Good stuff recently (hey, it’s “recently” for me — I’m still getting back on track 🙂 ) from Matt Metzgar and Marc VanDam (of Feel Good Eating), on the beneficial aspects of randomness in one’s overall workout scheme. Their thoughts on the matter, I believe, are spot-on. There’s certainly no harm, of course, in concentrating on a single aspect of your fitness for awhile. Just don’t let “awhile” become your “rut-routine”, or attempt to shove the proverbial square peg into a round hole. Anyone remember that show, Square Pegs? I always had a thing for Jami Gertz. Lost Boys, anyone? Anyway…
Usually the natural ebb and flow of life will take care of the randomness aspect for you (don’t I know this all-too-well at the moment!) — simply give-in, and take what life offers. This is why having a big go-to “tool box” and an in-tune, n=1 attitude is a must.
And right now life ain’t offering-up many opportunities for sprints…or for bustin’ loose on the fixie. Now I ain’t bitchin’ or anything, I’m jus’ sayin’ 🙂
But what life did offer-up today — after a run to the Farmers’ Market and Trader Joe’s — was some Power Snatches and heavy Reverse-grip Pull-ups. And some “thrusters” to top things off.
My power snatches are done with a grip that’s maybe a palm wider than a clean grip. Why, you ask? Because my aim here is not the completion of, or practice for, the completion of a white-light Oly lift, but to derive the most benefit from the explosive pull in a movement that happens to approximate the Olympic version of the similar movement. Remember, the further the bar travel, the more power must be applied to the bar for a given weight. One reason (actually, I suppose it’s the only reason?) the Olympic snatch is performed with such and extreme grip is so as to minimize the amount of bar travel. Less bar travel means a greater load may be “pushed” for a given power output. Meh…anyway, let’s get to the workout already:
Power Snatch: 95 x 5, 115 x 5, 135 x 3, 140 x 2, 2, 2, (snatch-grip high pull, 185 x 3), 2, (high pull, 185 x 3), 2
45 x 5, 80 x 4, 90 x 3, 100 x 2, 115 x 1, 90 x 4, 100 x 3, 115 x 1+ (stalled 3/4 up)
Eight total rounds here. Where I interjected the high-pulls, I did the high-pull set, then quickly reset the weight and performed the power snatch set — in other words, with as little rest between as possible.
Hack Squat Thrusters: I don’t think much of the angled hack squat machine — for its intended purpose, anyway. But I find that it’s positioned wonderfully for front press-out thrusters. By setting the machine down on its low safety catch, I can position myself (facing the machine — opposite from its intended purpose, so to speak) so that I can place the front of the shoulder pads in my palms (approximating a clean catch position) and in a thighs-parallel-to-the-ground, slightly-forward-leaning, front squat position. This angle is perfect for a great triple-extension motion into a full, press-out thruster. You can really load-up the weight without fear of “crashing”. I actually prefer this angle to that of a straight-up barbell thruster movement. The loading here of course means nothing as it is total machine and angle dependent. I only include it because I use this blog for my own personal workout tracking:
180 x 8, 8; 270 x 6, 360 x 4
I’ll probably hit some more of these tomorrow morning. Finished-up with a half-hour or so of steam room/cold shower contrasts. Along with the PVC roller, another tool in the poor man’s recovery toolbox.
It’s interest that, growing up as a multi-sport athlete and always changing seasons, I never got close to a routine/rut until feeling good toward the end of the season. Once that feel set in, the next seasonal sport commenced. That was a good, healthy form of variety, though my sport-specific performance in each of the individual sports fluctuated and may have dropped in the short-run, my long term fitness journey has benefitted immensely.
One reason I hate to see kids specialize in a particular sport at an early age. It’s great for technique honing, but lousy for long-term health purposes.
I think we need a video of the thruster 😉
Yeah, it is difficult to explain verbally.
As a former pure HITer, I’m happy to say that I understand and appreciate periodization. I also think that some people are wired to need the “pure and true” program, like thinking anymore about training would keep them from training. Their sticking to just one routine, if it keeps them training, is much better than no training at all.
I, for one, am not that person. 🙂
How should randomness figure into a trainee starting from scratch? I’m talking the proverbial skinny kid just picking up Rippetoe for the first time. I wonder if the establishment of foundational strength/technique via SS or something similar is the best route?
As Skyler says, people can flounder on the freeform “regimen.” I did SS for the better part of a year, after which I finally felt free enough to explore other avenues. Before, I’d messed around with random “world as a gym” and “pick up a heavy object a toss it around” workouts, which were fun enough and wore me out, but I never really felt like I was making much progress until I locked in the presses, the squats, the cleans, and the deadlifts.
I love the randomness now, but getting the fundamentals down was what made it all possible. Kinda like watching Jordan or Kobe decimate defenses with impossible circus shots backed by rock solid fundamentals; no matter how far they fall back or lean left for a jumper, the shoulders were/are always perfectly squared with the basket.
I think that ideally, a trainee would begin with a mastery of bodyweight movements and sprinting ability. This is not to say that one needs to become a gymnast or age-group sprint champion, but that one should be able to move, jump, scat, do some high quality push-ups, pull-ups, dips, etc and then feather-in the weight training. At this point a trainee could concentrate for a few weeks at a time on mastery of the basic lifts, while ensuring that mastery of the bodyweight prowess does not diminish. I still devote blocks to intense concentration on some focused aspect of my training now and again – just not to the exclusion of losing (too much) prowess on the other areas of my fitness. And remember that randomness, by definition, does include periods of “clustering”. Also remember that what we’re really worried about negating is CNS burnout. There’s a huge difference in neurological “cost” between heavy weight training sessions and “skills/skill acquisition” sessions.