Tag Archives: strength practice
If you’re not interested in hitting some new PB’s, that’s cool, feel free to skip reading this.
Let’s say you are interested though, keep reading.
Below you’ll find a simple protocol to help you improve on one or multiple lifts.
This is not something you’d find in body building very often, it’s for people who chase strength.
The information in question is a favourite of many a Russian athlete oddly enough and one I’ve done many times to hit new heights.
I first learnt of this from reading older writing by Dr Fred Hatfield, if you’ve not read any of his books you should, they’re amazing resources.
As you may have guessed I quite like the Russian methodology.
Here is the premise:
– 80% 1RM is starting load, 105% is the end game
– Double Progression is applied
– Intensity is increased incrementally
– Train a 2-3 times per week
– Rest as needed
– Stay tough and you’ll reap the rewards
– Don’t get greedy, follow the protocol
This is how the classic program looks based on 3 days training per week (Mon-Wed-Fri or Tue-Thur-Sat):
*All 6x sets are at 80% 1RM, % changes will be listed below.
^^ If you don’t know yours or your clients 1RM, use an RM calculator to establish an estimated one and go from there.
– 6x2x80% 1RM*
– 6×3* (the volume progression begins)
– 5x5x85% 1RM
– 2x2x100% (old 1RM)
– 1x1x105% (aim for a new 1RM)
Week 7 Deload
Congratulations, a new PB to help you drive up old RM’s and add some much sought after muscle/strength.
Thats the typical way to do it, however if you’re short on time then this may be of use.
The new twist for those short on time –
If you with to do this twice per week the cycle will end up being 10 weeks long (9 with the last being a deload).
Week 9 – Week 10 Deload
– 1x1x105% (aim for new 1 RM)
From experience you can pair two lifts together when doing this and PB on both so long as they don’t interfere with each other.
It’s also good because you get a heavy day and a light day each week meaning you can really go for it each heavy session as it makes the overall progression far more manageable.
DL & Press (or weighted dip)
Squat & Pull Up
Bench Press & Row
You’ll find that some token accessory work of say 30 reps per accessory lift is enough to help the other lifts keep up and maintain some form of muscular balance.
Here is how I planned my sessions using the twice per week training schedule. I was forced to train this way because of upcoming events and life doing what it does best, however I hit new numbers and intact made progress.
Sometimes less really is more.
Lifting Day 1 & 2:
A1 – DL – sets/reps as above
B1 – Press – sets/reps as above
B2 – Chin – 5 reps each set
C1 – Squat 1×10-20
- I would add in perhaps some postural work and make a few sets for smaller muscle groups if I had time
- You can also add in some CV training (sprints etc) a couple of times per week that don’t require you going to a gym
The funny thing with this is it’s so simple people will ignore it.
We live in a world where people think that unless they’ve destroyed themselves they haven’t had a good training session.
This is not true.
Especially when you look at MRV (maximum recoverable volume) vs MED (minimal effective dose), however that’s for another day.
Give the above a go and see how you fair.
The introduction and more frequent use of ‘back off sets’ has become quite popular of late.
You’ll find you can use them to determine suitable loading for your next session, increase total TUT and even help you maintain your progress if you find your gym training time has been chopped down due to life getting in the way.
In the past this has happened several times and as such a way and to be found to get in some quality work, here is an option for you, it will take anywhere from 20-30min tops, try not to spend longer than 30min (especially if your time is limited), just focus on hard work.
This protocol will:
– Provide suitable mechanical tension for strength
– Generate metabolic stress for adaptation
– Create muscle damage for new growth
All you need to do is follow the guidelines and put in all your effort, eat the calories required for your goal (I’ve written about this previously), sleep and stay focused.
Let’s get down o the details.
– Use compound movements (Squat, DL, Press, Chin, Row, etc)
– 1 or 2 per workout (A1/A2 pairing)
– Ramp up your weights each set, start off with 5’s and work to one heavy set, then add a little more weight for a 3, then finally a little more for 1 single. The triple/single aren’t all out efforts, only the 5, they’re just for extra neural stimulation.
– Take 70% of the top 5 and perform 1 back off set of 10-20 reps unbroken
– Rest is minimal between sets, go as soon as you feel ready
– 3 sessions per week is a good minimum to cover the full body
You will be in and out in no time at all.
