1
340 x 1 (cut it high though)
315 x 1

Sumo DL-
450 x 1

The plan was to head out to Al’s and just hit a couple decent singles and figure out my opener for the meet. I actually ended up deadlifting too so that I can hit some assistance work at home over the next few days and rest a bit. I did more sets then what I have listed but my weights were all messed up because of the kilo’s instead of pounds. For instance my first set of squats I thought I had 315 and it was actually 330. On deads I thought I went 315, 365, and then was going to jump to 405. It actually my first set was 350 and my second was 400. Since 400 moved pretty quick I went up to about 420 and then finished up with a 450 pull.

Once everything here gets dried out I’m going to break out the sled and drag it. I’m also going to do some heavy(ish) swings and some single limb assistance training over the next couple of days.

Beyond Training Economy

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We usually talk about things like squats, deadlifts, dips, pullups, sleds and the prowler when it comes to training economy but what gets left out is the warm up.  The warm up must be as efficient and well planned as your training session or you are going to lose valuable time and energy.

No, not THAT kind of warm up...

Most of the “warm ups” you see in the gym involve some sort of cardio machine, some light machine exercises, walking, and swinging of an appendage across their body.  Even worse are the ones that jump straight onto the bench or squat rack and just start throwing weight on the bar and lifting.  This doesn’t prepare your body for anything other than sitting back down on the couch to play your X-box some more.  A quality warm up is essential for a couple different reasons.

1. CNS Activation

2. Muscle Group/Muscle Fiber Recruitment

3. Joint Mobility

4. Elevated Blood Flow

5. Mentally Prepare for Lifting

6. Movement Mastery

All those add up in to the biggest reason of all, INJURY PREVENTION!  If you are getting injured every other time you walk into the gym then you aren’t going to to make any type of gains whatsoever.

Epic Fail

Depending on the person, warm ups can move you a long way towards your goals.  For instance, I’ve been working with a personal training client who’s primary goal was fat loss.  At the time we started she had been working a very sedentary job for several years (lots and lots of sitting) and had a kid just about a year prior to starting with me.  While she had lost the weight she gained from her pregnancy on her own she still had a long way to go to get back to where she was in her cheerleading days.  As a result of the weight gain over the past 4 years, the complete lack of exercise, and the sitting all day at her job, there were some major strength and movement deficiencies.  She wanted to lose weight, get stronger, and be able to MOVE when this was all over.  The immediate problems we had to address were the lack of mobility and work capacity which we integrated into her workout.  Here is what a typical workout looked like for her the first couple of weeks.

Warm Up:

Walk Squats x 60 ft (step, squat, repeat)

Elevated Push Up x 10

Lunges x 60 ft

Elevated Push Up x 10

Training:

15# KB Row/BW Box Squat/Band Chest Press x 10 reps x 3 rounds

15# KB Swing/OH 10# KB Press/Band Row x 10 reps x 3 rounds

That’s it.  Even the most basic bodyweight movement was a challenge.  As we weeks progressed we slowly added some volume to the warm up and overall workout as well as weight to the KB lifts.  About 3 weeks in she was deadlifting the 30# KB for 5-10 reps.  Now, about 10 weeks later, here is what her workouts look like.

Warm Up:

Walk Squats x 80 ft

TRX Push Up x 10

TRX Inverted Row x 10

Jumping Jacks x 20

Jump Rope x 25

Walking Lunge x 80 ft

TRX Push Up x 10

TRX Inverted Row x 10

Seal Jacks x 20

Jump Rope x 25

Training:

15# KB Pressing Ladder- 2,3,4,5,6 super set with 30# KB Swing- 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

30# KB Swing Walks- 20 ft super set with TRX Inverted Rows- 6 (4 rounds)

Leg Matrix (Squat x 20 sec, Squat Hold x 20 sec, Squat Jump x 20 sec, repeat. Total 2 minutes) x 1

By adding some specific movements to her warm up (as she was ready for them) we take care of all the different categories I listed above and leave the workout specifically for strength training and a little metabolic conditioning.  That workout took about 45 minutes and it would have been less then that except for some questions I answered in the middle of the session.  Now, her push ups and rows in the inverted rows aren’t with her body parallel to the floor, but each session she works down a little farther.  When I drop the reps down low like we did for that second circuit, she walks her feet down even further.  It’s all about progression!

Here are some other great modalities and ideas to include in your warm up.

 

What’s in your tool box?

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I’ve worked with 3 different construction crews through my high school and college career. While there were many differences in how the crews were ran and the styles of buildings we built, every single one of them had one thing in common. A well stocked tool box.

We had tools to do any type of job we could get hired for. If we didn’t have the necessary tool, we got it because that’s what it took to get the job done.

When it comes to training and nutrition we all had different tool boxes. Some peoples tool boxes are nearly empty, believing that their way of doing things is the only correct way, while others have such a variety of tools that it’s hard to keep track of them all.

When aerobics were first introduced to the world it was hailed as the end all-be all to fat loss. It would supposedly save your joints and turn your body into a fat burning FURNACE! They were widely popular because not only could nearly anyone do them, it was easier and far less intimidating then lifting weights. However, in typical human fashion we were far to quick to pounce it as a miracle exercise prescription instead of treating it as the the tool that it is.

The problem with this style of approach is that while the tool you are using may be appropriate for some portion of the job you are doing, it won’t be appropriate for the entire project. Hammers can’t cut boards or drill holes while saws can’t drive nails or finish concrete. I’m a huge fan of heavy lifting and high intensity interval style conditioning but it’s not appropriate for everyone.

When attempting to lose weight or gain muscle the first thing that should be taken into consideration is your diet. You absolutely can’t out train a poor diet in the long term. Sure a beginner may add muscle or lose weight when they first start but the body will quickly adapt to the new conditions and progress will stagnate.

NUTRITIONAL TOOL BOX

With a new diet fad popping up every single week it’s hard to know what the hell to believe anymore. If you truly want to get the body you’re dreaming of then you need to eat like the men and women who diet like their lives depend on it and get on stage.

Do you have to count every single calorie you take in? Nope
Do you need to track the amounts of all the protein/carbs/fats you take in? Nope
Do you have to pay attention and make better food choices? YES!!!

I’m not going to lay out a specific diet plan for you to follow because it’s not necessary until you get your body fat down into the mid to low teens. What I am going to give you is 1 simple guideline to follow.

IF YOU CAN’T PICK IT, GROW IT, OR KILL IT, THEN DON’T EAT IT!!!

That’s it.  99% of your diet should consist of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, fresh meats, and fish.  No breads, no pasta.  Nothing healthy comes out of a wrapper.  Period.

TRAINING TOOL BOX

Just like your body craves a variety of foods, it also craves variety from your training as well. Only lifting weights, only running, or only doing aerobics is a sure fire way to quickly hit a wall in your training.

There are as many options (good and bad) for weight training and cardio as their are for your diet.

Body Weight
Suspension Trainers
Sandbags
Stones
Sledgehammers
Barbells
Dumbbells
Kettelbells

That’s just a short list off the top of my head and for every implement on that list there are countless different protocols for using them.  While I do prefer to use a variety of different implements in your training, you have to have some consistency as well.  According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of your results come from 20% of what you do.  That 20% isn’t going to be something that changes a whole lot.  This is going to be your big strength movements like squats, deadlifts, swings, and presses.  The other 80% that is always changing will be things like your programming, sets, reps, rest periods, and assistance exercises (which should change according to what your weaknesses are at the period of time).  A well stocked tool box is crucial to not only making progress but keeping your training fun as well.