A Quick Q & A, and an Upright Press-Centered Workout

Q & A Time –

TTP reader Tony asks the following questions in reference to my recent Autoregulation post.  A quick disclaimer, though, before we delve in: First off, I am an unabashed generalist athlete; if I were training for a specific event, my work would be much more directed and precise.  As it is, my personal training methods are more along the lines of “free-lance” than the 9-5 type work that is required of a sport-specific athlete.  I use the terms “generally”, “most times”, etc., not to be vague or flippant, but because I may very well change direction – and 180-degrees so – on a dime.  I continually self-evaluate, and may shift gears and enter a “specialized” phase that totally negates all I’ve written here.  The answers below reflect my “holding pattern” training, those times when I seem to be firing on all cylinders; no glaring chinks in the armor, as it were.  That said, here we go with a few quick questions:

“What five base movement patterns do you identify? I’m guessing push, pull, squat, lunge, and….?”

For my purposes, I roll with the following: (1) overhead push/press, (2) overhead pull/pull-up variation, (3) vertical push/dip, (4) pull from the ground/deadlift, and (5) squat variation.

“In what framework within your base patterns do you integrate your ancillary movements? In what way do you seek to compliment the base movements?”

*Most* ancillary work that I do is done under a higher repetition scheme (i.e., the repetition method) with the specific goals being (1) the development of another (of among many) aspect of strength, (2) – and this is especially so far arm work – tendon, ligament (and maybe even fascia) work, and (3) – and related to “other aspects of strength” — as a means to induce more work load without overtraing a movement pattern, via the hypothesis that the same movement pattern can be trained in close proximity, so long as the same modality (i.e., set, rep, tempo, etc. schemes) are not repeated.  See the note below Wednesday’s workout explanation for one example.

For ancillary work, I generally look back to what muscle groups were most recently worked (base-loading wise), and compare this to what I think I might do in the immediate future (i. e., the next immediate workout), then I pick my ancillary work according to what has had the least amount of directed work.  For instance, I rarely do any ancillary leg work, since I engage in so much sprinting, biking and plyos.  Most of my ancillary work is therefore upper body, push and pull centered.  To a lesser extent, I work-in arms as an ancillary-type movement.

“How do you integrate your Metcon/explosive movements within this construct?”

I engage in a good deal of MetCon work in the form of running and biking, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  I don’t usually post on these sessions (the bulk of which take place on non-lifting days), unless I happen to engage in a dedicated, or out-of-the-ordinary, HIIT-type session that I think people may be able to get some useful information from.  I don’t ever train specifically for endurance work, however, I do engage in extended (hours-long) mountain or fixie rides now and again.  By the way, I can more than hold my own, even at a beef-a-loe hefty weight (for a cyclist), in these endurance outings, even as my conditioning training is specifically geared to mimic that of a sprinter.  That’s a topic for another time, though.

I *usually* try to perform an explosive Oly-derivative to lead-off each weight lifting session, and I’ll feather-in plyometrics work and/or other explosive elements where and when I see fit.   There are phases where I’ll concentrate on Oly work (and/or the derivatives) and/or explosives and plyos and back-off on the “traditional” weight training.  This all depends on what I see in my continual self-assessment – if I notice some lack, I’ll immediately begin to ping on it.  Right now, I seem to be pretty well centered — however, experience has taught me that that “centeredness” won’t last for long.  Maintaining good athletic balance is akin to herding cats — you’d better be on top of your game,  and ready to alter course at a moment’s notice to bring in the strays.  My last glitch was a fairly big discrepancy in single leg strength (both in the press/squat and in the pull).  I managed to clear that up in short order with dedicated unilateral work; during that period, though, my overall training plan resembled little of what my plan looks like today.  Anyway, all is cruising right on along at the moment — something else, though, is bound to crop up soon.  And this isn’t my expression of abject pessimism, it’s simply the nature of physical preparation.

On to Wednesday’s, Upright Press-Centered Workout –

power snatch: 95 x 5; 115 x 5; 135 x 4 sets of 3

~ superset both the power snatches, and then the military presses, with straight-bar muscle-ups (the pull-up variety), bw x 2, each round ~

military front press: 95 x 10; 115 x 6; 155 x 5+, 4+

Then, utilizing the repetition method, the following superset:

standing bicep curl: EZ bar + 50 x 15; bar + 70 x 12; bar + 90 x 12

laying tri extension: EZ bar + 50 x 15; bar + 70 x 12; bar + 90 x 11+

Note: as an example, one option in my next workout, for ancillary upright pressing work, might be high repetition Bradford presses.  Heavy shoulder work today, followed by more work of a differing modality in the next follow-up session.  Note that I performed btn jerks in the previous workout.  So, in very short order, I will have performed btn jerks, military presses and (most likely) Bradford presses – all upright pressing movements, but all requiring different aspects of strength.  This is my nod to Simmons’ Conjugate methodology, and its cycling, within the same training week, of max effort, speed, and repetition work.

3 responses to “A Quick Q & A, and an Upright Press-Centered Workout

  1. Hey Keith!

    Wow, this is good stuff – “theory to practice” exactly!

    I have wondered how you are able to tolerate what appears to be a large volume of (weekly) training. It could be your 30 years of iron work have established a CNS that facilitates the load.

    Do you make use of any supplements?

    Excellent post, thank you.

    • Although my workout volume is relatively high, I’m very careful about hitting each movement pattern with differing methods; maximum effort (heavy load, low reps), explosively, ballistically, high-rep method, etc. Also, I am very careful about recuperation. My diet is spot-on, I get plenty of sleep, my stress levels are relatively low, and, probably most importantly, I listen to my body — if I feel that I need to take a day (or a few days) off, I do — guilt-free. Everyone has a certain baseline recuperative ability, though, and I suspect mine is naturally high to begin with. That’s just luck of the draw. Everyone, though, can do things to enhance that ability — good diet and sleep patterns, the exclusion (as much as possible) of outside stress, smart training to begin with and learning to listen to your body are crucial. And, too, 30+ years of maintaining a fairly high GPP base helps as well.

      Supplement-wise, I take fish oil, vitamin D, and ZMA. My only non-Paleo treat is good beer. Gotta live, right? 😉

      • You do an excellent job of manipulating those variables that maintain a good hormonal profile in addition to smart training – and a finely tuned sense of your need for rest and/or a change.

        Have to agree with you on a good beer! They go down real smooth on a hot summer day.


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