This short style of workout will allow heavy enough loads to trigger a host of positive things and the back of set will further potentiate this.
If you find you’re doing all of this in 20min then use the extra 10 for some accessory movements (arms, calves etc).
The protocol above is nothing fancy, it’s devised to get maximum results out of minimum time and as such leaves no room for dilly-dallying.
Give this post a read, it should take 5min and you will improve your deadlift.
Considering you’re all intelligent people I’m sure you’ve heard to the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC) and the role it plays in movement.
*A nice link for those who want some more science on it: http://www.scienceforsport.com/stretch-shortening-cycle/
*Here is the lay version: think pulling back and elastic band to store potential energy and then releasing it (kinetic energy is the result). “to shorten muscle you must first lengthen it”. Where you are right now do vertical jumps… Good, now do it without first bending your legs in to the starting position (preventing and pre-stretching of the muscles used for the jump)… Doesn’t really work, does it.
I want to talk about its relevance in lifting weights and how you can use it to improve your deadlift (all will become clear, trust me).
If we look at the squat and the bench press, they both have one thing in common that is missing in the deadlift.
Do you know what it is?
A loaded eccentric start to the lift (bar on your back/in your hands), this helps you create tension and the potential energy to overcome the required force on the concentric portion of the lift from being in the hole, where are the deadlift starts on the floor and you’ve got no real help. It’s you VS the bar and unless you’re a well trained lifter who understands how to use the SSC or at least prime your body by creating tension (pre-loading) in the required muscles yo’ll find you can’t even shift the bar from the floor.
I’m sure you’ve seen many great dedadlifters such as Eddie Hall, Ed Coan, Richard ‘The Ant’ Hawthorne, Andy Bolton to name a few, have a certain something about their set up. You know, when they pull against the bar taking the slack out (getting tight), followed by a brief pull down (or 3 in Andy’s case) and then effortlessly hoist it off the floor to victory. This pre-lift routine is their way of firing up the muscles required, creating tension and utilising the SSC to help them generate the force required to overcome the inertia and lift the weight. (This is harder to write down than I anticipated).
Here are some videos, watch for the points mentioned above:
The reason for this post is a simple one. I see a lot of people fail to do the following in the deadlift:
– Take the slack out of the bar
– Get tight (create massive amounts of tension/pre-load muscles)
– Not utilise the SSC
*Obviously a correct individual set up is required, if you don;t have those hire a coach and get the foundations, then refer back to this.
In Dynamite Deadlift (written by Pavel Tsatsouline & Andy Bolton) they cover a lot of great info and give lot’s of tips. One that Pavel has given throughout the years is to set up to the brain the deadlift and from standing PULL yourself in to your starting position from standing to create more tension (remember tension = force).
How do you currently warm up?
I was warming up for squats today and noticed some lads doing the same for bench (it is international chest day after all).
The warm up they did was not terrible by any means, it contained stretching, some dynamic work and some reps with the bar/60kg, however the form was loose and the tempo was inconsistent, by the time they got to their working sets the form had changed yet again. I had a brief chat and offered some tips to help tighten said form but the words became lost on the winds.
If you take a look at any videos of high level lifters you will find their warm up sets look almost identical to their working sets. They lift the light weights like they’re heavy and this crosses over to them lifting heavy weights like they are light.
Personally I try not to waste any reps and use every one as a chance to groove solid form and get feedback on how my body is feeling, do you do the same?
There are lots of way to warm up which become more or less relevant depending on your goal, however to help groove your form try warming up with the lift you want to work for that day. Doing around 8 sets of 2-3 reps (perhaps one set of 10 with the bar to dust off the cobwebs) of your desired exercise, you add weight to take it close to or even over your working sets for the day, this will set you up for a good session, both physically and neurologically.
It might look like this:
SQ – Bar x10, 60kg x5, 80kg x5, 100kg x3, 120kg x2, 140kg x2, 155kg x1, 165kg x1, 170kg x1, 5x5x150kg
Here is a nice little article with some good references if you want to look in to this further:
Moral of the story; your warm ups should be the same as your working sets.