3/19/10; The 20-Minute Squeeze

Sometimes work is the beast that endeavors to devour every last bit of your free time; now is one of those times for me.  Big, looming deadlines on the horizon, plenty of late hours at the grind.  I woke up this morning and realized that even if I hauled some serious ass, I’d only be able to squeeze-in maybe 20 minutes or so of actual iron time.  Now, I could’ve said the hell with it and chilled, chalked it up to the interventions of “randomness” or whatever; but that’s not me, and I’ll tell you why — because, although I might not have pushed the envelope physically this morning, what I did do was give my body the signal that, yes, it still has to perform — and no, it can’t get lazy and “chill”.  That short little burst this morning let my nervous system know that it’s not okay to “throttle-down”.  Hey, there are plenty of completely missed workout opportunities to chalk-up to “randomness” — if you’ve got a 20 minute window, you’ve got to jump on it and do what you can.

Serendipity strikes:
My good friend Skyler Tanner (who comments quite a bit here at TTP), recently drew up a fine practical example of Post-Activation Potentiation/Post-Tetanic Facilitation (PAP/PTF) and, after having read Skyler’s piece, I thought, “hey, yeah — I can dust-off a couple of sets of PAP/PTF, weighted pull-ups”.   I haven’t done front presses in a while, so I coupled some heavy presses with the the pull-ups.  The result?  A nice, challenging workout — compressed into 20 minutes.  Not bad at all.

After a quick warm-up of ballistic stretching, a few sets of whip-snatch to OHSs, and a couple of  “primer” super-sets of pull-ups and front presses, I did the following:

  • regular-grip pull-up “hang”, 135 lbs x 15 secs.  This isn’t a “dead” hang, but rather a “contracted” position — a position equal to the first inch or so of movement out of the bottom-out, dead-hang position.
  • rest approximately 2 minutes
  • regular-grip pull-up negative from full, end-of-movement position; 90 lbs, 9 secs of TUT (time under tension).
  • 2 minute rest

Then I jumped into 3 rounds of this super-set:

  • front press (minimal “jerk” or “cheat push”): 165 x 5, 5, 5
  • Regular-grip pull-ups: 45 x 6, 6, 6

Nice, snappy reps on all.  45 lbs felt mighty light; I may have been able to pull-off a muscle-up single at this weight.  I’ll give that a shot next time around.

An article in this month’s Esquire (Mutant, by Luke Dittrich), about sprinter Usain Bolt, got me thinking about the interplay of strength, power and elasticity.  Can an athlete be explosive, yet not be a good sprinter.  Absolutely.  More this weekend.

One response to “3/19/10; The 20-Minute Squeeze

  1. Let me add the short version of the addendum that I was going to add to my post:

    Don’t get greedy with the lock-off.

    I loaded 180lbs on the weight belt attempting to hold a 5 to 10 second static. I quite forgot that static strength is less than negative strength and any lock off exercise won’t take advantage of the bone on bone tower (like the squat/overhead press). I jokingly say “I broke my bicep” when really I caused so much irradiation that my tricep felt slightly strained. No pain 2 days later but definitely a zinger for the remainder of the day.

    Which is to say: if you can lock out, start with a hold; if you can lock-off, start with the negative. Wisdom.


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