Tag Archives: theory

The Science of Lifting, should you really care about what the science says?

Morning Guys,
 
I’m sure many of you are aware that the term ‘evidence based’ coaching has become incredibly popular over the last few years, almost to the point that it’s becoming quite annoying because people won’t break out of their comport one to try something different unless it’s had a study done on it’s validity with several peer reviews. Seriously, I know people who think this way.
 
In the last few years it almost seems that people have become snobs and quick to dismiss those who don’t have a Phd or 100 studies to back up a point. The age of the PubMed warrior has truly arrived.
 
Another note worthy point is some of the strongest, leanest and most muscular men & women never read the science, they learn from others and give what ever they’re doing there all. There are also a lot more of these people than you realise as well.
 
Don’t get me wrong. I very much enjoy reading the literature as to why something works and the fact that there are people willing to prove how/why something works is great, but let us not forget that before al the science was widely available there were plenty of people who made progress without it.
 
How did they do it?
 
Experience, anecdote and best of all; trial & error.
 
Have you ever taken that leap of faith and tried something based on recommendation? Of course you have, but now in the world of lifting people have become paralysed by over analysing things (I am guilty of this).
 
I remember reading a quote from Brooks Kubik that struck a cord with me, it went along the lines of “Simply try it. What’s the worst that can happen? Nothing, in which case you can go back to your old routine, but if I’m right and you start getting the best results of your life then it was worth the risk. Wouldn’t you agree?” – I’m sure I’ve mixed in several different quotes there but you get the idea.
 
The one thing I want you to take away from this post is this:
 
The science and proof of things is not to be dismissed but sometimes a little faith can go a long way. There’s no harm in trying something for 3-6months that hasn’t been scientifically proven, you can always go back to what you were doing if it doesn’t work.
Remember you don’t need scientific proof as permission to try a different training method.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Think or Feel

 
It is common that when people search the internet for a program and stumble across one with lots of % of 1RM they become confused because they are not entirely sure of what their 1RM actually is, but fear not, there are a couple of ways around this.
 
1 – RM Estimator
 
You can use an online calculator to estimate your 1RM or this simple formula:
 
Weight x Reps x 0.0333 + Weight = 1RM
 
You will find this isn’t far off your true 1RM. This then makes the programs with all of those confusing looking % much easier to tackle. Therefore when you see an article or post act has something like Deadlift 5x5x85% + Back Off Set x 60% AMRAP you won’t be like a rabbit in the headlights.
 
What if you don’t want to do the maths? Option 1 is for you.
 
2 – Let the reps dictate the weight.
 
This is a much easier approach for some and allows for an individual to gain a greater feel on what weights they can actually push, while stopping just short of total concentric failure (1-2 reps short). It’s quite easy to use this ideology, if you’re honest with yourself that is.
 
Say you had to do 6×8 on the squat with a 3-1-1-1 tempo. During your warm up I would suggest doing perhaps 2-4 sets of 8 until you find a weight where the 8th rep feels tough yet manageable, then take that as your first set. Each further set after this one will create some fatigue and strength deficit which will leave the 8th rep feeling pretty hard by set 4 and possibly unachievable by sets 7/8, if that is the case then you’ve picked the right weight and will simply repeat it the next workout and hopefully hit all 6×8 and then increase the overall load.
 
Now those are only two ways you can establish what weights to use, one for the more analytical amongst you and one for the more kinaesthetic.
 
Both have their benefits and their downsides.
 
The first option has the benefit of you knowing what you need to do from the get go, while second has the downside that requires more time to establish what you need. However, the second method give more benefit in the way of feedback and learning ‘feel’ so that you know how far you can push your body, unlike the first method that has the downside of set theoretical numbers which you may or may not hit.
 
Play around with both and see which one you prefer. Learning is all a part of the process and a vital one at that.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
 
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