1/18/10, Strength-Endurance Emphasis – and a Cool Power Calculator

This was a hell of a lead-in to a new 50+ hour work week – a real ass-kicker.  My intent is to front-load this week in anticipation of a following week’s worth of not working-out at all – unless you count moving heavy furniture and appliances a workout.

Another one for the “simple in design, brutal in execution” category, if you get the weights dialed in correctly.  I could have used a few more pounds on the front squat, and completed the 21 reps in about the same amount of time, and with the same quality of reps.

Note: I am getting itchy to sprint – the weather (rain), work schedule and home sale hassles haven’t obliged, though.  Anyway, today’s workout:

  1. front squats: 135 x 5, 5; 175 x 3; 185 x 21 rest-pause method (3s up to ~ 18, then singles), lots of pop on each rep.  7:15 time to completion.  Well below parallel on all, drive through heel ==> Lift on your heels, play on your toes!
  2. reverse grip pull-ups: bw x 5, 5; 45 x 5; 75 x 21 rest-pause method, 3s and 2s, singles on the last 3.  Time to completion 5:05

Here’s a really cool and useful power calculator, from Catalyst Athletics.  Of course, there are some inherent limitations with this calculator, and it is intended to provide for only a relative, rather than exact, approximation of power output.  And I would not use this to compare person to person power outputs, as variables like bar travel distance cannot be specified, an appropriation of body weight is not accounted for, the eccentric portion of the lift is not accounted for, etc.  It is an appropriate and useful tool, though, if used in the right context.

Another option (and one that I generally employ), is to do a quick, meatball, power approximation.  As an example, let’s look over my last few progressions of reverse-grip pull-ups.  Note, here, that I’m excluding the priming sets in all instances in lieu of concentrating on “money” sets, and (as if the calculator above) I’m not considering the eccentric portion of the movement.  Also, I’m assuming that my bodyweight has not fluctuated from 209 lbs (otherwise, I would simply appropriate* my weight relative to the movement).  The per-movement distance does not change (full range of motion relative to my body configuration), and therefore can be eliminated from consideration.  I refer to the result as a bodyweight & modality appropriated power factor.  I can use this power factor (pf) as another comparision tool relative to the particular modality and energy system being trained.

12/31/09 –
70 lbs x 21 reps @ 5:30 (or 330 secs)
so, 1470 (70 lbs x 21 reps) /330 secs = 4.45

1/5/10 –
70 lbs x 21 reps @ 4:40
so, 1470 / 290 = 5.07

Now, going into today’s workout and with a weight of 75 lbs, I know that to beat my previous “best” power factor, I’ve got to get my 21 reps done at least 5:10
(unknown time) x (5.07 previous best pf) = (1575, or 75 lbs x 21 reps).  Let’s see how I did:

1/18/10
75 lbs x 21 reps @ 5:05
so, 1575 / 305 = 5.16

A little bit better than previous, though nothing to write home about.  I can say that the front squats were pretty damn taxing, and of course there’s no good way to account for that in this approximation.  Weighing effort-to-benefit, I’d say that I’ve ridden this particular movement/modality in this particular energy system pathway for just about as far as I can go.  This kind of evaluation serves, then, as just another factor – among a myriad of others – to consider when evaluating an exercise.  Use it appropriately, as another diagnostic tool in your Bat Belt.

*Appropriation is simply a method of assigning a certain percentage of one’s total body weight to be added to the total external loading of an exercise.  In other words, for any kind of pull-up, I’d assign an additional 95% of my bodyweight (199 lbs) to the total loading for the movement.  This is helpful in assigning per-movement dosing when a trainee’s bodyweight is fluctuating.  Each exercise carries such an approximation depending upon the amount of bodyweight that must be moved in the exercise.

4 responses to “1/18/10, Strength-Endurance Emphasis – and a Cool Power Calculator

  1. Your simple power calculation is akin to Little & Sisko’s Power Factor training calculations, only way simpler in execution.

    Great workout!

    Best,
    Skyler

    • Yeah, I think their idea boiled down to the notion of total weight moved per time unit as well. But you’re right, it’s the same idea. I don’t remember them being concerned about how each rep was performed, though (maybe they were?). Of course, this is nothing more than TUL, squeezed from both sides – it’s just another angle from which to view it, and it happens to be a pretty good guide for improvement in the power/strength-endurance modality.

  2. Keith, I thought you were working up to the 400m 30mph rain sprint? LOL 😉

    I hear you on the bad weather sprinting brother. It has been wet hypothermia weather (40°F rain) for weeks around here! Today is the first semi-clear day.

    I just got my new Vibram Treks off backorder. Been itching to run & sprint in them. Having a hard time getting away from the computer today. Still cold & damp!

    • Those are coming in the spring. What we lack in gradient contour here we more than make up for in spring gales.

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